Chatter is a great tool, and if you use Salesforce, you should be using it, and using it every day – many times a day. Chatter is great for “working out loud” and keeping others in your team up to date with what you are doing.
There is a lot of help out there about how to use chatter, including the Chatter Best Practices page on the Salesforce website and this excellent series of 9 chatter training videos created by Engineers Australia for their Chatter implementation. They may be a bit specific to just engineers and just the stand-alone chatter app, but they are very well done.
One thing I could not find enough information on is Notifications, so here is my explanation of notifications. (Well, it started out as being only about notifications, but it may now include a bit more information also).
Chatter, like most social networks, can be Push or Pull - eg you can “pull” the information towards you by going to look at your chatter feeds, or have chatter “push” the information out to you, via notifications.
I like working with Not For Profit organisations, especially since they usually have old technology and outdated systems so there is so much that I can help your NFP with, that can revolutionise the way you work. The basis of most NFP data requirements is based around a CRM or Customer Relationship Management system.
Each NFP is different, but there are some common features that most NFPs need to have when looking at a CRM system: Read more…
I received a question from Richard:
What’s a user friendly online project management tool that we can use to share documents, and record discussions and comments.
Kim asked a question about Salesforce:
I need to create a custom button to replace the lead convert button, what we want is to be able to assign a different owner to the account/contact/opportunity and pre-populate the other fields.
What is the best solution for sharing the documents that the committee needs to access? We have Google Apps and our WordPress website, but we think Dropbox might be best.
I get asked a lot of tech questions from friends and colleagues, and I usually reply by email and the info just sits in my email sent items and their inbox. So it’s time to set that knowledge free! So from now on, if I get asked a Question that may be helpful to other people, I’m going to share it on my website.
There are a few new ways to get a website up on the internet without having to pay for additional hosting.
Now, these solutions are for those that want to create and maintain their own site from scratch, they are not based on a Content Management System like WordPress, so they may not be for everyone.
I work for a Not For Profit and we use Salesforce. I need some training, but we have a limited budget – any ideas?
I get asked this often, probably because I do blog about it so much.
What is the simplest way to get a basic website set up.
A friend asked me to recommend where to start with learning some basics about Web Development.
My answer is to start with a foundation in basic HTML and CSS and then go onto some of the coding languages like Javsascript, PHP or others later.
An attendee from WordCamp Gold Coast who watched my talk wanted some advice on how best to do the Sign-up for a Mailchimp mailing list from A WordPress website.
Do you recommend using a MailChimp plugin, or using a separate online form. As I’ve not MailChimp before I need some advice from an expert.
I am trying to work out the best strategy for my clients to use for doing lightweight task management in Confluence. I thought that since we have the new Task features and Workbox in 4.3 that this would be a no-brainer. We would not need Ad hoc Workflows, we can just use the new functionality.
Confluence has released what looks like a great new feature in Confluence 4.3 – the ability to have Tasks on the page, and a centralised notification box called the Workbox.
With a number of new Confluence features lately, I feel that the release of this new feature is a bit half-baked and it doesn’t actually do all the things you need it to do. (I think it’s because I love the product, I hold it up to such high standards, and expect things to work really well first up).
I have always liked to do flowcharts. Simple flowcharts are good flowcharts – a picture tells a thousand words. I also love Confluence, and love the hierarchical nature of the structure of Confluence – much like a flowchart. Now we combine the two and we have a great way to communicate information. Enter Graphviz and the Graphviz Confluence Plugin.
This is a Tutorial to get you started with using Graphviz in Confluence to produce flowcharts quickly and easily.
I recently picked up a new client to help them out with Salesforce. They are a very small business and just wanted a 2 user group edition to start doing CRM. If they had not already purchased Salesforce I would have suggested that they stay away from Salesforce. Unless you can afford the top end of Salesforce plus numerous plugins, Salesforce can be really very frustrating.
The client was struggling to understand how to use Salesforce, and I can understand that. Salesforce is very American and is very very set up to sell Widgets. If you don’t sell widgets you need to customise it heavily to the way you work, and if you don’t have the Enterprise Edition of Salesforce, you can’t customise it enough. But this company does sell Widgets so I thought there must be more to it as to why they were struggling.
For a while now, I’ve been wanting a printable view of my Google Calendar. I maintain a family calendar of all birthdays and there are some family members that want a printable calendar.
Google Calendar does not wrap all day events in the month view, so you have to hover to look at the full event details.
So, I finally spent some time today to work it out. It was time consuming and annoying so I hope someone benefits from this to make it less time consuming for them.
One of the disadvantages of Confluence is how difficult it is to use Tables, especially when they get large. One of the options is to keep tabular data in Excel and display the contents in Confluence. Or better still, get the data direct from a SQL Server to display in Confluence then show that data as a Chart.
Confluence 4 seems to be a bit better at handling tables, but Excel is still the king for displaying and working with Tabular data.
Some resources to help with showing Table data are: Read more…
You’ve just installed a shiny new Confluence set-up for your organisation, now where do you start with writing content for it? Here are my thoughts on writing for Confluence and a few tips and links to help get you started.
