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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. 

Salesforce Consultant or Internal Admin? Here’s What to Consider.

Salesforce Consultant or Internal Admin? Here’s What to Consider.

Three people sit at a wooden table with their laptops

When used as loan management software, Salesforce automates business tasks, organizes processes, and provides data insights you might be missing. As many alternative lenders find themselves at a pivot point between in-person and digital lending, more have decided to bring their operations online. Unfortunately, many teams are ill-equipped to handle implementation, training, and updates in loan management software independently. Now, the shift to digital processes is no longer optional. Cloud lending software is now critical to many lenders’ survival. So what do you do when it’s time to bring your operations online?

The First Steps

The first decision lenders will have to make is who is going to help. The choice will ultimately depend on the needs of their business. Each of the two options has its pros and cons. Ultimately, you will need to know what you need from your loan management system to decide confidently. Some factors that many businesses weigh are experience, availability, and cost. When looking for someone to teach your team how to use Salesforce for loan management, be sure to ask how they plan to address your concerns in the areas that are important to you.

The first step is to outline where you foresee your struggles. When looking for an automated loan processing system, you may want to consider questions like:

  • Is your staff tech-savvy, or will they need a helping hand learning the loan automation program?
  • Do they have the time to investigate the program on their own?
  • What are your strategies to improve sales productivity?
  • Will they need a hand to adapt while they manage their current operations?
  • Does your lending involve similar programs or an assortment of physical documents and spreadsheets?

What Do I Need From My Financial Lending Solution?

For the countless lenders that still use mainly physical paper documentation, extra training assistance is a must. You’ll want someone with the knowledge to understand why your team is struggling and how to help. Remember, a proper Salesforce implementation should not disrupt your operations, but compliment them.

Your reasons for choosing Salesforce will guide your process from here. Are you changing because you’re short on time? Is it to get more data to improve your lending? Your priorities will help you choose an admin that has the same preferences in mind.

Do I Need a Salesforce Admin or In-House Administrator?

Now, consider some differences between Salesforce Admins and in-house administrators. In-house administrators will have greater availability to train your staff. Still, Salesforce admins have far more experience with training and implementing their clients in the software. Even extended availability doesn’t compare with practice. A Salesforce admin may spend less time training your staff, but their extensive knowledge allows them to train more efficiently.

When you find an administrator who has experienced helping other alternative lenders, you’re banking on their experience helping businesses like yours. Any candidate your company considers should specialize in alternative lenders. Since alternative lending has specific challenges that no other industry faces, your administrator needs to be familiar with them.

What Questions Do I Ask?

When you begin to interview, ask about their previous work with businesses like yours. Relevant education or experience can also make for a good fit. While neither one is necessarily more important, the choice will ultimately depend on the candidate.

Now that you’ve verified your admins’ familiarity with alternative lending, consider what your skills are. What is YOUR current level of experience working in Salesforce? Do you know what features you need? Do your candidates? And how much assistance do you need to understand what your needs are?

To confirm your candidate has everything they need to help, take a look at their training. Hands-on experience is excellent, but with software that updates so frequently, it is not enough. That said, your admin should have the right mix of both. How can you verify that your admin has the skills to make the most of Salesforce?

What Are The Skills That Matter?

Your applicants will undoubtedly have different areas of knowledge and experience. How can you weigh them fairly?

When you see your candidate’s qualifications, don’t only take them at face value. Spend a moment researching their certifications and verify their quality. Your candidates should all have a valid certificate that confirms their skills from a body that requires continuing skills tests.

Salesforce admins must go through an intensive training process to demonstrate that they are ready to help their clients at the level that Salesforce expects. While Salesforce only offers the certification exam, online courses are the most popular form of preparation that Salesforce admins use.

Why Are Salesforce Admins Different from In-House Admins?

While an internal admin may know the program, working in Salesforce is a Salesforce administrator’s entire job.

The fluidity that Salesforce admins have when working with the platform comes from extensive training. They must pass a rigorous exam that guarantees that they have the knowledge to configure, run, and modify the platform for their clients. Additionally, they have to pass three release exams every year on its new features.

Because a Salesforce admin works with many different clients, they understand what to expect when helping onboard your team. They know what aspects may be challenging for you and how to guide your team in Salesforce optimization. A Salesforce admin has the generalized knowledge to predict your needs with the program based on their experience with other clients.

