Learning

Salesforce Spring '17 Release Overview

The Spring '17 Release empowers everyone to be their best with amazing new innovation for Einstein and Lightning built right into the Customer Success Platform. We want to make sure you're prepared to take full advantage of all the new features. Join our AMER Success Team for release highlights, use cases and best practices that will help you drive business value for your end users.

A Single Merge to Rule Them All

A Single Merge to Rule Them All

It’s often a thankless task, but sending out Thank You letters is an important part of the development process. These letters give nonprofits yet another way to engage supporters so it’s important to personalize their message whenever practical.

Enter Apsona and Apsona Document and Email Merge. Nonprofits can leverage these powerful, but inexpensive utilities to produce custom acknowledgment letters for print or email and do so with only single generation of merged letters.

Let’s use a real-life example to demonstrate what we mean.

Let’s say a nonprofit receives 200 donations one week and they break down as such:

  • 100 received with no indication of what campaign generated the donation
  • 50 received at a dinner gala to support a specific program
  • 25 received because of an end of year campaign
  • 25 received in advance of a summer fun run

In the above situation a nonprofit has a couple options:

  1. Send 200 acknowledgments with a generic thank you and no mention of what prompted the gift
  2. Send custom acknowledgments with a message specific to the encounter that generated the donation.

The first option above is typically the fastest, but also the least satisfying.  The second option is best, but often requires generating multiple document merges, one for each campaign, and that can become time-consuming for staff. Utilizing a little trick we developed, a nonprofit can get the best of both options: efficiency and greater customization.

An Overview of the Solution

The solution relies upon each active Campaign having an Acknowledgement Letter field containing the main body of an acknowledgment letter. In addition, each Donation record should identify the relevant Campaign above via the Primary Campaign Source field.  If the relevant Campaign isn’t known then utilize a default or placeholder Campaign.

Utilizing an Apsona report and merge action, these fields link each Donation to the appropriate acknowledgment Campaign for purposes of merging the relevant text into an Acknowledgement letter.

Configuring the Acknowledgement Solution

The configuration isn’t horribly difficult; however, it requires a familiarity with creating and editing Salesforce fields, updating page layouts, creating Apsona reports and merge actions, and creating a MS Word document with appropriate merge fields.  Below is a high-level overview of the configuration.

Step 1 - Fields

There are four Salesforce fields required:

  • Acknowledgment Letter - Create a long text field on the Campaign object and set the number of lines to at least 20. The field should be added to all relevant Campaign page layouts.

For each active Campaign that may generate donations, be sure to populate this field with the body of a corresponding Acknowledgement letter. The body should consist of all text beginning after “Dear …” and should include a sign-off such as “Sincerely, Executive Director.”

  • Primary Campaign Source - This is a standard Salesforce Donation field that already exists although it should be made required to ensure all future donations have a Campaign value.  This field will identify what Campaign for the proper acknowledgment letter. Alternatively, if there is concern about using this standard field, then consider a custom Donation field that looks up to a Campaign record.
  • Acknowledgment Status - The Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) includes this field. Creating the following picklist values if they do not already exists and ensure the field has been added to all relevant Donation page layouts:
    • To Be Acknowledged (set this as the default value for the picklist)
    • Do Not Acknowledge
    • Acknowledged
  • Acknowledgment Date - The NPSP also includes this field so ensure it is visible on all relevant Donation page layouts.

Step 2 - Merge File

There are two key elements to remember.

First, you’ll need to create an Apsona-friendly MS Word template. For more about how to create a merge template.

Second, you’ll need to upload the template to Salesforce Documents so that it is available to Apsona. This document should include a merge field that will be a placeholder for the Acknowledgement Letter text. To see a simplified merge document.

Step 3 - Apsona Single-Step Report

Create an Apsona Donation report. This report should include any relevant Donation, Account, and Contact fields, as well as the fields indicated above. This ensures the text of the Acknowledgement letter is available for merging and for updating of the Acknowledgement Status and Date fields. For more about creating Apsona reports.

