Quotable Quotes for 500 or how I learned to love SFDC CPQ.

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Boy Howdy! It has certainly been a while since I have posted here! Hope everyone was missing me. I have a particularly interesting blog post for you all today…it explains my truancy AND talks about some neat stuff I have been doing!

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But, first, we have to go back in time to August 1…You see, on August 1, 2016, I made the jump from where I was to a funky little place called Auth0. There I was, admiring a shiny new macbook and an almost pure like driven snow org when my boss interrupted my revelry by saying:”Hey, glad to have you, we just got Steelbrick and you will be configuring it”. Jump forward to August 10th and I am installing into Sandbox. The next 55 days were a blur (Oh yeah, we went live last Friday, 55 business days after starting!) …taking training, reviewing documentation, asking questions, redoing, redoing and redoing… The net result is, however, that on October 28th we went live with Salesforce CPQ.

Now that you know the setup, let’s get on with the rest of the blog. First off, some high level process orientated goodies.

  • Have someone who knows the company build out the smartsheet workbook…and it should not be the sys admin. I am SUPER fortunate in that my boss was able to crank out the smartsheet doc for me to start with. If I had to do this myself, it would have been a huge timesuck.
  • As a sys admin, figure on 100% participation on this one. I am estimating an easy 400+ hours to get this puppy up and running. Of course, if you read this blog post and follow some of my suggestions, you should be able to shave at least 10% off that total. But, long story short, make it widely known that this is your priority.
  • Simplify where you can. Do you really need that approval step? Do you really want a listing for Product X that makes you no money and you only sell once per year?
  • Embrace the Chaos – things will change. Stay flexible, learn the tool and prepare!

OK –  think those are some good pieces of advice to start with. Now, let’s get into some fun stuff. Here are my top pieces of actual technical advice.

  • If you are running with basic approvals, build out your approval steps as formulas that can be referenced by the approval process. This is perhaps one of my favorite all around tips for salesforce, but super applicable here. Let’s say that you have an approval process that looks at a specific percentage field and you only want an approval to happen if that field is above 50%. IF you have activated that approval process and then need to make a change, you will have to clone / activate / test etc… However, if you make the approval step a yes / no formula that looks at your fields, you can adjust the formula without having to monkey with your approval steps.

~ What? You want SFDC specific stuff? OK – fine!~

  • Create an admin layout for quotes / quote lines. Seriously, go in there RIGHT NOW and do it. Then, add all the SFDCcPQ fields to that layout. This will save you a bunch of time.
  • On the topic of new things. Go forth and create a CPQ ADMIN App. You will then need to create a bunch of new tabs for it. I created tabs for block prices, line columns, actions (products / price), dimensions (products / price) and template sections. Throw that stuff along with the OOTB tabs on the admin app..you will thank me later.screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-1-43-50-pm
  • Replace the “New Quote” button. So, just for a good exercise, after installing the package, create a quote with the out of the box new quote button. It is brutal. I replaced this with a “Create Quote” button that uses a flow to bring over all the fields I need and also to ask any questions. The net result is that I get less confusion and a way faster process.
  • I also want to call out the field “Watermark Shown” on the quote layout. This field is what controls if a watermark is shown or not. Add it to your layout and be aware that it defaults to unchecked, so will have to devise a mechanism to default it to checked (Cough, flow, cough).

I think this covers the basic stuff. I will try to write more as I think of it. Overall, the experience was a good one. I would HIGHLY recommend that if you are a small shop and you can spare your sys admin for a couple weeks that you try and do this yourself. It is totally doable and as an upside, you get to know where all the dark corners are and how to fix stuff on your own.

Anyone else mess with SDFC CPQ? What has been your experience? Any specific section of the above post you want me to expand on?

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Why, Process Builder, Why! (Updated – Humble Pie Edition)

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I published a blog post last Thursday and pushed it up to the Salesforce Community. I am a big fan of the community because there is always lively discussion and sometimes, like this time, Salesforce legends pop up! Shelly Erceg is way up yonder on the Salesforce org chart, so it is always fun and a bit nerve wracking when someone like that drops some knowledge on you!

SNAP!

BTW – Not the knowledge you want dropped on you!

Turns out, the documentation I had found was out of date and that in fact, there was no limitation…which means that the process builder was borking out from something I did (D’oh!).

Doh

After a quick trip to the corner for some weeping, it was back to the grind to figure out just what the heck was going on!

