Arkus Blog

The official Arkus blog provides your weekly dose for all thing Salesforce. Stay on top of the latest, most relevant Salesforce features, applications, and best practices.

Travel & Vacation Tips - Episode #242 of CloudFocus Weekly

Tips and advice for business travel and vacations from tools to process and lists we cover a lot of lessons learned.
Travel & Vacation Tips - Episode #242 of CloudFocus Weekly

Travel & Vacation Tips - Episode #242

Using Templates to Build Salesforce Communities

Building Salesforce communities and why utilizing a template can provide everything you need and more.
Using Templates to Build Salesforce Communities

Using Templates to Build Salesforce Communities

For fully customized communities that leverage all the capabilities of the Force.com platform, it’s most common to build these using Visualforce. However, if you want to build a Salesforce community that doesn’t require any programming, where the goal is for self-serve, collaboration among customers, easy access to customer support and entering cases, and access to knowledge; then considering a community template is the right direction to go. Here are things to consider when making your template selection:

Koa and Kokua Templates

For all  intents and purposes these are pretty much the same in the fact that they are based around Salesforce Knowledge and Cases. If you’re only looking to provide information to your community and allow them an easy way to connect with your support team, either of these templates will do the trick. From a visual perspective, if you want to provide information to your community with a more graphic look use Kokua, if you want a more text based look, use Koa.  All in all these are pretty basic template options without any bells or whistles.  For that look no further than the Napili Template.

Napili Template

The Napili Template is very robust with the out-of-the-box features; it provides for a fully collaborative community environment. For example, features such as Topics helps to guide your community to information; articles, questions, discussions easier and quicker.  Knowledge articles and data categories allow for custom views if you want some community members to see only subsets of information they would be interested in. Groups allow for even more targeted areas of discussion; which can be private or public.

Branding is taken into consideration as well.  There are enough color scheme and logo opportunities to make it your own. In addition, it comes with pages already created but you can either customize these or create new pages using a variety of page layouts.

With Napili, you not only have access to most standard objects; Accounts, Opportunities, Contacts, Cases, Campaigns, etc… but you can also create custom pages to connect with custom objects; for both viewing and creating new records. Speaking of creating new records, this is simply done via global actions. Just drop in a Create Record button (Lightning component)

create button Napili 200w

and in properties give it a name and select a global action. That’s it!

change properties Napili 200w

No matter what template you choose, you will use the Community Builder to create and revise pages using Lightning components. This is a simple drag and drop tool once you get the hang of how to navigate around it.  All pages are provided and pre built components are optimized for mobile so no matter how you lay out your pages, you don’t need to worry about how it will look on the go. 

Are you thinking about building a Salesforce community? There are some great documents available to help you get started; Getting Started with Communities and Using Templates to Build Communities.

Have you built a community using any of these templates? What were the pluses and minuses for you? Please feel free to comment below, on the Salesforce Success Community, on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @LeiferAshley or in the Success Community.

Catfish Ketchup - Episode #241 of CloudFocus Weekly

Pluses and pitfalls of virtual training, Salesforce objects as Superheroes, Apple Encryption, World Tours and some acquisition news.
Catfish Ketchup - Episode #241 of CloudFocus Weekly

Catfish Ketchup - Episode #241

The Pluses and Pitfalls of Virtual User Training

How to make the best of training users remotely.
The Pluses and Pitfalls of Virtual User Training

The Pluses and Pitfalls of Virtual User Training

Since moving from an in-house admin to consultant, I’ve found myself holding a much higher percentage of user training sessions virtually, and have become intimately aware of the differences, advantages, and things to watch out for when conducting these trainings.

Keeping Attention

There are volumes upon volumes on how to work a room, but how to work a virtual room? That’s much harder. You are competing for participants’ attention with everything that is going on around them and their temptation to click away from your session and get absorbed back into their email.

My number one recommendation for dealing with this is to insist on keeping the group small. When it starts, make everyone come off mute and say their name, then use their names in the training, both in your examples (people perk up when they hear their name) and calling on people classroom-style to make sure they are paying attention. Also, encourage participants to utilize a satellite classroom setup, especially if the group is larger--if participants are at different sites, try to arrange for the people being trained at each site to be in the room together; they then get the benefit of the classroom context to keep them more focused.

