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Auto-Response Rule vs. Workflow Email Alert in Salesforce

Auto-Response Rule vs. Workflow Email Alert in Salesforce

Automatic notifications save your team time and boost your overall customer experience. Salesforce gives users several options for sending automated emails, which have their own benefits. Two of those options are auto-response rules and workflow email alerts. Both of these serve the same purpose- they automatically send emails from Salesforce following changes to a lead or a case. However, being so similar, you need to think about your exact use case and the differences between your options before making a decision.

In this article, we’ll walk through:
● What auto-response rules and workflow email alerts are
● How to use each option
● Examples of when it’s best to use one method over another
By the end, you’ll be able to start using your auto-response rules and workflow alerts to create automatic email alerts in Salesforce. Let’s get started!

When Should You Use Automatic Emails?
Imagine that you’ve just signed up for a discount program through your favorite online store’s website. When you enter your email, you’d expect to receive something sent by that company that confirms you’re signed up. If you didn’t, you might find yourself wondering if something went wrong or if you’re enrolled at all. Without confirmation, there’s a good chance you’d end up in a support channel to make sure that everything is okay.

This example is one occasion in which you’d want to send automatic emails. That small step prevents unnecessary tickets in your support queues and improves your customer service with nearly no effort. Speaking of customer support tickets, what if you had sent out a ticket asking if your email was registered? When a customer support representative responds, you’d likely receive an email notification letting you know. This instance is another example of how you can use automated emails to improve service.

The goal of these notifications is to improve service while reducing the effort needed from your staff. The reduction in manual processes saves time that you can use for designing new ways to improve the services your company provides, making the experience better for your team and your clients. The result? A low-cost way to increase performance.

How to Choose Between Workflow Email Alerts and Auto-Response Rules
Auto-response rules and workflow email alerts fill a similar need, but it’s important to note that they have some significant differences. Before getting into the details of what they can do for you, first, you must identify the problem you’re trying to solve. Let’s go over an example so you can see how the process works.
Let’s say that you want to send confirmation letters to customers who signed up for a product demo. First, you’d want to look at the aim of the project and the issue that they’re trying to resolve. In this case, the emails would confirm some basic information about what they’ve selected from your website and reduce no-shows and cancelations.
Next, think about how many people need to receive these emails. The first person that needs to get them is your customer. From there, you can be a little more creative. Do you want to send it to the sales team so they can prepare for the demo? Or, is there another way that they get notified with better results? Be sure to outline who you want to receive them, as one of the main differences between workflow email alerts and auto-responses is the number of recipients you can add.
Now that you have some specifics down, we can start to look at your options.

What are Auto-Response Rules?
Auto-response rules tell Salesforce what criteria a case must meet before sending out one of your saved email templates when a specific set of conditions are met. For example, you could set the trigger to send them when someone submits a new case or lead. You can select a series of criteria for the sending of the email, and it will send one based on the first rule entry criteria it matches.
You can think of this as the case above, where someone signs up for a discount program and wants confirmation that they’ve been registered correctly. This case would only require one email sent to the individual who submitted their information, so an auto-response rule is an appropriate choice. This is because auto-response rules send out one email per trigger, unlike workflow alerts.

Workflow alerts are the best choice if you plan to send:
● Confirmation emails
● “Thank you” messages
● Or alerts for the person who submitted information in a web-to-lead form

What are Workflow Email Alerts?
Workflow email alerts are similar to auto-response rules in the way that they send notifications based on changes to a case or a lead. However, unlike auto-response rule alerts, Salesforce can send workflow alerts to multiple users. They can send out an email to anyone you need to notify about activity on a case or lead. Specifically, workflow alerts run when a case or lead is created or edited. The notifications can be sent to anyone you choose. It’s important to note that these alerts send one email to multiple users for each trigger as opposed to just one.
Email alerts, in general, can be sent out from processes, flows, workflow rules, approval processes, or entitlement processes. Use cases for the workflow email alerts vary depending on your business needs. Often, they include notifications to:
● Notify the rep assigned to a case when a new action is taken
● Keep management informed about changes to high profile leads
● Help your sales team on top of their pipeline

Workflow emails can accommodate ten email alerts as immediate actions, ten email alerts per time trigger as time-dependent actions, and ten time triggers.
Now that you understand the basics of auto-response rules and workflow alerts, we’ll go over how to set them up.

