What better way to get over the post holiday blues then with the Salesforce Spring ‘16 release! Salesforce brings us 392 pages of new features and functions coming to a Salesforce org near you. This release, as expected, is heavily focused on Lightning Experience enhancements so I am going to change things up a bit. Since some of you have embraced Lightning and others like myself have not, I am going to focus on enhancements that will either make your life easier with Lightning or get you to turn it on. Here is a list of quick hits on Lightning that sales teams should be excited about:
Opportunity Calendar: Stay on Top of Opportunities (Beta): Sales teams can now track opportunities they own right in their calendar. This is a nice visual to help plan future activities on an Opportunity.
Filter Your Activity Timeline by Activity Type: Your activity timeline shows all types of activities on an opportunity, a lead, an account, or a contact. Spring ‘16 allows you to filter on these activities so you can just see calls or meetings.
“All Overdue Tasks” List: Overdue tasks now have their own view so they reduce noise on the screen.
Inline Editing: Inline editing is now available in Lightning. Prior to this release you had to click “Edit” before you could update a record when in Lightning. (Yeah!)
Home Page Enhancements: Today’s Tasks show the next 5 tasks due today and Upcoming Events show the 5 upcoming events on the user’s calendar. When an event passes, it will drop off the list.
Access Global Actions (Composer Window): On any Lightning Page, you can access the composer window to log a call, create a new event, task or note without ever needing to navigate away from the current page.
List Views: You can now create and edit list views.
Notes: In addition to being able to add a Note as part of a Global Action (see above), you can now add images to your notes and restore previous versions.
Opportunity Teams: Opportunity Teams are now available in Lightning and show up as a related list. Settings for opportunity teams aren’t yet available in Lightning Experience so you will have to switch to classic to enable them.
Campaigns: Now available in Lightning and you can add members all on one page. Salesforce also adds a nice visual donut chart to illustrate the Campaign Status.
Data.com: Now available in Lightning.
Reports and Dashboards: Dynamic Dashboards are now available in Lightning and you can view Matrix Report Details.
Right Clicking: You can now right-click on a tab image in Lightning to open in a new window or tab.
Will I turn on Lightning? I am still not sure especially with features like Forecasting still not available but I can say for sure that I am considering it. There are many other enhancements in Spring ‘16 and I would recommend you take a look at our rapid reaction blog as well as skim through the release notes to see if anything else catches your attention. Please feel free to comment below, on the Salesforce Success Community, on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @Salvatoriello
Campaigns got Lightning-afied in this release, which just means they now work in the new UI; you can view and interact with Campaigns as you would normally without jumping around between interfaces. You also get a neat little donut chart on the campaign page of member statuses, and, very importantly, Campaigns are now searchable in Lightning. I can’t say any of this is rocking my world, but it will rock yours if you’ve been having to switch back and forth between Lightning and Classic just to use Campaigns. Also, this is now being called beta, so proceed with caution.
The release notes also seem to put a lot of emphasis on utilizing the Import Wizard with Campaign Members, which has been made slicker and easier with upgrade to the modern “universal” Wizard, links to it all over the Lightning version of Campaigns, and (regardless of Lightning) the ability to import Contacts and Person Accounts, not just Leads, as Campaign Members. If you’re thinking for the latter “hmm, could that result in data quality issues?” well, so am I, but then again, did the previous option as well? Yup. I’ll take the productivity gain and mercy to the Person Account users out there.
If you work with an integrated marketing application, you know that dirty Salesforce data gets in the way of optimal performance for marketing tools, and especially, of the almighty goal of attribution. With Spring 16, new orgs have Salesforce’s standard Duplicate Management rules already on. Now that’s what I call setting off on the right foot. For those of you unfamiliar with Duplicate Management, it’s a simple but flexible prevention and reporting tool (not a merge tool) released in Winter 16.
Pardot and Marketing Cloud
There is zero mention of Pardot in the Spring 16 release notes, but Pardot users, do not fear! It startled me at first, but really it’s a good thing, because Pardot has been pushing updates rapid-fire over the past few months with no sign of stopping, and they are making a big difference in usability and quality of integration. For example, the improvement to email reports from November literally made me jump up and dance. Maybe in the next release, we’ll see a nice little section for Pardot like the Marketing Cloud gets, with links to its separate release notes. Unfortunately, the last Marketing Cloud release was October so not much to say but I expect big things next time!
Overall, not the biggest release for the marketing crowd, but as marketing becomes more and more intrinsically tied to CRM, I expect to see features that support sales and marketing together continue to blossom.