Step 4 - Apsona Merge Action

Finally, you’ll want to create an Apsona Merge Action to complement the report above. For more about creating Apsona Merge Actions. This action should do each of the following:

  • Identify the Salesforce Document above for merging
  • Map the merge fields, including the Acknowledgement Letter field
  • Set the Acknowledgement Status to Acknowledged
  • Set the Acknowledgement Date
  • Generate a single MS Word document for printing
  • If desired, create an Activity entry for each Donation acknowledged

Solution Variations

The approach outlined above is simply one approach. There are a number of ways it can be adjusted to meet your nonprofit's needs. For example, some nonprofits will prefer to email these acknowledgments while others might prefer a different set of actions upon creation of a merge document.

We Can Help

Of course, every Salesforce instance and every nonprofit’s needs will vary and that’s why Now IT Matter’s is here to help. In addition to configuring solutions such as this, we also help clients think about how to streamline and enhance current processes so they aren’t stuck with a one-size-fits-all solution. If you think this solution might be for you then give us a call so we can talk more about your nonprofit’s needs.

Less is More: 3 Simple Ways to Clean-up your Salesforce Instance

Less is More: 3 Simple Ways to Clean-up Salesforce

less-is-more-trick-blog

Everyone (well most everyone) appreciates a nice, neat workspace. It helps one focus on what’s most important and promotes calm in a sea of endless distractions.

It’s no different for Salesforce. Eliminating system bloat can go a long way toward improving the user experience.

Here are three relatively simple ways to begin cleaning up your Salesforce instance.

Fields

The granddaddy of bloat is too many fields. It’s starts innocently enough with a single user request, but over time those user requests for fields begin to take a toll on end-users and administrators

The problem with too many fields

  • Increases data entry time as users search through increasingly long page layouts
  • The most important fields get lost among trivial fields

Do you really need a field?

  • Is the field required to capture information for key reports such as those for reporting on a grant?
  • Are staff even bothering to complete a given field?

Cleaning Up the Bloat A great first step is installing the FREE application Field Trip. This utility scans your Salesforce data so it can report on how frequently a field is being used. If no one is bothering to complete a given field, then it probably isn’t important enough to keep around. To make a case for eliminating extraneous fields run a few Feld Trip reports, summarize your findings, and discuss with your power users and management team.

Get Field Trip - https://appexchange.salesforce.com/listingDetail?listingId=a0N30000003HSXEEA4

List Views

list-bloat-blogList Views can get out of hand FAST, especially if all users have access to create new List Views!

The great thing about List Views is that you can quickly get to key records without running a report; however, if everyone is making their own List Vies and sharing them with everyone else then it all blurs together.

Questions to Ask?

  • Is a List View being used regularly? – Maybe it was created for a special purpose 5 years ago and has since been forgotten.  If so, delete it.
  • Does everyone need access to see a particular List View? – Maybe some List Views are only needed by development staff while others support programming staff, if so restrict visibility as needed.

Does everyone need access to create new List Views? – Get ahead of the problem by limiting who can create new List Views.

Chatter Groups

chatter-archive-blogCleaning up Chatter groups is as easy as 1-2-3

First, review all active Chatter groups and Archive those that are not actively used. You can do this by opening up a group’s settings and clicking the Archive button.

Second, updated the settings for each group so that they automatically archive after 90 days of inactivity.

About Archiving

  • Archiving does not delete a group and its content
  • An archived group can be reactivated

Learn Salesforce to #LevelUp your Career

Are you ready to #LevelUp your Career?

career Three years ago, my family and I made the decision to relocate from Houston, Texas to northern New Hampshire for my husband’s job. For those of you who have never been to New Hampshire, let’s just say there aren’t a ton of job opportunities available; especially when you live in the middle of the mountains and the cell service isn’t so great!

As luck would have it, a friend of mine mentioned her “Salesforce consulting firm” (Now It Matters) was looking for a part-time team member who could assist with training and development initiatives.

After applying and going through a short interview process, Now It Matters offered to facilitate my education of Salesforce, and extended a virtual job offer to me. The best part was I could do all of this from my home office!

Now, it’s two years later. I’ve survived a fierce winter (if you are contemplating two weeks in negative 30 degree weather, let’s just say “I don’t recommend it!”) and receiving my Salesforce Administrator certification (on my second attempt, but don’t tell anyone), my family and I moved back to Austin, TX. There, we decided it was time for me to return to work full time.

