You’ve started your brand new role as a Salesforce Administrator. You felt elated as you’ve finally secured your break into the Salesforce market having successfully passed your Salesforce Administrator exam after hours of study, and worked your way with determination through your Trailhead badges. You’ve proudly displaying your Trailhead Ranger status on Twitter. But your heart sinks as you click through to your Salesforce log in and realise in your first few days in your new job that you’ve inherited a messy org which is far from clean..
With a few strategies under your belt, you can whip that org into shape in no time with the right approach.
We spoke to a handful of Salesforce Administrators who’ve been in this situation themselves and they gave us their top tips.
First things first. What constitutes a ‘mess’?
Some characteristics of a messy org could include issues such as these:
- Everyone’s an Admin
- No look up relationships
- Too many roles and profiles that are indistinguishable from one another
- Checkboxes are required fields
- Too many record types, many that are unused
- No naming conventions for metadata and reports
- Open orgs with no proper security
- Too many permission sets
- Bad data
- Unused functionality that’s not hidden or locked
- Duplications of reports or similarly named reports making them hard to use
- Opportunities past close date, out of date data
- More custom fields than records on an object
- Quantitive data in non-numeric fields
- No effective process around the deactivation of users
If you’re seeing characteristics such as these, here are some tips on how to best approach cleaning up the Salesforce instance so that it becomes your best friend in your new role.
1. Identify Power Users
Gaining your users’ trust is the key to adoption, and you can leverage the business’s Power Users as your allies. Identify these first and secure their buy-in and confidence. Gain as much contextual information as you can from them, around how and why the org was created as it was.
Every entity in Salesforce has Created By, Created Date, and Description fields and so if these people happen to still be in the business, seek insight from them.
2. Map out the business itself
Understand how the business operates, how do they interact with their customers? What kind of KPIs are the business working to? Remember, Salesforce doesn’t know anything at all about your business’s process. As a platform, your Salesforce CRM is really a beautiful empty vessel that you need to tailor to your business’s individual needs if you want it to work to it’s full, powerful potential.
Meet with your stakeholders to gain an understanding of their objectives, and again, to build trust and buy-in so that it’s working as effectively as it can.
3. How does the business model feed into Salesforce?
What are the current process and data flows? Who needs what, and when? If you build a product roadmap based on your findings and request a list of external systems to Salesforce to can begin to build a picture and make sense of the existing implementation.
4. Understand your current data and metadata
Guess what? There are a handful of tools which you can use to gain insight into what exists in your org in the present day. You can build your own reports and dashboards (these are standard componants) to find and handle exceptions, run the optimizer and one of the below to get a clear idea of the current state of the org. And both DataLoader and Workbench allow you to transport data to and from your org via Excel for more advanced querying.
You can then use one of the apps on the AppExchange to assist you further.
- The Field Trip app (AppExchange) queries field usage per object to provide you with a percentage of records where each field is populated. Look for fields with lower percentage usage to determine if they are still necessary to keep.
- Octopus app (AppExchange) allows you to view metadata like fields, workflow rules, Apex Classes in either Word or PDF.
You should then be able to get a really good idea of the current state of the org using these.
5. Understand how end users are currently using the system
Which other systems or tools are users using outside of Salesforce, and how much time are they spending here? Is there double handling going on with Excel spreadsheets concurrently for example?
It’ll help you to obtain end user training documentation to ascertain how users have been trained, and how long ago. Have there been developments since which haven’t been captured in training?
Distributing an end survey to seek feedback on what’s working or what’s not working for them, so that you can gauge adoption, and potentially identify quick wins is an idea to empower users.
It’s critical to get the data model right, and often the hardest to identify and easiest errors to make i.e. deleting a field mapped to a web form take time to investigate.
Prioritise changes, and seek to secure a handful of immediate, quick improvements to effectively manage your stakeholders. Leverage your Power Users where you can.
Then based on all of this insight, you can..
Attack the issues!
Are there too many fields on objects? Use your Field Trip data to reconsider the lower percentage fields. Consider employing parent-child object relationships, particularly Master Detail Relationship fields, for Rollup Summary capabilities.
Are there too many characters in your formulas? You could perhaps shorten API Names in your fields.
Are there too many profiles? Review your profiles for redundancies and perhaps explore the possibility of using Permission Sets, which allow you to assign additional permissions to individual users. The more profiles you have, the more complicated a job your future you will have, and so Permission Sets come with significant returns.
By cleaning up the mess, the org you’ve inherited can become more structurally sound, which makes sense not only for your role going forward but for the successes of the business you’ve joined and the people that work with the system every day. Unleash it’s full potential!
And don’t forget
There’s support for you to tap into everywhere in the Salesforce Community! Head to Salesforce User Groups, look up the host of Salesforce resources, such as Trailhead and use the #AskForce community on Twitter. You’re not alone.
If you’re a Salesforce Administrator in the ecosystem seeking a new challenge, we have opportunities available working with both legacy and new orgs, and would be happy to discuss the current market with you.
At Talent Hub, we are Salesforce careers specialists, and you can see some of the Salesforce roles that we are currently recruiting for currently here.