Final Notes

While it may seem convenient to have a full-time Salesforce admin, it may not be necessary. Quality admins can train your existing team to run day-to-day operations. A Salesforce admin can come in when needed to help your staff make adjustments and troubleshoot. Spend some time to think if you genuinely need availability or if you need the expertise.

By bringing in a consultant instead of a full-time staff member, your company also conserves time and resources. A Salesforce consultant will give you a good idea of how much their clients typically need. Both of the candidates should outline their plan to onboard your lending and how long it will take.

Though it may be tempting to have an internal administrator handle your Salesforce operations, one thing is sure. A Salesforce administrator is guaranteed to have the skills to help your team, no matter what your needs. If you’re ready to start looking, take a look at our step-by-step guide on choosing the right Salesforce consultant.

Tip of the Week – 99 Tips of the Week on the wall from CloudMyBiz

Tip of the Week – 99 Tips of the Week on the wall from CloudMyBiz

Image by Joelle Diane

It’s hard to believe, but this week is our 99th Tip of the Week. Almost two years have gone by since we first shared with you some of our favorite Salesforce workarounds, and since then, we’ve worked hard to bring you a new tip, trick, hack, or solution for common Salesforce challenges every week. I’m writing this post from my first Dreamforce experience, and next week’s 100th will (probably) be focused on what I’ve learned, but for now I bring you my personal favorite top 10 tips from the last 98.

10. Barcodes in Salesforce are that bleeping simple

I have run into a couple situations where I needed barcodes in Salesforce, and happened on this solution. It’s so quick and easy to implement that it will always make my top 10.

9. Maps in Salesforce will be a game changer Spring ’15

And they have been! This feature generated a lot of excitement, and over the last several months, it has been thoroughly loved by everyone I know in the Salesforce world!

8. A quick life hack to enhance your Salesforce experience

This tip was completely out of left field, but for those of you with big, tall pages and documents to read, it can be a real life-changer. Think desktop meets iPad (without the iPad Pro investment).

7. The dos and don’ts of Salesforce Chatter

I wasn’t expecting how popular this tip was going to be when I wrote it, but it made its rounds in a big way. I hadn’t realized how many people were looking for a primer on what to do with Chatter.

6. Calculate business days between two dates in Salesforce

This simple solution can be a real help to businesses for whom business day response time is crucial – which accounts for a large number of businesses. I love these simple copy/paste solutions.

5. A whole new world in Salesforce with one simple Visualforce page

Speaking of copy/paste solutions, this one can bring some amazing features to your org with very little effort. I’ve received a number of phone calls from other Salesforce partners wanting to implement it.

4. Ready, set, integrate with Salesforce to Salesforce

People don’t realize how easy it is to integrate two Salesforce orgs together with Salesforce-to-Salesforce, but it can completely reinvent how two teams work together.

3. Choosing the right phone integration for Salesforce

This post is a go-to for me when people ask me about CTI adapters. There are so many options on the market, and this can really help you choose the right solution for your team.

2. It’s easy to create dynamic Reports in Salesforce

This tip took a lot of effort to write, but it serves as a primer for my team whenever they need to learn how to build dynamic Reports. The step-by-step instructions break it down so that anyone can do it!

1. Hack Away at work with URL hacking in Salesforce

This is one of our most revisited posts, and I’ve heard from developers in and out of my office that they come back to this time and again every time they are trying to prepare custom URL hacks. If you’re looking for simple instructions, I walk you through it and make it as easy as I can.

Keep an eye out for many more tips and tricks over the next two years and beyond! I look forward to celebrating our 100th post next week, and sharing with you our 200th and more! Thanks for reading.

-Jared and the Salesforce Guys

Sanity, Selflessness and Salesforce:  A guide to not losing your marbles at Dreamforce 2015

Sanity, Selflessness and Salesforce: A guide to not losing your marbles at Dreamforce 2015


Inspiration. Imagination. Innovation.

Inanition. Indisposition. Enervation.

Houston… We have a problem.

Dreamforce is one of the largest tech conferences in the world. Over 160,000 people attending, and a place where even the most extroverted can find themselves overwhelmed.

With less than a week to go, do you have the knowledge you need to make it through without losing your marbles whilst helping others to keep theirs all in one place too?

