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What to do when your Salesforce deployment needs greater control

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If you’ve been running a Salesforce environment in your company for a number of years, then there’s every chance that you’ve run into some of the issues that can arise in CRM systems. Whether it’s hundreds of custom fields that nobody quite knows how to use properly or three different ways of accomplishing the same task, it’s likely that there are a few things that need ironing out in your system.

In this article, we’ll examine a few systems and processes that you can put into place if your Salesforce deployment needs greater control in order to iron out your system and resolve these issues. Even if you don’t have any of these problems, it’s well worth putting a proper system in place to avoid bugs popping up as your company evolves and grows.

Put someone in charge

It might seem obvious but it’s important that one person – or failing that, one coherent group of people – is in charge of your system and has to sign off on any major changes. One of the reasons that Salesforce implementations tend to get out of control is that multiple people are able to make decisions without speaking to each other or considering how something that might be useful to them will impact on other areas of the business.

Having a steering committee or person puts an end to this crisis and means that things will be thought through before they’re implemented. This may mean that it takes slightly longer to roll out projects but it will almost certainly save time and frustration in the long-run.

Review what Salesforce does regularly

If you bought a basic Salesforce implementation many years ago and have never changed the way that you use it, then it’s quite likely that you’re missing out on a lot of new functionality that could help streamline your business. Whether it’s Lightening Experience or a new module that’s perfect for you, there’s bound to be a change that you could make that will improve the way that you work and save everyone in your business time.

Hopefully, we’ve given you a few ideas on how you can improve the way you use Salesforce. Keep your processes under constant review and you’ll face a lot less stress in the long-run. Contact us at CRM Care today for more advice and tips.

At CRM Care, we offer Salesforce support to help you get the most out of this powerful tool.If you want to find out more about tailoring Salesforce, get in touch with CRM CARE today or email. Check out our other blogs or Salesforce Blogs for more.

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CRM CARE talks AI chatbots for customer support

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Salesforce is moving way beyond just CRM when it comes to meeting customer needs. In the new era of digital business; artificial intelligence, social media integration and new features like AI chatbots for customer support are all part of the package that businesses demand. At its recent Salesforce Dreamforce keynote, the company’s leaders made great effort to point out the future role these technologies will play for any type of business.

You can enjoy the video of the event’s keynote around its Einstein smart range of AI services, here .

Einstein has been rapidly evolved by the company to show how serious it is about meeting business needs for AI, with a major update revealed at the Dreamforce event. Einstein Bots offer simple creation tools for chatbots to customers, allowing business users to build, train and deploy chatbots with just a few clicks. These AI Chatbots for Customer Support provide an ideal opportunity to expand coverage without the cost.

Chatbots have a massive future

A chatbot can act as the first line of your customer support, dealing with simpler queries and saving your reception or customer support staff from having to. More serious questions or issues can be escalated directly to the right person in the company, so no more fuming customers being told “their call is important” while left on hold.

Chatbots can also book appointments, suggest travel plans or make sales and provide live information – no wonder they are appearing on so many websites, with practically every airline offering them to help make the customer experience smoother and customer support faster. But it is not just big companies that benefit. Small companies gain a 24/7 presence thanks to a chatbot, and lots of people are happy to talk to them.

The AI features come to the fore as these bots will continuously learn, improving themselves to ask better questions, and deliver more accurate and relevant information. The chatbot can also link to customer data to create a more personal conversation, or to make recommendations based on previous sales.

All of these features will help the chatbot become a common and vital part of the digital experience and are vital for saving businesses time and money. See how one could benefit your business now and get an Ai Chatbot for customer support.

At CRM Care, we offer Salesforce support to help you get the most out of this powerful tool.If you want to find out more about tailoring Salesforce, get in touch with CRM CARE today or email. Check out our other blogs or Salesforce Blogs for more.

