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Salesforce Best Practices
Created by the engineers of StarrForce.com June 2011
1.

Data Integrity
CSV files cannot have any commas. i. Do a “Find & Replace” to find commas and replace with nothing before importing or your data will end up in the wrong field ii. CSV stands for Comma Seperated Values so if a comma is in a cell, then the import will move everything after the comma to the next cell. Each comma shifts the data by one cell b. Remove all duplicates before importing data. i. It is easier to remove duplicates from a spreadsheet than merging them in Salesforce. ii. The Import Wizards will attempt to merge duplicate accounts, contacts and leads but you will stand a better chance of a clean import if you clean them yourself. iii. The Data Loader, or Excel Connector, will not attempt to merge any duplicates. c. Compare data already in Salesforce before importing more i. Use the Excel Connector or Apex Data Loader and Vlookup to compare new records against existing records before importing 1. If you have under 10,000 records of the type you want to import, export matching information (like email, phone, company, name, etc along with the Salesforce record ID 2. Then do a Vlookup from your import sheet to your exports to see if any return an ID as a match ii. Consider using a third party app from the AppExchange if you regularly import records and you have too many for the above to be practical 1. Apps like RingLead or Dupe Blocker will check your list against your database before import and flag duplicates d. Do a small import first i. Import 5-10 records first to make sure they uploaded as expected before importing all records ii. Be sure to check that zip codes and phone numbers are formatted correctly and that the data is in the right fields. iii. If they all look good, then you can do the main import
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ii. but don’t over do it i. required fields may be necessary. what happens if there are blank values in existing records? 2. Search for “Examples of Validation Rules” in Salesforce help for the help topic of the same name h. Sort by those columns to do a spot check on their utilization. g. Date formatting is different for the import wizards and the Data Loader 1. ii. Page 2 of 14 starrforce. Date. Search before creating records manually i. f. records may not be created or false data may be entered. Be sure to test your rules against all scenarios. After formatting columns for Number.Be sure that the first imported records are removed from your main list before importing them or you may end up with duplicates e. On certain objects. you can use free apps from the AppExchange to tell you how complete records are or how much a field is used 1. iii. or Zip Code. For the Data Loader. For Enterprise and above. Field Trip and % Complete are both free and will give you a wealth of information on how Salesforce is being utilized 1. For the import wizards. By using validation rules. Use “Required Fields” where needed. 344999 and 105697 in Salesforce help a. you can enforce data formatting such as two letter states or three letter country codes. 1. Be sure to let your users know when you create new rules so they know what to expect when you activate them. such as Phone or Status fields but if you make every field required. see article 97633 in Salesforce help 2. Salesforce has a list of sample validation rules that you can use as a start or to get ideas from 1. Create reports for your different objects and include the fields that are most important to you. see articles 101977. Use reports to check data integrity on a regular basis i. The Data Loader articles also cover time zone differences that you should be aware of. Use Excel’s special formatting for zip codes and dates ii. i. save the CSV but keep it open when importing or formatting (like leading zeros in zip codes) will be lost 1. If you create a rule that says a picklist cannot be changed. Use validation rules to maintain your data structure i.com . A quick search will tell you if the contact or account already exists before creating it. CSV files do not save formatting i.

General Setup a. starrforce. Do you really need them? Not enough fields can hurt you i. A second email address in a Description or Note field is about worthless Use the right field for the job i. A page with many fields becomes unwieldy. Managers will see all records owned by users that report to them but those users below them may not be able to see records owned by users in the same role iii.2. Support users should probably not have the permission to delete leads or campaigns if they are even alowed to view them Plan before creating custom objects i. d. It makes finding and entering data much easier. Profiles determine administrative and general permissions that users have (like creating public reports or custom fields) as well as object access 1. Try to keep the related lists the same across all objects with the intention that the most used should be closer to the top. Sometimes. Improper Role or Profile assignments can lead to frustration and/or data security issues ii. Run reports regularly to see which fields are empty. f. Lay out your Roles and Profiles before implementing them i. This will not work for a five digit account number. Utilize picklists whenever possible to standardize data 1. The Salesforce role hiearchy is intended to be used for record visibility and reporting purposes. Too many fields clutter up the page i. 2. c. A number field is great for calculations or formulas but it will have comma separators. There is less of a chance for error if the values are already present Page layout is important for ease of use i. Arrange fields in a logical format with proper sections and standardize them across all your pages and objects. a new section and a few fields on the detail page will meet your requirements but if you find yourself creating five of the same field (like lookup fields to the same object) because you might need them for some records. b. ii. e. 1. A text field will hold dates but it will not be able to do any calculations on the date iii. The role hiearchy in Salesforce will not always match your company’s hiearchy. Organize related lists properly i. Be sure you have the fields available for the data.com Page 3 of 14 . then a custom object would be a better solution. g.

