Solution design has become an increasingly in-demand skill for consultants and business analysts, as well as others working in the Salesforce ecosystem. Visualizing complex business requirements on one page can help simplify the way you communicate solutions to stakeholders, while helping you to identify process bottlenecks.
In this guide, I will use two example scenarios (for consultants and business analysts) to show you how straightforward it can be getting started with visualizing Salesforce requirements.
Visualize Salesforce Requirements: For Consultants
As a consultant, you have been hired by a start-up to implement an integration between Salesforce and Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (Pardot).
One of the project goals is to maintain the data integrity and cost efficiency across both platforms. Having collected information from the marketing, sales, product, and IT teams, you are now ready to present a technical solution to your stakeholders.
How Do You Visualize This?
I suggest using a simple swimlane to visualize a connection, i.e. the data sync between Pardot and Salesforce. You want to show how Marketing Data Sharing Rules will help the project achieve its goal.
This simple three-lane diagram below helps both technical and non-technical audiences to understand the relationship between Pardot and Salesforce at a high level.
As you can see, prospects in Pardot sync to the Salesforce Lead and Contact object, and vice versa. Using Lead and Contact criteria under the Marketing Data Sharing Rule helps the startup to only sync marketing data from Salesforce to Pardot.
This solution enables the company to only sync “marketing” data in Pardot. The consultant asked the Salesforce Admin to create a checkbox field called “Marketing” in Salesforce, a “Marketing” checkbox in Pardot, and map the two fields together. On the Salesforce side, if any Leads and Contact record have the “Marketing” field checked (Marketing = True), the Lead and Contact record will be eligible to sync from Salesforce to Pardot whenever the connector sync is triggered.
This ensures cost efficiency because Salesforce charges based on the number of prospects stored in Pardot. This visualization is not only helpful for the system admins, but for the managers and finance team, too.
Visualize Salesforce Requirements: For Business Analysts
As a new hire business analyst, you are assigned to collect information about a current hiring process to improve the talent acquisition strategy for the company.
You spoke with the IT, HR and marketing teams to gather a current status of the recruiting app. This app was built by the Salesforce admin team, and you want to maximize Salesforce’s automation capabilities to improve the hiring process.
How Do You Visualize This?
Again, I prefer to use a swimlane visual to document the hiring process flow across HR, Marketing, IT/Salesforce team, and the candidates.
By laying out step-by-step interactions with different departments, it helps the business analyst picture how the recruiting app functions across stakeholders, and identify opportunities to eliminate “bottlenecks” for the IT/Salesforce team.
Diagramming Tips & Best Practices
Visualization is so powerful; it can help to capture complex information in a simple way for your audience and stakeholders to absorb. Remember, you don’t need to make a diagram perfect when you’re just getting started. I adopt the following principles when I design any visual technical works:
1. Pick the right diagram: There is no need to reinvent the wheel – there are already existing templates that can be used as a starting point. It is critical to choose the appropriate diagram to translate your technical solutions into a fun and easy expression.
Here are two examples of the diagram above that you can start with:
- Visualize Salesforce Requirements – For Consultants
- Visualize Salesforce Requirements – For Business Analysts
2. Revisit your work: There is always room for improvement. It is very important to revisit your design to evaluate if your current process might get impacted from a project such as connecting your CRM to a new platform to a task such as deploying a new automation. Share your work across your diverse team, both technical and non-technical audiences to make the work you do more understandable.
3. Recommended Tools for Visualization: Get started with a free trial with visualization tools such as Lucidchart, Miro or Mural. These are intuitive and will guide you through the diagramming process. You can learn design thinking from the Trailmix: Get Started with Design Thinking.
“Communication is the key to success in any business.” – Lee Brown (public administrator, politician, and businessman)
Alongside investment in technical knowledge, allocating time to learn, update, and upgrade your design thinking skills will allow you to effectively engage and express complex technical challenges to your stakeholders. Becoming an effective communicator – to both technical and non-technical audiences – will open doors for you to achieve your business goals.
Let’s make your technical journey more creative and productive – good luck!