Setting Up Auto-Response Rules
First, we’ll review Salesforce’s response rule from a web-to-lead form. To start, navigate to Setup and then type “Auto-Response Rules” into the Quick Find area. Next, click the option “Lead Auto-Response Rules.”
The other option is to create a response rule for cases. In this case, you’ll first navigate to Setup and then type “Auto-Response Rules” into the Quick Find area. Next, click the option “Case Auto-Response Rules.”
Regardless of which of the above options you choose, the following steps will be the same.
First, from the Auto-Response Rules page, click on New
Type in the name for the rule you want to create
Activate this rule by clicking on Activate
Save the rule by hitting the Save
Now, you can create your rule entries
Here’s how you can create your response rule entries.
Go to the rule detail page and select New
Think about where this rule will fall in your process order and enter the number step you choose
Keep in mind that the rule stops processing after finding the first matching entry. That is how Salesforce determines which email template to send. If it doesn’t find any matching entries, it sends out a default email that you can select in advance.
For extra security, create an additional rule entry as the last step in line. This step should have no added criteria, so it will apply to any event that doesn’t match your previous criteria. Since some forms don’t have any default templates, like Email-to-Case and On-Demand Email-to-Case forms, this ensures that a response goes out.
Choose the criteria to filter records, such as priority level and language. You can create formulas to evaluate the record and return the proper response
Type in the name and email that you want to appear as the sending email address in your message. The email needs to be a verified email address from your Salesforce org or the address associated with your Salesforce profile. However, it cannot be the same address you used in your routing addresses for the Email-to-Case form.
Now, you can enter an email address for replies
Choose the email template that you want this rule to send
Make sure to click the option that allows you to send the response to all recipients if you’re using an Email-to-Case form. This option sends the auto-response message to the recipients specified in CC and To fields.
If you want, enter a reply-to address.
Select an email template.
If you’re creating a response rule entry for Email-to-Case, select Send Response to all recipients to send auto-response messages to anyone included in the To and Cc fields in the original message.
Now, click Save. That’s it!

Setting Up Workflow Email Alerts
Before setting up alerts, you have to create a field on your lead object for email information.

First, on your lead object, navigate to your field options
For Salesforce Classic, you can do this by going to Setup > Customize > Leads > Fields
In Salesforce Lightning, it’s Setup > Object Manager > Lead > Fields & Relationships
Select Email as the field data type
Input Contact Email as the field label

Next, you will build the workflow rule that sends out an automated email.
In Classic, navigate to Setup > Create > Workflow & Approvals > Workflow Rules. In Lightning, navigate to Setup > Platform Tools > Process Automation > Workflow Rules.
Choose New Rule
Under objects, select the Leads option
Enter the name for your rule
Now, under Evaluation Criteria, select the criteria that you want to return the response as “true”
Hit Save and then Next
Now, go to Immediate Workflow Actions > Add Workflow Action and select Email Alert
Enter the description of your email alert
Choose which template you want the alert to send
Choose your recipient type
Hit Save > Done > Activate
Now, you’re ready to go!

Closing Notes
Configuring email alerts to send automatically saves time for your staff and improves your customers’ experience with your company. While both auto-response rules and workflow alerts send emails in response to lead changes, you’ll find situations where each of them outperforms. If you understand the problem you’re trying to solve and how to address it, you’ll have no issues choosing the right email alerts for the job.

Both auto-response rules and workflow alerts automatically send emails from Salesforce following changes to a lead or a case. Being that they’re so similar, you should think about your exact use case and the differences between your options before you make your decision.

Don’t hesitate to explore other options within Salesforce to build and track outreach campaigns. For example, take a look here to see how to set up and use sales performance dashboards to monitor your campaigns. Remember to test, test, test, and keep building on what works. Keep up with our blog for more of the latest tips.

Manage Report Subscriptions in Salesforce

Disorganized data can dismantle even the most organized strategy. This is why it’s essential to make sure that your reports in Salesforce are current and get to the people who need them. Reports help your team stay on task, find the information they need, and monitor the health of their workflow. 

In this article, we’ll explain:

  • How Salesforce Reports work and what they do
  • How to subscribe yourself and others to reports
  • Managing report schedules
  • Setting up notifications

How Do Salesforce Reports Work?

You can think of a report as a list of information with all the information you’ve asked Salesforce to provide. For example, this could be a list of prospects that your sales team will call, accounts in default, or open support cases that need follow-up. Salesforce looks for the criteria you select and presents users with a list of that data. 

In Salesforce, this information will show up grouped into rows and columns. You can then organize this info by characteristics like priority level or dollar amount, filter it only to see what’s relevant, or create visual representations of the data.

The information in these reports is stored in folders, which can be private or available to whoever you like. You can allow users in specific groups to see them and those with particular roles, license types, or permissions. If you want, you can also hide or share your reports with people inside and outside your organization. This means that anyone who needs to access the data will be able to get it.

Why Should You Use Salesforce Reports?

Birds-eye view of data
Reports can tell you information at a glance to quickly take action. Fast, accurate responses can give you a leg up on your competition. For example, time required to prepare for a meeting could be reduced by automatically mailing reports out to your team. Or, you could respond to support tickets faster by having a detailed list right in front of you. 

If you have a weekly meeting with your sales team, everybody needs to see the numbers for that week’s sales. It wouldn’t make sense to mail the report to each person individually, so instead, you can set up report subscriptions, so everyone has it sent to them.