it will not find the desired record ii. General Usage Collapse the Sidebar when not needed i. When creating a new opportunity. ii. or account records ii. For those with limited screen space. Map your custom Lead fields properly i. Export the report and then use the Data Loader or Excel connector to update your contact. Each custom field you create should be mapped to the same custom field on either the Account. the sidebar can be hidden so you do not have to scroll as much. Remember your Recycle Bin a. Master/detail fields will allow for roll-up summary data from your custom object to the master object iv. and it is still on Leads. You can have two master/detail links per custom object like a custom object called Time Cards that tracks hours against cases and contracts 1. it will stay there so if you come back later and search for a contact. be sure you have the right object selected i. When creating a new contact.com . When using the Sidebar Search. Contact. go to their account and use the New Contact button. When you change it to a single object. Page 4 of 14 starrforce. This will fill in the linking information for you and eliminate the possibility of associating to a wrong record. Run the report with the contact. or Opportunity page or that data will be lost when the lead is converted. go to the contact and use the New Opportunity button. Create a new custom report and choose the “Leads with converted lead information” report type 2. The Object Selector (above the search box at the top of the sidebar) defaults to “Search All”. 1. For those that have Chatter enabled in Winter ‘11. and/or account ID’s and your needed fields 3. 3. you can still get that data. Create a new record from its related record i. opportunity. Then you can see the total hours on each case as well as the total hours for all cases on the contract h. b. opportunity. the new Global search replaces the Sidebar Search so this does not apply c. d.Utilize custom objects when you want to link multiple records to one record or when you need a new data table iii. If you have converted leads that have custom fields that were not mapped before they were converted.

no one but you will be able to view it including system administrators Associate Notes and Attachments to Cases & Opportunities i.e. Use the “My Personal…” folders wisely i. starrforce. If you can’t easily find the tab you need using Salesforce can become difficult quickly. After you select the +. Contacts and Reports. such as Home. This will give you context sensitive help for the page you are on as well as other helpful related links Customize your tabs to meet your needs i. If you have parent cases and child cases and are not sure which to associate with choose the parent case. Every page has a “Help for This Page” link at the top right. If you delete a record. 4. Remember that each time you switch applications in Salesforce your tabs will change. the linking is automatically populated and you reduce the chance of relating to a wrong record. So you may want to customize tabs for each application you use. This way. Tabs. add them to the appropriate case or opportunity instead of the contact or account record. h. report. the tabs you see in the Sales app will be different than the tabs you see in the Call Center app. i. Activity Management a. you can create your own list views that will filter on any field you have access to on that object. are a primary way to navigate within Salesforce. or a Contact record. Create Tasks or Events from related records at the lowest level in the relationship i. or dashboard and save it in My Personal…. use the “Customize My Tabs” button to add/remove or arrange tabs in the order that best meets your needs. f. On almost every tab. 1. g. When adding notes and attachments in Salesforce. you have 30 days to restore it from the Recycle Bin.If you associate notes and attachments to the contact or account they may become hard to find over time as more and more notes and attachments are added to the contact or account. associated with the Opportunity. You can select the Plus (+) at the far right of all of the tabs to see All Tabs.com Page 5 of 14 . For example. If you create a template. Utilize List Views i. i. For example if you are creating a task associated with an Opportunity be sure to create the task in the Opportunity object rather than in the Account record. Utilize Help when needed i.