Also, just because your room doesn’t have four walls, you still have to work it. Don’t go flat--monotone is your worst enemy. Include just as much if not more humor and be yourself. They may be looking at a screen, but they should still feel like you are there, personally guiding them through the learning experience. Check in a little more often than you might in person as you go along explaining things. (Make sense? Exactly.)

Navigating IT Issues

These are the worst when you are trying to get through material. Background noise, echos, feedback. Participants slow to log in or having their own technical issues. Slow internet connections. It’s going to happen, not always, but it will, and you need to be graceful about it.

Just as if you were there in person, get to the meeting early, so all of your own tech woes can be dealt with prior to everyone else’s. If you’re in a new place or using a new program, test it by joining from another computer or have a colleague sign in to check it out. Also, secretly pad your agenda with time for participants to shuffle in and take care of their issues. I usually plan on five minutes, but if you have the dreaded huge group, you might want to plan on more.

Finally, master the mute. Know your web conference program and how to switch all individuals on and off of mute easily, taming the background noise but making sure everyone feels like a full participant. Set this expectation at the outset, as well as how and when to use the chat function if your program has it.

Presenting Materials

It can actually be easier for participants to relate to Salesforce user training when they are watching click-by-click on their desktop as if they were doing it themselves, as opposed to on a big projection screen. Take advantage of the closeup view to give them the real feel of how they will be using the system down to the icons.

“Now you try!” In most programs you can make another participant the presenter and switch back and forth. You may not have time for this in most trainings, but in longer sessions you may want to ask a participant to walk through their own real life example, or literally point to an area where they have a question. Beware of time constraints, though, as this can be a can of worms, but it is a way to complete the feedback loop for hands-on when looking over someone’s shoulder to help them is not an option. (I have actually held ‘virtual office hours’ sessions as training follow up where this is all that we do.)

One of the best parts of doing a training session over a web conference is that most of those tools have great recording functionality, and since everyone is talking into their own little microphone the recording of the session is clear as day. After the session is over, you can package this recording up with any documentation or other materials and send off to participants for reference and refreshers, especially good for the ones who couldn’t resist checking their email while you were going through a key process.


Do you have other tips for handling virtual user training, or other benefits to share? Please feel free to comment below, on the Salesforce Success Community, on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @ifitfloats.

Salesforce Objects as Superheroes

Taking a look at some of the standard object heroes (villains might be in another blog post, safe harbor) of Salesforce and how they relate to superheroes.
Salesforce Objects as Superheroes

Salesforce Objects as Superheroes

I spend a lot of time making analogies between Salesforce and relatable concepts while doing implementations or training and one that has always kinda tickled my funny bone is the relationship to superheroes. There are a ton of standard objects that Salesforce ships with out of the box but here are just a few. Apologies in advance for not going too far out of the DC/Marvel universe.

Hulk - Cases

The Hulk is known for smashing "HULK Smash" but it isn't that quality of him that I see in Cases, it is his ability to go from mild mannered Bruce Banner to unstoppable force. When you first look at Cases, they are simple, a few fields, a pick list or two, and they don't look like they can do much. If you look under the hood (or get them angry) they are actually very powerful. They can come in through the web/email, have built in escalation, and built in assignment rules. They, like the Hulk, can also get very powerful holding up entire business processes with ease in terms of scaling with volume.

Thor - Opportunities

Some might find Thor a little strange, but he is from a distant universe (try explaining Opportunities to someone new to Salesforce) and is very powerful. He has his mighty hammer (Stages) but is also complex, being a God and all. Opportunities are the God of objects. They get all the attention, have a lot of power and are sometimes hard to work with (Looking at you Sales Process). They, like Thor, can be totally ignored but in a pinch it is good to have them on your side. As a side note, does that make Loki Opportunity Products?

Superman - Accounts

Speaking of distant planets and all powerful superheroes, enter in the cornerstone of standard objects, the Account. The Account might look like a simple thing, with glasses and not much flare, but pull out all of the stops and there is no more powerful object (IMHO). From Teams, to Sharing, to just being totally unavoidable, Accounts are as old as dirt and never going away (like all of the Superman sequels). Do they have a kryptonite? You guessed it: Person Accounts.

