• A post I never thought I would be writing…

    I never though I would be writing an article about a virus… But the world is a strange place – it always has been, and it will continue to be after we get through this crisis.

    I am freewheeling this post, with no plan other than to put something I hope is positive out there in these complicated and dizzying times. Mental health is just as important as physical health. And sharing our stories brings us all a little bit closer together…

    Don’t know about you, but personally I have been struggling to grapple with the shear speed and scale of the implications relating to COVID-19.

    What is happening right now is simply heart breaking.

    Seeing the news as it happens, is just staggering.

    Before continuing, if anyone has lost a loved one due to this already – I am deeply sorry, and you have my sincere condolences. Everyone’s experience through this crisis will be shared yet vastly different.

    For a world which has grown so interconnected and intertwined, this virus has hit us where it hurts. Some of us will be impacted at very different levels – be that physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, etc… But the time at the moment is to take action, to minimise the damage and to help those more vulnerable than ourselves.

    Fortunately there are not many times in our lives, where we will be confronted with a global crisis of this scale.

    I am fortunate enough to have friends and colleagues across the globe. Hearing everyone’s story over the last few weeks, we are all sharing in this horrible global situation. But I believe these shared experiences can bring us all closer together.

    Times like this, being mindful of your emotions and practising gratitude, can really help your mental health.

    Personally, I have noticed that at times there have been two very distinct battles/sides occurring within myself. And I can boil this down to ultimately logical brain vs emotional brain.

    Logical part of my brain is trying to understand the bigger picture, the reasoning and logical arguments for what we are seeing. But obviously some things cant be reasoned with.

    And that is where the emotional side takes hold. With feelings of defiance, anger, despondency, sadness, needing of distractions, grief, gratitude, and love. We are all in this rollercoaster together, and we will get through it.

    I try not to fight the feeling or emotion, instead I to practise mindfulness and acknowledge the presence of that emotionally. But also rather than just letting the emotion, be it positive or negative take control, I am trying to be curious about what exactly is making me feel that way. Questioning myself as to what is causing this feeling.

    One thing I hope to get out of this all, is a better understanding of myself.

    So, as I wrote at the start. This is a bit of a weird post, but something I just felt I needed to write.


    So to round out this post, here are something things I would like to share with you that caught my attention over the last few days.

    These are a little Melbourne/Victoria heavy, but feel free to share your own videos/streams/etc that are getting you through this…

    • Zoos Victoria are live streaming animals while the zoos are shut
      • And check out this Zoo Keeper smashing dance moves to entertain people.
    • ABC Radio Melbourne has a page re: entertaining and educational streams and live casts.

    A little more serious, but a fascinating article shared to explain a little about the feelings of grief during the lockdowns globally.

    And even a Trailmix about Creating Peace while in Pieces from Leah McGowen-Hare. Focussing on changing your mindset and creating calm.

    Trello shared a few tips to avoid becoming a WFH Hermit.

    And if you want to go ‘down the rabbit hole’, and deep dive into some of the data resources that are out there about the crisis, Tableau/Salesforce have a site for you.

    Most of all, stay safe!

    Please feel free to share your own comments, stories or even links below in the comments.

  • 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

  • Salesforce acquired Tableau, what now?

    In a press release last month Salesforce dropped the news, that they were about to complete their largest acquisition to date, agreeing to buy Tableau for US$15.7bn. But what is Tableau? And why would Salesforce buy Tableau?

    In this post we will take a look at the reaction to the acquisition and gaze into the crystal ball to understand what might be on the horizon.

    What is Tableau?

    First thing is first. Let’s get acquainted with Tableau, and get an understanding of what Tableau brings to the market.

    In a nutshell, it is a data visualisation and reporting platform/software.

    Salesforce has been investing in data visualisation now for years. And there is a very good reason for that. Particularly as more and more data is being collected, stored and needing analysis, it can become difficult to understand what is actually happening in business.

    Historically Tableau has been used by business and enterprises globally to connect their data warehouses and data stored elsewhere, and bring it together in a meaningful and useable way.

    Here is a quick overview of Tableau in action:

    If you have been to a Salesforce event anytime over the last few years, elements of this will look a little familiar, with Salesforce Einstein Analytics (formerly known as Salesforce Wave).

    Interestingly, looking at the Gartner peer comparison, most reviews are similar rating. However, looking at vendor considerations – of those who completed the review – tells an interesting story…

    Einstein Analytics vs Tableau? (Source: Gartner)

    It would seem, that the biggest competitors to Salesforce Einstein Analytics during vendor selection, are typically Tableau or Qlik.