While reports provide the insight, subscriptions make sure that those who need them have them. People are liable to error. We take sick days, we go on vacations, and we occasionally make mistakes. Setting up reports to automatically go out takes one more task off your team’s plate while giving more intelligent updates on what needs action. 

Before Subscribing to Reports, Check Your Permissions on Salesforce.

You will need different permissions for report subscriptions depending on who you’re trying to add and how you intend to do it.

  • If you’re trying to subscribe yourself to a report, the only permission you need is to Subscribe to Reports
  • If you’re trying to subscribe other people to reports, you will need permission to Subscribe to Reports and Add Recipients
  • Or, if you’re trying to subscribe groups and roles to reports, you will need permission to Subscribe to Reports and to Send to Groups and Roles
  • Finally, if you want to change who runs the report, you will need permission to Subscribe to Reports and Set Running User

How to Subscribe Yourself to Salesforce Reports

Now that you know what permissions you need, you can subscribe to whichever reports you like. To do this in Salesforce Classic, follow these steps.

  1. Navigate to the Reports folder and click on All Folders on the left-hand side. 
  2. Then, click the pull-down menu on the right and navigate to Items I’m Subscribed To.
  3. On this page, you can view, edit, and delete your current subscriptions to reports.

In Salesforce Lightning, here’s how to do it.

  1. Click on the Reports tab and find the All Reports option on the left-hand side. 
  2. At the top, you’ll see a tab labeled Subscribed
  3. Now, you can manage your subscriptions and add new reports.

How to find your Subscribed Reports

If you want to see what reports you’re currently subscribed to:

  1. First, go to the Reports tab. 
  2. Next, look at the sidebar on the left and click the option that says All Reports.
  3.  In the menu on the right, sort the reports by Subscribed.

How to Subscribe Other Salesforce Users to a Report

Now that you know how to subscribe yourself to reports, you can subscribe others as well. Salesforce allows you to choose users, groups, and roles for report subscriptions. So, for example, you can send reports on how many hours your dev team has worked for a client to your Human Resources department, so they’re billed correctly.

To subscribe users, groups, and roles to reports, follow these steps.

  1. First, navigate to the Reports tab on the Report Run Page
  2. Next, click Subscribe
  3. When it brings you to the Edit Subscription menu, set the schedule of how often you’d like the report to send. 
  4. You can also add conditions before sending a scheduled report. That means that the email won’t go out with the subscribed reports until all of these conditions are met. 
  5. After you’ve set the schedule on the conditions if chosen, navigate to Send To. You are automatically selected as the only recipient of the report. 
  6. If you would like to add others or take yourself off the report, hit the Edit Recipients button. 
  7. This area will show the users, groups, and rules with access permissions for the report here. You can add and remove recipients here.
  8. When you’re finished, you can close the window, and it will save your recipients. 

Now that you’ve set that up, the reports will send to the email addresses found under Settings > Email > My Email Settings. If you haven’t sent an email yet under My Email Settings, the emails will automatically go out to the address associated with each person’s Salesforce user.

Tips on Subscribing Others to Reports

Here are a couple of helpful pointers for subscribing others to reports.

  1. First, each user can have up to five report subscriptions. This is regardless of what type of user they are within your Salesforce org. 
  2. You also won’t see the recipients listed on the emails, so you will have to go back to Salesforce to see them. If you were working with a platform user, an admin must enable these features.
  3. Remember how these reports live inside of folders? To send the report to a user, the user must have access to the folder. Don’t forget to check this before continuing. 
  4. You can subscribe up to 500 users to each report. If you exceed this, some users will not receive the emails.

How Do I Manage Report Schedules in Salesforce?

Report schedules make sure that the information in your reports is up-to-date. The Schedule Report page lets you manage the frequency and conditions for sending out scheduled reports. Here, you can schedule a new report run, change an existing schedule, view current schedule jobs, and delete scheduled runs. 

View Existing Report Schedules

  1. To view a report schedule, navigate to the Reports tab.
  2. Next, hover over the checkmark in the Schedule column.
  3. This shows you how often the report goes out and the next date it is scheduled to run. 
  4. Keep in mind that Salesforce users who don’t have permission to schedule reports will not see this information.

To see a report’s schedule from the schedule report page, follow these two steps.

  1. Click on the report’s name on the Reports tab. 
  2. After that, click the Schedule Future Runs button on the run report drop-down menu.

If you want to see all the scheduled reports within your organization:

  1. Navigate to Setup
  2. Click the Scheduled Jobs option.
  3. Here you will see all of your organization’s scheduled reports. If you don’t see this, check that you have the View Setup and configuration permissions.

Change a Report’s Schedule

If there is a report with an existing schedule that you’d like to change, for a score of the reports tab and then click the name of the scheduled report. Next, hit the schedule future runs option from the run report menu. Here you can make the changes to the report schedule. When you’re done, make sure to hit save report schedule to keep the changes that you made.

