• Salesforce Spring ’20 Release – Top Features & Release Date

    For most of us now, the holiday season is behind us, and Salesforce Spring ’20 Release is almost here. With less than a month to go, let’s take a quick look at the latest release from Salesforce.

    When is Spring 20 release scheduled?

    For most environments globally, you can expect Spring 20 release on the weekend of Feb 14th 2020.

    To check the date and schedule time of the release for you specific org, you can check the Maintenance Calendar. Just scroll through the list and check your Salesforce instance against the release dates listed in the calendar.

    Top Features of the Spring 20 Release

    In the Salesforce release cycle, it is the Spring releases which typically deliver refinements and usability improvements. And Spring 20 is no exception.

    Let’s jump in and take a look at what is coming out way.

    Opportunity Scores using Einstein Opportunity Scoring

    Spring ’20 Release will see Salesforce start to roll out some of Einstein features at no extra cost for existing Sales Cloud users.

    Introducing Einstein Opportunity Scoring!

    It is a nice way to get a bit of a taster, of the benefits Einstein AI can bring to your org.

    Opportunity scoring component now available in Spring 20 release for all Sales Cloud users
    Spring 20: Einstein Opportunity Scoring now available for free

    Einstein Voice Assistant (Beta)

    While we are talking about Einstein, Einstein Voice Assistant is now also available to customers in beta.

    You can create specific skills for use with Einstein Voice Assistant, or use default ones such as: Log a Call, Create Contacts or Update Opportunity.

    To watch a video overview of Einstein Voice Assistant in action:

    Einstein Voice
    Einstein Voice Assistant home page on mobile, Spring 20 Release
    Einstein Voice Assistant

    Merge Cases

    One thing which has been missing from ‘out of the box’ Salesforce for a very long time – yet offered on a lot of other service ticketing platforms (like Zendesk) – was the ability to merge cases.

    We saw the beta release in Summer 19 release. But it is now promoted to ‘generally available’, meaning it is ready for prime time now!

    Read more here.

    Related List showing cases that comprise the new merged case in Spring 20 Release
    Spring 20 Release: Merge Cases becomes Generally Available

    Assign Tasks to a Queue

    Another feature which fits in the ‘why wasn’t this already available’ – and has been on the IdeaExchange for 10years.

    But better late than never! And we now can allow a queue to be accessible to Tasks object and allow your users to assign tasks to a queue.

    This is great if you have a team which shares work, like a Sales support team for example.

    Read more here.

    New task creation window in Spring 20 Release, which is showing queues as an option for the Assigned To field
    Spring 20 Release: Assign Tasks to a Queue

    URL Hacks are back! (Aka Default Field Values)

    It has been a few years now, without the ability to create a new record and pre-populate field values via a custom button and the URL (often referred to as URL hacking in the Salesforce community).

    The only way was a Quick Action, and prepopulating the fields via the Action Layout.

    But now, Salesforce has created a way to recreate this Admin favourite way of creating a new record with values pre-populated.

    Admins: Read more here on how to create a button/link using this new feature.

    For developers out there, this is also accompanied by a change to the way to you create/navigate in your components, with new lightning/pageReferenceUtils module and lightning:pageReferenceUtils Aura component. Although this won’t be available in LightningOut/Lighting Communities.

    Devs: Read more here re: Navigate Users to a Record’s Create Page with Default Field Values

    Change Lightning Experience with the Lightning Extension for Chrome

    Salesforce, in Dark Mode? Yes please!

    As part of Spring 20, Salesforce has published a Chrome extensions allowing users to take advantage of a few new UI features, such as Dark Mode, Link Grabber and Component Customisation.

    No doubt, this is the start of new user specified customisations you can allow and enable for your users who want it…

    Read more here.

    Lightning Extension Setup page
    Spring 20 Release: Settings for Lightning Extension for Chrome

    Clone Objects and Related Records

    Cloning records helps speed up the creation of new records, but when you have to then recreate child records – you aren’t saving that much time.

    Classic previously allowed certain records on certain objects to be cloned with their child records. Like Opportunities with Products, for example.

    But Lightning will see this new Clone with Related available across more objects, and allow you to pick and choose which related records are relevant to your new record.

    Read more here, including setup instructions.