    The flip side though, companies looking to use Tableau’s software – instead tended to look at Qlik or Microsoft…

    So to me, that would suggest that the market reach for both tools is potentially quite different. But it doesn’t hurt to buy your competition 🙂 (though I think there is more to it then that…)

    Why did Salesforce buy Tableau?

    Historically, Salesforce hasn’t focussed on the data analytics/visualisation market. Though that started to change when Salesforce rolled out Salesforce Wave, and has taken a further leap forward with this acquisition.

    Product wise, there is also potential synergy across a number of features. Embedding Einstein into Tableau, as an example. But personally I feel that there is a bigger plan…

    “We are bringing together the world’s #1 CRM with the #1 analytics platform. Tableau helps people see and understand data, and Salesforce helps people engage and understand customers,”

    Marc Benioff, chairman and co-CEO of Salesforce, said in a press release.

    Firstly, Tableau and a large slice of its existing client base would not be using Salesforce currently. Instead a number of enterprise clients would have their own data warehouses, such as SAP or Oracle, on-premise or in the cloud (e.g. AWS, Azure, etc). And then they would have Tableau installed alongside it to analyse and visualise the data.

    Because of Tableau’s interoperability across various technology platforms. Salesforce now has a cross-sell opportunity, with a possibly avenue to chip away at rivals such as SAP and Oracle.

    And even though Salesforce has been a leader in “digital transformation” era over the last 10-15yrs, we have to keep in mind that CRM isn’t used/required by a lot of companies, and as such it sometimes isn’t the driving force of the business’ transformation.

    So, in much the same way Mulesoft allows organisations to integrate various data platforms, no matter where it is. Tableau allows organisations to interrogate and understand data no matter where it sits.

    Ultimately, where a company might be doing a digital transformation project and moving into the cloud (as an example), these two acquisitions help ensure that Salesforce will still be involved. And then if CRM or marketing form part of the deal, then we all know Salesforce can also help out there too…

    What does this mean from the Salesforce ‘side’?

    Well to start with, probably not a lot.

    As mentioned above, Salesforce has committed to continue to running Tableau independently, with their headquarters to remain in Seattle and the brand being preserved.

    This will be different from most recent acquisitions from Salesforce. For a topical anecdote, when Salesforce acquired data visualisation upstart Edgespring in 2013, it quickly rebranded and embedded it into the Salesforce ecosystem. Launching a new product called Salesforce Wave Analytics… (You can read a great article about it here, and its transformation into Einstein Analytics).

    Over time, we may see the Tableau offering and Salesforce Einstein Analytics starting to move closer together. But I really don’t think there will be much cross-over in the short term…

    Why do I suggest this? Well, as mentioned above, Tableau has a huge number of clients with on-premises and cloud server installations via AWS/Microsoft.

    Image result for sassy salesforce
    Salesforce’s Sassy (pictured on the right :-))

    Which means, a lot of the architecture and ‘behind the scenes’ stuff for Tableau will be relatively new territory for a company which proudly spruiks “No Software” as a motto.

    If I was to predict where we might start to see the first changes. I would have to suggest that Customer 360 is a likely place to start. We might see the outputs from this acquisition used to build out the tool and platform further.

  • The Next Chapter, introducing CirrusRed Consulting.

    Hello all.

    It has been a little while between articles, and you may have noticed a few changes to the website…

    That is because I have spent the last few months planning and setting up CirrusRed Consulting. The next chapter in the story.

    Back in Australia

    After living in the UK for over six years, it felt like it was the right time for me to make a few decisions.

    First and foremost, to move back to Australia.

    The decision to pick-up your life and move is never and easy one. And I made life-long friends in the UK, who I will no doubt see again in the future.

    Additionally my experience across the Salesforce platform, has grown exponentially, when compared to the little newbie Salesforce Admin I was when I packed my bags originally for the UK.

    I have helped bring so many diverse and interesting projects to life over the last eight years. And seen the benefits they can make for end-users, business stakeholders and most importantly customers, when we get things ‘right’.

    So, what’s next?

    Well, I felt it was time to stand out on my own, and setup a new Salesforce consultancy back here in Melbourne. And this week, I can announce the launch of CirrusRed Consulting.

    As you can imagine, the last few months have been an extremely busy affair. Relocating country, catching up with friends and family over the holidays. And from January, setting up the business side of things.

    So take a look around the new site, there is more to come shortly!

    The blog

    The blog will continue with more posts about all things Salesforce and will still be aimed at sharing ‘lessons learned’.

    It will have a permanent home here at moving forward, and will still include all the posts from the last two years.

    But for now, it is a step in new direction, and hopefully onwards and upwards!

    So thanks to all those who have supported me and even those who simply read read the blog….