Delete a Scheduled Run 

If for whatever reason you would like to delete a scheduled run for a report, you can do it without deleting the entire report. 

  1. First, go to the Reports tab and then click on the report’s name that you’d like to delete. 
  2. Click Schedule Future Runs on the Run Report menu.
  3. Then, click on Schedule Report
  4. Now, the run schedule for that report is canceled, but the report is not sent to the recycle bin. You can set a new schedule or keep the report unscheduled.

How Do I Manage Report Notifications?

Notifications for reports let you know when data meets a particular set of criteria that you set. You can select what you want to be notified about and what conditions are essential to you to receive relevant notifications. You can also set up notifications for the Salesforce app, email, and on Chatter. Just remember that the report has to be saved before you set notifications.

Also, keep in mind that your notifications on reports are not related to the option which lets you schedule future runs. The Schedule Future Runs feature lets you send email reports at a given time with or without specifying which conditions you need them to meet. If you want to schedule email reports, choose the Schedule Future Runs option from the Run Report menu instead.

Changing Report Notification Settings

In order to set and change your notification settings, follow along here.

  1. Click on the Report Run page. 
  2. Next, hit Subscribe
  3. On the Report Subscription page, select if you want to receive a notification each time your data meets these conditions or if you wish to receive it the first time. 

Setting conditions helps you avoid repetitive and unhelpful notifications. The requirements can be related to three different areas; aggregate, operator, and value. You can set up to five conditions for each report. You can also schedule checks to see if the report meets those conditions, Including daily, weekly, or every weekday.

When you choose to receive notifications, you can select the most helpful type for the task at hand. For example, you can send a notification within the Salesforce app, post it to Chatter, have it send an email, or set it to carry out in Apex action. This could be something like escalating a case or creating a task. Make sure to set up your notifications so they only give you relevant updates.

Wrapping it Up

Report subscriptions are an intelligent way to make sure that valuable information gets into the right hands. When you automate their distribution, you reduce human error and save time used to reach more of your company’s goals. 

Now that you understand how Salesforce reports work, how to set up subscriptions, and manage their schedules and notifications, your team will have even more resources to put towards growth. Remember to check back in for more ideas on how you can get even more out of Salesforce. 

How to Change Standard Object and Field Names in Salesforce

How to Change Standard Object and Field Names in Salesforce

Statistic Report on Laptop Computer
What makes it possible for businesses across so many industries to all use Salesforce? The answer is customization. Lenders, doctors, restaurants, and clothing stores can all use the same software because it adapts to their unique operations. Changing standard object and field names is one easy way for users to customize Salesforce around their needs. 

To help you understand why and how to change Salesforce’s default names for its objects and fields, we’ll show you:

  • How data is organized in Salesforce
  • What standard objects and fields are
  • Why you should change the default names
  • What to know before making changes
  • A step-by-step guide on how to do it

How Do You Look at Data?

Imagine that you’ve got a stack of papers in front of you with all the information about your operations. You’ve got pages with your customer’s names, items sold, and every support ticket you’ve ever handled. Technically, all the information you need to plan out your goals is here. But how do you make use of it?

The most common way someone would organize this data is with a spreadsheet. You could arrange your numbers to get a good idea of your business’s finances, the contributing factors, and what realistic goals you can set. Salesforce uses this kind of method, too, with a few minor changes.

What Are Objects in Salesforce?

Instead of using spreadsheets, Salesforce uses objects. An object serves the same purpose for visualizing data. It helps you organize the information you have so it’s usable. For example, an object might include information about your customers, products, and support cases. They are Salesforce’s particular way of grouping information about a specific topic. 

In Salesforce, each column in a spreadsheet would appear as a field, and each row would appear as a record. Then, you can use it in dynamic ways such as creating reports and dashboards to guide your decisions. 

For example, imagine that you are a funding company that stores their funding information in Salesforce. Each deal has an object that lists all the associated data. If you were to look at this object, you would likely see information such as the outstanding amount, interest rate, payment schedule, etc. This is how you keep it organized and link related bits of data.

Why Change the Names of Standard Objects?

For most, the assigned names of Salesforce’s standard objects work just fine. However, you can get more use from custom names under the right circumstances. For instance, a funding company would use different terms in their operations than a bakery would. In an industry with distinct terminology, customization keeps processes clear. 

Using more descriptive industry titles helps your team understand what info they’re working with. Also, it keeps your terminology consistent. Keeping things the same across your business’s communications helps avoid confusion, and your team won’t have to “translate” terms throughout the day. Also, it makes it easier to prevent issues when you onboard and train new staff. Finally, it’s much easier to learn one word than memorize three or four terms for the same thing.

Which Standard Objects Come With Salesforce?

Salesforce comes with a set of objects by default. These cover information that Salesforce users almost universally need. Since they include the basics for business’s day-to-day processes, they help users quickly set up their org and get thorough help from their support articles. 