    The Clone with Related action on an opportunity, and the dialog where you can choose to include products and contact roles in the new opportunity
    Spring 20 Release: Clone with Related Records

    Official Resources to get Release Ready

  • The week in review (Quip Slides, Einstein Voice, Benioffs buy Time, Dreamforce next week)

    There is less than a week until Dreamforce…. and the announcements have started already!  This week we have seen two new product launches with Quip Slides and Einstein Voice.  And although not specifically Salesforce news, Marc Benioff & his wife have announced they are buying Time Magazine.  So let’s jump on in…

    Salesforce introduces Einstein Voice (watch out Alexa!)

    Salesforce Einstein, ready for takeoff?

    Roll on Dreamforce…. If this is the scale of announcements we can expect to hear! (pardon the pun)

    Salesforce has announced the new Einstein Voice app for use dictation and navigation.

    Have a look at the video to see it in action, shared by Salesforce on Twitter.

    The video shows a voice memo being captured, including a note and some action items.  Then Einstein gets to work, and analyses the words and tries to correlate it to data within your Salesforce (such as updating a opporutnity amount and close date).

    So simple, yet very very effective.  And after all, isn’t that what AI and ultimately Salesforce Einstein is all about…  I mean that and world domination #helloSkyNet

    The announcement before Dreamforce could have been as a response to Microsoft’s recent Dynamics 365 AI announcement.  But I do hope it is a taster of a number of exciting products announcements next week!

    Read more about this over at VentureBeat.

    Quip launches Quip Slides…

    Salesforce Quip Slides

    Salesforce’s Quip has just completed the Office ‘trifecta’, by announcing the launch of Quip Slides.

    In a move which allows users of Quip to now create collaborative slide decks using the new product.

    If you haven’t used Quip previously, the power of platform is how it drives collaboration on the documents teams use regularly.

    You can follow documents, get alerts when updated, prepare/update the document as a team and even chat about the document/project/etc in a team feed (similar to Chatter).  And the power of your CRM (Salesforce obviously) can easily be pulled in to these documents automatically.

    Previously you could create documents and sheets.  And now, firing a shot across the bow of Microsoft (and Google), slides and presentations are included!

    Here is a demo video of the new feature in action:

    Read more, over at GeekWire or visit the Quip Slides site.

    Benioff’s buy Time…

    Although not specifically Salesforce, the Benioff’s have announce they are buying Time Magazine.  Now there is a lot of news announcing this acquisition into the personal assets of the Benioff’s – one article in particular caught my eye.

    Over at the NYTimes, they had an interesting take on the Benioff announcement to buy Time.  Specifically relating to how the personal fortunes of CEOs, when mixed with media and politics – can cause tension in the current US political regime.

    Regardless of your political persuasions, it is an interesting read and covers how the purchase personally of a media organisation may complicate things for the company’s board/shareholders.

    Read move, over at NYTimes (or read about the acquisition via the BBC).

    Dreamforce, is almost here!

    And finally, in case you have been hiding under a rock, Dreamforce is almost here!  Kicking off next Monday 24th Sept. survive Dreamforce

    It is another sell-out this year, and you can read all about 9 tips to survive Dreamforce here.

    Additionally, all announcements from the week will be showcased on this site – so stay tuned…

  • The week in review (Einstein Platform, SF ‘CRM’ stock to double? & Oracle/Salesforce agree!)

    There is a big focus this week in Salesforce Briefs on AI with Einstein Platform being released for Developer’s, with several new tools being announced.  Also in this week’s brief, how AI can help Sales Enablement, ‘CRM‘ stock to double in 3yrs and finally did you ever think you would see Oracle and Salesforce agree on something?!  I know I didn’t…

    Salesforce introduces Einstein Platform (AI tools for developers)

    Salesforce Einstein, ready for takeoff?

    The slow and steady release of Einstein across the Salesforce multiverse continues this week, with Einstein Platform being unveiled to the world.

    After Salesforce announced the Account Based Marketing AI suite last month and attention has now turned to helping out platform developers.  Who can now have access to some cool new additions such as Intent & Sentiment Analysis!

    This means developers can now start use AI to analyse comments/text to understand if it is positive/neutral/negative in sentiment or also use Einstein to analyse the intent of a request (to then help route to the correct queue as an example).

    Forbes has an article around the dawn of the ‘data developer’ here, and a quick look into where this trend might end up.