  • Best of 2018: The year that was at

    2018 has been a very interesting year in the Salesforce ecosystem. And we will no doubt continue to feel the influence for a few more years, from some of the acquisitions made this year, the biggest of which was Mulesoft. So to close out 2018, let’s take a look at the year that was, and the best of 2018 here at

    A quick thank you

    This year, has had over 22,000 views. So firstly, thanks to everyone who has visited. Some of you may have noticed the last couple of months has been a little quiet at, as I have been extremely busy with a huge project (moving an organisation to a new Lightning Salesforce org) and at the same time planning for move back to Australia. But 2019 will be bigger and better!

    So as 2018 draws to a close, I thought it was interesting to look back and review 2018 and list out the top 4 posts from 2018 (based on # of views).

    Best of 2018: Top 4 posts from

    The #1 Post of 2018: Secrets of Spring ’18

    Spring ’18 brought out a few hidden formulas, which turns out were extremely useful and had been asked for from the community for a number of years.

    Now the documentation for Spring ’18 release has been updated, so these are not-so-much-hidden now, but it was the #1 post of 2018 on the site.

    The #2 Post of 2018: GDPR in Spring ’18

    Spring ’18 was also a big release if you were concerned about GDPR. And given the fever-pitched media frenzy that was happening in Feb/March, there was a lot of questions being asked.

    Ultimately GDPR was an alignment of privacy standards across the EU-zone. And Salesforce, like many platform providers, included tools to help companies prepare for the changes which came into effect in May ’18.

    The #3 Post of 2018: Passing the Platform App & Platform Developer I

    Next up, was my guide to passing the Platform App Builder and the Platform Developer I exams. I had decided to study and sit both exams on the same day (not recommended), and shared some of the materials and learning from the two courses to help others who decided they may want to try and pass the exams.

    The #4 Post of 2018: What’s the difference between Process Builder and Workflows

    And finally, the 4th most viewed post from 2018 was a quick guide looking at the differences between Workflow and Process Builder.

    Wrap up

    So no doubt 2019 will be even bigger than this year, and I will try to do a 2019 predictions article shortly!

    And finally, I hope you have had a great holidays so far, and have a happy new year!

  • 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…

  • How to setup Live Agent in Salesforce

    We have all seen websites these days – which have that little pop-up prompting you to ‘chat with someone’.  Or we see a little ‘chat now’ button on a page, to chat live with someone.  But how can you configure your website to do this too?  And how to setup Live Agent in Salesforce?

    But isn’t implementing Live Agent complex?  The short answer is no.  And the good news is, it is relatively easy to do.

    So, in this ‘how-to’ guide we look at the steps to implement Live Agent with your Salesforce org.

    What is Live Agent?

    We have all been there, trying to contact a company for help with a product or service. Their website redirecting you to a call centre, web-form to submit or some even give you a postal address! Eek!

    This is where Live Agent comes into the picture. In a digital world, Live Agent from Salesforce allows you to improve the customer’s experience. Making it seamless for customers on your website to get in contact with your support (or sales) team.

    At its core, Live Agent is a web-chat support channel. Think of Skype or Slack, but in a customer service context.

    Here is a quick overview video from Salesforce, covering some of the features of Live Agent.

    And although it is a tool primarily used for Customer Service, it could also be used by your sales teams. Imagine providing sales support to a customer who is stuck completing an order on your website?

    The power of Live Agent is its versatility and ability to plug into your sales/service processes within Salesforce, with relative ease.

    Live Agent is included for Salesforce Service Cloud Unlimited Edition customersWhat does Live Agent cost?

    This is an important question, as it isn’t free…

    So how much does Live Agent cost?

    Well the good news is, as of 2016 Salesforce have included Live Agent in the Lightning Service Cloud Unlimited license.

    And it is also available on Enterprise, but at an extra add-on. As an add-on, you will have to speak with your Salesforce Account Executive for a price.

    There are other alternatives out there too, which could integrate with Salesforce. But remember to check your if edition is compatible with these packages.

    Planning your implementation of Live Agent

    Live Agent is a communication tool, it can be used to power your customer service teams. Or if implemented incorrectly, could cause damage to your brand. What is the difference between the two? Planning…

    Just like most things, planning is key to success. Just because it is relatively to easy implement, doesn’t mean you should just dive right in and do it.

