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.
Reflections from Tahoe Dreamin’
There is something special about community-run regional Salesforce events like Tahoe Dreamin’. They’re more intimate events that allow for more meaningful conversations. And there’s something special about a conference run entirely by Salesforce users who want to dedicate their time to learning more about Salesforce
Last week, 200 Salesforce users gathered in South Lake Tahoe to network, learn, and get inspired.
Sarah Joyce Franklin, SVP of Developer Relations and GM or Trailhead at Salesforce, gave a keynote speech that set the tone for the conference. In it, she made three key points that provided a new perspective on how you work with your Salesforce instance:
1. Change the story from “Can I change the world?” to “Will I change the world?”.
At Now IT Matters, our clients are in the business of changing the world, and that can be a daunting task. From connecting with constituents to monitoring program outcomes, leveraging Salesforce to fit your organization’s needs can be equally intimidating. But instead of asking yourself if you can do it, as yourself how you will do it. Just changing the story puts you on a path and is the first step in planning your success.
2. Do not be ruled by fear.
As I attended the sessions at Tahoe Dreamin’, I amended this to “Do not be afraid of Lightning.” Many nonprofits have been reluctant to switch over to the new platform because it’s different, it’s unknown. And if we’re being honest, that’s a little scary.
But Lightning isn’t something to be intimidated or worried about, it’s something to explore and be excited about! Turn it on in one of your sandboxes and play around. Collect use cases from your Salesforce users and see how you can solve them in Lightning. If you fail, it’s just a sandbox. And if you succeed, your users will thank you.
3. Be the change.
This comes from the famous Gandhi quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” And it holds true when managing a Salesforce instance. Be an example to your users. Inspire them to learn Salesforce by earning some Trailhead badges, or get a certification. Want them to get excited about the platform? Get excited about the new features coming out in the Spring ‘17 release and share them with your users.
Whether skiing down a snowy mountain or taking the leap to convert your org to Lightning, the point is to take the chance. Could you end up with a failed project (or a face full of snow)? Absolutely. But try anyway.
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]
[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"] Often nonprofits become frustrated and overwhelmed when using a CRM system as sophisticated and complex as Salesforce. How do I get help? Where do I find resources to train our staff? Where are the answers to my questions?
Here are some best practices for nonprofits using Salesforce. Help is just a click away!
1. Become involved in a Salesforce Community online or in person. There are a number of communities online that offer free help and support for nonprofits utilizing Salesforce. Some of my most utilized are:
Salesforce Success Community (https://success.salesforce.com)
The Success Community has several components, among the most helpful:
- Answers: This tab has answers to commonly asked questions around Salesforce functionality and how to do various things. Hint: If you google a Salesforce question, you almost without fail return an answer that is helpful. Those results are generally in the Salesforce Success Community Answers.
- Help and Training: This is where you can contact support, find out about new releases, and take online training videos (many free!) surrounding Salesforce functions and best uses!
- Ideas: If Salesforce doesn’t do it yet, you can bet there’s an idea submitted about that function! If you find your suggestion for improvement in the Ideas section, make sure to vote it up so Salesforce makes the change!
- User Groups (under “More”): User Groups are a great resource for getting your questions answered and finding solutions to your problems. I highly recommend that everyone become part of the User Group in your area. They have nonprofit user groups as well as developer UGs and Admin UGs
Power of Us Hub (powerofus.salesforcefoundation.org/publogin)
Using your regular Salesforce login, you can get into the Power of US Hub. This community is much like the Salesforce Success Community, except that it is specific to nonprofit Salesforce users. It has questions and groups like the other community, as well as helpful resources specific to NPOs.
2. Train your staff to use the things they need. If your staff member is running reports, they should watch a report building training video, or join one of the many free Salesforce webinars covering common uses of Salesforce produced for the community. If they are needing to primarily use Campaigns, check out a video or read best practices white papers in the Success Community about campaign usage. If the information is being kept in Salesforce, staff should not be permitted to keep it elsewhere – ie, keeping their contacts separately on an excel spreadsheet.