My two main points for writing content for Confluence are:
- Confluence is not a Word document, and
- Confluence is not a file share.
Why oh why is there ever any app that asks you whether you want to print this document or set up this document as A4 or Letter sized paper? Well, at least we should be thankful that there is even an option – how many apps do you use that are made in the USA and don’t even give you the option to change the paper size or change away from American spelling. (True story – an American colleague told me recently that she did not even know there was another paper size other than the “standard” and did not know it was called Letter). I can forgive regular users to not know there is a world outside the US of A, but I can’t forgive software developers.
Quick – do this test right now. Open Word to a brand new document, go to the Page Layout ribbon and choose Size – what is the default size that your blank documents are set to? If you don’t live in the USA and your documents are set to Letter, you have my permission to go and yell at your IT Department for not setting up your Word environment correctly – You probably still have American spelling in your documents and Inches in your Ruler and margins also!
Google Docs only very recently gave us the option of saving a default for our paper sizes and margins – yet the margins are STILL IN INCHES!!!! WHY?
Apart from having the option to change the settings very ocassionally for when you are preparing a document for a US audience, why does the setting even exist?
Google knows I’m in Australia, why can’t it determine the settings for me automatically as Metric and A4.
Microsoft Word knows my location from the Regional Settings on my PC – why aren’t my default Word Templates created as A4? (They should be if the location was set before installing Word, but I think it should be dynamically based on that setting – if you want to create specific Templates with other paper sizes, you can do that).
And worse of all, please, please, please, do NOT set the default as Letter and not even have an option for me to change it in the settings to anything else as the Default. Or on the other hand, please don’t make me change it every time I need to print. If I was in the US I would think – “why is this setting here every time I want to print a document – I would never ever change the paper size”, if I’m in anywhere else in the world I think “why oh why do these stupid American software developers make me have to choose my paper size every time I want to print a document!”. No one wins.
So, in summary:
- Always have the option for A4/Letter paper sizes, American and other Spelling and Imperial and Metric measurements.
- Set the default based on my location – you know my location!
- Allow me to override the defaults if I need to (maybe I’m visiting the US of A).
- Honour those defaults everywhere.
- Have the ability to modify the defaults for once off cases (eg printing the same document to A4 then Letter for global audiences).
What are your thoughts? does this annoy you too?
The subject of this post may seem a bit harsh, but hopefully by the end of this longish post, you will see where I’m coming from. My call right now, is that there is NO email solution that works with Salesforce that is even remotely usable. I hope that I’m wrong. I really do. If you think I’m wrong please add to the discussion below.
When I’m talking about emails and Salesforce I am talking about the following scenarios. For the tl;dr version I’ve included my ratings for each of the scenarios:
- Receiving email from an existing client – PASS.
- Receiving email from a new client – FAIL.
- Receiving email from a new client about a specific case – Qualified PASS.
- Receiving email from an existing client about an existing case, replying to the email sent to them – PASS.
- Receiving email from an existing client about an existing case – FAIL.
- Emailing to a client – FAIL.
- Emailing to a client about a specific case – FAIL as above, with a MAJOR FAIL for dealing with attachments.
- Emailing to a third party about a specific case – FAIL.
- All contacts who ever email you are already contacts in Salesforce.
- All email to those contacts are generated out of Salesforce.
- Anyone who emails you about an existing case, will ALWAYS only ever reply to an email that has come from Salesforce.
- Clients will reply to emails about specific cases with only content relevant to that case.
In this post, I am not talking about paid email syncing options that are available in the App Exchange (or this post will be very long). You can see that there are many many options, for huge dollar amounts. My thinking is that you pay enough for Salesforce, you should not have to pay more for basic functionality such as tracking emails for your client. There is one paid app that I will comment on, specifically in relation to Email to Cases.
Receiving email from an existing client
Emailing in to Salesforce to record that email against an existing contacts is pretty well handled. You can use Email to Salesforce, or the Salesforce for Outlook toolbar (which essentially does exactly the same thing). This matches the email address of the sender with an existing contact in Salesforce and then puts the content of the email in an Activity linked to the Contact record. I give this scenario a PASS.
Receiving email from a new client
I have no idea how you are meant to manage emails that you want to track for new contacts, apart from the obvious:
- Forward the email to Salesforce (or click Add to Salesforce in Outlook)
- Manually create a new Contact
- Manually attach the email to the contact through the Unresolved Email Task or the Unresolved Emails screen.
This takes a number of steps and will probably not be done by most staff after about the first week. This scenario is a definite FAIL – so you probably need to ensure there is another way to create contacts first, rather than when receiving emails for the first time.
Interestingly I noted that forwarding an email and using the Salesforce for Outlook results in different behaviour for Unresolved Emails – forwarded emails are shown in a special Unresolved Emails page, whereas Emails added from Outlook only show up as Tasks.
Receiving Email related to Cases
Setting up Email to Case
Also, when setting up Email to Case, one must have app is Email2Case Attachment Reassign which takes the attachments from the email and puts them in the Attachments related list on the case.