    6 things to consider before you implement:

    1. Stating the obvious but remember that Live Agent is a different communication channel. There is a different skillset needed here. So, do you have people who are able to communicate effectively via this channel?
    2. What are the objectives of Live Agent? What are the metrics for success and performance indicators (KPIs) that you want to track? And what customer behaviours are you wanting to change as part of this rollout?
    3. Do you have an idea of how many people may contact you at any one time? For example, do you have traffic estimates from your site? Do you have enough people to staff the queue? What hours of operation will you offer?
    4. Where in the customer journey do you want to prompt the customer? Do you want to invite them to chat, or just offer a ‘chat with us’ button on a contact page?
    5. Will you cap the volume of chats to your agents? Is there a Service Level Agreement (SLA) in place for Live Agent? How are you going to prioritising Live Agent chats vs Emails or Phone Calls?
    6. Are you using Omni-channel? (This is one for another post.) But if your org is not using it currently, is it something that could set this up too? With the aim of routing of service requests across the multiple channels (Live Agent, Calls, Emails, Social Media) to the right people.

    How to setup Live Agent in Salesforce

    Now we have the planning out the way, we can start the configuration of Live Agent in your org. For a basic setup, there are seven steps needed to enable Live Agent:

    Steps to create a basic Live Agent setup in Salesforce

    Use Case

    As a Salesforce Admin, your marketing team has asked you to help roll out Live Agent to the company’s website.  We are setting up a basic implementation, which means we will present a link to customers when agents are available, or a ‘sorry no agent’s available’`message if none are available/all are offline.

    Our agents are using Console, and we want to allow them to set their status/availability, and have that reflected on the website.

    Enabling Live Agent

    Live Agent works within Classic, Console and Lightning (when omni-channel enabled).  However, at this stage you can only enable Live Agent through Classic.

    Update (20th Sept): You will be able to setup and configure Live Agent via Settings in Lightning, once Winter ’19 is released in Oct 2019.

    1. Switch to Classic -> Setup -> Type ‘Live Agent’ in the Quick Find
    2. Go to Live Agent Settings
    3. Check Enable Live Agent and click ‘Save

    This exposes the Live Agent objects, relevant fields, and expands the Setup menu. What objects I hear you say! These objects include everything that drives Live Agent within Salesforce:

    • Visitors
    • Sessions
    • Transcripts
    • Transcript Events
    • Live Agent Supervisor
    • Quick Text

    Setup Users

    There are two elements which are needed to setup a user for a basic Live Agent setup. Enabling the user for Live Agent, and then adding the available Live Agent users into a ‘skill’ (we will cover what this is shortly).

    First enable the Live Agent feature on the user record.

    • Go to Setup -> Manage Users -> Users
    • Find the user(s) you want to enable for Live Agent, and edit their User record
    • Check the ‘Live Agent User’ box for each User you want to enable:

    Check User Permissions / Profiles

    Another important step in the setup of Live Agent is ensuring a user has access to the relevant objects and fields.

    The best way to do this is create or update a Permission Set/Profile to include the new objects and fields used by Live Agent.

    Some additional permissions on ability for users to manage Skills exist to.

    Salesforce have a detailed overview of the permissions recommended for Agents, and their Supervisors.

    Update your Console to include Live Agent

    Your Console app, most likely will not include Live Agent by default. So you will need to either enable or create the app for your users.

    • Go to Setup -> Create -> Apps
    • Either select an existing console app, or create a new one.
    • Check ‘Include Live Agent in this App
      • Additional options display, allowing you to prompt your agent to create a new record (such as a case) to link to the Live Chat

    Within console, the user should then see the Live Agent status in the Utility Bar:

    Live Agent in Console Utility Bar
    Live Agent in Console Utility Bar with a Chat Request

    Define your Skills

    Skills within Live Agent are a way to define or categorise different types of work. And are used to send the Live Agent session to the right person.

    For example, on your website you have Live Agent embedded on a general ‘Contact Us’ page, an eCommerce landing page and another on a product specific page. You might not want the same person in your company answering all these different types of queries. This is where Skills allow you to have two different sets of users specialising in the specific skill.

    You can control how you break the work down, and who you assign it to. And Skills plug-in to tools like Omni-Channel, if you ever look to expand your implementation.

    • Go to Setup -> Customize -> Live Agent -> Skills
    • Create a new Skill record, by clicking ‘New

    • Add in the Name and a Description
    • Then you can choose to either add in specific Users, or Profiles (keep in mind, only users with Live Agent feature enabled will have access)

    Configure your Live Agent

    Next up, we need to define how we want Live Agent to behave, and which features we want to enable. You can have multiple configurations, this lets you have different Live Agent settings for different users within your org.

    A Live Agent Configuration allows you to setup:

    • Chat Capacity – a maximum number of chats an agent can receive
    • Sneak Peek – ability to see what is being typed, as it is being typed by the customer
    • Sound & Notifications settings
    • Assignment of the configuration to users or profiles – control over which agents access this configuration. It is worth noting, a user can belong to only one configuration at a time.
    • Supervisor settings
    • Chat Transfer settings – allowing you to control who can receive a chat transfer by Skill

    For more details on what each of the settings are, you can read more here.