Batman - Contacts

Pick your Batman, any Batman. Late 60s campy to 90s dark to current darker. Batman is just a mortal man, no real superpowers, but such a great character. Like his counterpart (Superman), Contacts and Accounts don't always get along (Person Accounts) but we all know who is the winner. Contacts don't have a ton of built in features (powers) but give them a bat cave (AppExchange) and they can do a ton more.

A Sequel?

So many more objects and superheroes to go so let us know below how I did and if this box office is big enough for a sequel. You can also drop a comment on Facebook or in the Success Community or in my secret fortress of solitude of @JasonMAtwood.

Checking In On Spring 16

Post-Spring 16 Release Experience
Checking In On Spring 16

Salesforce Spring 16 Release

The Spring 16 release has now been deployed for over a month and we at Arkus have been implementing many of the new features. Here’s a partial list of enhancements that we have implemented for our clients orgs with favorable feedback.

Lightning Experience, Salesforce Classic and Salesforce1

    • Select Whether a Quick Action Creates a Feed Item On Execution - Users seem to be pleased with being given the ability to identify whether or not a Publisher action creates a Chatter post. The feeds in some cases were becoming unwieldy and considered unnecessary noise, as many users were turned off and ended up hiding them; now, Administrators can re-introduce the value of the updates being posted.
    • Create Custom Success Messages for Quick Actions - This is a rather nifty feature that allows Administrators to create and display a custom message when a quick action executes successfully. It’s especially useful if the Admin disables the creation of feed items since it gives the user some indication of success even though the feed will not be updated. Users will love you for this!

Console for Service

  • Improve Performance by Limiting the Number of Open Tabs - We all have seen users who open so many tabs their Console becomes unmanageable. Now there’s help for those users, Administrators can set the limits to a reasonable number and let users know they just improved their performance and productivity. Help users to help themselves!
  • Preview Tab Contents with Tab Hovers - You really have to admit that this is so helpful it’s a wonder that it hasn’t been available sooner. Users love the capability of seeing the details of the tabbed record without having to click into it. Administrators, remember that this is managed with Compact Layouts for each object.  

Service Cloud

  • Work Orders (Generally Available) - We received a shiny new Work Orders object in this release that has quickly proven to be useful. Admins can create custom relationships between work orders and other standard or custom objects, they  can be associated with accounts, assets, cases, contacts, entitlements, service contracts, and other work orders. They can even be added as navigation tabs to your console. Need to add some preventive maintenance tasks and assign them to a rep? Work Orders is your answer.

Process Builder

  • Reuse Names and Descriptions When Creating a New Process Version - Process Builder has recently become my new best friend. This enhancement saves Administrators from having to retype all the names and creative descriptions for each version of the process. Given the fact that every change to an activated process results in having to create a new version, the time and keystrokes saved is significant.
  • View Field Names in Your Process at a Glance - Sometimes it’s the little things that make a difference, the ability to hover over the field name in the criteria or action side panel to see the entire name is one small but powerful feature. What a time-saver!
  • Easier Mentions in Post to Chatter Actions - Simply @ mention a user in the Chatter post action and that’s it? Really? This is too easy. Trust me, it is that easy and it works. Now you can mention a user and they can check their Chatter mentions to easily see posts that were created by a process.
  • Update ID Fields Using Formulas - Do you have a need to auto-assign records based on record type criteria? This feature allows you to do just that within a process. Now Admins can update ID fields, think OwnerID, based on formula criteria.
This Spring 16 Salesforce release has quickly proven to be a winner. Do you have some favorites that we didn’t mention? Please feel free to comment below, on the Salesforce Success Community, on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @sfdcclicks.

Top Tools for Nonprofits 2.0

An updated list of tools that nonprofit organizations can greatly benefit from. For the most part these tools do offer discounts and help organizations focus on their mission by making the day to day tasks a little less tedious and more streamlined.
Top Tools for Nonprofits 2.0

Top Tools for Nonprofits 2.0

 

FormAssembly

FormAssembly is a tool that allows users to create an unlimited number of fully customizable forms, surveys, registration forms and almost any other type of form you can think of. They have a very helpful and easy to reach support system, which is just one chat away. FormAssembly also offers automation and other options to manipulate behavior of the form. You have the option to leverage Autoresponder, Save Progress, workflow and validation features as well as formulas for great user experience and optimal data quality. Nonprofits can use FormAssembly to manage volunteer sign ups, or even accept online donations as it allows for secure payment collection. 