Well, here is the short version! I started with two actions and once that was working, I cloned the process and created the rest of the tasks (13 of them ) by hand! It turns out, that when I did that, I set the “Owner ID” on one of the tasks (number 9 to be exact!) to the case ID instead of case owner ID.

Now, I did do troubleshooting before I created the idea and subsequent blog post. In fact, this process has at this time 16 versions and I created at least half of those before I found the out of date article.

Bottom line is this…Process builder is NEW and most of us SFDC veterans will remember the teething pains that were felt when other new functions got rolled out. Heck, I remember S-Controls and the anguish that removing those caused! Process builder will get better and it is because of the dialog and openness that exists on the community and from people like Shelly!

BTW – I created a new category on my blog, “Humble Pie”, because I am sure this will happen again sometime!

Cleaner Page Layouts using Flows and Formulas (1 of 3)

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Back in the day, when I was just a transfer student at Everett Community College, “one week” was a hit single and I was a newbie coder taking visual basic.

(Your welcome for this ear worm)

During this class, we had a discussion on page layouts, that went a little something like this:

If you design a layout that has a bad tab order, and it reduces the speed of a transaction by one second, is it a big deal? Well, consider it this way: If your software is bought by a million people, and they can complete 500 transactions a day, your one second reduction of efficiency is costing the consumer 500000000 seconds per day…which is 8,333,333 minutes or 138,888 hours. If the average wage of those users is ten dollars an hour, your one second in efficiency now has cost 1.3million dollars per day.

Not even a Lego Calculator could make that discussion cool

With guilt trip thusly set to “argh”, I focused my efforts on UI design and making things work efficiently. Even now, I can remember the tab order of one of my first CRM’s I worked on…because it was out of order.

The stakes have changed since I was taking Visual Basic. I (we) support sales, and lost productivity is not simply about lost time, but about what your sales teams COULD have been doing. The math is pretty easy…and pretty scary:

Time spent clicking / scrolling / using salesforce in an inefficient manner

X by Number of times

X by Number of Users

X by days in year

= Time wasted = Money Lost = No free coffee

For the sake of this blog post, I am going to clean up the contact layout. I have sat with my users and estimated that they waste about 2 seconds every time they hit the layout  because of a section that Marketing has requested. This section consists of four check boxes, three text boxes and one URL field in a two column layout. This section was created for marketing and was placed near to the top of the layout in return for the data not being required. This section pushed a much more used section down below the scroll line (IE, users would have to scroll to see it). Marketing has given the OK on making this section not visible as long as there is some visual refernce to these fields still on the page layout.

A user will typically hit the contact layout 25 times per day and I have 25 users. If I can compact the layout, I should be able to reduce scroll time by about half, which should save about 45 (sales) hours per year. Notice, I didn’t just say hours, I said sales hours. Sure, saving 45 regular hours might not be much in the whole scheme of things, but sales hours is like a force multiplier. If you enabled your sales teams to have even a few more minutes per week, they can make a few more calls, make a few more emails, make a few more dollars.

Take a minute to enjoy this worn out cat.

Phew

I am beat just writing about this!

I am going to break this whole thing out into three distinct chunks:

1)      Create the Summarizing Formulas (In this blog)

2)      Create the Visual Prompts (Next Blog)

3)      Make Data Entry awesome with Flows (Next Next Blog)

Summarizing Formulas

Personally, I tend to write smaller, nested formulas that analyze bits and pieces of data. This makes it a bit easier (in my opinion) to write that final formula that presents the results to the user. While you could probably write this all in one huge formula, for the sake of troubleshooting and scalability, I am going to create the following fields:

1)      Create a formula to look at the 3 text fields (Return Type is Text)

Text(

if(len(Test_Text_1__c)>0,1,0)+

if(len(Test_Text_2__c)>0,1,0)+

if(len(Test_Text_3__c)>0,1,0))&” out of 3 populated; ”

Text Box Formula

2)      Create a formula to look at the URL field (Return Type is Text)

if(len(Test_URL__c)>0,”URL Present”,”URL Not Present”)

URL Formula

3)      Create a formula to look at the check box fields (Return Type is Text)

Text(

if(Example_Check_Box1__c=TRUE,1,0)+

if(Example_Check_Box_2__c=TRUE,1,0)+

if(Example_Check_Box_3__c=TRUE,1,0)+

if(Example_Check_Box_4__c=TRUE,1,0))&” out of 4 set to True; “Check Box Formula

4)      Create a formula to aggregate the above

Check_Example_CheckBox__c &” “& Check_Test_Text__c &” “& Check_Test_URL__cAggregate Formula

The net result is a field that will present the user with data facts not data entry points. Aside from having a cleaner layout, I a firm believer that if presented with text, most humans brains at least acknowlege that text before moving on. By reducing the clutter, you are making your overall page layout less fatiguing.

