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Getting Started with Speaking at Events

Speaking at an event is a rewarding experience, and there are countless opportunities within the Salesforce community to put yourself out there, if you’re open to it.
Getting Started with Speaking at Events

Getting Started with Speaking at Events

Chances are you’ve been to a conference and attended a session where you learned something new or left inspired. Maybe you left wondering if you’d be able to stand in front of a group of people and impart some knowledge. Perhaps you want to but are unsure what to share. Or you have and are unsure how to move forward. Within the Salesforce community, there are countless opportunities to practice public speaking, whether you are new to the process or a seasoned professional.

First thing to get out of the way - everyone is nervous when speaking in front of people. The only way to get over that nervousness is to practice. The more often you speak in public, the easier it will become.

Why Speak?

If you’ve considered speaking and are concerned about whether or not it’s worth it, consider the benefits of putting yourself out there.

  • Communication skills are necessary in every job. Presenting a topic publicly demonstrates your ability to share ideas and concepts to a broad audience.

  • It’s a great way to meet people in your professional circle. “Does anyone have any questions?” after a presentation is a natural ice breaker, and you’ll meet some great people this way.

  • Presentations look great on a resume. If you’re in a competitive job market, having public speaking experience demonstrates your expertise and leadership in your field.

Speaking can also be fun, once you get used to it. The key is to start where you’re most comfortable, both in space and topic.

Start Small

You should already be involved in your local user group. If not, go start, as they’re a great resource for finding help, new ideas, and expanding your network. They are also a great introduction to public speaking. User Group leaders are always looking for people willing to present on something.

Not sure what to present on? They have ideas!

Know what you want to present? Even better.

Chances are the group you speak in front of will be smaller than going to an event and speaking.

Community Events

In addition to User Groups, community-led events are happening all over the world now. These are small, one or two day events, led by community members. They also need speakers.

Like a User Group meeting, the presentations tend to be smaller, so if you’re still new to speaking, there won’t be as many faces in the crowd. And without the broad, sweeping scope of an event like Dreamforce, it can be easier to find a topic that suits you.

Plan Ahead. Way Ahead.

Keep a running list of presentation ideas. Any time you run into a problem that you’re able to solve, a new app, a new trick, or just have a funny story that might take a while to tell and have a lesson at the end, make note of it. If you have time right then, write down a few details, but having anything written down is usually enough to spark the memory when calls for speakers go out. The time for finding an idea isn’t just before submitting a session abstract. Even if you don’t have a formal write-up ready to go, knowing what it is you want to present is 50% of the work of submitting.

Ask for Feedback

Before submitting a session idea, ask some other people about it. Is it a topic they’d be interested in? Is your abstract clear and easy to understand? Does the title make sense?

If you can, make a shell presentation and try it out on someone you trust, especially if it’s for a really big event like Dreamforce. They can help you ensure what you’re submitting matches what you have planned.

Consider a Panel

Have some ideas but still nervous about standing up on stage alone? Submit with a group to do a panel presentation, where each member of the group shares a part or a different version of the problem and/or solution being discussed. Presenting with a group takes some of the pressure off, and are sometimes the best way to share information. After all, everyone learns and experiences things a little differently, so providing multiple perspectives can be helpful.

Don’t Panic

The world isn’t perfect, and all of the preparation may not be enough. Things go wrong. Microphones don’t work; slide decks go missing; people ask questions you may not know the answer to. All of that is ok. Event staff can help with the technical, and no one expects you to know everything.

And, pro tip: jokes can make everything seem less daunting. If you make fun of it, the audience won’t even notice that it’s a problem.


This is a great time to start thinking about presenting what you know. There’s a whole world of admins and developers out here who want to learn.


Have you spoken at an event and have advice? Do you have more questions about speaking? Share your stories and questions in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or directly with me on Twitter @thesafinhold or on the Success Community.

Wait, You Can Use Cases In Sales Cloud?

Did you know you can manage your customer support process right in Sales Cloud?
Wait, You Can Use Cases In Sales Cloud?

Wait, You Can Use Cases In Sales Cloud?

