Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Why Adding a Field Isn’t Always that Simple & The 5 W’s of Salesforce Administration

I know what you’re thinking. You’re reading the title saying to yourself “C’mon Cheryl, yes it is, in just a few clicks I can add a field. What are you talking about?” In theory, yes, you are correct. However, I wanted to share an example from a recent User Group Meeting that may not be so simple. One of our new members--who is also a new admin--was asking for help adding a field. The admin’s sales team requested a field called Billing Frequency on the Opportunity with 4 Choices: Annually, Quarterly, Monthly and Ad Hoc.

After discussing the request with her it became apparent the technology wasn’t the problem, it was the requirement itself. She showed me their org. They had three opportunity record types with three page layouts and nine profiles. She wasn’t sure which opportunity record type this field should be on, where it should go on the page layout, or who should have access. We looked at the record types and page layouts and we could make an assumption, but we all know what happens when you assume…

I explained that she needed to refine the requirement for the field with the sales team. I helped her draft an email asking everything she needed to know to a new field. She sent the email while still at the user group meeting and approached me after one of the presentations as the sales manager had already responded. It turned out the field should only be on two of the three record types, it should always be required for one of the opportunity record types when it’s closed won, and should only be required for a certain opportunity type when it’s closed won. There was also a requirement that only sales and sales management should be able to change this field, and all other users would have read only access to the field.

The sales manager also asked if he could get an email anytime an opportunity was closed with a Billing Frequency of Ad Hoc. He also asked if there was a way she could load the data in for any closed opportunities from 2015 for one of the record types.

After reading through her email with her the simple additional field requirement became:

· Add a field to two record types and page layouts

· Set up field level security for the field

· Create a validation rule to require the field in the certain circumstances

· Create a workflow rule and email template to fire when an opportunity was closed where this field was filled in with a certain value.

· Extract opportunities with criteria mentioned in above validation rule with ID’s so sales could update spreadsheet

· Load data into the Billing Frequency Field

From the above you can see why adding a field can be more than a simple request, especially if you are adding a field to an object with multiple record types, page layouts, with multiple profiles. This is why I always use the 5 W’s of Salesforce Administration when reviewing enhancement requests from users:

· Who - Who wants the request, who should be able to use or view the new configuration.

· What - What will they do with the data collected in the configuration? What is the long-term goal?

· Where - Where should this configuration be available?

· When - When should this configuration be available, when should it be required?

· Why - Why do they want this new feature, what is their end goal and how will they use it and how will it benefit our business?

When the admin I mentioned above started asking her business users the 5 W’s of Salesforce Configuration, she was able to assist them faster and more efficiently. She was able to determine what was needed upfront by asking the right questions.

What questions do you ask your business users when they submit a request to make a change in Salesforce? I would love to hear from you!

As always, thank you for reading!


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

How to SABWA When You're Not in the Same Location as Your Users

If you’ve heard Mike Gerholdt speak then you’ve heard him speak about SABWA, Salesforce Administration By Walking Around. I love this practice, but it got me thinking what if users aren’t in a location that’s in walking distance to you or what if you are a Salesforce Admin that works from home? Can you implement this practice? The answer is YES! I know this because I have done it and wanted to share a few tips. Over the past 11 years I have supported Salesforce end users in all 50 states and in over 30 countries. It’s so important as a Salesforce Admin to maintain a connection with your end users regardless of location and time zone, which is why being a SABWA admin, is such a great practice.

It is going to be even more important for us as Awesome Admins to SABWA as we start rolling out the new Lightning Experience to make sure we do this to make sure the new UI is working for our users and they know how to use it and know where to go to get their questions answered.

Here are some practices I have implemented to interact and connect with users not in the same location as me:

Hold Office Hours with a Tool that Allows for Screen Sharing and Video

I supported users in the Americas, EMEA and APAC it was sometimes really hard to support users in the other regions due to time zones, however I didn’t want the users in other time zones to feel left out so I setup weekly Office Hours meetings where the time rotated each week. For example the first Friday of every month office hours were held at 10 AM EST, the second Friday of every month Office Hours were held at 1 PM EST, Third at 4 PM EST and Fourth at 9 PM EST. Having the meeting at different times allowed users from all regions to be able to join easily.

I got to know so many users in so many different countries this way. I also always made sure to use video on my meetings so the users could put a face to the voice. It made it almost like I was there in their office helping them but I was in my office in New York City and even sometimes in my apartment.

Join Departmental Meetings

Pretty much every department has weekly or monthly meetings; so ask to join, even if it’s just to listen. It was great to understand what different departments were doing overall not just with Salesforce so I could keep that in mind when writing requirements or designing solutions. I was once on the Order Management and Finance Monthly Meeting and they were discussing how Order Management reps needed to manually enter some new information from the billing system on the Sales Order after they finished processing it. I heard some grumbling on the call about how manual it was going to be. I made a note to myself to talk to our integration developer about bringing this information over via our already existing integration between sales orders and our billing system. After discussing with our integration developer, we found that the data they were going to manually enter after completing a sales order was in a table we were already were connected to and we would just need to add fields to Salesforce and to the integration to bring them over, the estimate was less than a day of development work. Everyone including my VP and our Product Owner saw the value immediately and we put the story in the next sprint to get the integration updated.

I immediately called the business leads in finance and order management to let them know we could automate this data entry and we were going to put the story for the enhancement in the following sprint. They were so thrilled that this could be done. They didn’t think it could be, but they were very happy they were wrong. It was a great feeling to come to their next meeting and announce that they no longer had to enter the information manually that we were able to add this feature for them and save them about 1.5 minutes per order which would save order management about 300 minutes per week. This meant orders were being billed and fulfilled that much faster for our customers.

Random Calls to End Users

I regularly spoke to our product owner and business leads as part of our change management & agile processes, but sometimes even our business leads weren’t aware of issues or challenges with end users. I would block out an hour in my calendar every Wednesday and call 3-4 users randomly. It was a great way to get to know people and listen to their challenges. I can’t tell you how many times I would call an end user and because so much of the business was using Salesforce for their processes they would give me feedback I never even thought of. 

 I once called a Sales Rep that was frustrated that they didn’t have a clickable link to another system like they did for other systems which passed the account name so they didn’t have to copy paste or manually type, it would bring up the correct record(s) in the other system so they could easily find what they were looking for. I had no idea sales was even relying so heavily on this other system. When I reviewed this request during our Change Advisory Board meeting everyone realized how much time that could save sales. We had the new custom link out to the business users the following day.

Send Surveys

Many of us manage survey tools such as Get Feedback, Form Assembly or Clicktools within our Salesforce org to send to customers as part of the customer service process, but what about end users? This was a great way to get feedback from end users. We allowed the surveys to be anonymous if they chose, however, we required them to tell us what type of user they were so we could group the feedback by Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Legal, Sales Ops or Finance & Order Management.

We sent these out every other month to all of our end users and included a link to a survey form when we closed out cases so they could give us feedback on a particular issue or about anything in general.

Many features added to our backlog were because of these surveys. These surveys really showed our end users that we were listening. It was great to send our weekly release email and highlight the items that we released that were ideas from our end users.

I hope this helps some Awesome Admins out there who work remotely or sit in different offices from your end users that you can still SABWA without actually walking around. I would love to hear from you if you have implemented some things to work with end users you may not sit near.

As always, thank you for reading and I hope to see some of you at the Salesforce Tour in NYC on November 18th!

All the best!