Regular readers of our blog will know that we often focus on “heavy lift” projects: ERP integrations, org merges, Lightning migrations. In other words, the kinds of projects that can drive significant organizational change, that but also require a certain amount of time, expertise and budget.

That said, it’s not only big changes that yield big results. Sometimes a simple change in Salesforce can solve a nagging problem or create a brand new functionality. Recently, a member of our managed services team shared a few mini customizations he’s been recommending to clients lately. These changes don’t take much to set up, but could provide the major fix you’ve been looking for.

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3 quick Salesforce customizations to make your life easier:

1. State and country picklists

You’d think tracking the geographic breakdown of your customers would be pretty simple. Users enter the appropriate state/country on every contact record, and then you can spin a quick report. Here’s the problem, though: Common variances in the way people write will result in a single place being represented as multiple. Think “USA,” “United States” and “United States of America” (not to mention typos like “United State of American”).

One possible fix would be to apply a validation rule that requires the field be filled out in a particular way. But this can get tricky: Do you require that a country be written as a single word? That could still leave you with “USA,” “U.S.,” “America”... You get the picture. And while it might seem easier in terms of states, users still need to know the correct two letter abbreviations. You’d be surprised how many people think “MI” means Mississippi.

A better solution is to enable state/country picklists, which provide users with a drop-down menu of options. That way, you’re controlling how the data is entered — and thus how it appears in your reports.

2. Field history tracking

Let’s say your company has just implemented Salesforce, and your team adopted it right away. A huge win, no question — this result is exactly what you hoped for. Still, there are bound to be certain issues. What if users are editing certain fields when they shouldn’t be, for instance?

Thankfully, by enabling field history tracking, your admin can see how up to 20 fields on a given object have been edited (and by whom) over a period of time. This makes it easy to catch and correct simple user errors before they become a widespread problem that impacts your company’s data and reporting in a major way.

Field history tracking can also serve as a key security measure. If you’re storing sensitive information like social security numbers on certain records, you’ll want to know who’s accessing that data and when.

3. Related accounts

It seems easy: In Salesforce, any given contact is related to a particular account. But what happens when a contact should be associated with multiple accounts? In a previous blog, I mentioned a Salesforce use case from one of my previous jobs, where my team needed to store contact information for a number of different researchers and academics. In many cases, these people had affiliations with two or more institutions (they might be an associate professor at one university and a faculty affiliate at another). But because our org didn’t support multiple accounts, we had to choose one as primary — a limitation that caused occasional frustrations.

I look back now and see that this issue had an easy fix: Setting up related accounts. Doing so gives organizations the ability to attach a single contact to multiple accounts. This is much smarter than creating two separate contacts with the same name, one for each account (a practice that can lead to confusion and substantially diminish the power of the Salesforce platform).

Were these tips helpful? Let us know in the comments and we’ll gather up a few more!

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Strategy, Tech

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