Be careful with the other views as you might miss an important task b. Contacts. If you and your co-workers are adding events to the calendar.Log a call during or right after the call i. Converting leads that are not properly qualified can actually hurt you more than help you starrforce. Utilize the “Multi-User” view on the Salesforce calendar i. you can use the “Multi-User” view to see all free and busy times for each person d. By default Salesforce will search every field you have populated in the Lead record. Accounts and Opportunities that match any of criteria selected in the Lead. If a match is found you can use the Convert Lead button to covert the Lead with the appropriate Lead. If you find this document useful please forward it to a friend. or Opportunities for duplicate information. When you click on Search. use the “Find Duplicates” button.com Page 6 of 14 . Before working a new Lead.Utilize the “Find Duplicates” button to avoid creating Leads which already exist in Salesforce. StarrForce generates its new business from folks like you. 5. to search all Leads. Contacts. Accounts. If you wait until the end of the day or week to log your calls.Following this process will prevent you from creating duplicate information as well as from working a lead that may already be in Salesforce! b. Account or Opportunity. And be sure to check out our website and give us a call at 888-391-4493 x101 or x103 if you would like to find out more about our services. located in the Additional Information section of a Lead. There is a view called “My Delegated Activities” that allows you to see all tasks you have assigned to others. Lead Management 1. not only do you run the risk of forgetting something. Be sure to have a well understood lead conversion process i. Utilize this to follow up on them e. but your co-workers will not have access to that information if needed c. The view “Next 7 Days + Overdue” will be the best for most people. Utilize the “View Switcher” picklist in the “My Tasks” section of the home page i. Salesforce will show you ALL Leads. Utilize the “Activity List Views” i. Contact.

Page 7 of 14 starrforce. Opportunity Management Be sure to have a well understood sales process i. etc. Then the “Campaign” lookup field can link the lead to the actual campaign when it is created. If you use the same web-to-lead form on multiple pages for different campaigns. Stale leads should be purged or followed up with so your list does not get too unwieldy e. a. Maintain your leads i. When creating leads manually or bulk uploading. Lead Source i. You will need to use a dynamic lead source with a custom field to track the data by URL or some other means. The “Close Date” is your best estimate of when you expect to close the sale. Be sure you are using sales stages that everyone can agree on b.You have the option to create an opportunity when converting a lead i. from web-to-lead. There may be times when you need to convert a lead but are not ready to create an opportunity. This will change as you work the sale.com . The standard “Lead Source” picklist is normally used in conjunction with the standard “Campaign” lookup field when creating new leads either manually. Mass Email. The “Lead Source” would be the top category like Trade Show. or in bulk uploads. Web. A Close Date should never be in the past i. even if it is just an update email. An opportunity that has sat for a week or more without a firm followup time set is most likely going to be lost. c. You should record at least one activity per week (or more) per opportunity. You would use a different form for each source and campaign combination. these fields would need to be manually specified. It is customary to hide the two fields in the web-to-lead form with pre-populated information (like Lead Source = Web & Campaign = Mass Email Feb2011) so that the information is then reportable. Keep your opportunities up to date i. This would need to be passed through to Salesforce by either a 3rd party provider or by code on your web page. then the above model will not work. Utilize this option instead of creating an opportunity that is not valid d. It should never be set in stone as it affects your sales pipeline c. Your sales stages directly affect your sales pipeline and forecast. 6.