So, you're the manager of a customer support team, and you’re finding that your current customer support process is leaving much to be desired. Your sales team has been using Salesforce for a couple of years now, and you think it looks pretty cool. You know Salesforce also offers Service Cloud, but you don’t feel like you have the bandwidth or the budget to implement it right now.

Well you might be surprised to find out that case management is already available to you right in Sales Cloud. Below I’ll discuss some problems you may currently be facing and how using cases might help you resolve them.


From Email to Cases

You’re ready to use cases in Sales Cloud, but where in the world do you start? Currently, you’re simply assigning agents to customers and having them work with them directly through their personal work email. However, now you’d like for all new customer issues to appear in a central repository, so agents can assign them out, and you can get an idea of the work load for each agent.

To start, go ahead and have your IT team create a general support email address. Once that’s complete, it’s time to set up Email-to-Case. This aptly named function allows for cases to be automatically created when a customer emails your general support address and assigns it to a queue. From the queue, agents will be able to assign cases to themselves (or others). From here, you can create standard case reports to view the amount of open cases, by agent, to determine their workload.

But wait, there’s more! Now that you have email-to-case all set up, you can create workflow rules that send acknowledgment emails to customers, letting them know you have received their case and will be getting back to them shortly. In just a few steps, you’ve already greatly improved your client experience and customer support process.


Manage Your SLAs

You have a Service Level Agreement (SLA)  that dictates you must respond within 24 hours of a customer's first email, and you want customer support agents to have an overall view of open customer issues and their SLA status. Until now, your agents were manually putting follow-up reminders in their calendars and regularly violating this SLA.

Now that you’ve introduced cases and turned on Email-to-Case, Salesforce is able to do the calculation for you. Your admin can create a formula that calculates the time between now and the case created date. Using that formula (and another to display an image) your agents can have a list view that shows each case with a flag next to it. If the flag is green, agents know they are well within the 24 hour timeframe; if it’s yellow, they know they are a few hours from passing it, and if it’s red, they know they’re in trouble.

Now agents can see which cases they need to respond to first, in order to maintain their SLAs, and your customers are much happier.


Improve the Sales Cycle

Since you're selling to such savvy customers, they often require references before they buy. Your sales team needs to be able to quickly find satisfied customers, within a particular industry and employee count, to match the customer requesting the reference. That should be simple enough; just run a report with industry and employee count filters and you’re all set. But how do they know if the customer is satisfied? Here’s where your support team comes into the picture.

The first thing to do is create a “Client Health Status” picklist field on the account. The values can be something like “Red,” “Yellow,” and “Green.” Since cases are a child object of accounts, a customer support agent is able to create a standard case report and view the number of open cases by severity by account. With that data, the agent updates the Client Health Status with the most appropriate value.

Great! Now your salespeople can create reports to see, at-a-glance, the best customers to reach out to, and you’ve become their hero (maybe they’ll even share some of that commission with you).



What issues have you run into that you were able to solve with case management? Feel free to comment below, on the Salesforce Success Community, on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @djordanwebster.




Top Ideas for Lightning - Part 2

The Salesforce Lightning Experience saga continues—what’s up next to deliver on the IdeaExchange?
Top Ideas for Lightning - Part 2

Top Ideas for Lightning - Part 2

With the Spring ‘17 release behind us, Salesforce continues to add new features onto the Lightning Experience (LEX). And while there have been massive leaps since my last blog post, there is still plenty of room for improvement. The IdeaExchange community continues to drive the LEX improvement bus, with hundreds of ideas posted for Lightning alone. Let’s review some of my top ideas up for voting:

Lightning Speed, PLEASE!

Returning to ol’ faithful to lead off the list. Over the last few releases, Lightning has received a lot of love, and the interface has dramatically improved. With that said, performance speed continues to suffer. If the ultimate goal of Salesforce is to promote 100% client adoption, they are going to need to get the performance on the same level as Salesforce Classic.

Bring 'Back to List' to LEX

Another big one. Navigating Salesforce Classic is simple and intuitive. While Lightning is almost there, it is features like this that will take it over the top. Salesforce needs to bring the little things that make big impacts over to Lightning, if they want the community to fully embrace it in the long run.