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Why businesses are choosing Salesforce to improve customer relations

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Enterprise software may not be the sexiest phrase ever coined. Yet Salesforce – a US-based company offering sales cloud services – is inspiring and helping small businesses in Israel to enter the digital age and bring world-class customer support to their e-commerce operation by using Salesforce to improve customer relations.

Accessibility for all

One of the founding principles of Salesforce is to make the purchasing of enterprise software as easy as buying a book through Amazon. This has seen the presence of Salesforce grow through Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Simon Short, the executive vice president of the Salesforce customer success group in these regions recently spoke in the Tel Aviv office, passionately encouraging retailers to offer Israeli consumers an improved shopping experience buy integrating the inventory of brick-and-mortar stores with online presence.

Great change

He spoke of a fourth industrial revolution that is rapidly taking hold,in which the world is undergoing huge changes though the impact of mobile, cloud, AI, robotics and 4D printing technologies. Through the combination of these things, the time may soon arrive when human input becomes completely unnecessary. And as production and media techniques are completely transformed, consumers now have greater power than ever before to boost or damage the reputation of a company, simply by reporting their experiences on social media.

Facebook and Twitter complaints about the brusque and uninterested comments from Israeli retailers have been all-too-common, which has somewhat changed the balance of power. Israeli consumers are beginning to experience the new standards of customer service, and are becoming less tolerant of old ones. If domestic companies can’t meet these higher expectations, they will lose business rapidly.

A new approach

With customer power so high, executives are rethinking business priorities, and this is where Salesforce steps in. Through the use of Salesforce care and its service cloud, businesses are able to synchronize warehouse inventory with call centers and websites, so customers don’t find themselves having to repeat information time and time again.

Salesforce purchased an Israeli data-entry automation start-up called Implisit Insights in 2016, and is continuing to invest in other Israeli start-ups. It has a number of Israeli clients, and employees in the country dedicate thousands of hours to volunteering with educational ventures for children.

Committed to Israeli enterprise

In short, Saleforce is demonstrating its commitment to supporting business development in Israel, and an increasing number of companies is signing up to the Salesforce customer relationship management service to see growth and meet customer demands in the 21st Century.

At CRM Care, we offer Salesforce support to help you get the most out of this powerful tool.If you want to find out more about tailoring Salesforce, get in touch with CRM CARE today or email. Check out our other blogs or Salesforce Blogs for more.

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CRM CARE’s Top 3 tips for user management in Salesforce

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Here at CRM Care, we know how vital the Salesforce admin role is within a business and why getting tips for user management in Salesforce. This role is not only crucial in helping Salesforce provide the maximum level of CRM help but also to drive business growth as a result. We know that all the Salesforce admin heroes out there do a great job in using it to streamline their organisation’s processes and make everything run that bit more efficiently!

One area within Salesforce that all admin people spend a lot of time in is the User object. If you want some great ideas on how to make the most of this and make your life easier, read on!

1. Use custom fields

One thing we love to do at CRM Care is use the Custom Fields option in the User object. This can save you lots of time and make it easy to keep track of each user you have in Salesforce. Being able to customise records in this way always means you have the individual information for each user at hand. Examples of this are things like setting Admin Notes, De-Activation Dates and a Signature Block on a user’s email template.

2. Use permission sets

Another great time-saving user management tip in Salesforce is the use of permission sets. This means that you have the power to extend any functionality to a group of users rather than just one individual profile. Obviously, this comes in very handy if you are wanting to roll out access to various functions for everyone working on one project for example.

3. Flexible user management via the app

We know how frustrating it can be as a Salesforce admin when someone locks themselves out of their account and you’re not near a computer to sort it out. Luckily, the Salesforce app makes this a distant memory! The app will let you log in via your mobile device and be able to sort it out quickly. It obviously also gives you mobile access to Salesforce for work purposes when needed.

We hop you liked our tips for user management in Salesforce. If you need any help or support on any Salesforce related issues, get in touch with CRM Care today! We have many years’ experience in using this cloud-based software and can make sure you are using Salesforce to its maximum potential for your business.