    Setup your first Live Agent Configuration:

    • Go to Setup -> Customise -> Live Agent -> Live Agent Configurations
    • Create a new Live Agent Configuration, by clicking ‘New

    Live Agent in Salesforce: Configurations
    Live Agent in Salesforce: Configurations

    • Add in the Name, then you can customise which settings and features you want.

    For this basic setup, we will create a configuration with:

    • A maximum of 5 chats
    • Sneak Peek enabled
    • A basic Auto Greeting of ‘Hello, how can we help you today?’
    • A Critical Wait Alert of 10 seconds
    • Assistance Flag enabled
    • Supervisor monitoring and whisper
    • And ability to transfer to others within the same Skill group

    Chat Buttons and Invitations

    Now we have set the backbone of Live Agent up, we now need to setup part which allows the customer to start a Live Agent Chat when they are on the website.

    By creating either buttons or invitations, you can define how a Live Agent session can be started. A button, simply enough is an icon/button you embed on a webpage for users to click on to start a Live Agent chat session.

    Alternatively, you can setup an Invitation. Customer are then invited to use Live Agent, when certain criteria have been met. For example, if someone is on the specific page for 5 seconds, you might want to prompt them to see if they need help.

    You can fully customise this experience to match your website. For this basic setup, we will create a basic button, without any customisation.

    Create your button:

    To create your first Live Agent button

    • Go to: Setup -> Customize -> Live Agent -> Chat Buttons & Invitations
    • Create a new button, by clicking ‘New
    • For a basic setup, you only need to enter:
      • Type – do you want a button or an invitation
      • Name of the button/invitation
      • DeveloperName – this auto-populates from the Name
      • Skills which are related to the button/invitation
      • Additional animation settings are required if you have selected Invitation

    Live Agent in Salesforce: Chat Button and Invitations
    Live Agent in Salesforce: Chat Button and Invitations

    • Once you click ‘Save’, you will then be given the HTML code for the button/invitation:

    Live Agent in Salesforce: Chat Button HTML
    Live Agent in Salesforce: Chat Button HTML

    Ready to Deploy

    The final step is to create a deployment, these are the final touches for your Live Agent setup. And allows you to control some of the visitor settings.

    Once a deployment is created, it will give you some additional HTML to add to the bottom of each web page you want Live Agent embedded into.

    Go to: Setup -> Customize -> Live Agent -> Deployment Code

    • Create a new deployment, by clicking ‘New
    • For a basic setup, you only need to enter:
      • Name of the deployment
      • DeveloperName – this auto-populates from the Name
      • Chat Window Title

    Live Agent in Salesforce: Deployments
    Live Agent in Salesforce: Deployments

    Add the code to your site…

    Now for the crowning moment. When you are ready to add the code to your webpage, you will need the code output from the Button/Invitation and the Deployment settings.

    Create a test Webpage

    To test this, you can create a html file in your favourite text editor. In this example, we are going to add this code to a test page for Live Agent.

    Open up a text editor, we will create a test HTML page to begin with. To start with, copy this into the text editor:

    <!-- add the code output from Buttons/Invitations here-->
    <!-- add your HTML code from Deployment here-->

    And now, replace each of the lines above, with the relevant HTML code from Salesforce. The HTML output from Chat Buttons/Invitations and Deployment is what we want.

    So you will end up with something like:

    <!-- this is the code from Buttons/Invitations -->
    <a id="liveagent_button_online_5738E0000008OVJ" href="javascript://Chat" style="display: none;" onclick="liveagent.startChat('5738E0000008OVJ')"><!-- Online Chat Content --></a><div id="liveagent_button_offline_5738E0000008OVJ" style="display: none;"><!-- Offline Chat Content --></div><script type="text/javascript">
    if (!window._laq) { window._laq = []; }
    window._laq.push(function(){liveagent.showWhenOnline('5738E0000008OVJ', document.getElementById('liveagent_button_online_5738E0000008OVJ'));
    liveagent.showWhenOffline('5738E0000008OVJ', document.getElementById('liveagent_button_offline_5738E0000008OVJ'));
    <!-- this is the code from Deployment-->
    <script type='text/javascript' src=''></script>
    <script type='text/javascript'>
    liveagent.init('', '5728E0000008OPk', '00D8E0000000gBA');

    Now find the part in the code that shows: <!– Online Chat Content –>. Add in the text ‘Chat Now’. Your code then should look like:

    <!-- Online Chat Content -->Chat Now</a>

    Additionally, we need to add in some text if an agent is not available. Do to that find: <!– Offline Chat Content –>. Similarly add in the text ‘Sorry no agents currently available’. This should now look like:

    <!-- Offline Chat Content -->Sorry no agents currently available</div>

    Now go to ‘Save As’, and save the text file as ‘Live Agent.html’.