    How AI can help Sales Enablement

    Source: Heinz Marketing
    Sales Enablement.

    Firstly, the term Sales Enablement isn’t very common outside of North America.  So what are we talking about here?  Ultimately the function of sales enablement is to provide salespeople with what they need to successfully engage the buyer throughout the buying process.

    So it is a domain that is ripe for AI to help drive insights about the buying process.  We saw previously how Marc Benioff is using AI to empower Salesforce’s forecast meetings.

    The insights and trend analysis that machine learning can deliver will help to unleash productivity within any sales organisation.  And this article looks at how it will support Sales Enablement in this push towards the future.

    Salesforce (CRM) stock to double?

    One of Salesforce’s major shareholders is making bold claims about the share price having room to grow.  To watch the video, click here.  This is in no way financial advice, but interesting if it proves true…

    We all know Salesforce has been flying along recently.  But from my point of view the competition in the CRM space is about to really heat up.  Microsoft is starting to slowly find its feet, Oracle is not to be underestimated and SAP is also in the pack…  Not to mention all the yappy upstarts like Pipedrive, Zoho, etc.

    The CRM playing field is about to get very crowded.

    Oracle, Amazon, Google, and Salesforce finally agree on something…

    Ellison vs Benioff
    Ellison vs Benioff (Source: zdnet)

    (I loved this headline from The Register!  It really hit the nail on the head…)

    The High Tech Innovators Alliance (HTIA) a lobby group which has been formed and is backed by eight tech giants (the above mentioned, alongside Adobe, Cisco, Intel and Dell).  Why is this interesting?  They have formed this lobby group to try and get politicians to fix problems that surround patent law currently.  Because at the moment it seems anyone can sue anyone.  With the aim to make it more difficult for patent trolls to sue them and others.

    Hopefully this doesn’t stifle innovation, but instead affords innovators correct protections for their ideas.


  • Salesforce Briefs: The week in review (on track for $10B rev., Einstein AI & SF Tower in Indy)

    This week’s in Salesforce Briefs, the big news was Salesforce’s quarterly results, which highlight Salesforce is very much on track to hit their $10B (USD) revenue target for this financial year!  Also in this week’s wrap, have you wondered how Marc Benioff uses Salesforce Einstein AI within his own company?  We get a glimpse of some possible future AI tech that powers Salesforce’s own sales forecasting.  And finally, there has been a lot of noise recently about Salesforce Towers here there and everywhere.   With the new Salesforce Tower opening for business in Indianapolis, with an interesting article from Marc Benioff about why Salesforce is expanding there.

    $10b is alot of money… Let’s hope it is USD though and not ZWD 🙂

    Salesforce’s continues towards $10B revenue

    $10B is a lot of cash…  Salesforce announced its first quarter results this week, which confirm Salesforce continues its faced paced march towards the $10B revenue target for this financial year.

    With Marc Benioff stating that Salesforce’s revenue growth, gives it “the fastest growth of any top [five] enterprise software company.”

    Very impressive numbers indeed!  To take a look at the results in more details, head on over at TechCrunch.


    How Marc Benioff uses Einstein

    Over at BusinessInsider, there is a fascinating article on how Benioff uses Salesforce Einstein internally to shape.  There is a product called ‘Einstein Guidance’,  And it has been developed by Salesforce for internal use (at least initially), helping the sales team manage their forecast meetings.  File this under, ‘I can’t wait to see this one’.

    Salesforce Einstein, ready for takeoff?
    Salesforce Einstein, ready for takeoff?

    Einstein is a CRM highlight

    AI and specifically Salesforce’s plans to integrate Einstein as part of the overall platform, also made news as part of an over wrap up on why Salesforce’s share price hit an all time high.  Firstly, I didn’t realise that the stock ticker for Salesforce was ‘CRM’ on NYSE (clever marketing!).  But there is a breakdown on the future of AI and how it will be used to leverage future growth for Salesforce.  There is also an analysis of why there is so much focus on all things AI & Einstein and how the offering compares to other players in the marketplace.

    Prepare your CRM for the future of AI

    And keeping with the AI theme, I found a very interesting article about what you can do to start preparing your CRM for the future of AI today.  It doesn’t specifically relate to Salesforce, but it helps you to start thinking about how you can prepare for this new world when it finally arrives.