At CRM Care, we offer Salesforce support to help you get the most out of this powerful tool.If you want to find out more about tailoring Salesforce, get in touch with CRM CARE today or email. Check out our other blogs or Salesforce Blogs for more.

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CRM CARE’s 3 classic Salesforce mistakes and how to avoid them

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We all love Salesforce at CRM CARE as it is such a powerful, useful tool for any business. The way it lets us super-charge business productivity and bring real value to plans to increase our business efforts is just superb. We would highly recommend it to any business looking for ways to streamline and improve what they offer to customers.

However, it can be a tricky thing to use at times, so we’ve put together some of the more common issues you may come across and how to fix them:

1. Migrating data over incorrectly

We love the way Salesforce pulls all your companies data together into one, complete dashboard. The main issue around this is when you first set Salesforce up and have to grab your data from existing systems to move over. It is not just collecting all your data to move but also weaving it together and formatting it correctly.

The fix around this issue is to have an expert who knows the process to perform this task and ideally start the process of weaving data from different sources well in advance, so you are not rushing it.

2. Not having a CRM plan

Some businesses hear about this great new system called Salesforce and jump straight in, without any kind of plan around it. We would instead advise to have a good think beforehand as to why you need a CRM system.

Without sitting down to think about the pressure points in your company that you want Salesforce to help with, it will be hard to extract the undoubted value from using it.

3. Not making sure you get the Admin right

One of the real keys to the success of Salesforce within an organisation is having the right admin structure in place. You should have at least one internal team member who is tasked with the updating and maintenance of the system for optimal results. They will need proper training and support also, to ensure they stay up-to-date on the latest modules and news.

If you need any further help with using Salesforce, contact CRM Care today! We offer a professional and bespoke support service for the rollout of Salesforce within businesses, to ensure it all runs smoothly.

At CRM Care, we offer Salesforce support to help you get the most out of this powerful tool.If you want to find out more about tailoring Salesforce, get in touch with CRM CARE today or email. Check out our other blogs or Salesforce Blogs for more.

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CRM CARE’s 4 basic principles to follow when using Salesforce

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At CRM CARE we believe Salesforce is a powerful tool that can help you optimise your business efforts and boost your productivity. However, as with all CRM platforms, data quality is key. You can use the most advanced analysis, or even artificial intelligence (AI) tools, but if the data is not complete, correct, and fit for purpose, you won’t get the insights you’re looking for.

Try following these basic principles to improve data quality:

1. Don’t maintain separate data sets

One problem that crops up in businesses of all sizes is disparate, decentralised data sets. One team keeps a spreadsheet of leads on their intranet area, another stores contact phone numbers on a word document, one team member stores notes about client preferences on their local machine. This is bad practice. Keeping all data centralised enables better identification of patterns, trends and opportunities.

2. Don’t duplicate data

Duplicating data can create a web of confusion that’s hard to untangle. Imagine you enter details of a ‘new’ client, for whom there’s already a record. If you include notes or contact details that are different from the original record, how will subsequent users know which is correct? Always confirm that data doesn’t exist before you enter it.

3. Remain up to date

To make optimal decisions and catch all potential opportunities, you need accurate data. While the effects of inaccurate data can be suboptimal at best, they can be damaging at worst. So, don’t just enter your data and then forget about it. Make sure it is kept up to date and have appropriate systems in place for maintaining and updating data as needed.

4. Continually upskill

Building a workforce of seasoned, confident Salesforce users starts with data entry training – everyone should know what data to enter, where to enter it, and the correct formatting to use. Crucially, they should also know the value of the data they are entering. More practised users might benefit from learning how to build reports or use the AI tools available on the Salesforce app exchange.

At CRM Care, we offer Salesforce support to help you get the most out of this powerful tool.If you want to find out more about tailoring Salesforce, get in touch with CRM CARE today or email. Check out our other blogs or Salesforce Blogs for more.