Give Us the 'Manage External Users' Button

For organizations that exercise the awesome power of Salesforce Communities, this has to be a major drawback for Lightning. Having to switch back to Classic in order to use this feature is not ideal. In order for Community-using organizations to fully migrate to Lightning, having this little button available is key.

Customize the LEX Loading Screen

Shameless self-promotion here, but I do think this is a good idea. While I did enjoy the fun snowman of Winter ‘17 and do enjoy the vibrant rainbow of Spring ‘17, I think that a fully branded user experience is what every organization would like to have. Having the ability to enter your company’s image is one of the little things that could make your Salesforce org really feel like it’s yours.

Object History Related List

This is a big one. I currently have a few clients who rely on this related list to capture changes over time to vital fields. This is currently targeted for the Summer ‘17 release (Safe harbor! Safe harbor!), this is exciting and I encourage more votes from the Arkus Blog faithful so that the hard-working folks at Salesforce get credit for more retired points.


If you are currently using the power of Salesforce Lightning and are looking to find out what is on the horizon, Salesforce provides us with Salesforce Lightning Roadmap. On this page, you can see which features are targeted and when they are targeted for.

Do you like the current state of Lightning? What else do you think should be added on or improved upon? Share your ideas or thoughts with me on the Arkus Facebook page, in the comments below, in the Success Community, or to me directly via Twitter at @RyanOwensRPO.

Salesforce Data Migration from Raisers Edge

Supporting organizations with data migration from Raiser's Edge to Salesforce’s Non-Profit Success Pack.
Salesforce Data Migration from Raisers Edge

Salesforce Data Migration from Raisers Edge

More and more, we here at Arkus are supporting organizations with the transition from Raiser's Edge (RE), their legacy Non-Profit development CRM, to Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP). Here are things to consider and suggested steps to plan the data migration.


Terminology

First off, when you are talking about the two different CRMs, it’s important to know and understand there’s often different terminology between them. Understanding is the first step in mapping. Although there are many ‘modules’ in Raiser's Edge, the main ones to consider are the following;

  • ‘Constituents’ in RE are the same as Salesforce Accounts and Contacts.  They are identified using a ‘key indicator’ (O or organization, I for Individual). Make sure you have that key indicator in the export. 

  • ‘Campaigns’, ‘Appeals’, and ‘Packages’ in RE are all typically a hierarchy of Campaigns in Salesforce. It really depends on how the organization has been using these in RE, so you need to sit with the organization and determine how they structured the relationship between these in RE in order to determine if a Campaign hierarchy is needed. 

  • ‘Relationships’ in RE translate to a few functions in Salesforce; contact to contact relationships and contact to organization affiliations. 

  • ‘Constituent Gifts’ in RE are both Opportunities and Payments in Salesforce. RE will have a ‘Type’; one may be ‘cash’ (opportunity) and the other ‘pay-cash’ (payment).  The trick is to match these together for the records in Salesforce. There isn’t a unique ID matching these records so it’s up the organization to match them up. 

  • ‘Actions’ in RE are Activities (tasks and events) in Salesforce.

  • ‘Media’ and ‘Constituency Notes’ in RE are notes in Salesforce.


 

Suggested Steps for Migration

  1. The organization exports all metadata and sample set of data from Raiser's Edge. Each table will be it's own CSV file - Contacts, Gifts, Campaigns, Constituents, Relationships, etc. NOTE: This will not be the final extract. This is just for mapping and for identifying the transformation steps that will need to happen.

  2. Create mapping instructions for the migration for each table (file) and each field.

  3. Review the mapping instructions with the organization to ensure you are making the correct assumptions about where the data will go in Salesforce.

  4. The organization will do another full export - this is the FINAL export. At this point in time, the organization should NOT be editing or creating any new records in Raiser's Edge.

  5. Do the final transformation and import data into Salesforce.

  6. The organization should review the import and spot check records.

  7. Work with organization to clean any messy data and merge duplicates.


 

Other Things to Consider

NPSP creates the name of households, informal, and formal greetings on the Household Account, based on the contact records associated with that account. There are times I’ve encountered a Raiser’s Edge Constituent account level record that has been created without the actual contact associated with it. In those cases, you may encounter ‘Anonymous Households’ created. It’s just one of those ‘clean up’ items you’ll want to watch out for after migration.