The standard objects in Salesforce include:

Account – This includes the relevant data about an entity pertinent to your business. This could be a client, a deal, a competitor, a partner, or anyone else you interact with. Think of the account as the bread of your information sandwich and the info listed within it as the meat inside of it.

Account History – The account history object shows you the changes that a user made to an account. You can check this to see what actions have been taken and make sure that no steps were missed, for example, sending an estimate to a client. 

Case – The case object represents a support ticket. These are open whenever your customer has an issue that they need your help with. Tracking these gives you a consistent way to make sure your customers are getting the best support possible and helps you retain business.

Contact – The contact form gives you information about a person associated with your account. This would include the person’s name, phone number, email, and any other information to help users reach out to them.

User – The User object represents a user in your Salesforce organization. You can find their name, account ID, email, and location here, alongside other details.  

Asset – An asset describes whatever your company is selling. You can use it to keep track of products, for example, and associate them with the account of the individual or business that purchased them. This way, you can see what was sold to each customer. Or, in the case of software, you can see what product they are currently using if they need service or an upgrade.

Domain – The domain is a field that displays the URL of your company’s website. This is the address you have within your Salesforce org’s data, so users cannot change it from the object itself.

What Purpose Do Fields Serve?

Fields in Salesforce let you fill in different types of information about an object. For example, some information you may put in fields could include a prospect’s name, contact information, the cost of a product, the owner of an account, or the last person who modified the data. 

You can also add custom fields to an object if you want to include more details. For example, if you work in real estate, you might like to add the price of a property to its object. In addition, you can set the field to accept typed input from your Salesforce users or allow them to select options from a pre-set list. Whatever you choose, there are enough ways to modify your fields to capture the information you need. 

What is the Difference Between a Standard and Custom Object?

What happens if you can’t use one of Salesforce’s out-of-the-box objects to do what you want? There’s no need to call for help yet. The next step is to look at Salesforce’s custom objects. These are objects that let you set names, input fields, and input types so you can keep track of information. 

Putting it simply, a custom object is any object that is not already included in Salesforce. You can use these to create sections that log details about products, track applicants for an open position, or keep tabs on your staff’s accrued vacation, for example. 

Keep in mind that if you’re using custom objects, it’s best to use them only when needed. Keeping information as standardized as possible is a general good practice. It’s easier only to customize fields when you have a well-thought-out purpose so information doesn’t become overly complicated. When you build around Salesforce’s native objects, it’s easier to transfer data to other applications that you’ve integrated and connect your Salesforce org with new software.

What Should You Consider Before Changing Object and Field Names?

Sometimes, you don’t need to create an entire custom object to solve the problem. For example, if your ultimate goal is to keep terminology consistent or you can use an existing object’s configuration to do what you need, all you have to change the name.

When renaming an object, keep in mind that most of them, but not all, can be renamed. The standard objects that users cannot rename include objects that perform specific functions, like the Forecasts tab, which shows your expected sales revenue. Thankfully, there are few cases in which these would need to be changed, so you’ll be okay with custom objects and reports if you need something more detailed.

Does Changing an Object’s Name Update it Everywhere?

In short, while changing the object’s name updates it in most places, there are a few places where you’ll have to update it yourself. For example, editing the names of objects in Salesforce updates your setup information with the new titles. However, when you go to the Setup area (found under the gear icon), the names you see will be the original ones that Salesforce assigned.

Always check different areas in Salesforce and in your training materials where you’ve referenced these names. The first place you want to check is the list view so you can see which names it’s displaying. The list view uses your original object names until you update them there manually. 

You can also check the names of reports referencing the objects to make sure they match. Don’t forget to read the descriptions as well and make sure that they’re consistent. Additionally, if you use email templates, click on them to ensure that all the information is consistent. This will help you make sure that all the auto-filled information still works.

Always double-check if there are any other items on and offline where the old name appears. Some examples are custom fields that you’ve created, record types that reference the original name, and your saved page layouts. Your integrations will benefit from an extra check, too.

What Permissions Do You Need to Change Object Names in Salesforce?

Before changing any object names, check that you have the proper permissions. 

  • If you want to rename a tab or a field, you’ll need permission to Customize Application or Manage Translation
  • If you are designated as a Translator, check that you have permissions, including View Setup and Configuration
  • If you want to reset tabs that have been renamed, you’ll need Customize Application or Manage Translation permissions. 
  • If you are a Translator who wants to reset tabs, you’ll need View Setup and Configuration permissions.

How to Change Standard Object Names in Salesforce

Now that you’ve gotten all the basics down, you’re ready to change the standard object names. 

  1. To start, go to the Setup item with the gear icon in the upper right-hand corner. 
  2. Next, click customize
  3. After that, hit the option labeled Tab Names and Labels
  4. Click on Rename Tabs and Labels
  5. Now, select the tab or object that you want to rename and then hit edit
  6. When you change the names, make sure that you also update the plural label and select if the name starts with a vowel sound
  7. After you’ve done this, click next.
  8. Now, you can change the standard field names
  9. As with the objects, make sure to update the singular and plural labels and indicate whether the word starts with a vowel sound.