How Salesforce can be tailored to suit your business

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At CRM CARE we believe Salesforce does not operate on a ‘one size fits all’ solution – Salesforce can be tailored to your business. This is one of the many benefits of incorporating this into your overall customer relationship management. Whether a small or large organisation, Salesforce is the way ahead, for many reasons.

 

These are just some of the ways it can be tailored to suit:

Different customers

Every business has a range of different customers, so it is important that communication is tailored to suit. With Salesforce, you will be reminded about leads and the most effective time to reach out to them. The software makes it easy to tailor it to suit your individual business, as well as individual customers, so you are providing the very best, personalised service.

Interactions

Every single conversation you have with your customers is different, and a highly effective way to improve your brand awareness and customer satisfaction is to be aware of any previous interactions. The ability to be able to refer back to previous conversations is a great tool for enhancing relationships, and, with Salesforce, you are able to do this.

Wider market

Your customers are individual to you and there are a range of different marketing techniques you need to employ to reach as many as possible. Do you have the time to do this, though? Many businesses, especially SMEs, simply don’t have the time to use different avenues, and this is what makes Salesforce unique. You can reach customers using alternative methods, including social media, to enhance your sales.

Grow with you

Your business will continue to grow over time and, therefore, it is important to use a system which adapts with you. With Salesforce, it will adapt to suit your business. Over time, as your business grows, the salesforce marketing cloud can be customised to suit.

Reduce expenditure

Larger organisations will generally have a bigger budget than smaller businesses, but this doesn’t mean that keeping costs down is not a priority. All businesses want to reduce expenditure and increase profits, and, with Salesforce, this can be possible as it can help to cut the costs of customer service staff, not to mention IT. It can be individually tailored to suit your budget.

If you want to find out more about tailoring Salesforce, get in touch with CRM CARE today or email. Check out our other blogs or Salesforce Blogs for more.

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Four powerful but lesser-known Salesforce features

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Salesforce is a huge platform with a massive amount of tools, features, and add-ons. Because of this, people often get a little overwhelmed and stick to a very limited toolset. However, this also means they are not getting all of the benefits that they could be. If this sounds like you, it’s time to change! At CRM Care, we’re big believers in continuous skill development, so each week, try experimenting with one of these four features and see how they work for you.

Tags

Tags are keywords you add to your records in order to group them. You can tag them in any way you wish, perhaps by region, a particular approach you took with them, demographics — anything. You can also make your tags public, so you can share them with the rest of your team. Just go to “Setup,” “App Setup,” “Customize,” “Tags,” and then “Tag Settings.”

User feedback

In an age where data-driven decisions are crucial, you’re missing out if you’re not using the user feedback tools on the Salesforce App Exchange. For example, you can use social monitoring tools to track comments on your brand on social media. You can also collect feedback the old-fashioned way — by asking people. There are several surveys you can deploy from the AppExchange.

Email syncing

Salesforce can integrate seamlessly with email programs like Outlook. After integration, you can sync email contacts from both platforms, automatically track and log communications from both sources, and create your own email templates. If you don’t already have this set up on your system, do it now, or speak to your Salesforce admin about it.

Artificial intelligence

Did you know that artificial intelligence (AI) has come to Salesforce? Well it has, through “Salesforce Einstein.” It uses advanced AI techniques like machine learning, natural language processing and predictive analytics to provide insights and give recommendations for next actions. The more data it has access to, the more accurate its recommendations will be — and it learns, getting smarter over time. AI is already permeating modern life, and now it has come to CRM. If you don’t get on the train, your competitors will be leaving you on the platform.

To find out more about how Salesforce can work for your needs, speak to us or send us an email

 

Check out our other blogs or visit Salesforce blogs for more

Salesforce CRM REST API – The most basic recipe

Salesforce CRM REST API – The most basic recipe

 

Salesforce provides various methods to read, add, delete or update data. The user interface is only one! If you need to connect to Salesforce from external systems to retrieve or modify records in small volumes, the Salesforce REST API web service is by far the easiest to use.

