I started my career at Salesforce as a Success Manager, where I spent my days working directly with customers, helping them boost adoption, optimize their implementations, and ultimately get the most value out of their investment in Salesforce. And when it comes to getting value, nothing is better than getting something helpful for free, which is why I always loved talking to my customers about the AppExchange. Out of the 2,600+ apps on the AppExchange, 44% are available free of charge, and many are reasonably priced and deliver exceptional value.
In this five-part blog series, we’ll highlight Apps for Admins as we dig into some of the key challenges Admins face and the AppExchange apps, mostly free (and a few paid), that have made some of my customers more successful.
Picture this: You’re at your desk working through your carefully prioritized backlog of requests when the phone rings. It’s your Sales Ops Director and she says, “We need to stop allowing everyone to create new leads. Can you make it so only managers can create leads?”
As an Admin, you know the answer is yes, and you could just update a few profiles and return to your backlog. But you also know that your role is not just some order taker, but a trusted Salesforce advisor to your company. You’re the Salesforce expert!
And that’s why it’s so important to ask questions, because sometimes a business user will come to you with a solution rather than articulating *why* she needs it—and that *why* is key! Once you know the why, you can use your creativity and expertise to come up with the best solution, which may or may not be the one originally requested. (See this podcast featuring Kevin Richardson and this blog from MVP Brent Downey for more on this topic.)
In this example, asking questions leads us to the real problem: The sales team has found a number of duplicates in Salesforce and it’s hurting their productivity. Now you can really dig in with additional questions, like:
The great news is, for every answer to these questions, there are fantastic apps on the AppExchange to help Admins, including duplicate alerting and blocking, data cleanup, imports, and integration, plus there are free and paid options for each scenario. Read on to discover some of your options.
When you have a leak, it’s important to start with the source. The same is true with duplicates. Explore these apps to stop the flood by blocking duplicates right at the point of entry.
Are duplicates being created directly by users? If yes, are any of them being created via Salesforce1? If you’re looking to stop users from creating duplicate records, you’ll want to check out these free options:
Are duplicates coming in from Web-to-Lead or Imports? If yes, you’re probably going to need a paid app. Check out these options; note that both also feature functionality for users at the point of entry:
If it’s determined that users should be able to merge their own Accounts, Contacts, and Leads, there is native functionality available in Salesforce, and you can simply enable those permissions. If you need to merge en masse, there are free and paid options available:
There are a number of free data loading tools available on the AppExchange, including Jitterbit Cloud Data Loader, Informatica Cloud Data Loader, and dataloader.io Data Loader for Salesforce. Salesforce also offers a native Data Import Wizard for importing up to 50,000 records. Call me old-fashioned, but I still use the standard Data Loader you can download from Setup at Data Management | Data Loader.
Back It Up
Now that you’re blocking, merging, and cleansing, it’s probably a good time to think about your overall data strategy and decide if you need regular data backups. Salesforce offers a free export service, either on demand or scheduled. I also think it’s a good practice to download the Setup Audit Trail twice a year, so you can retain your setup history.
If you’re looking for a more comprehensive solution for backing up your data, check out Backupify. With this paid app, you can back up data and metadata, from production and sandbox environments, and the data is all searchable and accessible via a self-service portal.
Whether you’re looking for free functionality to prevent duplicates at the point of entry or a robust paid solution for overall data management, there’s an app for you to explore. So ask questions, get those requirements, and check out what the AppExchange has to offer.