If you’re working with a custom object, you won’t be able to edit the name. So make sure to name it well when you’re creating it so you won’t have any problems down the line. 

Wrapping It Up

Salesforce’s ability to customize objects gave it a reputation as one of the best CRMs available. Its insights are unmatched, its reports are quick, and it integrates with programs that give your business a competitive edge. Now that you’ve changed your custom object and field names, you can get even more perks from your CRM. 

With a good understanding of how Salesforce looks at data, you’ll know when to change standard object and field names and how to do it when that time comes. This is just one of many ways that Salesforce’s customization features give your company a boost, so check back in for more tips.

CloudMyBiz Podcast – SaaS Marketing Tips with Nicole Alvarez

CloudMyBiz Podcast – SaaS Marketing Tips with Nicole Alvarez

On CloudMyBiz podcast our marketing manager, Nicole Alvarez, touches on the subject of how to stand out as a SaaS company.

Audio transcript: 

Camille:  Welcome to CloudMyBiz Podcast, where we give insights on the latest trends within the SAS and lending industries. My name is Camille, and I’m one of the hosts. At CloudMyBiz, we provide business consulting and a loan management software solution called Fundingo. Our job is to help lending companies streamline their processes from beginning to end. On our first episode, we have Nicole Alvarez, who is our very own marketing manager at CloudMyBiz. A little bit of background on her is, she started writing music and fiction from a young age, which grew into her passion for marketing. Since then, she’s been working for SAS companies developing their marketing and SEO strategies. She was born in New Jersey, and has since lived in 4 different countries, which is so cool. When she’s not working, she’s neck-deep in an online course, trying to create hybrid plants, or contemplating how much rotisserie chicken it’s taken to train her cats. Hey Nicole, how are you doing today? 

Nicole:  I’m doing good, thank you. How about yourself?

Camille:  I’m doing well. I really like this contemplating rotisserie chicken, it’s actually hilarious. 

Nicole:  it’s the only thing they will go nuts for. They don’t bother me about any other human food, but I have to actually lock the garbage can in a different room when I’ve eaten chicken.

Camille:  That’s so funny. I’ve actually heard that that’s really effective in training cats.

Anything else, they’re like “What is this?” Well, I gave a short introduction, but if you wanna add anything, you’re more than welcome to. Otherwise, we can just hop into our questions. 

Nicole:  No, that summed it up really well. I definitely got my start in writing at a young age. I was the first in my daycare to learn how to write my name, and I promptly spent the next few months trying to blame the graffiti on the walls of my name on the other kinds who hadn’t learned how to write yet. But, into my start in ghost writing- I guess it paid off. 

Camille:  That is so cool. So, I touched base on how you ended up here, but just expand a little bit on how you even ended up getting into the SAS industry. 

Nicole:  So, naturally, humble beginnings as a writer. I started on 2015 as a freelance writer, and I was picking up articles wherever they would accept them. So, as much as I loved writing on motorcycle parts and storage units, I wanted to do something more challenging. I am a giant nerd. You will hear this every day. So, I thought about going into coding, or other really technical careers, but I’ve always had a pull towards psychology and understanding how people work. so, naturally, when I started writing, my next goal was to learn more about marketing. So, I started getting into SEO, content strategy, digital marketing, and then I picked up a couple of freelance gigs with some SAS startups. It was a blast. I loved the freedom, the whole culture of it. It’s a really fun place.

Camille:  Would you say that there was anything specific that was a pivotal moment in writing that you remember that made you think “I think marketing would be a really cool field to go into”?

Nicole:  In a lot of the content marketplaces that I was writing for, I noticed that they were focusing on keywords, and they would just come and give you a keywords to use. And there was just something about it that didn’t really seem intuitive to me. There were these horrible 5-6-word long phrases, and it was impossible. It was just word salad, and they desperately wanted you to shove it in that article. So, I thought “This is nonsense, I can learn how to do this.” And 7 years later, I did. 

Camille:  It’s really cool to learn a little bit about your background. When it comes to this industry, in this time period, what would you say are the top 3 most important elements to a successful marketing team?

Nicole:  If I had to narrow it down, number one: You’ve gotta be flexible. Number two: you’ve gotta learn everything that you possibly can, everywhere. Number three: don’t set out to make no mistakes. You’re gonna make them. Set out to learn from them. 

Camille:  I can touch base a little bit on that. It’s trial and error, when it comes to marketing. You never know. 

Nicole:  Exactly. Marketing is changing all the time, even in comparatively normal times. So, if you’re being super rigid, you’ve just decided that you’re gonna stick with your current tools and strategies forever then the people who are taking calculated risks are definitely gonna get ahead. 

Camille:  Like you said, you have to be flexible. 