    CRM Buyer’s article can be found here.


    Salesforce Tower, Indianapolis
    Salesforce Tower in Indy

    Salesforce in Indianapolis

    In recent weeks there has been a lot of talk about Salesforce Tower in San Francisco.  But did you know Salesforce has made a lot of investment in Indianapolis, with another ‘Salesforce Tower’ being unveiled there?  Why are they expanding outside of San Francisco?  And why Indianapolis?

    There was an article from Marc Benioff himself on why Salesforce is investing in Indianapolis and explains the vision.


  • Salesforce Briefs: The week in review (Trailhead Tracker, Magic Quadrant & SF AI Breakthrough)

    With Salesforce Briefs: Week in Review, we jump into the launch of the new Trailhead Tracker app.  Also saw Salesforce celebrating their Leadership position in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for an astonishing nine consecutive years!  And finally there was a research paper published from Salesforce Metamind team, relating to Artificial Intelligence and how it may be able to start improving our productivity by creating summaries of text heavy documents and emails.


    Salesforce launches Trailhead Tracker

    Trailhead Tracker now on App ExchangeThis week Salesforce released a new app called Trailhead Tracker on the App Exchange.  With this app, you can now link Trailhead directly to your org.  Why would you want to do this?

    You can now assign badges and track employees progress on what they complete in Trailhead.  This signals a move for Trailhead towards a Learning Management System (LMS).

    Remember Trailhead isn’t just a tool for Admins/Developers, there are some great trails for end users too.  Imagine creating an onboarding plan for new employees, where users can work through self paced learning and get recognised within Salesforce for the modules they have completed.

    Find the app here on the AppExchange.   Additionally Trailhead also received a small update, allowing users to add content to a ‘favourite’ list.


    Salesforce maintains position in ‘Leaders Quadrant’ of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for ninth consecutive year

    This month has seen Salesforce named in the ‘Leaders Quadrant’ of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant.

    Click to view – source: Gartner 2017

    What is the ‘Magic Quadrant’?  Gartner rate vendors in various fields based on two metrics, Completeness of Vision and Ability to Execution.  This narrows a vendor down into one of four quadrants:  Leader, Challenger, Visionary, Niche.  You can read more about the Magic Quadrant here at Wikipedia.

    It isn’t a foolproof grading system.  In addition it does give potential buyers an added dimension to support the buying process.  By showing the potential future roadmap of the system and how likely the vendor is to actually deliver on that vision.

    You know all those ‘Safe Harbour/Forward Looking Statement’ slides from Salesforce?  They are there for a reason. 🙂  As we all know Salesforce is a great innovator and this is one way they prove it.

    And on to the great news, Salesforce has achieved a Leadership position for the 9th year in a row in the CRM Customer Engagement, outperforming the likes of Oracle (and Microsoft which isn’t even rate in this category)!

    Earlier in the month, they were also named as a ‘Leader’ in the catchily named category ‘high productivity aPaaS’ Magic Quadrant, you can read about that here.


    Future direction of Einstein?  Breakthrough in Salesforce AI research allows the generation of long, coherent and relevant text summaries.

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a very recent development in the CRM arena.  The future potential excites me (and hopefully things don’t go the Terminator way) and I am excited in seeing how it benefit end users of Salesforce.

    Salesforce Einstein, ready for takeoff?
    Salesforce Einstein, ready for takeoff?

    But we are a little way of seeing the full power of AI, as I mentioned in the Deep Dive article.  We are only just starting to see the potential of Salesforce Einstein and what it can do for users.

    This week Salesforce Metamind published a research paper on how AI could be used in the future to increase productivity.  They have trained AI to provide a summary of long text blocks.  Ultimately this will be leveraged to produce an accurate summary of large unstructured text (like email or documents).

    For more you can read the TechCrunch article about the announcement here.  Alternatively Forbes also had a write up about this announcement.

  • Summer ’17 Deep Dive: Salesforce Einstein

    Since being announced, Salesforce Einstein is something I really want to get more involved with.  The initial fanfare from Dreamforce last year hasn’t disappeared.  If you are like me, you probably waiting to see how it can benefit your users before taking the next step.  But with Summer ’17 release, Salesforce Einstein gets some very welcome additions.