Receiving email from a new client about a specific case
After Email to Case is set up, the logging of emails into Salesforce to create new Cases works quite well – If the client emails directly to your support email address (or you can forward the email to your support email address). For a client that does not yet exist as a Contact in Salesforce, the case will be created similar to the one shown in the Email to Case Setup Video. and you will have to do the following:
- Manually create a new Contact
- Manually edit the created Case to attach the Contact to the Case.
Receiving email from an existing client about an existing case, replying to the email sent to them.
Receiving email from an existing client about an existing case
- Forward the email to Salesforce (or click Add to Salesforce in Outlook)
- Open Salesforce and go to the record of the Contact that sent the email
- Find the email in the Activities Related List
- Open the Email Tasks record
- Click Edit
- In the Related To field enter the Case Number of the Case that this email is related to (Don’t know the Case Number? – no problem, simply open a new tab, search for the Case, copy the Case Number, come back to this tab, paste the Case Number in – easy!)
- Save the Task
Emailing Out of Salesforce
Emailing to a client
If the client is already a Contact record in Salesforce you could just BCC your email to Salesforce address as you send the email out from your email client. But that’s annoying to have to remember that each time. You can achieve a similar thing by clicking the “Send and Add” button in Salesforce for Outlook – a little easier.
The idea, however is to get people out of working from their Inboxes and work from within Salesforce as their primary tool, so you want them to generate the emails from the Contact record in Salesforce. There are a few advantages and disadvantages with this way.
- Multiple email addresses can be stored against each client record – just choose the right one to send to.
- It looks just like regular email and has all the fields like Additional To and BCC.
- You can do rich text formatting in the body of the email.
- You can choose predefined Email Templates that have Merge fields in them to quickly create emails.
- There is a spell checker built in.
- You can attach files.
- Which is the right email address to send to?
- No auto complete in the other email address fields.
- No shortcuts or auto formatting that you are used (eg ctrl+shift+8 – Gmail or * space – Outlook to create a bulleted list; ctrl+k to insert a hyperlink).
- No inline images in your email body (even Gmail can do this now).
- Only one Email signature – you can’t swap email signatures as you can in Outlook.
Emailing Out of Cases
For emailing out of Cases, or Opportunities or any other client related object, I’ve concentrated on Attachments. Specifically for Cases, there is an app called Email to Case Premium – this is a paid app so I will deal with the features and issues of this app in a future post.
- Before you email, go to the Case record, decide on the attachments you want to download.
- Right click on the file name and download it to your local computer, or network drive (and use up your bandwidth for a second time, because you have already uploaded it once).
- Now create the email and fill in all the details.
- Click on Attach a file.
- Click Choose File.
- Browse to the File, remembering where you just saved it.
- Click Attach to the email and wait for it to upload (using your bandwidth for the third time).
- Click Done.
- Now you can Send the email – Finally!
Emailing to Third Parties
- You will need a place to record the Third Parties on the Case or Opportunity – your best bet is a custom child Object, because the standard functionality of Contact Roles is a bit limiting.
- When you want to email to one third party you will need to copy the email address, create the email, then paste the email address in to the Additional To field.
- What if you want to email two or more third parties – good luck with working out how to do that – possibly open a separate copy of the Case in a new tab, then do the email and switch back and forth between the two tabs and copy and paste the email.
- If you want to use Text or HTML Email Templates there is a limitation that emails must be sent to a Contact or a User – so you may have to have your name in the To field, as well as the third party – this may look strange to them.
So – that is a lot of stuffing around just to send an email – so, for me, emails to third parties are a FAIL.
This is a long post and I have tried to be thorough in looking at ALL the options. There are some basic functions of emailing that get a PASS, but as soon as you take it even a little bit past the basics (I don’t think adding an attachment is anything but basic), we descend into the realm of FAIL.
I have yet to see any reasonable, even paid, solution for simply dealing with the attachment issue (without the other features of Loop or Conga). I’m sure it could be coded as a visualforce page, but I really don’t understand why someone hasn’t done it as a simple free app – so maybe I’m missing something that will mean it is difficult to build.
So, if you have any suggestions, other options or favourite apps to deal with emails, please add some detail in the comments below. In a future post, I will talk about the features and issues with one particular email App, Email to Case Premium.
Otherwise, right now, I don’t have a solution.
I have finally formalised my Salesforce knowledge and taken the certification exam to become a Salesforce.com Certified Force.com Developer.
Salesforce is a declarative platform, which means most of the customisation of Salesforce can be achieved with just clicks, rather than code – that’s the bit that I know, and know well. There is another level of Salesforce that is all about code, which is the bit that I don’t do, (but I have a great developer that I work with that can do that stuff).
So this certification says that I can design and implement a customised Salesforce implementation for you, and if we need to get into some really advanced code, I can spec it up and get someone to build it for us. However, as per my Salesforce Methodology and my previous post on great Tools for Salesforce Administrators, there is so much we can do without code in Salesforce, which is good.