I continue to enjoy consuming the Salesforce release notes via the web / HTML version. I still have not yet even downloaded the PDF. While I don’t know exactly how many pages this release is I can say that once again we have a release that is jam packed with Lightning Experience features. I personally tried to stay away from Lightning specific features and geared my reaction toward more general platform enhancements.
Here are a few that I found particularly interesting and as an added bonus I linked to them so that you can read them by just clicking on the header. As usual, there will be follow up posts to outline specific improvements around Sales, Service, Development, Marketing, and even one about Ideas being addressed in this release.
Restricted Picklists (Beta)
Have you ever loaded in data to a picklist from an external system via the data loader or another third party tool only to realize that all of your newly imported data doesn’t actually match the values in the picklist that you’ve already defined? Well, I have, and I know it drives me crazy when I try to run list views or reports using that field as a filter or a grouping. With this new feature you can turn on the ability to restrict what goes into a picklist field to only the values that are defined within the picklist.
This feature is a double edged sword. On the one side, it is amazing for data quality, yet on the other, it could make your life a little bit more difficult when importing data. Either do the work up front to cleanse everything when you turn this tool on or don’t turn this tool on and continue to import potentially dirty data and use the “replace” feature on a picklist to clean things up after the fact. Either way works, but hey, now you have options.
Global Picklists (Pilot)
Well this has been a long time coming hasn’t it? Note that the feature is currently in pilot and is available automatically in developer editions and sandboxes. For your production instance contact Salesforce to turn it on. Imagine though being able to go to the Create menu, create a new picklist with a bunch of values and then whenever you want to create a new custom picklist field on any object being able to just say “that one please” and all of a sudden you don’t have to recreate that picklist with 28 values across a number of different objects. I know this one is going to be extremely popular when it comes to building fields on Leads that ultimately convert to fields on Accounts, Contacts, or Opportunities. This to me is a game changer for admin productivity.
Speaking of admin productivity, here is a feature that allows an admin to more easily manipulate the order in which criteria are evaluated within Process Builder. When you execute a Process it evaluates all of the criteria within the process, stopping at the first one that is true, then executes all the associated actions. There are times where you want to add in a new criteria or maybe just reverse the criteria. Prior to Spring 16 you would have to rebuild your Process. Now you can drag and drop your criteria and all associated actions to those criteria up and down the Process until you have it just right.
So, have to put a caveat on this one first - in the release notes it explicitly states that this is not GA and won’t be until Salesforce announces it - kinda odd that it’s in the release notes listed this way… I was really excited about it and I know some other folks would be too so I figured I would call it out. Using Wave technologies, Salesforce is now exposing Event Monitoring. This is all about adoption tracking at a glance. Using a pre-built dashboard an admin can monitor things like page views, the performance of certain pages, specifically Visualforce pages, and adoption of things like AppExchange applications that are installed.
Ultimately these are the kinds of applications that administrators really need to be able to plan out their training strategies as well as roadmap. Finally you’ll be able to answer the question of which features of your Salesforce applications are being used the most and visa versa. All of this using the powerful Wave engine and all the fun graphical interfaces that come with it (think mobile adoption dashboard).
All in all, Spring ‘16 is a packed release full of Lightning Experience features that I didn’t even touch on because I’m certain that the “cloud specific” posts will touch heavily on the enhancements made to Lightning in Spring ‘16. Be on the lookout for cloud specific release notes blog posts as well as an IdeaExchange specific post in the not so distant future.
It doesn't feel much like Spring here in the Northeast recently (the dog didn't want to get walked when it was 15 degrees out), but no weather can stop the new Salesforce Spring 16 release. Once again, it is time to take a look at the new release with a Financial Services lens (ski mask?). It is also going to be tough to sift through new features and functions to pick out a few that are not specifically Lightning enhancements.
Get Mass Email Opt-Out and Bounce Indicators Before You Send
Email is certainly not dead and opting out is just a fact of life. Now in both Lightning and Classic when sending an email to someone, an indicator will pop up saying if they have opted out or have a bounced email; one less email to send and one less to opt out of.
Monitor Group Member Activity in Group Report
A lot of companies like to use Chatter, specifically Chatter Groups, to track competitor information; sharing the latest hints and tricks to help in the sales cycle. As Admins we like to know who is using what. Now with this Spring 16 feature we can run reports showing us how many members, posts, comments and likes. Adoption is a thing of beauty.
