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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

Top 3 Salesforce workarounds

Top 3 Salesforce workarounds

Has user adoption got you down? Does connecting the dots between emails make you want to pull your hair out? Are you baffled by the endless task of sending scheduled reports to employees or customers outside your Salesforce system? Well, sit back and let me help you out. I’ve got the top 3 workarounds to make your Salesforce experience more successful!

3: Collaborate & do business in one place with Chatter Publisher Actions

The biggest complaint I hear from users is that it takes too many steps to do X, Y, or Z in Salesforce. “I’m trying to meet my sales goals and make as many calls as possible. When do I have time to log a call or create a new opportunity? This is taking way too much time!”

Well, as of Summer ’13, Salesforce has a solution with the release of Chatter Publisher Actions. Chatter Actions can be used to create any type of record from any Chatter feed anywhere in Salesforce and is mobile-ready out of the box. And with a little more ingenuity and a custom Visualforce page, they can do even more. With Chatter Actions, your users can ask for a colleague’s advice, log a call, add a new contact, and create a new opportunity or case without ever leaving a record. When they’re done, everything will be logged in the Chatter feed for easy visibility later. Users love it, and you will to!

2: Reduce email clutter & automatically link emails to Cases using Thread ID

When you’re reviewing your notes before reaching out to a client, there is nothing more frustrating than not being able to find that crucial email from two weeks ago that has the information you need today. Although Email-to-Salesforce can make this task easier, you’re still left with the manual process of dealing with unresolved items and linking relevant emails to Cases before you can use them.

Many organizations have implemented Email-to-Case for creating new cases, but that’s not the end of what this powerful feature has to offer. Available in most editions of Salesforce, Email-to-Case allows you to add a thread id to all emails from your system and an organization-wide email address you can make available to some or all of your users. Users send an email from a Case record using the organization wide email address, and when a client responds to the email containing the thread id anywhere in the email, Salesforce will automatically connect that email with the corresponding Case record.

Now, every email relevant to the Case will be in one place, right on the Case record. You don’t have to worry about losing it, and if you need to get additional help, there are no emails to forward to a colleague. Just send them to the Case and everything they need is right there.

1: Scheduling reports to Chatter Free users

Scheduled reports are one of the more useful tools offered by the metrics-side of Salesforce. When you schedule a report, it is automatically sent to any user at a set time and day. This is fantastic when the people who need the data are users in your system, but when they are executives with no need for Salesforce access or on the accounts receivable team and just need to know what checks to be expecting, you have to either swallow the cost of another Salesforce license or forward them the reports they need manually.

But did you know that Chatter Free users can receive scheduled reports? That’s right, with just a Chatter Free license, you can automate the process and not pay a penny extra. And with hundreds of licenses available, you should never have to worry about hitting your limits.

With Chatter Actions making it easier for users to do their jobs while respecting your validation rules, user adoption and morale will skyrocket. Cases have never been easier to resolve than when all your emails are automatically linked to them. And with Chatter Free users getting scheduled reports without you having to send them yourself, you’ll have more time to check out more of the cool tools Salesforce has to offer. For other info, please check out CloudMyBiz.com

-Jared and the Salesforce Guys