Little did I know that doors of opportunity would open up for me as a newly certified Salesforce Administrator! As I searched for a full time training and development position I realized the interview requests I received weren’t only a result of my 10+ years of work experience, but could also be attributed to Salesforce experience. With only two years of Salesforce experience under my belt I was a hot commodity!

As you may know, Salesforce is far-reaching and applicable for any industry. Plus, its support tools (Power of Us Hub, Success Community, Trailhead) are outstanding. The moral of my story is: If you have the opportunity to learn Salesforce, then take it! Who knows?! You may love Salesforce so much that you find yourself going down a completely different career path than intended. At the very least, Salesforce will help you #LevelUp and gain a competitive edge along your existing career path.

Community and Becoming More

We’ve all been there: walking into an exam room clutching your pencil in one sweaty hand and your scratch paper in the other, you find your assigned seat and look around at the other test takers while the proctor logs you in and tells you that you can get started whenever you’re ready. Girlforce ladies all over the US have sat down to take certification exams in the past few months. For some of us, it was the first time we had taken a Salesforce exam, others were taking repeat exams, or getting additional certifications. We recently polled Girlforce members who had passed Salesforce exams about their tips and tricks for passing, and we came up with the following three keys for success: 1. Be prepared. Finding a study group to help you learn difficult concepts and clarify the subject matter is essential. Virtual study groups, like the ones we have in Girlforce, or in-person study groups, like a local User Group, can be great resources in your study. Don’t leave it to chance – study, read, study some more, take practice exams. Feeling prepared when they walked into the room was crucial for most test-takers we surveyed. Find out what your weak point is, then make your weak point your best point! Judi Sohn (KELL Partners) shares:

“My tip: the questions are often written in such a way that it's just as easy to pick out what's wrong as what's right. So on questions when you have to pick 2 answers and you're not sure, focus on eliminating the absolutely impossible choices. There's always at least one. If you're lucky, there's 2 that you know beyond a shadow of doubt can't possibly be right and what's left has to be it.”

Preparation doesn’t mean you have to know all the right answers, but you should know enough about the subject to hopefully deduce the right answer in multiple choice! 2. Keep a tally. One of the most common answers to our poll about how people passed exams was getting through all of the questions and checking the ones for review to look at before submitting the test. Karen Fitton (Bigger Boat) passed her exam by “keeping a tally of questions I was certain of and marking the ones I didn't know to review. I go through [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"][the exam] once quickly without dwelling on the questions, answering what I know and marking the others for review. Then I have a sense of how much time I have for the review and how I think I am doing.” Liza Mueller (Echoing Green) advises test takers to use the paper and pencil provided in the exam to keep track of your certainty to answers:

“Questions for which I was uncertain got circled on the paper, where I also jotted down my gut instinct, or the two answers I was waffling between. Once I was completely through the exam I returned to the uncertain ones to read them more carefully. This helped me manage my time and nerves!” Mary Pustejovsky (Heller Consulting) adds: “I kept a running tally to help me know how many I had "for sure". It just gave me the confidence to finally hit that "submit" button!”

3. Be confident. Ashima Saigal (Database Sherpa) admits to struggling with test anxiety: “The mere act of sitting down to answer [multiple choice] questions puts me in a solid state of fear." Many of us don’t love taking tests, and some of us are downright afraid of them. During exams, in addition to marking answers for review and writing notes, Ashima kept a percentage tally of those she was confident about the answer to, as well as those she hasn’t the slightest idea about and would entirely guess. Confidence was her mantra:

“When I sat down, I wrote down immediately on my paper, "You know this stuff and can do it" and when I began to question myself or my brain went blank, I went back to that place on my paper. When I started to panic (it happens to me during tests), I would close my eyes and breath.”

The hidden advantage to working together to share in preparation, giving each other tips and confidence is that in the process, you become more than you were. The Exam gives you certification, the group gives you community. As Jeff Winger in Community says “You’ve just stopped being a study group. You have become unstoppable. I hearby pronounce you a community.”[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]