End Result

Individual Results

In the next post, I am going to discuss how we are going to visually prompt the user to give us data, but until then consider the other benefits of this type of functionality:

1) You could use these fields in reports to give better summaries

2) You could write validation rules off of these formulas rather than the individual fields

3) You could write workflows off of these formulas

See you all next week, same BatTime, same BatChannel where I will show you all how to kick it up a notch and grab your users attention!

Kick it up a notch

You totally thought I was doing Batman pic, weren’t you?

Andrew

Cleaning the data that matters…and not all data matters!

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In my previous post, I alluded to a list of 5 concepts that make data cleansing a bit easier (Not fun, not easy – peasy but easier). In this post, I am going to expand on the concepts of “Knowing your data” and “Classify your data”

It's about half the battle

GI Joe talks about knowing

.But, before we get into the methodology and the doing, let’s talk about tools used. We are actually only using two tool to build out the functionality found with in this post, reports and formulas. However, because the methodologies discussed below is different than most organizations approach to cleaning data (Ocean…Boiling) there will be work on you to get folks bought into the ideas of not just trying to clean everything. So, I guess if you want to get technical, a third tool is the soft grey matter inside your noggin!

First things first. To help me “Know” and “Classify” my data, I am going to write a report that has two bucket fields, “Customer” and “Pipeline”. The bucket fields are looking at two custom field that are rollups counting the number of booked opportunities and the number of open opportunities. These are my two primary classifications because I am going to use a combination of these two classifications to score the value of an account to my company.

1)      Non Customer, No Pipeline (Least Valuable)

2)      Non Customer, Pipeline

3)      Customer, No Pipeline

4)      Customer, Pipeline (Most Valuable)

My fictional org for “Kramerica” wants all 481k of their accounts cleaned. Before jumping in and just starting to cleanse, I set up a report that breaks down an account based on past purchases and pipeline. Just by using two bucket fields, I can see that 14,000 accounts (About 3%) that are high value (Customer with Pipeline), 13,000 (3%) are medium value (Non Customer with Pipeline) and 54,000 accounts (11%) that are medium value (Customer No Pipe or Non Customer Pipe). I have just reduced the pool of accounts that should be cleansed by nearly 83%.

Numbers don't lie

Dry those eyes, it is not as bad as it seems

Unfortunately, there is still a number that is not very friendly standing between us and Maragriatville.

Margaritaville is real, google maps told me!

Which is just outside of Dallas apparently.

So, we are going to take things up a notch and write a set of formulas that will score the data that is entered on our account records. The folks in charge of data management (and that might be you), decided that Address, Phone and Website were most important. Yeah, I didn’t put state / country, but that is because of the change making it a picklist field, and we will just assume Kramerica is using the picklists. I am going to end up creating four formula fields. Three formulas will look at the data contained in the three fields. The fourth field will sum the scores of the three fields and then based on the totals, grade the data “Good”, “Acceptable” and “Poor”. The formulas don’t have to be complex, even something basic like if(len(FIELD=0,1,0), which will check for the presence of any data in those fields.

Just the ones that matter

In this case, red is good because red = less work!

That was a fun diversion, now, go back to the original reports with primary / secondary classifications. We add in the data grading field. Now, you can see how many of your most valuable accounts actually need the most help. In the case of Kramerica, we want to distil down that 14% (68k accounts) even further so we can focus on valuable accounts that have a data score of zero (no values in any of the fields) or one (at least one field has some data in it). Applying the formulas and the buckets to my data set reduces the amount of accounts I need to look at from 54,000 to 18,000.

I think this deserves a quick, bullet pointed recap:

–        Initial data set, 480k accounts

–        Valuable Accounts:

o   Customer / Pipeline (Most) 14,000

o   Pipeline / Non Customer 13,000

o   Customer / No Pipeline 54,000

–        Data scoring of valuable accounts:

o   Zero data score = 5,000

o   One data score = 13,000

–        Reduced my “need to clean” by nearly 90+%

My SFDC admin is amazing

I get this way whenever I shake loose a bit more time in the day.