    A basic example of Live Agent HTML page

    We have now created a very basic page, to test Live Agent. If you now open the HTML file you have created, you should see:

    Basic Live Agent demo, no agents available
    Oh no, no agent’s can help me!

    Alternatively, if you are testing and then select ‘Available’ in Live Agent status. Refreshing the webpage should pickup the change in status and display:

    Basic Live Agent demo with available status
    Yay… Help is at hand…

    Clicking the ‘Chat Now’ link, will then prompt the Agent logged in with this to accept the chat:

    Live Agent, what the internal Agent will see
    Live Agent, what the internal Agent will see

    Once the chat is accepted, you should see the transcript of the chat in your Console. And as we ticked the ‘Create new case’ option for Console above, Salesforce will automatically prompt you to create a Case:

    Live Agent, what the internal Agent will see
    Live Agent in a Console view

    Add Live Agent to your WordPress site

    The variety of website technology and hosts out there is truly mind-blowing. Deploying Live Agent to your website, needs a bit of knowledge of HTML and your website.

    Let’s take a look at adding Salesforce Live Agent to a WordPress page. WordPress is a very common platform that is used globally, even by! ? Other platforms and web hosts, may follow similar steps.

    By the way I am assuming you have access to create and publish web pages in WordPress for this section.

    Sticking with our Use Case, we want to create a new Contact Us page, where the Live Agent link is embedded.

    • Login to the WordPress admin page of your site.
    • Click on ‘Pages’ and then ‘Add New
    • Ensure you are on the Text page editor

    Adding a page in WordPress, to then embed Live Agent
    Adding a page in WordPress

    • Add in a page Title. For example ‘Contact Us’
    • First up, take the code from Chat Buttons/Invitations and paste it into the editor
      • Remember, as per above you will need to add-in:
        • Online Chat Content and
        • Offline Chat Content
    • Underneath that HTML, now add in the Deployment HTML code

    You should end up with something like this:

    Live Agent added to a WordPress page
    Live Agent HTML within a WordPress page

    Now you can preview the page, save it as a draft or publish it (if you wish). We now have a basic setup of Live Agent, tested and working on our site.

    Give yourself a round of applause…

    Wrap up…

    So we have now setup a basic Live Chat implementation. Your internal users can accept incoming chat requests from your customers and record the chats within Salesforce against a case.

    Live Agent is fully customisable though, and this is just the beginning of what you can do.

    Customisations include overall look and feel, adding in custom landing pages or pre-chat forms to capture contact details.

    Additionally, you can integrate Live Agent with Omni-Channel, which allows you to manage work states of your agents across multiple channels.

    But these are all things for another how-to guide down the road.

    Additional resources to help you

    Overall Training / What is Live Agent:

    Planning the roll-out:

    While researching this post, I also found these resources which may be of interest in the planning stage:

    Implementation Guide for Administrators:

    Video resources:

  • Becoming a Salesforce Certified Sales Cloud Consultant

    Recently I did the double whammy of Platform App Builder and Platform Developer I exams.  I have had a few questions about another certification I have done recently, the Salesforce Sales Cloud Consultant Certification (CRT-251).  So in this post let’s cover what the exam is, what it is testing and some resources to help you prepare for the exam.

    Salesforce Certified Sales Cloud Consultant – Who is it for?

    First thing is first, you don’t need to be a consultant to get this exam.  I would actually strongly recommend Admins prepare and sit the exam.


    The exam obviously tests you on a number of areas within the Sales Cloud package.  But the primary focus of the Sales Cloud Consultant certification is implementing the right solution within Sales Cloud.

    So you will need to use your understanding of the features within Sales Cloud, and chose the right way to implement a solution.

    Sales Cloud in action... Important to know if your planning on becoming a Salesforce Certified Sales Cloud ConsultantTo this extent, most of the questions on the exam are scenarios/use case based. And like most other exams, you have to select the right multiple choice answer.

    Sample question…

    Here is a sample question from the Study Guide:

    Universal Containers is using Salesforce and has set up a private sharing model. Sam is a
    sales executive who reports to John, a sales manager. Sam has ownership of the ABC
    Company account record and has created an opportunity for ABC Company. There is a
    sharing rule that allows the finance team to see all accounts and opportunities.
    Which statement about data visibility is true?