    Salesforce Einstein, a brief history…

    Salesforce Einstein Insights
    Salesforce Einstein Insights

    Firstly if you haven’t heard of Salesforce Einstein, welcome back to Planet Salesforce 🙂   Being launched at Dreamforce last year and is the name of the new AI platform which Salesforce is baking right into its core.  For a quick intro video, here is a Salesforce promo video (~1min) for Sales Cloud Einstein.

    The last two releases have seen it slowly starting to appear across the various clouds (ie Sales/Service/Marketing/Platform/IoT/etc).  Initially it was launched in Winter ’17 with some features regarding Lead Scoring, Activity Insights in Sales Cloud and Predictive Scoring in the Marketing Cloud (click here to watch the video).

    Spring ’17 release further expanded this with predictions and additional insights for Accounts and Opportunities within Sales Cloud.  App Platform and Communities also received some additional features…

    The first two releases really seemed a little bit light.   I am not saying the Product team have an easy job but I want to see more! 😉  And that we were yet to see the full power of Salesforce Einstein.  Is it ready for take-off?

    Roll-on Summer ’17

    As per my recent post, Summer ’17 pre-release notes are now published.  So what does the next release bring us in terms of Salesforce Einstein?

    1. Sales Cloud Einstein Readiness Report

    Well first off the bat, you will now be able to run a report on your Sales Cloud Einstein Readiness.  This is a smart move by Salesforce.  It follows a pattern of ‘readiness reports’ being made available for Lightning Experience and Optimizer (see my last post here).

    I am looking forward to being able to run this in my org and see what the results are!  No doubt there will be a dependency on Lightning Experience being enabled in your org.  So there might be similar dependencies on enabling both.

    Salesforce Summer '17 Release logo
    Are you ready for the Summer ’17 release?

    2. Automated Contacts & Email Matching

    Einstein can now automatically suggest potential contacts to be created into Salesforce based on emails and events.  It can also suggest setting the contact role against opportunities based on those activities.

    This will be a simple but amazing feature for users.  My sales teams hate having to log their emails using Salesforce for Outlook.

    Anything that helps minimise sales admin time, can be added into the business case for getting Salesforce Einstein. 🙂

    3. High Velocity Sales

    This one is quite intriguing.  It does seem to be Salesforce bundling together a number of features available to orgs with Lightning Experience and Einstein enabled.

    By combining the features of Sales Console, Lead Scoring, Lightning Dialer (formerly Lightning Voice) and Activity Capture.  Salesforce is helping sales people streamline their work.

    Lightning Dialer…  Looks like quite a useful add-on and now allows you to setup a call lists.  If only it was available outside of US/Canada!!

    4. Improvements to Lead Scoring & build processes around it

    You can now access the ‘ScoreInsight’ object, which is where Salesforce Einstein stores its insight based scoring.  You can now use this via custom formula fields, Process Builder, triggers or Apex.  This might not sound immediately useful…

    But imagine being able to update the lead status, assign it to a campaign and potentially prioritise the lead.  All through automation based on the insights provided by Einstein.

    Salesforce Einstein, ready for takeoff?

    Einstein ready for take-off?

    For me this is the first release that Einstein actually begins to add value to end-users.

    I am waiting with bated breath for the readiness report which becomes available with Summer ’17 release.  I am very eager to test it out on a legacy org and see the recommendations.  To be fair, I am not expecting a silver bullet with Einstein.  You know the old saying about data – crap in, crap out! 🙂  Though Einstein won’t solve data issues within your data, at least not at this stage…

    But this will no doubt serve as a fork in the road where the business case for buying Einstein might actually become viable.  And it will rapidly continue to expand across the Salesforce platform in the coming releases.

    Final word

    While researching this post, I found an interesting video series on Youtube.  Salesforce has created a new playlist, ‘FY18 The Year of Einstein‘.  The videos show how Einstein can be used to empower a business.  How?  In typical Salesforce fashion by highlighting use cases from the usual suspects (Coca-cola, Amazon AWS, etc).  I am intrigued about what Einstein Vision has the potential for, but in my current role I can’t see much use of it at this point in time though…


    What about you?  Use the comments below to share your thoughts.  What are you excited about with Salesforce Einstein.  Is there a specific use case you are looking at Einstein to help you with?

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