Your Salesforce journey travels a never-ending path filled with product updates, new use cases, and increasing business value. Along the way, you’ll face challenges and changes, but there’s nothing that can’t be bested with an adaptable Salesforce strategy and a link to the right Salesforce know-how.
Silverline has you covered with our complete guide to Salesforce best practices and insight on putting your knowledge to work, along with links for where to find the information you need, when you need it. Here’s what you need to know:
7 Salesforce best practices every org should keep in mind
Learning Salesforce best practices will be a continuous process, but once you’re connected to the right people online and know where to find good resources, you’ll be better prepared as you use Salesforce to build better products, customer experiences, and internal workflows.
Here are seven best practices we recommend for anyone getting started with Salesforce — or who want to maximize their Salesforce investment:
1. Know your internal processes inside and out before taking on a new project
The #1 best practice our teams recommend is truly understanding your process and workflow before you implement any new tools or features, including your overall Salesforce implementation.
You need to know the journey your user goes through from the very first step to the last. If you have a new opportunity in the pipeline, for example, what happens in the next step? What’s the trigger that determines the next step? Is it a signed contract, or does an executive have to approve something? Otherwise, we won’t know what to automate or create within the system.
Whether you have a mature org or are brand new to Salesforce, the best thing you can do is continue to understand and refine your team’s processes and understand how technology can facilitate them, not the other way around.
2. Practice good data hygiene
Without a clear process, you risk creating an unruly or challenging new system for your team. That’s especially true if you’re pulling data from multiple sources — practicing good data hygiene and data governance is what’s going to make Salesforce so useful for your team. For example, you may have multiple databases with client names. If you have Business A, LLC, Business A, or Business a, which one is the correct one?
Salesforce is designed to be the source of truth for an organization, but without proper data, you’ll never get the most out of your investment. Salesforce can help keep your data clean by using data picklists or naming conventions. But for your reporting to work, you need to make sure your data entry is consistent, without duplicate records. This is an ongoing effort, no matter where you are in your Salesforce journey.
3. Choose a designated product owner
Just like how you want Salesforce to be one source of truth, you also need to have one go-to person that “owns” the platform within your organization. Salesforce is a complex piece of technology, and with constant updates, your team needs to know who to ask questions to and where to report issues or update requests.
At Silverline, we call that the product owner. This may be a Salesforce administrator, but it may be the Salesforce champion within your organization. What matters is less about technical expertise and more about mindshare and project management, especially if you’re approaching a new implementation or Salesforce project. You need a single point of contact that keeps the project moving, and is empowered by the organization to talk to stakeholders and SMEs on a daily basis.
This is a key best practice, but it also doesn’t have to be an in-house resource if that doesn’t work for your team. Clients newer to Salesforce often turn to our managed services team to get them up and running while they look for the right person to hire. At Silverline, we can deliver end-to-end management of your Salesforce instance, whether that’s stepping in to implement something new or keeping on top of the variety of changes you’ll encounter.
4. Avoid shiny object syndrome with new features
Salesforce is so customizable that it can be tempting to run with all of the shiny bells and whistles available. But even if you have a mature organization, we recommend working with standard Salesforce features as much as possible. That’s because they’re much easier to maintain and troubleshoot against.
Write Custom Objects only when you really need to support the flow of your process (see best practice #1) and always with the user experience in mind.
How often have you had to jump through hoops when filling out a form online or calling to make an appointment for a service? Your user flow shouldn’t be a single step more than necessary. If you have a plan to use a certain piece of data, then it makes sense to add it. But if it’s just a “nice to have” or you’re adding it to the flow because it sounds exciting, it’s best to really think about it before implementing. You want to make sure that everything you add to Salesforce actually supports your business and your users.
5. Test everything (and then test it again)
Salesforce, like any piece of software, doesn’t always work the way you want it to the first time.
That’s why you need to build testing into your Salesforce development process, for new and existing features. New operating systems, products, or data sources can easily break connections if you’re not continually monitoring the tool.
Testing is so often rushed in many organizations, and of course, it’s great to get your new project out the door. But it’s important to completely and thoroughly test new features in a Sandbox environment before they go live — especially if they’re handling sensitive customer information or mission-critical information like revenue numbers.
6. Have a change management plan
People hate change. It’s one of the things that makes us human. At Silverline, we believe that 50% of the success is preparing the technology for the people and the other 50% is preparing the people for the technology.
That’s why change management is so important with a Salesforce project, or with Salesforce in general. Build in time to train your team on new features as they get released, but also general refresh sessions throughout the year. Chances are, you have users on your team who aren’t getting the full Salesforce experience. Or maybe they’ve learned to do one or two things for their immediate job, but aren’t sure how to use more advanced reporting functionality.
Salesforce is useless if no one uses it. If you’re rolling out a new feature in four weeks or less, you need to build a change management plan ASAP so your team becomes aware of the feature, knows how and why to use it, and can get the benefit from all the hard work going on behind-the-scenes.
It’s crucial that you have stakeholders high up and champions in your team to help you create a positive and welcoming atmosphere for Salesforce.
7. Bookmark the right Salesforce resources
Once you learn the new updates to Salesforce, you update your Salesforce strategy appropriately and effectively. Salesforce has a regular cadence of releases each year.
Within your Salesforce instance, you can learn all about new releases from Salesforce through Trailhead. In each release module, you’ll get an overview of the updates with additional resources so you fully comprehend what’s changing. Plus, you can earn points toward badges!
There are lots of resources online if you’re feeling overwhelmed or lost in the Salesforce ecosystem, but some of them are better than others. Here are some excellent sources for Salesforce best practices:
- Stay connected in the Salesforce Trailblazer Community.
- Keep this Salesforce for Dummies Cheat Sheet in your bookmarks to get a refresher on the basics or brush up on some skills.
- If you’re an avid reader, check out Salesforce.com Secrets of Success: Best Practices for Growth and Profitability by David Taber.
- Stay connected with knowledgeable and fun Salesforce Consulting Partners, like us!
But the best place to get information about Salesforce (besides here at Silverline) is to bookmark the Salesforce blog. They regularly post release information, advice from industry leaders, and perspectives on unique use cases. These blogs typically include a video about the release, a preview, and the release notes, so all your bases are covered depending on your learning style and preferences! There’s no better way to learn Salesforce best practices and updates than straight from the source.
Silverline helps you maximize your Salesforce investment
Silverline can help you maximize your Salesforce investment.
With the right tools and knowledge at your fingertips, it’s time to start putting it all to good use. Given what you’ve learned, develop a Salesforce strategy that’s right for your team.
You may have come across a Salesforce blog about a use case that’s similar to your needs, or maybe a top influencer in your industry suggested new list views for your sales team. Whatever sparked curiosity or intrigue in your research could be a great addition to your own Salesforce strategy. Figure out what you’d like to mimic or accomplish on your team, then start making plans to get there.
But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming — Silverline is here to make sure you get the most out of your Salesforce investment, whether you’re just starting to think about implementation or want to get the most out of a new set of features from the latest release.
Want some help with your Salesforce strategy or understanding Salesforce best practices? Silverline is here to help! Contact us to learn more.