Nicole:  Actually, I just read a really great quote from Paul [inaudible], and it’s: “Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don’t.” So that leads back into the second one. You gotta learn everything you can. If you wanna make a calculated investment with little risk, learn something. You could listen or open course lectures from Yale and MIT, and all that stuff on YouTube. You can take LinkedIn learning classes. I’m hooked on that.

Camille:  I think one of the first things I ever learned when I started studying marketing in college was that as a marketing person, you have to learn a lot about what marketing is, and a little bit about everything else. So, it’s like a [inaudible], is what they said, you learn a lot down this aisle, and you have to touch base on everything, because everything is connected in a way. 

Nicole:  And the thing is that this is all trial and error. As soon as you make amends with the fact that you’re gonna mess up, then it gets easier to learn from it. Especially here. And to me, all experience is good experience. Something didn’t go as planned? That’s fine, don’t stress it. go back, write out the steps that led to that outcome, then go over other options, and write some really solid standard operation procedures, so not only you will win this the next time, but anyone else who takes on the task has it there. 

Camille:  All right. So, as far as the SAS industry goes, tell us about a few marketing trends that you’ve noticed within the industry. How are people adapting to the pandemic? Are there any changes that you notice that you think will be permanent?

Nicole:  I love these questions. Absolutely, because this is one where everybody had to change. So, all the companies that were doing the bare minimum with their marketing really got a wakeup call, especially if they’ve been neglecting digital marketing. So, everyone moved from these in-person normal day to day experiences to suddenly really expecting a full, easy, comprehensive digital experience. So, now, even older audiences, even my grandma is calling me. Everyone is starting to do this. And those that aren’t, either really need to do it, or everybody’s gonna move past them. 

Camille:  I think that’s very true. The pandemic was definitely a catalyst in the digital world. If people weren’t doing it before, they definitely have to adapt now. And that was that push over the edge of working remote, and things of that nature. You wanna make sure that even if you don’t see people in person, you have to create that experience online as best as possible, and that’s what pushed people to enter that digital realm full-fledged. 

Nicole:  And it’s a lot of learning by doing. People didn’t learn it before because they didn’t have to, because they had other options. But now, that hurdle of taking the first steps, that’s already done. And it opened up all these new possibilities, just because we couldn’t continue doing things the same way we were. 

Camille:  What would you say is a piece of advice that you would give to a SAS company that’s just starting. 

Nicole:  Tech is your friend. Yu really don’t need a crazy budget or a huge team. Now we’ve got software that can do nearly everything. I was actually reading the 2021 digital advertising trends report from [inaudible], and they reported something really interesting. They said that more teams are increasingly more satisfied using software solutions instead of hiring freelancers, or agencies, or actually even in-house talent. So, make sure you definitely have enough hands to do the work you need, but you don’t have to get wrapped up in hiring when you can use your existing teams smarter.

Camille:  Just leverage and make sure they’re using the tools. And it makes it easier for the people on your team. They have a million things going on. They can’t do everything at a micro level. So, having that software at hand, utilize it, take advantage of it…

Nicole:  And like you said with the last question. There is so much new technology, so many more new programs and methods that we can use from this, that all we have to do is find them and use them.

Camille:  Like I said, I think it just took that push, and it’s like, when people are swimming in a two-foot pool, they’re swimming for their life, and they’re like “Oh gosh, this is so crazy!” And then, all of a sudden, they’re like “It’s actually not that bad.” 

Nicole:  One door closes, you climb out the window. No, but there’s always another option.

Camille:  What are some common mistakes that companies make when it comes to the marketing aspect of their business? 

Nicole:  I think a lot of smaller companies, particularly, they know their app is great. They know their software is awesome. How do they know? They see it. They did it. The thing that a lot of people miss is that this awesome app, it’s not just gonna be beamed directly into the consciousness of your customers. So, it’s awesome, but marketing is how you show people. They won’t know it unless they see it. So, don’t freak out at the short-term costs of the software, or the initial investments. Make calculated risks, do your research, and invest in digital marketing strategies that pay off in the long term. It’s like most things in life. You only get out of it what you put in. 

Camille:  Very true. I like that. How do you become successful if you never take any risks? Well, that’s most of the questions we have for you today. I just want you to have the last two minutes or so. Let’s do a shameless plug. Tell us what your team has been up to, and is there any exciting new with CloudMyBiz? We wanna know. 

Nicole:  Yeah, without a doubt, there’s always exciting news. So, right now, we have a major collaboration with Lexus Nexus for their Salesforce integration, and that’s just been a blast to take part in. Aside from that, we just completed a project with Fanny Mae, and we have a lot of other huge collaborations with new clients in the works. So, it’s been a blast. Also, recently, we released new features for interest-based loans in Fundingo, and like we were talking about, this is an industry where people didn’t know they could do digital. It was that fear of trying something new. But now, they’re ready, and we have this software that helps people that are a little newer to this suddenly use all these automation abilities to start working more with their real estate loans, and construction loans, and all kinds of alternative loans. So, it’s great. I feel like we’re playing a first-hand role in getting people up to speed with new technology, and helping them compete. 

