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Tip of the Week – A whole new world in Salesforce with one simple Visualforce page

Tip of the Week – A whole new world in Salesforce with one simple Visualforce page

If you’ve been following our posts, you know that we at CloudMyBiz are big fans of leveraging images to tell stories about your Salesforce data. Image formulas are an incredible tool, but they have some limitations. You have to have a field name, so you can’t just have the image nicely displayed on its own. There are limits to the number of formula fields you can use on an object, and image formulas can quickly be a drain on these. Additionally, if you want to put something in there which is a little more dynamic than an image, say a web page, well, that’s never going to happen.

As a blog coordinator, I wanted a way to easily track my blogs, keep an eye on posts, and have a really dynamic, nice looking page to work with in Salesforce.  Image formulas weren’t going to do the trick, so I sat back, pulled up a new Visualforce page, and wrote this in just 15 minutes (including adding it to my page layout)! The code couldn’t be simpler, and you can have a gorgeous addition to your page that will tell a story like nothing else in no time.

<apex:page standardController="Blog__c" showHeader="false" sidebar="false" >
<apex:outputLink value="{!Blog__c.bLocation__c}" target="_blank">
<apex:image url="{!Blog__c.imageURL}"/>

Note that you can hard code a specific URL or make it a bit more dynamic like I did here with a URL formula. You can even take this one step further and drop an iFrame straight on to your page.

<apex:page standardController="Blog__c" showHeader="false" sidebar="false" >
<apex:iframe src="{!Blog__c.bLocation__c}"/>

If you’re using Google Chrome and the site you’re adding isn’t https, it will take a little effort to get the page to load, but once it does, you can’t beat the results. Check it out and enjoy a whole new Salesforce experience with this 15 minute Visualforce project!

-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.

[Story continues after jump]


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

Tip of the Week – Formulas aren’t just for math in Salesforce

Tip of the Week – Formulas aren’t just for math in Salesforce

When time is of the essence and you need to make a decision fast, you don’t have time to read. You just want your system to “show me the money!” Consider this:

You’re on the phone with a potential customer your team has been working for the last few weeks and their general attitude is “shut up and take my money!” You have all the information you need right in front of you. Now, all you need to know is if they qualify, but that requires reviewing a bunch of different fields, and every second you delay, your lead is growing more impatient. Your admin might have added a text formula field to tell you this, but you still have to sift through all the other nearly identical fields.  All you want is a big thumbs-up so you can make the sale. Well, Salesforce can do that for you!

Salesforce formula fields are an invaluable tool for checking and validating information on a record, giving you dynamic feedback, and performing complex calculations instantly. But did you know that you can use a formula field to display an image? Simply use the IMAGE() tag for the formula’s output and you can show your team the lead they’re working is qualified with a big thumbs-up, warn them an account is overdue with a fat red X, flag a contact on their birthday, or show your customer support team exactly which cases came from Facebook, Twitter, Email, and the Web without cluttering their list views.

Read more here, and enjoy your awesome new page layouts!

-Jared and the Salesforce Guys

App of the Week – Get hundreds of images for Salesforce with the Graphics Pack

App of the Week – Get hundreds of images for Salesforce with the Graphics Pack

Like it or not, we humans are visual beings. We rely heavily on what we see when making decisions. They used to say “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but in today’s world of TV, mobile devices, and social media, the perfect image is worth everything. You might have all the information you need to make a good deal or identify a problem account, but nothing says “go” like a green light, or “stop” like a big red flag. The team at Salesforce Labs knows this, and so they bring you the Graphics Pack!

The Graphics Pack is a collection of hundreds of icons and images available for free on the App Exchange. You can use these images to better customize your tabs, add awesome images to your records with image formula fields, add a visual component to your Visualforce pages, and just generally spruce up your Salesforce account. And with all the options, you’ll be hard pressed to find something they don’t have ready and waiting for you. Check it out on the App Exchange today and get started adding images in Salesforce!