Salesforce is a cloud-based software as a service provider that offers many solutions that aid organizations in conducting their business smoothly. Salesforce started with a customer relationship management software and later expanded to sales cloud, marketing cloud, analytics, business process automation, etc. Salesforce services help an organization acquire leads, nurture them to opportunities, convert them to customers, service the customers and then maintain the relationship.
Having such services spares organizations of the effort to implement their custom solutions and help focus on the actual part of selling and generating profit. This post is about Salesforce Automation – A solution for automating business processes. It starts with a brief introduction to Salesforce Automation before diving deeper into the key Salesforce Automation tools and the bests practices to optimize the Sales Automation process.
Table of Contents
Introduction to Salesforce Automation
Salesforce Automation is part of the Salesforce Platform offering that specializes in business process automation. It helps in automating repetitive tasks like creating records based on lead acquisition, sending scheduled or triggered communication, creating approval workflows, etc.
Salesforce Platform is priced from 25$ per user per month for the cheapest plant. The platform also includes Einstein Automate which helps accomplish automation tasks involving external integrations with other cloud-based services. Salesforce Automation provides non-code tools based on drag and drop interfaces to automate many common patterns found in typical organizations.
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Understanding the Best Salesforce Automation Practices
Now that you have understood the basics of Salesforce Automation, this article will talk about the best practices while automating your business processes.
1. Process Maps Creation
Before implementing the process builder steps, it is recommended to identify the scenarios for automation and build process maps based on that. You can use well-known tools like Gliffy or draw.io to create these process maps. Such process maps allow one to refine the criteria and identify all the processes related to an object beforehand.
2. Multiple Processes vs Complex Processes
When an object is part of multiple processes, it is natural to get confused about whether to implement a complex process or implement multiple processes. It is recommended to use a single large process for an object since this avoids confusing outcomes that may arise because of multiple processes interacting with each other. That said, if there is sufficient isolation or independence between the processes, it may not be a bad idea to have multiple processes.
3. Reusable Actions
A benefit of documenting process maps before implementation is that you may be able to identify common patterns that are present in multiple processes. This opens up the possibility of building reusable actions. Reusable actions help create refined processes and optimized flows.
4. Scheduled Actions for External Data
In case data from external systems are required, it is recommended to use scheduled actions rather than triggers since this isolates steps such that problems in the external environment do not affect the Salesforce processes.
5. Approval Process Maps
Approval processes also can benefit from having a process map before implementation. This helps in refining the processing logic and opens up possibilities for optimizing approval workflows.
6. Isolated Triggered Actions and Scheduled Actions
Oversight while implementing triggered actions can result in destroying criteria specified for scheduled actions. This can create unintended consequences and can be hard to debug.
Salesforce Automation comprises three tools designed for three broad categories of use cases.
- Process Builder
- Approval Processes
Process Builder helps users to automate simple processes based on Salesforce objects by defining criteria and action. For example, if you need to send an email to a specific person, every time an instance of a specific salesforce object is created, process builder is the perfect option.
Flow helps users handle complex processes where user input in a screen or indirectly related objects are involved. For example, if you need to build an action based on the information filled by a user on a screen, Flow will help you complete it.
Approvals are specifically designed for implementing approval workflows that involve complex nested logic based on user action or specific logic.
1. Process Builder
Process Builder is used to automating simple repetitive tasks like sending an email or notification to a chatter group when an object is created. Most process builder job implementation involves starting objects, criteria related to the objects, and an action that needs to be performed.
Process Builder can be accessed from the ‘Setup’ tab in Salesforce Lightning. From the Setup tab, you can head to the search text box to search for Process Builder.
Once you start the Process Builder, the next step is to select a starting object and define criteria for the process to trigger. Process Builder provides options to trigger a process based on the creation or updating of objects.
You can then define the criteria for triggering the process. This can even be just the creation of the object. In that case, select the ‘No Criteria’ option.
You can then select the action from the supported list.
The only remaining step is to activate the process at the end of the sequence. Implementing Process Builder jobs is easy and can be done by anyone with a basic knowledge of Salesforce objects.
Flow allows one to implement more complex Salesforce Automation tasks when compared to Process builder. Flow can implement Salesforce Automation based on user input data in custom and execute complex logic that has multiple branches of information flow. Flow is a development environment that can create code based on dragging and dropping elements. Any logic that requires user input is generally started by dragging and dropping a screen element into the flow builder palette.
Flow is especially useful in automating marketing tasks. For example, you want to drop an email every time a potential customer fills a contact form. You may then want to keep sending him emails in predefined intervals to groom the lead and then implemented a predefined workflow that usually works for converting the leads. Flow is tailor-made for scenarios like that.
Another major advantage of Flow compared to Process Builder is that it can access indirectly related objects to the starting object while implementing logic. Process Builder logical implementation is limited to criteria involving the immediate parent or child object of the starting object.
Flow can be accessed from the search box of Salesforce Lightning Setup.
Once you select Flow, you will be greeted with a wide palette from where logical blocks and actions can be dragged to the main flow implementation section.
3. Approval Processes
Approval Processes are the third key tool in Salesforce Automation. It helps users implement complex approvals workflows that involve multiple branches. Similar to Process Builder, Approval flow implementation usually starts from a starting object. It then involves defining the criteria for successful and failed approvals and redirecting logic to approvers based on specific events.
Approval Processes can also be accessed from the ‘Setup’ menu in the Salesforce Lightning application.
Salesforce Automation provides multiple tools for automating your business processes. It is a great tool for automating marketing and sales flows and leads to a direct improvement in conversion metrics. The ability to formalize the marketing process through automation goes a long way in ensuring that all the leads and customers get the same attention.
If you are an advanced use of Salesforce Automation, you are most probably dealing with a lot of external data sources from other cloud services. Having the ability to use data from external sources to make decisions in Salesforce is a very powerful construct. But accomplishing this needs integration to many third-party services and Salesforce scheduled data loads can feel inadequate.
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