Admins / Consultants

New Salesforce Org Checklist: 13 Tasks to Complete

By Stacy O’Leary

Without a doubt, my favorite thing about being a Salesforce Consultant is working on new Salesforce orgs. There’s absolutely nothing but sample data in there – everything can be set up correctly right from the beginning, and data quality can be guaranteed right from the start.

But this can be kind of scary for new admins. If you set something up incorrectly (or don’t set something up at all) it could be frustrating for your users, and upsetting to everyone at your company who just spent all that money on Salesforce! In order to alleviate some of this stress, I want to share with you some of the things I do in a brand-new Salesforce Org.

Things to note:

  • This list is merely a starting point – have discussions with your stakeholders before making any changes. All admins need a thorough understanding of what that company will use Salesforce for. Different companies are going to have unique requirements, and an individual definition of what “good” data quality is.
  • Really, I’m not kidding, this is a non-exhaustive list. There are so many things you need to think about before letting users in. Admins are often pressured to get people using Salesforce as soon as possible, thanks in no small part to the cost (gotta get that ROI!). Remember: it’s better – and cheaper – to prevent a problem now, than it will be to pay thousands of dollars in the future to try and fix it.
  • Don’t set all your users to “System Administrator” Profile. This is a big no no. If you do, the Salesforce fairy will find you and shake their head in shame.

Now all that is out of the way, let’s get to the exciting part – what to set up in a new org!

1. My Domain

This is where your URL will be customized to your particular company. If this does not happen as part of your initial set up with Salesforce, make sure to enable it right away. If it’s already enabled, make sure you have the right URL and everyone is happy with it. It is a lot easier to change it now than it will be in the future.

2. Customize your Branding, Logos, Colors, and Theme

In the same area where you set up My Domain, there’s a section that allows you to add your company logo, background color, and right frame URL. This personalizes the login page and makes it stand out from the other apps that companies require users to utilize.

You should also update the theme of your Salesforce org in line with your internal branding. See how to do this in the post below.

READ MORE: 5 Bonus Salesforce UI Features You May Not Know About

3. Review and Implement Any Release Updates

In Setup, type in “Release Updates” to find any updates that are not automatically enabled by Salesforce. You can review the information provided, and determine which can be enabled now, and which you might need more information on before proceeding.

4. Enable State & Country Picklists

If you have ever seen a Lead list sorted by Country have the values “US”, “USA”, “U.S.A”, “America”, “United States of America”, and “United States” looking like six separate countries, you’ll understand the need for State & Country Picklists.

This comes back to your discussion with your team about what is good data quality. State & Country picklist allow you to have a single, dependent picklist for all Standard Address Fields on all Standard Objects – an immense help to data quality.

Plus, it’s a huge pain to migrate an existing database to State & Country picklists after creation, so it’s better to enable it right from the start.

READ MORE: Implementing State & Country Picklists in Salesforce: A Tutorial

5. Set Your Fiscal Year

… if different from the calendar year! This is an easy one but will be helpful for your users because as soon as they start entering data, they’re going to want reports. If your Fiscal Year has been set up, when users are creating their reports they can use the date filters for “Fiscal Year” rather than “Calendar Year” to get a more accurate view of data in alignment with the company.

6. Customize your Profiles

As I mentioned at the start, do not set all your new users to System Administrator. I understand that people’s jobs may be flexible, especially at a startup, but having an org full of system administrators is like asking for trouble.

Aside from that, you really shouldn’t be putting any users on any Standard Profiles. Here’s what Salesforce has to say about it:

“It’s best practice to not assign standard profiles to users. Instead, even if you’re not making any changes, clone the Standard Profiles and assign the clones to users. That way, if a user needs permissions or access to a custom object in the future, the cloned profiles can be updated easily.”

In short, allow users access to what they actually need to do in Salesforce, not what they think they should be allowed to do.

READ MORE: Learn Salesforce Roles and Profiles in 5 Minutes (ft. Permission Sets)

7. Enable Thorough Duplicate Prevention

The out-of-the-box duplicate rules only prevent a portion of the potential duplicates a user could create. Setting these up to be as thorough as possible will save you a lot of time and money in the future.

READ MORE: Complete Guide to Salesforce Duplicate Rules

8. Field History Everywhere

Field History is not on by default.