This will help spot poor support reps as well as stalled cases and help to promote customer goodwill Utilize profile or validation rules to limit editing case fields starrforce. or send an email. Keep detailed case notes i.com . A process should be in place so that if a support person cannot make it to work. their cases and appointments are still handled Set up your Knowledge Base logically i. When using line item Products. Page 8 of 14 Be sure to have a well defined case management process i. Be sure to either set a time to contact them (and do not miss it) or send them an update daily to let them know that you are still working on it. Think through these well before implementing them Have a fail-safe i. d. keep them happy Touch your cases daily i. Make sure they have all the information you have so the customers do not have to repeat themselves Only close a case with the customer’s approval i. Escalation rules will keep you from failing on your Service Level Agreements with your customers and Assignment rules will make sure that the best person is assigned to the case based on your criteria. f. ask the customer if it is OK to close it. Be sure to use categories so that your solution articles are easy to find Utilize the Self Service Portal or Email-to-Case i. h. without calling you. g. This gives them something tangible to get their budget approved for the sale.d. Someone else may have to contact the customer on your case. be sure to utilize the Quotes feature i. A service manager (or a lead support rep) should have a report that they run daily to check on the status of all open cases. i. They should be the one to tell you that it is resolved Utilize Escalation and Assignment rules to your best advantage i. Once the case is resolved. There are times when a customer will want to log a case. Send your customers Quotes with line items. Once you have that customer. Utilize these features and decrease your handle time Know the status of all open cases i. c. A proper knowledge base can save you and your customers considerable time. Case Management a. Customers want to know that they have not been forgotten. b. j. 7. e. Poor case management can actually hurt you more than poor sales management.

This ensures a proper business image b. You should have folders for your different (lead. It should never be set in stone as it affects your sales pipeline and forecast. This will give you a better public image a. A Close Date should never be in the past i. Be sure your merge fields are proper for where the template is going to be used d. This will change as you work the sale. A quota that is unachievable can damage moral more than push sales. Sales Forecasting Set your Role Hierarchy properly before setting up your Forecast Hierarchy i. case. Other fields may apply as well depending on your support process k. A merge field pulling opportunity information will not populate if you send it from a case. Be sure to have a well understood sales process i. only an administrator (or support manager) should be able to edit it. Picklist values are also better to report on i.Once a case comment is saved. Be realistic in the quotas and make sure that the sales reps agree with them c. contact. Your sales stages directly affect your sales pipeline and forecast. This allows for proper roll-up of forecasts and allows you to set forecast managers. 8. 9. a. The “Close Date” is your best estimate of when you expect to close the sale. Assign quotas realistically i. Email Templates and Settings Double check your templates before using them i. Use Letterhead and signatures to standardize (and brand) your email templates. Have another set of eyes check your templates for spelling and grammar errors before using them. Utilize picklists whenever possible i. sales) templates so that they are easy to find. Be sure you are using sales stages that everyone can agree on d. Use picklists instead of text fields to limit selections and ensure data integrity. b. Utilize merge fields properly i. Organize your templates logically i. Page 9 of 14 starrforce. Standardize your templates i.com . Utilize folder permissions so that support reps do not have access to lead templates for example c.

Dashboard Management a. you will continue to build dashboards.10.com . c. d. The Running User controls what data is available in a dashboard for all viewers. b. Report Management a. the system administrator will only see data that the standard user can see. use the “Printable View” button to preserve this grouping when exporting. e. and activity management should each have their own dashboards. Use folders to maintain order and permissions on who should view or edit them Set the Running User properly i. they are static and must be manually refreshed or you will be looking at old data Customize your home page i. 11. Too many fields make the report hard to read and it takes longer to populate the data Use well thought out filter criteria i. Remember that only the top three components will show on your home page. A report with a vague title is useless to someone else (or you six months later if you forgot what it was for) so use the description field so all users will know what it is for Keep the reports simple i. Keep dashboards separated i. You may need to use And/Or statements to avoid falling into the trap of “Closed = True And Closed = False” or “Created date = Tomorrow”. d. b. This means that sales. Neither of these will return any results Use “Printable View” to export with formatting i. Utilize dashboard folders to manage your dashboards i. As a general rule. Unless you have dashboards scheduled to refresh. support. As your company grows. Remember the “Refresh” button i. c. it is best to only have one object per dashboard. e. you will continue to build reports. Only use the fields needed. Use the “”Customize Page” link in the dashboard section of your home page to select the dashboard you want. As your company grows. A system administrator can see more data than a standard user but if the running user is set to the standard user. Utilize report folders to manage your reports i. Page 10 of 14 starrforce. If you have a report with grouping. Use folders to maintain order and permissions on who should view or edit them Use the Report Description field i.

you will need to create a second action to create a task as closed when the workflow is triggered. Workflow emails will not log an activity i. Page 11 of 14 starrforce. When designing field updates. Workflow and Automation a. Be careful with field updates i. Be sure to remove a user from all workflow actions before attempting to deactivate them Email alerts can become bothersome i. c. d. A user cannot be deactivated if they are part of a workflow i. A field update cannot populate a field on an account from a contact but it can populate a field on all contacts from an account. To log an activity from a workflow email. b. e. Too many and they will start to be ignored. Think out your email alerts well before implementing them.com . be careful not to overwrite previous data Field updates only work from the one to the many i.12.