Under promise, over deliver. There are over 1,600 sessions to choose from. All of which will be available on YouTube. If you haven’t worked out which sessions you want to attend, then do that right this minute. Yes, I’m bossing you about, but you don’t want to show up on Monday with no idea of what’s going on, as you’ll lose earlier said marbles right off the bat. And don’t have a meltdown if you can’t reserve a seat – 25% of seats are ‘secretly’ left unreserved to allow for walk-ins.

Book the sessions you want to attend, then book back-up sessions. Aim for 3 to 4 a day and then expect to attend 2 of them. Apptus has a great guide to the Agenda builder. But, you need to go with the flow here. If you run into Miss Piggy and are having a fascinating conversation about how Kermit keeps himself so green, then know that you don’t have to run off because you can catch that session online.

If you need help deciding which sessions to choose from, Dreamforce has a handy filter, where you can filter down to 17 industries, 21 roles, 20 products, 26 themes, and 3 levels.

In the same vein, book into every party you think you might want to attend and go, if Miss Piggy will let you. Don’t worry about being a flake here – everything’s oversubscribed, as they know people are trying to hit every party on the block. However, whenever possible, try to get VIP passes for guaranteed entry, fancy drinks and a good serving of grub. Check out the Apptus party calendar for up to-date info on the DF15 parties.

Get into the Zone. Make sure you give yourself time to head over to the Zones. Each Zone focuses on content for their respective audience and will provide areas to recharge – yourself and your devices! This year, Moscone West will host the Dev, Admin, Design, Analytics and SMB zones. If you head over to Park Central you’ll be in the Partner Zone, Palace will hold the Service Zone, Hilton will host the Salesforce U Zone and the Marriott will inspire you with the Foundation Zone. Do not mistake multiple zones for wormholes to Planet Vega.

My body is a Temple. But it won’t be if you keep grabbing all the junk food that’s being thrown at you.

At Dreamforce, you’re going to walk a lot. What’s going to make that easier for you? Comfy shoes? Baggy Hammer pants? A Hurricane stick? Whatever it might be – take it and wear it with pride.

You’re probably going to get a headache. Be it from lack of food, the air-conditioning, too much booze, non-stop chattering, walking into glass doors… Whatever it may be – what do you need for that headache? Advil? Tiger balm? Tracks of crickets chirping in the rain forest? Make sure you have it with you.

Coffee is everywhere! Over 5,000 gallons of coffee were consumed at DF14. And you know what? It’s not going to keep you going… Caffeine wreaks havoc on your blood sugar levels and makes you even more fatigued. It’ll boost you up, you’ll then crash and reach for another cup. Remember what it can do to your belly too… Uh-oh! Reach for an apple instead of that 2nd or 3rd cup. It honestly has more wake up power than a cup of Joe.

What do you need for energy? With all that chinwagging and shuffling around, you’re going to need to keep your energy up. Avoid the endless supply of junk food and sugary snacks. Pack your own snack in your pocket or backpack and drink plenty of water. You will get dehydrated and will have no idea that you’re so fatigued because you need water (…okay, maybe the 6 martinis and slow dancing with SaaSy til 1am come into play there too).

Find a zen place. This is going to be an intense 4 days. It’s important to take time to yourself and ground yourself. Your mind will be so scattered and you’ll be running on adrenaline, so any time you have a spare moment, go find a place to just sit and breathe. If you struggle with that, then why not try the Mindfulness Keynote on Friday?

Run Forest Run! Whether you’re a runner, or a walker… or maybe a hopper or a skipper, you will have the time to exercise at DF15. If you want to make the time, that is. San Francisco is a truly fabulous city and you’ll want to take advantage of its early morning bustle. The sessions don’t start til mid-morning, so get up early, have a good run/walk/hop/skip/jump, release that serotonin, clear your head, get a hearty breakfast and start your day off right. Salesforce’s Matt Wesson, lists some great running routes here.

Give: freely transfer the possession of (something) to (someone)

Whilst the parties and schwag are cool beans, the work the Salesforce Foundation does is incredibly inspiring.

Last year the focus of #DFGives was to donate over 1 million meals to the hungry. They ended up being able to donate over 3 million! This year, the goal is to donate 1 million books to schools and libraries around the world. You can bring a book to Dreamforce (focusing on grades K-12), or donate online.

Whilst altruism is admirable, you can also get something back for your donations… The Concert for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals is on September 17 at Pier 70 and promises an evening of joyous entertainment with performances from the Foo(d) Fighters, Gary Clark Jr, will.i.am and MC Hammer (get out those baggy Hammer pants y’all). Tickets can be purchased here.