Encrypt Data in Communities
The compliance people can rejoice (or maybe just relax a little) because Spring 16 brings encrypted data into Communities. This means that community members (Partner, Customer, Employee) can now be given the ability to view encrypted data as plaintext. A great enhancement for collecting personal information in the finance world.
Files Without Chatter
A lot of financial services firms are a little wary of Chatter (don't they know about Compliance Locker?) so until now they also couldn't enjoy the power of Files. Salesforce is now freeing Files from its parental guidance of Chatter by making it something that can be turned on without Chatter. Add to that getting email notifications around Files without Chatter and you have a winner.
Speaking of Chatter, here is a surprise...
Chatter Messenger Unavailable in New Orgs Starting Spring '16
I had to read this one more than a few times to make sure I got it, but it sounds like Chatter Messenger is being put out to pasture. While the feature will still be supported in Classic for existing orgs, it sounds like Messenger is not going to make the jump to Lightning.
So just a handful of the many many new things coming in Spring 16. Do you have some favorites or some duds, drop them in the comments below, post them in the Success Community on our Facebook page or directly to me @JasonMAtwood.
It’s that time of year--the gentle whir of computers shutting down, the sparkling lights turning off in office windows. Many companies and organizations go down to a skeleton staff or even close up entirely for a day or two or even a week. But amidst the cookies and parties, don’t forget to get your Salesforce org ready for vacation, too.
Business Hours and Support Holidays
This one is mostly for the customer service folks out there. If you run an international support organization, use entitlements, leverage escalation rules, or evaluate service agents on response time, you are probably already using business hours in Salesforce. If not, I recommend checking out this feature for an even better support experience for both agents and customers.
Business hours allow you to define when your agents are in work mode in detail and apply this to your case automation. One great feature of business hours is the ability to define holidays that can be either part or all of a day and can be one time or recurring. So, for example, New Year’s Day can be set as an all-day holiday to occur every year, and New Year’s Eve holiday can start at 3pm this year only, because HR keeps saying “maybe next year” it will be a full day off for both.
Auto-response for Web to Lead and Web to Case
Even if your response template politely highlights that it’s 24 business hours response time, don’t expect your customers to automatically count your holiday schedule into their mental calculations. Have templates at the ready that call out holiday closures and make the switch a few days early. When you’re back in the office, just switch back to the normal template.
Queues to the Rescue
If leads, cases, and custom object records are managed using queues in your organization, you will generally want to make sure that someone has access to those queues at all times. It is just a few clicks to add and remove users from queues, so take an inventory and manage accordingly, especially if your queue is for incoming items as described above. You may even consider altering assignment rules that route things to individuals to route to queues instead during these times and take advantage of the “whomever gets to it first” capabilities.
Teams and Manual Sharing
‘Tis the season for sharing… your accounts and opportunities, or any other record that can’t just go without attention while the record owner is in Milwaukee with the in-laws. Unless your sharing model is wide open, you’ll need to make provisions so that if a big account wakes up Christmas day and decides this is exactly the moment to buy 10,000 widgets, someone can get that quote out.
If you already use team selling with accounts and/or opportunities, you are aware of the mechanism and benefits of this selective collaboration for closing the deal. It’s also a good way to handle backup when a rep is out of the office. You may want to set up a “delegate” role just for these circumstances.
On other types of records, or if you don’t want to enable team selling, the ultimate end result can also be accomplished by manual sharing. Encouraging users to share records that may need delegate access ahead of time is a great way to give the admins an actual day off for once. There is also a free nifty app built just for vacation delegation.
With just a little prep work, your Salesforce organization can say happy holidays to users, admins and customers alike.
The holiday season is that one time of year where we give thanks for what we have. Though my hope is we do this all year, it is a time to reflect on the past, the present and what we have to be excited about in the future. As a tradition started last year, here are the top 10 reasons, in no particular order, to be grateful for Salesforce in 2015.
Each year we are invited to San Francisco to hear what new functionality Salesforce has in store for its clients along with some amazing learning opportunities and guest speakers talking about topics ranging from social reform to entertainment. Some of this year’s highlights were Jessica Alba, Patricia Arquette and Goldie Hawn to name a few. It keeps getting bigger and better each year and I have to say this year might have been my favorite.
Data Loader for Mac
Though there are a ton of data loaders available for Salesforce, it was good to see a supported one for Mac get released as part of Summer ‘15. I’m sure most of us Mac users were utilizing LexiLoader with much success but it always had the “unofficial” tag on it; now we have the “Official” OS X Data Loader.