Yeah, that is pretty awesome. However, there is the question of what do to with all those “other” accounts. Here is where it goes from awesome to AWESOME (in a monster truck voice). Since you have already established what makes an account valuable, once an account meets a certain threshold (gets pipeline), you know that it then needs to be cleaned up…and of course, you know what needs to be cleaned up because you are already scoring it.

2014-06-01 20_51_21-awesome monster truck - Google Search

 

PS – For bonus points, create a nice email alert telling the reps their data is bad, and make it so it sends them that notice every time they edit the account OR opportunity…just put on a timer so it only sends once per day!

Don’t start cleansing data yet!

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Data is a fickle beast.

One minute, you have amazing dashboards and reports… your finance nerds are seeing into the future with clarity a weather man can only wish to have…the next minute, you have gremlins everywhere causing chaos in the most basic of processes and you can only give accurate forecasts for five minutes in the past.

Don't feed data analysts after midnight!

All your data are belong to us!

I suspect this has been happening since mankind developed the first CRM, which was on Oracle Clay Tablets.

Oracle V1

You should see the servers needed for this!

Having been on many data cleansing projects in the past, with many more in my future, I decided to sketch out some ideas I have picked up along the way. Don’t worry, I will go back to my techie salesforce nerd stuff next week!

“It is a never ending story”

Cleansing data is not a project with a start and an end, it is a process that needs to be ongoing. If you have data coming in, you will have data that needs to be cleaned. Build it into your budget, chant the mantra, do whatever it takes, but embrace the fact that as long as you are around any CRM you will be doing data clean up.

“Business Involvement”

Even though dirty data and data cleansing will never go away, it will become a smaller task once you get your users sold on the idea of clean data. At the very least, you need your users to care about the system at the best they will become advocates of clean data. Boeing used to have a program called “FOD FREE”. FOD is “Foreign Object Damage” and it prompted their employees to be active in keeping the work environment clean. It was a huge success through marketing and  engagement, AKA, Business Involvement.

“Clean with a Purpose”

There are two methods to getting business involvement in data cleansing, carrot and stick. Personally, I prefer the carrot approach. Know why you are doing it, and be able to explain that to the business. Tell them in “What’s In It For Me” (WIFM) terminology why their data is changing and what outcomes they can expect. Have them involved in any process modifications or validation rule building. If you get them at least interested in clean data the process will be much less contentious.

“Know your Data”

Seriously, run some DANG reports. Know the numbers because someone will ask. Know the up and downstream impacts of dirty data. Know use cases. Have a really nice power point set explaining this things, and gear the presentations to different user levels. If you do not  know your data, how can you clean it???

On a side note, I swear by “You suck at powerpoint” as a great learning aid around presentations!

“Classify your Data”

Classifying data is just chunking up your data into sound bite groupings. The key here is “Sound Bite”. You can say something awesome like “Customers with an account that has at least 3 contacts that all have been sent an email in the past three years”, but after the first couple words, all anyone will hear is “blah blah blah”. Instead, have sound bite ready classifications. Thinking in “Sound Bite” terms will also help with reporting and formula writing, covered next week!

Here are some suggestions for accounts:

Primary = Customer, Non Customer

Secondary = Active (Open Pipeline), Non Active (No Pipeline)

Tertiary = Marketable (Contacts with Email), Non Marketable (Contacts without Email)

It’s looking a lot like Christmas (Sigh)

What really gets me excited about classifications is that it helps you NOT boil the ocean. It is not unrealistic to have hundreds of thousands of account records, and if you were to set about trying to clean them ALL, you would be wasting time and money on records that really are the equivalent to that fruitcake you got last year. It is just taking up space, but you don’t want to throw it out because someday you might have a reason to use (re-gift) it.

fruitcake

Yes, I did just compare your data to an old fruitcake

The above tips are not the end all be all, just things I have picked up along my career. But, if you are rolling into the discussion on data clean up just keeping these in mind you will be at a point where you have the business engaged in the ongoing process of data cleansing on a known set of data that involve a set of agreed upon classifications…or, in other words, you will be setup for success!

Oh, and now that this stuff is out of the way, we can get back to more techie stuff next week!