What’s even more awesome, is you can see where the funds are going, as on Thursday, there’s a tour of UCSF Mission Bay – the biotech capital of the world – which is the home to the all-new UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. Sign up for tickets here.

There’s a new giving theme for each day of Dreamforce, and multiple events you can attend, observe or donate your time to. And don’t forget to do your bit for the environment and follow these handy tips on going green at Dreamforce (Kermit jokes aside).

The final countdown.

  1. Worried about networking? Firstly, check out my article on Expressions of Awesomeness and remember:
    • Every conversation is a possibility of something fabulous (maybe they know Kermit…?);
    • Give more than you take – leave some energy and space for them, as well as for you;
    • If you’re on your own and there’s someone less than 3 feet from you, then start a conversation;
    • Put yer bloomin’ phone away!!
  1. Still can’t get a last minute Dreamforce ticket justified to your boss? Get onto the ROI Calculator and Letter. There’s no chance of a ‘no’ after showing them this….
  2. Be clear about what you want to achieve and the steps to achieve it;
  3. Plan, plan, plan, then forget about it and go with the flow;
  4. Learn the campus and look for people in blue for help;
  5. Forgive me for too many Kermit references.

Hopefully, this will help you keep the inanition, indisposition and enervation at bay and bask in the inspiration, imagination and innovation that will be Dreamforce 2015.

~Henrietta and the team at CloudMyBiz

Count down to the New Year with our Top 10 Salesforce Tips of 2014

Count down to the New Year with our Top 10 Salesforce Tips of 2014

Top 10 of 2014

2014 has been a great year for Salesforce, with cool new tools and awesome enhancements. We’ve had a blast sharing with you our favorite tips and tricks to make your Salesforce experience easier and more enjoyable. It has been fun seeing what you loved, and sometimes you surprised us. It is my pleasure to bring you our top 10 Salesforce tips of 2014, presented with limited comment in descending order of popularity.

10. Clean up your org with Country and State picklists in Salesforce

9. Improve Salesforce Activity reporting in the New Year

8. Chatter rocks at attachments, and Salesforce Summer ’14 is bringing you more space!

The next two surprised me a bit. We usually stick with stuff straight in Salesforce, but these two, a Google Chrome app (Record and Metadata Comparator) and a suggestion to turn your monitor on its side, got a lot of traction. It works, though, because the Record and Metadata Comparator app would be awesome to use with a vertical monitor!

7. Save time testing with Record and Metadata Comparator for Salesforce

6. A quick life hack to enhance your Salesforce experience

5. The Dos and Don’ts of Salesforce Chatter

The next one isn’t even relevant until next year, but this sweet enhancement is already one of the most anticipated new features for 2015, so we weren’t surprised when it made the list.

4. Maps in Salesforce will be a game changer Spring ’15

#4 is a super simple Visualforce page with tons of great use cases. I’ve been getting emails and phone calls ever since we shared this one. If you’ve not tried it, you should check it out!

3. A whole new world in Salesforce with one simple Visualforce page

2. Calculate business days between two dates in Salesforce

Finally, coming in as our #1 post from 2014 is another surprise. Instead of being a quick tip, this one takes you through the meticulous and sometimes frustrating process of URL hacking. It may be long and a little complicated, but the power of URL hacks will knock your socks off! If you’ve not tried it, check out #1 today and give your users a sweet surprise for 2015!

1. Hack away at work with URL hacking in Salesforce

-Jared and the Salesforce Guys.

Countdown to the New Year – Top 10 Salesforce tips and tricks of 2013

Countdown to the New Year – Top 10 Salesforce tips and tricks of 2013

Thanks to Salesforce’s No Software model, updates three times a year, and the open-source approach of the Salesforce community, new features and creative solutions to daily requirements are always coming out. The CloudMyBiz team works hard to stay on the forefront of all that Salesforce has to offer, and below are our Top 10 Salesforce features of 2013!

10) Dynamic Report URLs

Have you ever wanted to see a report based on a record you’re working on without having to manually customize another report? Maybe you want to see all open Opportunities for a specific Account, or maybe you want to pull a report of all Cases with the same type as the one you’re trying to resolve. With a custom Detail Page Link, you can create amazing dynamic reports based on any parameter from a record. GreatG has a great walkthrough here for setting up your first dynamic report URL.