    Choose one answer
    A. John and Sam can see all of the same data.
    B. John can see all of Sam’s data but Sam CANNOT see all of John’s data.
    C. The finance team must be added to the sales team in order to see Sam’s op
    D. John must be added to the sales team in order to see Sam’s opportunity.

    As you can see, this is a scenario any business with Sales Cloud may face.  Who can see what, is one of the fundamental things of the Salesforce platform.

    So to choose the right answer you need to know how the core system works.  How do Sharing Rules, Org-Wide Defaults, Record Ownership, Role Hierarchy and Sales Teams work together?  And how would they affect the above scenario, based on the information you are given?

    So what did you select for the answer?  (Answer is at the end of the article).

    Let’s break it down…  What does the exam cover?

    The exam does cover a lot of topics within the ‘Salesforce universe’.  But the good news is that it is focused on the Sales Cloud only.  So Service Cloud/Marketing Cloud/Wave Analytics/etc are not covered, meaning you can focus your energies.  But I will stress that there is a sales/marketing element to the exam, particularly around Campaigns within Sales Cloud…

    Salesforce Certified Sales Cloud Consultant badge

    One way I like to prepare for an exam is to reference to the official Study Guide, and look at the weighting for certain topics within the exam.  So for the Sales Cloud Consultant Exam (in order of % weighting):

    • Sales Cloud Solution Design (25%)
    • Opportunity Management (15%)
    • Account and Contact Management (12%)
    • Sales Productivity (12%)
    • Integration and Data Management (8%)
    • Marketing and Leads (7%)
    • Implementation Strategies (6%)
    • Sales Cloud Analytics (5%)
    • Communities and Site Management (5%)
    • Industry Knowledge (5%)

    This is a little high level, but you can see a breakdown of these topics in the study guide.  Now to break it down a bit further, some of the key things you will need to make sure you understand include (in no particular order):

    • Campaign management
    • Person Accounts
    • Sales Processes within Sales Cloud (Lead->Opportunity->Quote->Contract)
    • Products & Pricebooks
    • Orders
    • Using multiple currencies within Salesforce
    • Territory Management
    • Forecasting
    • Communities
    • Role Hierarchy
    • Approvals & Workflows/Process Builder
    • Sharing Rules / Org-Wide Defaults
    • Sales Reports and Dashboards (KPIs / metric based reports for Sales teams)
    • Role Hierarchy
    • Sales Teams
    • Lightning Experience!  (make sure you know how the above work within Lightning Experience too!)

    This isn’t a complete list, but it will get you started and covers the majority of the exam.


    Resources to help you study for the exam

    As you can see above, the largest percentage of the exam is around solution design.  And so many of the questions are around implementation/solution choices.  Study will help but you will likely need hands-on experience.  It is all about taking use cases and choosing the right solution.

    But study does help… So fear not there is plenty of help you become a Salesforce Certified Sales Cloud Consultant!  Keep in mind, a lot of the following sites are from mid 2016 or earlier though, so always check the release notes since to see if there are updates.  

    Starting out, there is a Trailmix get help you learn the fundamentals.  This includes a lot of the fundamentals of the Sales Cloud package.

    I also found Youtube, immensely helpful by being able to search for specific videos on topics covered by the exam.  For example this one on Territory Management from Dreamforce helps understand the sales topic/business case side of things (it is a long video FYI).  But you have access to so many videos on each topic.  So if you are a visual learner like me, seeing a demo/the feature in action really helps me understand it.

    Next up, and one of my personal favs, is SalesforceBen’s post on resources.  There are links to a number of implementation guides from Salesforce, giving you some hands on experience (similar to Trailhead) but a lot more focused on the implementation.

    There is a post over at SalesforceMemo also covering some of the concepts/sample questions needed to pass the exam, which I found useful.

    Additionally, Heller Consulting have a ‘Q and A’ style approach to the exam.

    And finally, Tamara talks about her experience in sitting for the exam.

    Wrap Up

    A key theme throughout this has been ‘implementation’, and that has been very deliberate!  Knowing how you can use the base settings/features of Sales Cloud to meet business requirements and deliver a solution is key.

    One thing I am personally against is ‘Exam Dumps’.  Personally I would much rather study and practice and pass on my own merit.  In the long run, having the base understanding is so much more beneficial.

    Hopefully this post helps you out, and of course good luck for the exam.  If you have any tips of your own or resources you found useful, please feel free to add them in the comments section below.

    Answer to the sample question above

    What did you pick?  If you picked ‘B’ you are correct.

  • Dreamforce 2018 – Registration is now open

    Great news…  But you will need to get in quick.  Dreamforce 2018 registration is now open!  So be quick to register for this year’s Dreamforce and get the early bird pricing, go to the Dreamforce site now.

