Salesforce 101: Top 10 Tips and Tricks

By Andreas Rivera
Business.com / Marketing Solutions / Last Modified: September 14, 2017
Photo credit: Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

Check out these need-to-know tips, tricks and hacks for Salesforce CRM beginners.

Salesforce is a powerful CRM that will help you keep tabs on nearly all aspects of your company's sales and customer contact, providing insights into your analytics and keeping your customers happier. In fact, nearly 60 percent of all companies have integrated or plan to integrate Salesforce clouds. That's due in part to the fact that 75 percent of companies that increase investment in analytics can cite revenue gains. There's so much you can do and control with Salesforce's highly customizable interface, but here a few tips and tricks for beginners to get you started.

1. Take the tour

When you take your first look at the Salesforce interface, it could be a bit overwhelming. With its many tabs and features, it's not uncommon that first-timers feel lost. Luckily, first-time users can take a tour feature that walks you through the main functions of the CRM. The tour will teach you how to manage your pipeline, view and edit opportunity profiles, track sales, and customize your sales process. Take advantage of this guided tour to get your bearings. It won't reveal every feature Salesforce has to offer, but it's enough to get you started with the basics.

2. Navigate setup

Setup is where you'll access many of the Salesforce options, customization settings and admin functions. Instead of browsing through the hundreds of options, the easiest way to locate the page you're looking for is the Quick Search Bar in the top left corner of the page to take you to where you need to go.

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3. Set tracking alerts and notifications

Keep everyone on your team in the loop when changes are made to your process, new leads are added and assigned, or you want to set a reminder for yourself to follow up with a contact. You can set up automatic email alerts for you and other users that are triggered by different actions. On the Setup screen, select or search for Email Alerts. From here you can select from a list of email templates and set up the recipients for the automated email alert. In Email Templates, you can make more templates to select from.

Next, in Workflow Process Builder, you can create customized scenarios and actions for the emails to be sent. Set up a process for when a new lead is created, then an email is sent to the sales team. This is a powerful tool that can automate almost everything in the CRM.

4. Automate reports and send emails

Much like emails, you can automate reports to be created and delivered to you automatically for any occasion, like weekly or monthly meetings. Under the Reports tab, create your desired reports on leads, opportunities, revenue, etc. Hit Run Report, and then you can select Schedule Future Runs. Select the frequency you want to run the report and who you want it emailed to.

5. Control permissions

Salesforce allows you to give access to all your employees with user accounts. Of course, you may not want all the users to have the same access to Salesforce and the information, so you can set individual permissions for users.

In Setup, go to Permission Sets, where you can create limitations for groups of users so they only have access to certain apps and settings. With Session Activation, you can also impose a permission set on users who meet certain criteria. For example, users who complete certain tasks in Sales can be given access to Leads.

6. Explore AppExchange

One of Salesforce's best aspects is its modular design and ability to integrate hundreds of different applications into its interface. Some of the most popular applications are add-ons from Data.com, MailChimp and DocuSign. Apps can extend the capabilities of your CRM and make things more efficient. There are several apps dedicated to keeping your database clean by eliminating duplicates created from mass imports. Additional apps can make your reporting more robust, adding features relevant to your business such as geometric data for leads and opportunities.

7. Explore and add Chrome extensions

There are a lot of advantages to using Salesforce with Google Chrome, including many browser extensions that make things more convenient for you and your users within the Chrome extensions page. The Salesforce Lightning extension for Gmail lets you view activity from Salesforce within the email page. This allows you to view new developments with context from emails. [See related story: 10 Best Chrome Extensions for Business]

Another popular extension is Ebsta, which allows you to cross-reference information from your Salesforce to info on a webpage, such as personal profiles and sales data.

8. Chrome search engine

Speaking of Chrome, you can add a Salesforce search engine within your browser so you can quickly search for information within Salesforce from the Chrome address/search bar. In Chrome, under Settings, find Manage Search Engines. Add Salesforce and a simple keyword, like "sale" or "sf." For the URL, go into Salesforce Classic View and use the search box. On the resulting screen, copy the URL and paste it into the URL field in the Add Search Engine Box. Replace the term you search with "%" and hit save.

When searching with Chrome, type in the keyword you selected for Salesforce, hit space, then enter your search term. This should automatically bring you search results within Salesforce.

9. Import from Excel or other CRMs

If you need data from Excel spreadsheets or your previous CRM, Salesforce can easily import data in the form of CSV files. The Data Import Wizard under Setup walks you through the process of importing contacts, leads, solutions and campaign members. You can upload based on the previous formatting from Outlook, ACT or Gmail CSVs. The interface allows you to import up to 50,000 records at one time.

10. Logout page customization

The level of customization allows you to set a landing page for users who log out of their Salesforce interface. So, for instance, if they log out, you can set it so they are sent to your company's intranet or other Dashboard sites. To do this, just go to Setup and Session Settings. At Logout Page Settings, just paste the URL you want users to land on when they log out.

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