9) Embedded Analytics

For years, users have been begging for a way to add charts directly to record detail pages. Previously, you’d have to work with a team of developers to create this kind of functionality, spend weeks or months in development and testing, and if you needed to make any changes, it was back to the drawing board. Well, Salesforce has heard your cries and has added Embedded Report Charts to the Winter ’14 release! Read more in our Tip of the Week – Increase visibility with Embedded Report Charts in Salesforce.

8) Analytics API

In the past, if your developers were trying to create a custom mobile app, a Visualforce page with charts and graphs, or an intricate integration with another system and wanted to include data from a specific report, this required some complex code and a lot of work. In the Winter ’14 release, Salesforce brought us the Analytics API which now allows programmatic access to Salesforce Reports from external systems and via APEX controllers. Check out the Developer Guide (PDF) for more information and full specs, and enjoy all the cool features!

7) Historical Trends

Wrapping up our favorite reporting features from the past year, we’d like to draw your attention to some new features for reporting on Historical Trends.

Historical trending comes with a new custom report type designed to highlight changes between any five snapshot dates. It adds the ability to analyse day-to-day, week-to-week, and month-to-month changes in the Opportunities object and up to three custom objects.

Read more from our colleagues at Bluewolf on this and several other great new features from the Winter ’14 release.

6) Data Loader

The Salesforce Data Loader may not be a new feature, but with its power, versatility, and ease of use for quickly importing, exporting, and mass updating records, it is one of the first programs we open every morning. Developerforce has a great wiki about the Data Loader. If you’ve never used this awesome tool, you should check it out!

5) Email to Salesforce

Yet another oldie but goodie comes to us from Mike Gerholdt, the ButtonClick Admin.

For all of the fancy plugins and connected apps that exist, Email to Salesforce is a great beginner’s way to getting executives and reluctant users to log emails without lifting a finger.

Check out his blog (one of our favorites) for more about Email to Salesforce and a few other forgotten Salesforce features.

4) Salesforce Console for Sales

The ButtonClick Admin wrote a fantastic post about Winter ’14, and among other features, highlighted the Salesforce Console for Sales.

If your sales people ever saw the Service Cloud Console they wanted it immediately. Especially for Inside Sales reps who do a lot of repetitive calling, or list building. And let’s be honest, the Sales Cloud has a lot of clicks- which is ok if you have like 10 accounts, but when you manage hundreds or more you could get carpal-tunnel in a day.

Read more here for his breakdown of this and other new features.

3) Salesforce Side Panel for Outlook

If your team’s primary email tool is Gmail, you may already be familiar with the benefits of bringing the power of Salesforce directly to the email client with a tool like Cirrus Insight. But if your team is using Microsoft Outlook, the functionality was somewhat limited…until the Winter ’13 release. Since then, Salesforce has added some cool new features and tools to the Outlook integration. Watch Salesforce’s intro video to one of these new features below and read more here.

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2) Salesforce1

If you’ve been trying to increase your mobile reach with Salesforce, the new Salesforce1 app may be just what you’re looking for. Salesforce1 aims to bring the platform into the internet of things with powerful new APIs and a full suite of useful tools. Definitely a game changer! Read more here and check it out today!

1) Chatter Publisher Actions

Our favorite new feature this year dropped in the Summer ’13 release, and it has been a hit with users, admins, and developers alike. The biggest complaint we hear from users is that it takes too many steps to log a call, create a case, [insert daily task here], and there’s no time to go through that whole process to do one little thing. For admins, this means missing out on valuable metrics, and their requests to make the process faster and easier can leave developers scratching their heads. Well, no more with Chatter Publisher Actions. Read more about this feature here, and enjoy a better, faster, more intuitive Salesforce experience in 2014!

With all the amazing new features and powerful old tools from Salesforce, the possibilities for optimizing your system are endless. It has never been easier to access reports and charts from all over Salesforce and even external systems. Powerful email tools make communicating with customers a breeze. The extension of the Console UI beyond the Service Cloud will make everyone’s job easier, and Chatter Publisher Actions further extend that ease of use to everyone in your system. And the Salesforce1 app will no doubt bring incredible new functionality to your team even while on the go. Keep watching our blog  for updates as cool new features start to emerge in 2014! And don’t forget to sign up for the Tip of the Week to get smarter week by week and become a Salesforce expert!

~Jared and the Salesforce Guys