There are many guides on the internet explaining concepts such as the REST protocol, OAuth2, hand-shaking, callbacks, session management, etc, however if your requirements are simple, wading through the text can be somewhat dull. Salesforce’s own documentation is certainly the most comprehensive. Personally, I find it good reading material when I need a sleep aid. If you’re looking for something a bit more straight-forward and to the point, however, read on…

Really, for basic API use, you need to do two things:

  1. Get a new access token
  2. Use this access token in each subsequent API call-out until it expires, in which case see point 1

Ingredients

1x user account on the Salesforce org (sandbox, prod or developer will suffice) including:
* Username
* Password
* Security Token [what’s this?]

1x Security Profile applied to this user that allows create/read/update/delete permissions on the objects you wish to modify
NB: Every API resource request we make will be with this user, so all the operations on the data you modify through your API calls will be logged against this user in audit logs.

Instructions – Setup

    1. Create a Connected App in your target org
    2. To create a connected app, click “Setup” near your name in the top right corner then
    3. In the left-hand navigation bar type “apps” and select the item as shown below:

  1. Scroll to the bottom of the page to the “Connected Apps” section and click “New”
  2. Provide a new name for the Connected App, and a bogus callback URL (any URL will do as we won’t be using it) and save.
  3. Once this is done, a “Client Secret” and “Client Id” will be generated. The client secret is a series of numbers, whereas the client id is a long series of seemingly random UTF-8 characters. You will need to save these details somewhere for now
  4. Once you have created your Connected App, you can start to test connecting to SF via API. To do this, you will need to develop an application using any internet technology/platform capable of connecting to the internet and posting/retrieving data using the HTTPS protocol (e.g. Java, PHP, Apex, etc). However to simplify testing, you may want to use either the “curl” command-line in Unix/Linux (or via Cygwin on Windows) or even simpler, use a REST-based API testing client such as the Google Chrome plugin “Advanced REST client” available for free on the Google Chrome Web Store here. The rest of this recipe will use the Advanced REST Client chrome app for instructions.

Instructions – Getting an Access Token

  1. Let’s start by getting what is called an OAuth2 access token from your Salesforce sandbox. To do this, in the Google Chrome Advanced REST Client “URL” input box, type:
    https://test.salesforce.com/services/oauth2/token

    (for prod, just replace “test” in the URL with “login”)

  2. Select POST as the method and in the “Raw Headers” section type:
    Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded
  3. In the “Data Form” section, enter your client_id, client_secret, username, password* and a final additional parameter called “grant_type” = “password”
    *PS: The password should be your normal salesforce password + your users security token. E.g. if your password is “myPassword!” and your security token is “61WhVHCHUkBIBGUm4ayC3588” then enter “myPassword!61WhVHCHUkBIBGUm4ayC3588”
  4. Your screen should now look something like this:
  5. Once this detail is provided, hit SEND
  6. In the HTTP response body, you will now have an “access_token” as well as an “instance_url”. You will be using the “instance_url” in all subsequent requests to create/read/update/delete data, and in every request, you will need to provide the access_token in the header. Generally, the access_token will be valid for 2 hours, but this depends on your salesforce settings. The timeout duration can be modified.

Instructions – Using the Access Token to Securely Modify Your Data

  1. Now that you have your instance_url and access_token, we can create some data! Let’s try create a Lead via API. In the “URL” input box within your Google Chrome Advanced REST Client, enter:
    https://instance_url/services/data/v39.0/sobjects/lead

    where instance_url = the instance_url you got back from the Access Token request in the previous step. This should be something like “https://cs86.salesforce.com” or “http://yourcustomdomain.cs82.salesforce.com” etc.