3. Map your processes and come up with standardized practices surrounding the entry of information. Where is information being duplicated? How many people are touching the same data and putting it into different places? How does a member’s life cycle at your organization look on paper? Reduce the number of touches each person’s data has – i.e., Contact information should be entered directly on the Contact record, rather than in Outlook address books and/or excel and/or paper and/or Access. If the constituent NEEDS to live in 2 places, (ie – accounting for payroll information AND Salesforce for membership information) that can be acceptable, but it’s in your best interest to reduce the number of places to as few as possible.
4. Address User Adoption. Why aren’t people using Salesforce? There are a number of ways to get people logged into Salesforce and using the system. One good way is through the use of Chatter, a collaborative tool that will allow you to communicate electronically with all of the staff in your organization, and have organic conversations around donors, members, constituents, opportunities, or any other items you’re tracking in Salesforce. There are user adoption dashboards available for download in the AppExchange as well. Once people are working in the system, it comes alive. People begin to trust the data, and people begin to find that they have built a 360 degree view of your constituents by collaboration and smart processes.
Dive in Deeper:
- Beyond Login Rates: Three Key Areas for Measuring Adoption
- 10 Steps for a Successful Training Plan
- Video: Best Practices for Importing Data
- Training: Videos for Salesforce Administrators
- 6 Tips for Using Nonprofit CRM Software Effectively
- Whitepaper: Insights into CRMs for Nonprofits
Thank You for Helping Us Do #MoreGoodBetter
Today, I turn 39 and I’m proud to share my birthday with your brainchild. As Salesforce rings in its big day with charity events in San Francisco, I’ll be celebrating back in my hometown in Montana. On my birthday every year, I play hooky from work, grab my kids from school, and spend the afternoon doing something fun as a family. The way I see it, I’ve got six more years before they graduate high school, so I’m trying to think ahead, to pack in as many experiences together as possible.
You know a thing or two about thinking ahead. When you introduced the world to Salesforce back in 1999, you also introduced us to the 1/1/1 model, joining people, technology, and resources to improve our planet. You've joked that it was an easy decision to make, since you were without equity, profit, or employees. I'm a natural cynic, and am often skeptical of the philanthropic motivations of corporations. You've shown me - and the rest of the world - what a corporation that cares looks like. Salesforce offers a way to make our planet a better place.
In September of 2008, I logged onto Salesforce for the first time, and started building a custom recruiting app for the mid-sized non-profit at which I was employed. With no experience in software development or programming, I configured Salesforce to recruit volunteers to live in Cambodia’s slums, befriend gang-bangers in San Francisco’s Mission district, and to bridge racial divides in South African townships. I had no way of knowing that I would become a Certified Developer, leave that organization to start “Now IT Matters” (a Salesforce consulting company for nonprofits), and become a Salesforce Foundation Partner. Our business just passed the 3 year mark and I’m proud to lead a small dedicated team of repurposed nonprofit practitioners who have become Salesforce experts. To fight poverty, injustice, and social inequality, we help nonprofits use Salesforce. Realistically, our work will probably only make a small dent on social issues, but we’re proud of that dent. I hope you feel proud of it too, because without you we wouldn’t be doing it.
So, on our shared birthday, I want to say thank you. Thank you for giving out free 747s to nonprofits, and for creating a way for Now IT Matters to help our nonprofits do #moregoodbetter. Earlier this week, I was helping a client build a dashboard to measure the effectiveness of using tiny sleeping bags to preserve the lives of premature babies in developing nations using data collected by hand in hospitals that have little more than electricity. These sleeping bags replace the need for expensive incubators. Thank you for allowing the Force.com platform to make that data evaluation possible. Thank you for sticking with your philanthropic 1/1/1 philosophy and supporting the growth of the Salesforce.com Foundation. Thank you for opening the doors of opportunity to organizations, and for turning their vision to help our global community into a reality.
Happy birthday to Salesforce, Mark - and here’s to another year of inspiring growth for the causes that count!
TIM LOCKIE | Owner, Founder & Janitor Certified Salesforce Administrator, Developer, & Sales Cloud Consultant