Camille:  And I’m sure all those integrations are super beneficial, that you have coming up. So, they can have one hub in which they don’t have to go to different vendors for different things. They can have it all. So, I can imagine how easy that would be for streamlining purposes. That sounds like a really cool thing. 

Nicole:  Look at it this way: I’m a notebook person. I have my laptop, but I have a notebook- Actually, a minimum of 2-3 notebooks in every room of my house. When you have everything in separate places, it does get hard to keep track of. So, naturally, if you’re using the same software to keep track of everything, you don’t have to go searching for stuff, you don’t type in the same thing three times. It’s all there, and you don’t need the same time or resources, or even budget to just keep it going. 

Camille:  That all sounds really cool. Nicole, it was so exciting to have you on this podcast today. I hope that your cats are fed the rotisserie chicken. 

Nicole:  The other one is learning how to give you a high-five, one of my two. 

Camille:  I was definitely gonna ask what their newest trick was. 

Nicole:  You tell him “What’s up?” and he will, sometimes, give you a little high-five. 

Camille:  Thank you so much for joining us today, Nicole. I look forward to talking to you next time.

Nicole:  it was a blast coming out. Thank you for inviting me. 

Camille:  All right, you have a good one.

Nicole:  You too. 

Your Borrowers Are a Gold Mine of Data: 5 Tips for Using It

Your Borrowers Are a Gold Mine of Data: 5 Tips for Using It

You organized your deals in your lending platform. You set up your processes. Everything is running smoothly and you have an invaluable resource at your fingertips. Data. The question is, how can you put it to work?

If you think about it, everything we do creates some form of data. Every website we visit, app we open, or email we send shows something about us. It isn’t just big businesses that are using data these days. Even small companies have found ways to improve their processes using data.

So how can you leverage data? Do you need to bring in a third party to interpret it or can you go at it alone? How do you get started using your data?

If you feel overwhelmed, don’t stress. Data is your friend, and it can lend powerful insights into your lending’s potential. To make it easier, we’ve listed five steps to help you get started collecting and applying your data.

1. Choose the right software

The key to pulling insights from your data is the right software. Your lending creates a monumental amount of data, and without the right tools, you will miss out on the information you need to make smarter decisions. No human can process all of this data alone. This is where machine learning comes in.

Much like “big data,” machine learning is another term that many use and few understand. What machine learning is is a form of artificial intelligence. It serves to processes and learn from this raw data so it can perform a task.

In this case, make sure you know what you need when you look for your data processing and analytics software. It’s good to have an understanding of where you’ll be drawing your data from. You could start with your CRM or fintech lending platform, for example. Then, look for software compatible with the tools you already use. How can you evaluate the software? That leads us to the next tip.

2. Ask the right questions

Without knowing what questions you’re asking from your data, you will not get your answers. Always make sure that you have your goals in mind so you can understand what kind of data and software you need.

For example, are you looking to reduce the time you’re spending assessing risk? How much time is it currently taking? What are the steps, and how many people does it take? These kinds of questions will make you think about what the “right” integration is for you.

3. Plan broader goals

When you know what you’re looking for, you can start to use your data to get you farther than you may have imagined. Plan distinct, actionable goals for where you want your lending to be. Do you want to take on more deals? Then your data can show you what is currently stopping you and how to improve. Do you want fewer errors? Your data can show where they’re most often made (and even take a stab at why).

While it may be tempting to choose small goals, your competition is aiming higher. Plan for tomorrow, not for today. Successful lenders pay close attention to their industry and forecasts. This is how they know where to target their efforts and measure them with data.

4. Measure progress with your data

Once you’ve got your goals planned out and your software set up, it’s time to measure your progress. Let’s imagine that you’re trying to cut time spent processing transactions. Are the numbers lower now than they were to start? If not, take a deeper look and see what part of the problem remains. It’s not a matter of if you can achieve what you’ve planned; it’s a matter of how.

Modern loan management software offers features that make data digestible. These include visual dashboards, custom reports, and custom notifications. Use them to your advantage. If the numbers look off or if you don’t see what you need, reach out to their support center. They can give valuable tips you can tailor the software to your business.

5. Automate your processes

Once you’ve got the hang of your software, you can apply what you’ve learned to other parts of your business. Track the health of your deals with common indicators from past transactions. Standardize your processes by ensuring that all your staff uses the same flow. Better yet, set up automatic prompts to ensure that no deal is missing information.

Keep in mind that your goldmine of data isn’t limited to your actual loans. You can apply the same method anywhere in your business. Remember, work smarter, not harder.


Don’t let the buzzwords catch you off guard. You and your team can learn and apply big data, machine learning, and analytics to help even the smallest of businesses. With the right software, questions, and support, you can automate your way to success.