 

Andrew

More information about my #Salesforce1Selfie

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Salesforce.com is running a twitter contest asking for selfies of Salesforce1 Apps. The majority of posts Salesforce is receiving are user-centric and I think that is great, but just not the way I am going (for now). I built an app for the Administrator. More specifically, I built one for myself. The reason is pretty simple, during my day I get to do a bunch of different things and most are pretty fun. However, setting up new user is not on that list. This is because there are two typical scenarios:

1)      “Hi SFDC Team, please set me up in Salesforce with permissions like my colleague”

2)      “Hi SFDC Team, please set me up in Salesforce” Both of these scenarios can get messy fast…and by messy I mean way too many clicks. I did a quick sketch in Visio and found that at a very high level, there are 7 steps involved in the first scenario. That is way too much (In my opinion) for me to do a couple times a week.

TOO MANY STEPS

More fun than…checks list…not much

Therefore, I decided to make something that will reduce the number of steps AND let me easily share out the process AND can be done via the mobile AND be my entry in the #Salesforce1Selfie contest that hopefully will ensure I can stay somewhere awesome during Dreamforce 14.

2014-04-21 21_09_33-Fitzgerald Hotel - Google Maps

The Fitzgerald…not a bad place, but if I win I won’t be staying there.

There are three basic ingredients to my selfie, which I will go into more detail on in three carriage returns: 1)      Flow

2)      VisualForce Page (Don’t Panic!)

3)      Navigation

The flow starts with the basics “Input, Query, and Output” structure. My input is the name / email / id of the clone source. You can search three different ways from just one text box (More on that here, “One (flow) field to rule them all”). The query returns all the information you need to create the user record, which I had found previously while working creating users with the Excel Connector.

Pulled from Clone Source

Set it and Forget it!

I display that information on the confirm screen, which is where the cloned user email / name is entered. The finish button creates the user.

Create User Fields

And this is why I automate this stuff.

There is one interesting thing I need to call out here. If you were to create the user through the regular method, alias is autogenerated. Not a big deal except that Alias is limited to only 8 digits. I just default it to “NewUser” and will direct the new user to change it. You could do something fancy with workflows if you want. At this point, I have a flow that is crazy handy for use just with in the UI. I do plan on modifying this before I push to production so that the clone user search screen is skipped when launched via custom link on the user page. But what about mobile?

But will it load salesforce 1

“Where is the salesforce1 App?”

I had decided that I wanted to use flows as an app rather than an action. The reasoning is that while in the webUI I am more than likely going to be launching the flow from a user I have found, but if I am accessing via salesforce1, I will be providing the search criteria myself. Therefore, I need to make an app. To use a flow with in an app or even a page is going to require just a little tiny bit of code. It is such a small amount, I don’t even have to give up my hashtag #ClicksNotCode for this blog posting. There is some official documentation out there that will talk about embedding flows within a visual force page. It is really good stuff and I highly recommend you reading it. I have used both the official method and also just used an iframe. Either way seems to work out just fine. You need to make sure to check the box “Available for Salesforce mobile apps”.

iframe visual force

Don’t take away my Clicks Not Code Card!

One thing you might notice is that your performance on the mobile device is not the same as in the simulator. I believe this is because the basic iframe / interview code given is making the device work hard to format the flow page. I consulted with Google and found a write up on panya.com that had a couple things I wanted to try. I was able to see a HUGE improvement in load times by putting in a few extra lines of code. Another tip is to just save this code somewhere and use it as your template.

FASTER!

I am giving it all she got’s captn!

“<apex:page showheader=”false” standardStylesheets=”false”> <html> <Head> <Meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1″/> </head> <body> <flow:interview name=”Clone_User”/> </body> </html> </apex:page>“ Now that I have my flow and my tab I am nearly ready to roll. I just need to add it to the Salesforce1 navigation. You can find the nitty – gritty here, but it is just as easy as going to Mobile Administration and Mobile Navigation. NOTE! If you do not see your VisualForce tab here, got back and verify that you checked the box “Available for Salesforce Mobile Apps”. Also, I have noticed along with some other caveats, visual force pages that were created before salesforce1 came out are only checked with the Salesforce Touch option. It looks like they cannot be modified to run with in Salesforce1. The punch list is complete at this point. To verify you can use the Salesforce1 simulator (<<Org>>.salesforce.com/one/one.app) or you can also see the results on your mobile device pretty easily by just logging in to your sandbox environment.

flow GO

Step One

Confim screen

Step 2

I really like how this turned out. In a very small amount of time, I was able to: 1)      reduce the amount of clicks in my current process by about 80% 2)      Create a nice URL based process 3)      Create a mobile app for admin use “on the go”   As always, let me know if you have any questions, comments, concerns or interesting ideas you would like me to research!   andrew