Getting information to your Salesforce users can be challenging for any Admin. With the number of changes you could be making in a given week, users won’t have the time to sit in frequent training sessions. But you know that these enhancements will be a real productivity boost for them – so, how do you make announcements that won’t be ignored?
Have you ever heard a user tell you: “oh, you didn’t tell me about this feature”, or the dreaded “I didn’t read that email”, then this guide is for you!
I’ve found that there are effective and scalable communication methods, and will share these 7 (plus) tips with you. I’ve combined experience both as a teacher, and as the solo admin for 300 users (yes, a lot of people to circulate information for!)
Tip 1: Communication Style
As a Salesforce Admin, knowing your own communication style is critically important. You are the bridge between users and the technology they need to excel in their jobs.
Do you prefer in-person training? Do you get overly verbose in emails? (I’m guilty!) Maybe, you prefer emails because you get nervous in-person?
Since you are responsible for providing your users with the latest changes to your Salesforce org, you must keep your target audience in mind.
Take some time to think about your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to communication. You can ask some of your peers for feedback on what you have done so far.
All of your announcements should be proofread by yourself, a power user, and someone who is the opposite of a power user. These people will help you fine tune your communication style over time – in turn, you’ll support your users get the most out of Salesforce.
Tip 2: Ditch the Jargon
An example of a bad update: “There is a new custom formula field on the Contact object displaying Account Tier.”
This is bad for two main reasons:
- There are two technical phrases – ‘custom formula field’ and ‘Contact object’. The average user won’t know what an object nor what a custom formula field is!
- It doesn’t appeal to me personally, as an end user, leading them to think: “So, why should I care?” If your users assume that it won’t help them, your message is most likely going to be ignored.
An example of a good update: “Before this enhancement, if you wanted to know what Account Tier a Contact person was on, you had to click on the Account Name, then find the field and look at it. We know that was frustrating and time-consuming. But as of today, you can now look directly below the person’s name on the Contact page, and see their Account Tier!”
Follow this checklist when communicating with your users:
- State the problem/issue you are fixing.
- Acknowledge it’s a problem.
- State your solution (in non-Salesforce terms).
- Provide a visual of the solution.
- Offer additional support (on a per-communication basis, always end with “For further assistance, check our our Training Library here, or reach out to your Administrator here”).
Tip 3: Make a Salesforce Slack Channel or Chatter Group
By creating a Slack Channel or Chatter group, open up two-way communication. Important announcements can be delivered directly, and users have immediate way to contact you for assistance, directly on the record where they need help.
Remember to set expectations for how the groups/channels should be used. Requests made in free-flowing conversation can be hard to manage, and can get lost in the noise. If users wish to make change requests, you could set up a Salesforce tickets object that will help keep track of requests and changes:
If you have a team of Salesforce Admins, junior Admins, or Developers, a private Slack channel or Chatter group can be very helpful.
- Ultimate Guide to Salesforce Chatter
- Slack to Salesforce Integration
- Slack Fatigue? How to Bring Control to Rapid Collaboration
Tip 4: Make a Salesforce News Homepage Component
But let’s be brutally honest here – it’s almost as easy to ignore Chatter or Slack as it is to ignore an email.
By adding a News component to the Salesforce homepage, users will see the latest announcements, and any communication, when they log into Salesforce.
In this example, my users are new to Lightning UI, so I’m welcoming them and directing them to a self guided training resource, as well as providing important upcoming dates.
You can add a rich-tech component to any object in Lighting. Do you have an important update specifically for your SDR/BDR team, about Leads? Consider adding it directly to the Lead object.
- Customize Your Salesforce Homepage with the Lightning App Builder
- Standard Lightning Components to Implement in Salesforce Now!
Tip 5: Default Text Values and Help Tooltips
Help tooltips are one of the most underrated features of Salesforce. You should add some for your users, but remember to be concise as they have a pretty small character limit.
Setting a default value in your text fields can clearly show to your users what type of data you expect to see, and when it needs to be filled out.
Tip 6: Formula Fields
Sometimes you need to display some text for your users, that will never change and shouldn’t be edited. This is especially true if you have an org with a lot of new users, or frequent staff turnover. Formula fields are ideal for putting static notes right into the record.
In this example, my call center team is located in a different time zone to the customer. While I could put this information into a help tooltip, I’d then be relying on the users to hover and read the info. By creating a formula field, I can display this information right near the phone number, without requiring extra steps by the user.
- How to Create a Salesforce Formula Field
- 50+ Salesforce Formula Examples
- Use Images in Salesforce Formula Fields to Spice up Your Org
Tip 7: Dashboard Component Subtitles and Footers
There are actually three places where you can add information for the end user on dashboard components: the title, header, and footer.
By adding information, you can preemptively answer the most common questions, saving time (for you) and confusion (for them).
- Creating Dashboards in Salesforce [Updated]
- 10+ Salesforce Dashboard Tips & Tricks
- Why No One Looks at Your Salesforce Dashboards – How to Improve Reporting Adoption
- Personalized Training Library: Create training materials for your users. Once set up, refer users to it, and add to it, often. Trailhead is a great resource, but it is not personalized to your company. myTrailhead is an option, but comes at an additional cost. Screenshots that include your company name, or custom fields referencing your products, can make a big impact when training new users. For example, something as simple as “How to Convert a Lead” might be a very short lesson if you follow Salesforce’s training. But in your particular company, you might need a different set of fields populated, or maybe you have two different sales teams that need to fill out different sets of information. Ask your users what they need training on!
- Be consistent: Once you’ve found which methods of communication stick better with your audience, update those channels as part of a routine. Post to your Chatter group, Slack channel, update your home page component, and go ahead and send that email. Use your time wisely though, and send the same message on each format.
- Screenshots, screenshots, screenshots! Not everybody can read a long message and comprehend that information, not to mention there are potential language barriers! Screenshots will help your visual learners, and help to overcome any potential language issues.
- Know your target audience: If the update only applies to a specific group of people, send it to those people only. Don’t spam your busy sales team with updates the support team needs!
- Create a monthly or quarterly “newsletter”: Provide updates on the Admin team, seasonal releases from Salesforce, or maybe some FAQ’s about your specific business processes in Salesforce.
In short, there’s really no such thing as “too much” communication with your users. By providing detailed communication in a variety of formats, you provide your users with the tools and resources they need to be as successful. Give these tips a go – you may find a few stick better with your user audience than others.