You should go through all the Standard Objects and enable field history for all the basic fields. These are what I commonly choose for Accounts, Contacts, Leads, and Opportunities:

Account NameAccount NameCompanyAccount Name
Account SourceLead SourceLead SourceLead Source
Account OwnerContact OwnerLead OwnerOpportunity Owner
IndustryNameNameOpportunity Name
TypeEmail Opt OutEmail Opt OutType
Annual RevenueDo Not CallDo Not CallClose Date
Billing Address

You should also do this for the other standard objects as well, like Cases, Contracts, Campaigns, etc. My criteria is generally:

  • Name fields
  • Ownership Fields
  • Source Fields
  • Privacy Fields (Do not call, email opt out)
  • Unique Identifiers (Email Address)
  • Status & Type Fields

Note: The limit on Field History tracking is no more than 20 fields per object.

9. Make Email Address Required

Both on the Lead & Contact Page Layout, and on the Lead & Contact Global Action Layout.

If your company doesn’t use email, you should use a different method of contact, e.g. if you exclusively use phone calls to prospect, you might want to make Phone Number required. However, keep in mind your other teams – marketing departments often like to have an email address for everyone so they can send out newsletters and product announcements.

10. Create a Company Letterhead

You probably will have automated emails going out from Salesforce at some point. These might be change announcements for users, sales alerts about a past due Opportunity, or a celebration for a Closed Won Opportunity. Having a standard email template right from the beginning saves you time, and gives you something you can quickly use in the future.

11. Set up an Organization Wide Email Address (or two!)

An organization-wide email address in Salesforce allows you (and your users) to send an email out of Salesforce, and have it be “from” an address that is not their personal address. If emails are sent out of Salesforce, users can easily select whichever email address they like as the reply/from address. A do-not-reply address can also be set up for automated messages that you don’t want people to reply to.

12. Delete Sample Data

Out-of-the-box orgs sometimes have a small number of fake records that you can use for training, or to just give you an idea of how things look to begin with. You may opt to keep these, but they can be confusing to users. I like to delete these records, and use something like Trailhead, or Sandbox orgs for training instead.

13. Customize Tabs, Search Results, Search Filters, Lookup Dialogs, Highlights Panel, List View Columns

And finally, customizing all these items on each object. This is probably the item that will be invisible to your users when you do it right, and blatantly obvious if you do it wrong. I’m not going to go over all of these in detail, but I will list them out and give you a general idea of why I do these things.

The main reason we do these things is to make searching, and general navigation in Salesforce easy and fast for your users. When things are not easy and fast, users may assume that something is wrong or that the data they want doesn’t exist. This can lead them to recreate data, or even go so far as to complain that Salesforce is actually broken. So, here is the list of things I generally customize:

  • Columns on List Views
  • Highlights Panel
  • Lightning Page – Change Default Tab to “Details”
  • Update Compact Layout
  • Update Search Layouts to include more detail
  • Update Lookup Dialogs
  • Update Search Filter Fields


If that list isn’t overwhelming enough, we haven’t even talked about security, user processes, documentation, training, etc.

Remember, every business is unique and will have a lot of requirements that can’t be duplicated from org to org. That initial discovery is critical to finding out what the company needs, and how they’re going to use Salesforce.

I hope that you found this helpful! Let us know in the comments what you like to do in new Salesforce orgs (or if you have any lessons learned from old orgs!).

The Author

Stacy O'Leary

Stacy is a 5x Certified Salesforce Consultant & Full Time Mom.


    November 14, 2022 4:29 pm
    This is great! thank you. I'm new in the Salesforce ecosystem and currently taking the admin course with Supermums. I would like to set up a new org for my parent's company and this has really given me a place to start. Regards!
    Lauren Westwood
    November 18, 2022 9:28 am
    That's great to hear - thanks for sharing, Rebeca, and best of luck!
    November 21, 2022 4:53 am
    Great Checklist!, Even after reaching ranger ranking and taking part in a couple of Salesforce projects, starting an org from scratch is indeed scary. Can we please have a part 2 or even 3 to this list with some of the most common steps to follow to set up an org before we start building? maybe with some notes on best practices and when some of those might not apply. This would go a long way! Any other resources on this to keep exploring further?
    Seth Partridge
    November 30, 2022 7:20 pm
    Ooh, this is great! One of the other things I always do right away is ensure that proper DKIM and SPF records are setup so email notifications from the org don't land in spam folders.

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