Salesforce always provides a great concert as part of Dreamforce but what was labeled “Dreamfest” was nothing short of epic. Pier 70 was an amazing venue to hear The Foo Fighters, The Killers and Gary Clark Jr. entertain us. The Killers became a new favorite band thanks to this show and I cannot wait to see what Salesforce does next year. Hopefully it stays at Pier 70.
World Tour Guest Speakers
Even though it was bummer to not see Marc Benioff at the World Tour events, Salesforce entertained us by having some pretty awesome guest speakers and appearances. I happened to be at Boston and New York this year and it was a nice treat to see Tom Brady and Derek Jeter talk for a few minutes about teamwork.
Many of us were holding our breaths when a report that Microsoft or potentially another giant tech company might be purchasing Salesforce. Luckily nothing actually happened, which is something I am very grateful for and I am sure everyone else is as well.
The Salesforce Success Community has been around for a long time and is definitely something I am sure we are all grateful for every year. It is a great place to find answers to questions, post suggestions for new functionality and to collaborate with our fellow Salesforce colleagues. There are close to 2 million people contributing in the community and the number grows by the day. If you haven’t done so already, I suggest you get in there and take a look around.
Fresh off their acquisition of RelateIQ last year, Salesforce announced SalesforceIQ which can be used as a primary CRM for small to mid sized businesses or as a supplemental productivity tool for existing Sales Cloud users. This was a big enhancement especially for those who do not use Outlook. I personally use the Google Chrome extension and love it.
Each year Salesforce has some type of big announcement and this year it was the release of their revamped user interface. As per the press release, Lightning offers 25 new features and streamlined access to existing features on all mobile and desktop platforms. Though not sure it is ready for prime time yet, it’s a step in the right direction to the new world of CRM.
Trailhead has become an amazing resource this year. It provides administrators and developers a guided, learning path through the key features of Salesforce, leveraging a set of interactive, online tutorials. Anyone looking for resources to help prep for a certification exam or just to expand your knowledge base, this is the right trail to take.
Equal Pay for Women
Marc Benioff took on a few big social issues this year and equal pay for women is one of them. Not only did he become vocal about a need for change, he took action. In addition to putting policies in place to bridge the gap, Salesforce spent over $3 million this year to match female employees' salaries to those of their male peers. Kudos to Marc and Salesforce for helping drive change.
Looks like my hot streak that started in 2014 died a terrible death this year as not one of my 2015 predictions held any water. Crazy is as crazy writes, so let's put some new ones on the board. If you are new to the series, I also add a confidence score of one through ten (being the highest) to justify my predictions.
Hulu Overtakes Netflix
The writing is on the plastic DVD, that while streaming is becoming the thing, original and new content are king. Hulu this year introduced a new paid commercial free tier and has started landing relevant movies so I am predicting that Hulu takes over Netflix in the streaming space for 2016 by landing some huge content partner.
Apple Goes Original
Original content that is. There are rumors in the wind that Apple wants to start developing or at least buying developed original content to compete with Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, HBO etc and to bolster the release of the new Apple TV. While I don't think it is very "Apple" at all and a space they are not set to be in, I think they will do it so expect original Apple TV shows and possibly movie releases in 2016. Maybe they can finally make that Steve Jobs movie everyone has been waiting for.
Daily Fantasy & Uber Gets Uber'd
You can't Uber Uber right? Well, I am predicting that governing bodies crackdown on Uber big time next year with new regulations, sending them into a tail spin and ultimately out of business. If you are looking for some more businesses to get a government crackdown, look no further than every other commercial on TV so I expect the daily fantasy leagues to take a a bigger legal hit next year.
No New Apple Watch
Betting against Apple releasing a new product update every year is not so smart, so why should the smartwatch get a hold over? I am betting Apple spends 2016 making 2017 the year of the Apple Watch which will be a drastic departure in both functionality and design. Everyone with a fancy one will moan all the way to the Apple Store to pick up the new one.
Longest Shot: Salesforce Spins off Heroku
Spins off? Did you read that right? Yes. Yes you did. Salesforce has done a lot of company buying in the last five years and it is time to release some fish back to the ocean. I am predicting that they spin off Heroku into its own company, free and clear (but very connected) to Salesforce realizing it just isn't their core. Hey, you would have called me crazy if I said Microsoft would make a bid for Salesforce in 2015, but that DID happen. Or was that just a nightmare?