    Then once you have registered, check out 7 Tips for Surviving Dreamforce to start your preparations!

    Why attend?

    Dreamforce is first and for most the pinnacle conference for all things Salesforce.  It really is a week of learning and networking about everything you can possibly learn about Salesforce.

    Some swag from break-out sessions at Dreamforce

    There is entire exhibit halls dedicated to all things Admin, Developer, Marketing and third-party vendors (who sometimes give away great swag while you learn about how they can help your organisation).

    There are breakout sessions galore, with a huge diversity of topics – ranging from Salesforce feature-specific discussions to thought-provoking sessions about equality in the workplace or mindfulness.  You see, Dreamforce isn’t just about expanding your knowledge of Salesforce.

    Dreamforce: CEO Series panel with Marc Benioff
    Dreamforce: CEO Series panel with Marc Benioff

    And then there is the huge opportunity to network with your peers from around the globe and learn from each others experiences.

    It can be intense, so you do need to prepare and plan in advance.

    Building the business case for Dreamforce 2018

    If you need a little help building a business case for Dreamforce, check out these sites which give some insight in convincing your boss to let you go…

    Additionally, Martin Humpolec has a good article on doing Dreamforce on a Shoestring.

  • Time to prepare for Summer ’18 Release

    It only feels like a few months since Spring ’18 release… Oh wait, it was.  As time marches on, we are now due for the next release from Salesforce with Summer ’18 release.  Over the coming weeks we will start the normal release readiness prep, but what are the key dates of the release?  And when will Summer ’18 be released? Additionally what features might we expect to see from Salesforce Summer ’18 release?

    Summer ’18 Release: Key Dates

    As with every release, there are a number of key dates you have to be aware of.

    Most of this is sourced from the Release Readiness Group and you can download a handy infographic here (source: Salesforce).

    April 19th – Pre-release orgs are available to preview the new release.

    April 23rd – The Preview Release Notes will be published.

    May 4th – Sandbox cutoff date.  Remember to check here for instructions on which sandbox instance a refresh will land on.

    May 18th, June 1st, June 8th – there are three release windows for Summer ’18 into production environments.  Which depends on your Salesforce instance.  You can check the dates relevant for your instance, here.

    There will also be a number of Release Readiness webinars, and sessions which will be posted via the Release Readiness Group in the Trailblazer Community.

    Summer ’18: Possible Features

    Because I am not one to generally wait…  Impatient, I know…  So I started searching the product roadmaps to see what is likely to be released as part of the Summer ’18 release.  Combined with a number of webinars I have watched, this is a list of some of the features likely to show in this release.

    But please note – this list isn’t definitive or guaranteed list.  And we will get official confirmation within the next week as the Pre-Release Orgs & Preview Release Notes become available. 

    So let’s jump in and speculate as to what we might see…

    Lightning Report Builder & Dashboards

    We are likely to see a lot more features being rolled out to the new Report Builder feature.  These are likely to include:

    • Joined Reports, finally in Lightning – albeit this is likely to be a beta/pilot release
    • The ability to create field to field filters. This will allow you to compare two fields directly within the report builder, without needing to build report formulas or custom fields. For example you could run a filter where Created Date equals any custom date field on your object.
    • The ability to create reporting sub folders.  So you could setup a ‘Sales’ folder, but then have sub folders for each sales team within it.
    • Ability to sort columns based on a summarised/aggregated value.
    • Setting dashboard schedules for multiple users


    Files is likely to see the introduction of a Library-type functionality.  This will be no doubt be a nudge for users still on Content/Libraries to move over to the newer Files functionality.

    Platform Enhancements

    The rollout of branding/themes started with the last couple of releases.  We will likely get the ability to now theme/brand each app individually (rather than one theme applying org wide).

    List views will also see Mass Quick Actions rolled out to more objects too.  While Persons Accounts should get the ability to create custom Quick Actions on the object.

    And Product Schedules should finally become available in Lightning Experience.  This should stop users having to switch back to Salesforce Classic to enable product schedules, or to establish/modify schedules for products.  Which is something one of my orgs uses alot, and has blocked Lightning roll-out for that team.

    Wrap up

    We will see if these possible features are actually included in Summer – and no doubt there will be a number of other additions which haven’t been included here… There are always 1,000s of features in each release – so I know we only touched the surface here!


    If you want to know more, one of the most helpful videos outlining some of the new features on the roadmap, is this one: True to the Core, which was originally included in my last post Dreamforce 2017 roundup.

    Also the Lightning Roadmap is available here, but a little out of date now Spring ’18 is in preview, it is available here.

    Hope that helps with exploring in more detail.

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