Classy 

Classy is a fairly new online mobile fundraising and donation platform that has been around since 2011. It is flexible and can be leveraged for multiple types of fundraising including peer to peer. It can also serve as an event ticketing and registration tool. Some of the features that Classy stands out for is the user friendly interface that allows customization of all communication materials, which can ultimately eliminate the need of a graphic designer. Another feature that seems to be a user favorite is an activity feed that keeps history of all communications, which can be a great resource to help cultivate relationships with donors and prospects. Lastly, it is designed to be mobile ready which is a huge plus in my opinion especially nowadays in this on the go world we live in. Classy is also available to be integrated with Salesforce.

  

iContact 

iContact is an email marketing solution that has a native integration with Salesforce. This system allows users to send emails directly from Salesforce by leveraging Campaigns. Once the email has been sent out, statistics are made available directly on the record, which can be extremely efficient for marketing purposes. iContact has pre-built dashboards which allows users to view open rates, click rates, unsubscribed rates and other analytics. Users across the board seem to like like how Intuitive it is and mainly how well it works within Salesforce. Chances are if you know how to use Salesforce, sending emails using iContact will be breeze. iContact is available for Professional, Enterprise, Unlimited, Developer and Performance editions.

 

I could spend days writing about the other helpful tools that nonprofits are leveraging day to day to get the job done. Do you have any other favorite tools that you just could not live without? Feel free to share them on the Salesforce Success Community, on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @msespinal90.

 


Random Round Robin - Episode #240 of CloudFocus Weekly

Doing round robin assignment for leads in Salesforce and a series of random thoughts that you might enjoy.
Random Round Robin - Episode #240 of CloudFocus Weekly

Random Round Robin - Episode #240

Improving your Lead Assignment Logic with Declarative Round Robin

A deep-dive into how to use an AppExchange solution to handle even the most complex of lead assignment.
Improving your Lead Assignment Logic with Declarative Round Robin

Improving your Lead Assignment Logic with Declarative Round Robin

Relatively new to the AppExchange Marketplace, Lead Assigner by Arxxus Technology Partners (not to be confused with us here @ArkusInc) is a powerful offering that takes standard lead assignment and supplies it with a healthy dose of steroids. The best part being that it is completely declarative in nature and doesn’t require a single line of code. Boasting a drag and drop user interface, it’s easy to assign users to different groups based on a myriad of rules utilizing day of week or time logic and/or customized execution criteria.

For purposes of this post though, we’re going to focus on leveraging Lead Assigner to create round robin assignments. If you’re not familiar with the round robin approach, it means that something, in our case a lead, is assigned to the first user in a given group. When a subsequent record is created, it goes to the second user in the group. This process is repeated until there are no more group members and then the cycle repeats.

For purposes of this post though, we’re going to focus on leveraging Lead Assigner to create round robin assignments. If you’re not familiar with the round robin approach, it means that something, in our case a lead, is assigned to the first user in a given group. When a subsequent record is created, it goes to the second user in the group. This process is repeated until there are no more group members and then the cycle repeats.

Lead Number:Assigned To Rep:
1 George
2 Sarah
3 Bill
4 George (notice the rotation here?)
5 Sarah
6 Bill

While Salesforce has a basic solution in the auto-number and formula method, it can only distribute leads on an all or nothing basis which doesn’t work well for most organizations. This method causes issues in the event a user creates a lead which they wish to assign to oneself. Because the auto-number logic runs 100% of the time another user inevitably misses their turn in the rotation. This is where Lead Assigner comes in to save the day.

In our example we will assign leads based on product interest. Acme Supplies, our test account, has three main interest areas by which they disperse leads.

  • Paper
  • Writing Utensils
  • Binding Materials

Acme Supplies has seven salespeople each of whom specialize in one or more categories. The logic is outlined in the table below and shows each sales representative along with the category or categories to which they align. This will be important a bit later when we set-up the round robin assignment.

