Data in a Jiffy

[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"] So, you're in a jam. You need your data quickly, and your Exec needs it in Excel to do some pivot tables. You're not the best at Salesforce yet, but you know enough to get around. Enter Dataloader.io! During my first few months with Salesforce, this was one of the best ways for me to quickly get data in and out of Salesforce and do it simply. It also helped me learn about the relationships between the different tables in Salesforce while doing so.

For those of you who like data (like spreadsheets) and geek out a bit here and there (but don't have a SF specific background): Dataloader.io is just what it says, data in, data out. It also features the ability to match on text fields if needed. No need to look up Record ID's if you know the name of the Record! For the newbies out there, this is a great way to just experiment with exporting data from Salesforce in a different way from the usual running reports format. This isn't the only tool to be sure, but for a simple interface and a web based dialog - it does the trick!

Pro's:

  • Simple interface and three options (Import/export/delete). Case in point - just tried to find Quick Text to load records in another data loading custom tool and I couldn't find it - swing over to dataloader.io and its there.
  • Helps to have a backup Data Loader choice in case your main one runs into a snafu.

Con's:

  • Have to use a login to get in (oh well).
  • Will teach you how the tables are organized in Salesforce-whether you like it or not.
  • Access to all objects from a non-Salesforce standard interface.

For further information about data management tools, check out these resources:

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4 Best Practices for Nonprofits Using Salesforce

[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:

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Salesforce Quotes - A Hidden Gem

[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"] Source: http://bit.ly/1paWPim An opportunity often requires several iterations to close, and each of those iterations can involved different pricing structures.  Salesforce created Quotes as a way to manage these iterations, save them as PDF's and even email them to a contact.  The real beauty of quotes is that they copy the OLI's (opportunity line items) of the opportunity at creation and create Quote Line Items (derived from the Opportunity Line Items).  There are some custom apps available around this functionality.  Custom Quote Sync can be used to enhance the functionality and sync OLI's to QLI's as well as Opportunity custom fields and Quote custom fields.

As always, do the community a favor and review AppExchange apps!

Here's how Salesforce introduces quotes in the help text:

A quote is a record showing proposed prices for products and services. You create a quote from an opportunity and its products.

Each opportunity can have multiple associated quotes, and any one of them can be synced with the opportunity. When a quote and an opportunity are synced, any change to line items in the quote will sync with products on the opportunity, and vice versa.

When your quote is complete, you can generate a PDF and email it to your customer. Quote PDFs are based on templates. We offer a standard template, and you can also create your own.

This is also the only place that a PDF template can be created using the page layout editor.  It draws from Contact, Account, Opportunity, Quote, and can list Quote Line Items with the usual options of selecting which fields are used as columns.

Use cases: Invoices, Work Orders, Change Orders,  Estimates, Packing Lists

Anyone else use quotes?

Dive in Deeper:

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Bryan Rees on Cloud Architecture - Think Components

[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"] Among the tips that Bryan Rees at InCadence posts in a blog about Architecting for the Cloud, he highlights the importance of solving for all requirements in a whole solution instead of thinking of requirements as a silo.  We do this by grouping requirements together and solving them in groups.  The way he puts it is:

Architect your solution in a componentized way: The key to being a cloud architect is to step away from the mindset of trying to crank through all the functional requirements by yourself. One has to step back and think about the business requirements and then architect a solution of loosely coupled components that address the overall requirements. This takes a bit more work upfront but pays huge dividends later, not only in terms of executing on the initial project but also for maintaining and evolving your solution.

A(n overly-)simple way to think of this is a scenario where a custom field will solve an immediate need.   The temptation is to just create the custom field and move on; however, if the field is representative of a list of items, then, in order to accomplish the list, a custom field must be created for each option on the list.  That line of development will leave an organization with 15 fields on a page instead of one picklist or custom object.  Since the fields can't really be combined well into a report to get onto a dashboard, the organization then exports to Excel in order to share it with the executive who needs to see it.

The article is worth the read his next point about API's over language and his later comments on crowdsourced solutions are also worth a read.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Exasperation + Communication = Answers!

[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"] A few years ago (for most of us here at NiM), we were sitting in your seat.  Non profit program managers, operation directors, After School Program Staff, Development Directors, maybe in the rare case a VP of Social Marketing.  A friend had told us about Salesforce -  FREE for 10 users.  So, skeptical, we turned to the web started poking around because hey - we're tech savvy (well maybe the most tech savvy in this office!) and if there was a free product to use to help us fulfill our mission - it was my job to ferret it out.

After hemming and hawing on the decision with stakeholders within your organization, you finally pushed them to a point of decision and they went for it.  You were installing / implementing Salesforce and now you KNEW you were over your head.  So....you start looking around again, poking around - how do I get this thing up and running?  Data imports?  AppExchange? QuickStarts?  Its going to cost HOW MUCH?

After watching YouTube videos til your eyes bled, you knew you were stuck.  You knew what had to get done, but the information was an extreme overload.  Drinking from the firehose indeed, Mr. Benioff - how do you expect anyone to pick up on this and actually capitalize on it?

STOP HERE.  Turn off the computer.  Pick up the phone.  Call somebody.  I love Google as much as the next guy but Google speaks computer and I speak English.  I'm in my position (and my field) because I love it, I believe in the mission, and I think I'm doing some of the best work on earth.  How's Google supposed to translate "mission" into bits and megabytes for me?   My advice to you: don't wait as long as I did to pick up the phone to connect to one of these resources:

1.  Account Exec.  Somewhere in that email inbox is your first email from some friendly guy or gal at the Salesforce Foundation who welcomed you to Salesforce (if you've signed up and have your trial org).  Chase them down like its a Salem Witch Hunt and when you get a hold of them, get contacts: other NPOs fitting your staff size, your annual budget size, your service area / constituent base, your mission type - and start from there.  My Account Exec (AE) at the time was just a guy I ended up calling on my way back from my most recent Salesforce (free) Cloudforce event.  Overwhelmed with info, I needed answers somewhere and Jesse Maddex, my Salesforce AE, was the guy to help.  He introduced me to a guy at....you guessed it - Now IT Matters.  After some phone calls and some confidence boosting, I was on my way to some answers.