Desktop Integration The first Outlook sync with Connect for Outlook should be done with an empty folder i. You can only delete posts that you made ii. Be careful on what you post i. Ask yourself if anyone else will be interested before posting k. 14. be sure to also associate the email to the proper account. g. etc. contact.com . be careful or one may come back to haunt you iv. opportunity) or group are only visible to people who have access to that record or group j. Post weekly tips for the most common issues that they get from users to reduce their workload ii. be sure to update your briefcase regularly or you may end up working with outdated data f. using Connect for Outlook. they will see that post so be nice iii. quotes. Ask yourself if your CEO or supervisor would find this inappropriate before hitting submit ii. If you sync with a full Outlook folder. Page 12 of 14 starrforce. Posts on a record (account. Administrators should: i. Celebrate success by sharing great use cases. iv. Posts entered in the status box on your profile or home page. If you post about a co-worker that is not a member of your group. Share FAQ or help files as needed i. When sending and adding from Outlook. or opportunity h. Salesforce will populate the Outlook folder with associated data from Salesforce so you will only have one copy of each record and each Contact will be associated with the appropriate Account. case. and they later join.13. System administrators can delete all posts l. as well as posts entered on your co-worker’s page are visible to all ii. Keep Offline Edition updated i. Associate emails properly i. By syncing with an empty Outlook folder. Since posts are stored indefinitely until deleted. Chatter Know who will see your posts i. Post information about new functionality or changes to make the transition easier for their users iii. When working with Offline Edition. you will most likely end up with duplicate records in both Salesforce and Outlook. Deleting posts i.

Follow key executives. So what do you do? For larger companies. But fictional private investigators from television shows don’t know Salesforce so you’ve got to figure it out on your own (or call StarrForce Support). assignment rules and or approval processes need to be modified before you can deactivate the user. it beats sitting in a conference room! iv. key records. or an approval process? If you’ve been in this situation and you have a sizable Salesforce instance than you know that you’ve got to hire Jim Rockford or Thomas Magnum to figure out exactly which case escalation rules. update your status so your people will know where to find you if needed ii. Post meeting notes to keep your team informed. iv. vi. Bonus Best Practice Have you ever wanted to deactivate a user in Salesforce but were not able to because they were part of a case escalation rule. Use email when the communication needs to be one-to-one or there is sensitive data. Post your question and let your team comment. an email alert. we recommended that you create a spreadsheet of the users and the processes that they are attached to.m. v. Share customer stories and lessons learned. Update their status frequently. email alerts. Then when you need to deactivate a user you can search your spreadsheet for the user name and match it to the process that needs to be modified. and subject matter experts iii. or those that have many of these processes. your team. Cut down on broadcast emails by posting to Chatter instead ii. Solicit feedback and ideas. Post your skills and expertise on your profile so people looking for help can easily message you. Un-follow records that are not important to cut down on Chatter noise. and you probably have more important things to do. All users should: i. If you move around a lot.com .Supervisors should: i. Get the word out on what works! v. an assignment rule. Page 13 of 14 starrforce. n. Use Chatter when you want to notify a large audience or expect a backand-forth conversation. Share useful links that you may have found that can help your team like a new time zone converter or area code look-up site iii.

And be sure to check out our website and give us a call at 888-391-4493 x101 or x103 if you would like to find out more about our services. If you find this document useful please forward it to a friend. the user will need to be removed from those as well. Page 14 of 14 starrforce.com .Keep in mind that if the process notifies a queue or group. StarrForce generates its new business from folks like you.

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