Sales Rep:Specialty #1:Specialty #2:
George Paper Binding Materials
Sarah Paper
Bill Writing Utensils Paper
Jennifer Writing Utensils Binding Materials
Alan Writing Utensils
Sally Binding Materials Writing Utensils
Laura Binding Materials

To get started you’ll first need to install Lead Assigner from the AppExchange. I recommend installing into a sandbox for testing prior to installing into a production environment. 

Next you’ll customize the two Type fields, installed as a part of the package, to align with the criteria you’ve outlined for dispersing leads. 

  1. Go to Salesforce Setup
  2. In the Quick Find / Search box search “Installed Packages”
  3. Click on the Link
  4. Click Lead Assigner
  5. Click View Components Button
  6. Select the custom field called Type where the Parent Object is Assignment Rule.  The API Name is arxxusleadassig__Type__c.
  7. Modify the picklist values to the criteria you defined in the table above. For purposes of our case study, the picklist values are Paper, Writing Utensils and Binding Materials.
  8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 for the Type field where the Parent Object is Lead. The API name is arxxusleadassig__Type__c.
  9. Delete Software and Hardware from the list of available values

Now that you’ve completed the package modification you’re ready to set-up your assignment rules. 

  1. Go to your Lead Assignment Manager Tab 
  2. Click the “New” Button
  3. Complete the form using the table below as a guideline
  4. Save
  5. Repeat for all of your groups
Field:Type:Description:

Description

Text

This is the name of the rule. It should be short, sweet and to the point. I suggest using a combination of the assignment criteria and the group to which the leads are dispersed. For example: Paper - Northeast or Paper - Southwest.

Start Time

Integer (0-23)

This is a representation of 24-hour time. You can only use hour increments and if start is 0 and end is 23 this is representative of a full day lifecycle.

End Time Integer (0-23)

This is a representation of 24-hour time. You can only use hour increments and if start is 0 and end is 23 this is representative of a full day lifecycle.

Assigned to only Logged-in users Boolean If checked then the Lead Assigner application will only assign leads to those people with an active Salesforce session.
Default User Lookup

This the user that will own the lead if all other criteria fail or in the event that assigned to only logged in users is true and there are no users logged into Salesforce.

Execute Immediately Boolean If checked then the assignment logic runs before lead insert.
Execute on Type Update Boolean If checked then the assignment logic runs when the Type field is updated. This becomes important when you have workflow or process automation that update the Type field on the lead.
Type Picklist

This is the field that controls the assignment logic. The values for this field should always match the values on the lead Type field.

Active Boolean

If true this assignment is active and used for purposes of assigning leads.

Business Days Multi-Select Picklist This is the day of week on which the assignment will run. For example you can have on rule that has  George and Sarah available Monday through Friday and another rule that has George, Sarah and Jill available on Saturday and Sunday.

Once you finish setting up your rules you’ll see a screen that looks like this. You should have one or more rules for each of your types.

Lead Assigner Rule

Select one of the rules and then click the Manage Users button.

Lead Assigner Select Rule

From here, drag and drop the users to be included in the group from the left column to the right and click save.

Lead Assigner Drag & Drop

Repeat for all of the rules and voila you’ve created a round robin lead assignment with clicks instead of code.

With this application the options are endless. Imagine Acme Supplies has a field on their website that takes in “Product Interest” with picklist values Pens, Pencils, 10lb Printer Paper, 20lb Printer Paper, Binders, and Laminated Covers and they serve four states, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and New Hampshire. Using workflow or process automation, it’s easy to route Pens and Pencils from leads in New Hampshire to one group and Pens and Pencils from leads in Massachusetts to another. The sky is truly the limit with what this tool can do to improve you sales process and lead assignment.

Please feel free to comment below, on our Facebook page, on the Success Community, or directly at me on Twitter @hollyryall.

SFDC News Update - Episode #239 of CloudFocus Weekly

Some favorite features of NPSP, Arkus ideas needing some votes and we catch up on news in and around SFDC (Salesforce.com).
SFDC News Update - Episode #239 of CloudFocus Weekly

SFDC News Update - Episode #239

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