2.  User Group. There's one somewhere in your state or within 200 miles or so.  Find that number, call the User Group Leader and get 5 suggestions on how to move forward.  User Groups would have tripled my learning curve if I had started there instead of puttering around the web for the first 18 months of my experience with Salesforce.  There are Non Profit User Groups throughout the world.

3.  The local cool guy. Find that local NPO that has it together and take them out for a beer, coffee, or both.  Start with the folks who can answer questions about their donor data / constituent data:  the ones who know their data well and can show you how they're growing their giving pyramids, how they're increasing their communications base, or expanding their programs - through the use of well informed metrics and reporting.  They might be using Salesforce, they might be using a similar product - but if they are capitalizing on their data there is something you can learn there.

Dive in Deeper:

 

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Salesforce Mobile Approvals - Approval Central App

Salesforce mobile approvals

Approvals are not available in Salesforce1 natively.  Enter Approval Central for Salesforce1, a free app simply that adds a tab to the Salesforce1 sidebar as its own tab.  For developer types, this package adds a single custom tab so it has no effect on code requirements.  It currently has a 5 star rating and is a product of Salesforce Labs, yet another way that Salesforce gives more value to its customers.

Note that in the future this may become standard functionality for Salesforce1, in which case it very simple to uninstall.

Approval Central For Salesforce1

Great for managers on the go, Approval Central puts all your pending approvals in one place inside the Salesforce1 mobile app, making business decisions a snap. All of the relevant information you need to make an approval decision is now one tap away.

  • Instant Visibility: Consolidated view of all pending approvals inside Salesforce1

  • Save Time: No more searching for approvals, they are all in one place

  • One Click Action: Make approval decisions on the go

Approval Central is perfect for executives with little time and managers on the go. By seeing all pending approvals in the left nav (aka Navigation Menu) of the Salesforce1 mobile app, business decisions are easy to prioritize and make on the go. Whether a big deal needs approval or a member of your team needs to schedule their time off, Approval Central consolidates all of your pending approvals into one place. And this works seamlessly across all Salesforce1 compatible devices including iOS and Android.

salesforce mobile approvals

 

 

Don't forget to help the Salesforce community by taking a moment to review apps. It just takes a second and helps the developer by showing that it's an app that is still relevant and helps the community by setting expectations about the app.

Salesforce Summer 14 Release

Summer 2014 has Salesforce rolling out some improvements. Most of these features will update automatically in your system so you don’t have to do anything to get them, but some will need to be enabled by your administrator if you choose to use them. Following are some great blogs by Salesforce and Salesforce partners about the release! Got questions? We’ve got answers! Shoot us an email and let us know if you see anything you’d like more information about!

Top picks on blogs about Summer Release 2014:

Confessions of a Social Media Skeptic

[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"]Nonprofit CRM + Social Media: A Match Made in Heaven (or at Least the Cloud) Confession: I'm a skeptical user of social media. I don't have a LinkedIn or Facebook account. I still have a Twitter account, but have only logged in once in 2014. So, suffice it to say, when I first re-careered as a Salesforce Consultant and Operations Manager at NiM, I was suspicious about Chatter. "It's like Facebook for Salesforce. Great..."

Two years later, I made it a personal goal to change my stripes -- and made it a departmental goal that all written project collaboration be done through Chatter. (If I was going to use it, then so was every one else, by George!) Seven months later, we're better off for it. Chatter has revolutionized the way we communicate and collaborate at NiM! Here are my top five "wins" from using Chatter for internal communication:

1. We've seen a strong increase in our team spirit. On any given da,  in addition to project-related Chatter, you can also find our team members joking around, encouraging each other, making bets on whose email Inbox will be to 0 first, challenging each other to get the best Utilization Rate, sending birthday wishes, and participating in all sorts of Chatter shenanigans. (Note to self: If you give a colleague Login Access, you can expect to have your Chatter profile picture changed!). Chatter is the primary way we build relationships with one another and built our rapport - something that is a perpetual challenge for those working remotely.

2.  We've all noted improvement in our ability to manage our Inboxes. Chatter allows us to use email only when necessary and provides a mechanism for timely responses to items that might otherwise get buried in a full Inbox. As an added bonus, gone are the days of needing to search my Archived folders for an email I vaguely remembered getting -- I can simply search the Chatter feed or Chatter topics!

3. We've improved our project documentation significantly through using Chatter to post project notes, Change Log items, files and links to Google Docs.

4. In Using Chatter as a gateway drug to Salesforce, I've seen increasing interest among our "non-Admin/non-Dev" employees in learning more about the power of Salesforce.

5. For times when you need a "just in time" answer, Chatter Messenger can't be beat. We ask our employees to download Chatter Desktop and login when they're available for questions. This provides us with instant access to one another for times when you have a quick question -- or are in a meeting and need to quickly confirm a response! But be warned - sometimes the Chatter conversation can be more interesting than the meeting and if you have a team like mine, they might also try to intentionally distract you!

After seeing the strides in our own communication, collaboration, and team spirit since fully adopting Chatter, Chatter is one of the first aspects of Salesforce that I introduce to clients. I've gone from a reluctant user to seeing Chatter as an invaluable asset for adoption and long-term Salesforce success. Now, about those other social networks. . .

Dive in Deeper:

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