Sort keys (Raiser's Edge unique IDs) are really important when exporting all the spreadsheets from Raiser's Edge, basically, any reference to an Account or Contact should be accompanied by this sort key for easy reference between the multiple supporting modules.

Key Indicator in Raiser’s Edge identifies if the record is an organization ‘O’ or individual ‘I’. This is another important column to have on each exported spreadsheet.

Give yourself a lot of time for the cleanup (transformation) phase of this process as, from my experience, Raiser's Edge will export a series of records along multiple columns instead of just in rows (as you need to import to Salesforce). For example, if a contact has multiple relationship records with other contacts, the spreadsheet will have each of those different relationships records across in columns repeated.

Finally, there are tools you can purchase that can make the transformation and load of this process easier, but I feel there isn’t a guarantee of catching clean up and mapping accuracy.


A Raiser's Edge data migration, while more time consuming than from other systems, is possible with proper planning and attention to detail. Do you have other recommendations on Raiser's Edge Data Migration? Please feel free to comment below, on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @LeiferAshley or in the Success Community or Power of Us Hub.

Salesforce Learning Tools for Every Style

Whether it’s the intensive in-person learning experience of Destination Success, some quiet time with Trailhead, or something in between, there are many great ways to learn Salesforce.
Salesforce Learning Tools for Every Style

Salesforce Learning Tools for Every Style

Spending a week learning Marketing Cloud and taking certification exams at Salesforce’s Destination Success event this month got me thinking about how I learn, something I hadn't really thought about in a while, and how there are unique learning styles that make certain types of educational mechanisms and environments work better than others for a particular person and for a particular subject matter. The Salesforce ecosystem is full of ways to learn how to work with Salesforce’s ever growing and evolving array of products. Do one or all of the statements below describe you? There’s a learning tool for that!

“Sometimes at 1am I get the urge to go learn something.”

Trailhead is always there for you, night and day, and keeps you alert with little doses of humor along the way. Trails are becoming more rigorous and formalized with Superbadges and are ever expanding to cover more corners of the the platform, such as Wave and Einstein.

“I really need to get hands on.”

Trailhead is a great starting point for this and superb in that it can actually tell you if you got it right, but I think the best way to really get hands on with Salesforce is to spin up a developer org and hash out a business scenario that makes sense to you. Another great way to expand your knowledge in a hands-on way is to start by giving back with the knowledge you have--answering questions in the success community (or Power of Us Hub, for nonprofits) can lead you to learning, as can doing pro bono work for a local nonprofit. (At Arkus we take this to heart with our bi-annual Pro Bono Day events.)

“I understand something best once I explain it to someone else.”

Another great way to learn while giving back is to help other people learn Salesforce. Check with your local user group for opportunities to volunteer, introducing eager learners to the world of Salesforce administration. This is a topic very close to my heart, as I have personally seen lightbulbs go off and careers get a boost teaching Salesforce boot camps for young people exploring careers in business and technology. And if you are totally new to the platform, whether just at the start of your professional journey, re-entering the workforce, or looking for a career shift, there are a number of programs out there run by members of the Salesforce community that will help you take the first step.

“I need to hear, see, AND do to feel I’ve learned it.”

If you’re like me, there’s nothing quite like the classroom experience to efficiently gain an understanding of material, especially if it’s a net new topic or tool I’ve never touched before. Destination Success was ideal for me as a learning environment because it provided the opportunity to immerse myself in learning and focus entirely on that for the week I was there, as well as be surrounded by the energy of hundreds of like-minded learners. All of Salesforce University’s classes contain a hands-on component, so it’s not just watching someone else do it; you do it yourself and really learn. Salesforce also provides in-person and online courses throughout the year, so you can get some of that intensive classroom-style experience without waiting until next March, too.

 

What is your favorite way to learn new Salesforce skills? Feel free to comment below, on the Salesforce Success Community, on our Facebook page, or directly at me on Twitter @ifitfloats.

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