  2. In the Raw Headers section, enter the following:
    Content-Type: application/json
    Accept-Type: application/json
    Authorization: Bearer ACCESS_TOKEN
    

    ACCESS_TOKEN = the access token you got back in the previous step, so it should look something like this:

    Content-Type: application/json
    Accept-Type: application/json
    Authorization: Bearer 3j9ApkCiRpiZNuEfUy7MT7jG1E2wjpjgCeIqDrssp6735vIlOGZn91yRLoZEer
    
  3. In the “Raw Payload” section enter a JSON payload structure of Lead information such as this:
    {
      "FirstName": "Test",
      "LastName": "Lead",
      "Email": "test@lead.com",
      "Phone": "0123456789",
      "Company" : "Test Company",
      "LeadSource": "Web",
      "Country" : "United Kingdom"
    }
    

    JSON is a data format standard used by many REST API services. You can read up more on JSON data formats here.

  4. Your screen should now look something like this:
  5. When you are ready, hit SEND. You will now see the result of your request in the Response Body. To test that your lead has successfully been created, log into your target Salesforce org, navigate to the Leads object, and select “Today’s Leads” from the List Views. If everything has worked, your Lead should be at the top of the list!

Hopefully by following the example, you’ve started to piece together the fundamentals of OAuth2 authentication and how Salesforce implements it’s standard out-of-the-box Web Services. Each object has it’s own specific set of URI resources. To get the full list, just do a GET request on https://your_salesforce_instance/services/data/v39.0/ where v39.0 is the version of the API you want to interrogate. Otherwise, continue to explore the incredibly rich but dull catalogue of documentation on the Salesforce support and help websites.

Happy API-ing!

Securing your CRM code base

Securing your CRM code base

Any Salesforce admin or developer worth their salt in deployments will know that no Apex classes or Triggers will be making their way to a Production org without adequate code coverage. Salesforce devs need to write Unit Tests to sufficiently cover at least 75% of their code.

✔ Big green tick to Salesforce for enforcing quality on the platform and protecting against possible regression and class integrity.

What is not required however, is a code scan to highlight any potential security vulnerabilities. This is a recommended best-practice for any code deployment, however the practicalities of this can sometimes be outweighed by the benefits. I.e., there are costs involved with code scans.

At the time of writing, Salesforce does offer a free code scan service available here however there are no guaranteed service levels and depending on server activity, it could be days before your code scan results are returned (if ever). Premium services are available such as The Checkmarx solution for scanning Apex & Visualforce (and other languages such as Javascript) code.

If your company is not convinced in investing an Apex code scanning solution however, there are some best-practices you can implement:

SOQL Code Injections

Take care of passing SOQL as a String parameter to database functions, such as:

    String mySOQL = 'select id from account';
    List accounts = (List) Database.query(mySOQL);

Where “mySOQL” can be intercepted and manipulated (for example, through URL parameters). A safer way to execute the above code would be:

    List accounts = [select id from account];

Sometimes using the Database.Query function cannot be avoided (e.g. in the case of dynamic generation of SOQL), however if it can be, avoid!

Cross-site Scripting

Cross-site scripting (XSS) enables attackers to inject client-side scripts into web pages viewed by other users. One of the best preventative measures you can make to avoid XSS attacks in Salesforce is to avoid overriding the default “escaping” of characters within a Visualforce component as such:

<apex:outputText value=”val” name=”output1″ escape=”false” />

“Escape” within the context of VF page components is a Boolean value that specifies whether sensitive HTML and XML characters should be escaped in the HTML output generated. An escape character is a character which invokes an alternative interpretation on subsequent characters in a character sequence. Setting this Boolean to “false” may be a security risk because it allows arbitrary content, including JavaScript, that could be used in a malicious manner.

Cross-site Forgery

Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) is an attack that forces an end user to execute unwanted actions on a web application in which they’re currently authenticated. For example, CSRF occurs when a user visits a malicious web page that makes their browser send requests to your application that the user did not intend. The best way to avoid this is to configure your Visualforce Pages and components to require CSRF protection on GET requests when editing the page in Salesforce:

There are many more examples of how to reduce your vulnerabilities, however these practices are probably the best spend of resource to mitigate risks in your Apex code.