Well, we’re on the last part of our 4 part write-up of the Spring 16 release write-up. In Part 1 we covered the new Lightning Experience features and in Part 2 we focused on Service Cloud. In our previous part we covered all of the collaboration features. In our final part were are going to focus on all of remaining features – Sales Cloud that weren’t part of Lightning, salesforce1, platform updates and even get into some Analytics Cloud. A whole range of stuff to cover, so let’s get right at it.
Update Converted Leads – HUGE hooray here (it looks like my Youtube video chopping site is down or blocked, so we’re going with the whole video here. It’s a big enough feature to warrant it anyway, although I’m going to be seriously bummed if all my old videos don’t work anymore). Not being able to modify the data in Converted Leads has been the bane of most admins existence from all the way back to when I was an admin (a long long time ago sadly). Now, finally, with Spring 16 we are free! Give access to users who you want to have this ability and they can modify those Converted Leads. I swear I saw this in a road map session probably 6 Dreamforces ago, but glad it is finally here!
Restricted Picklists – Up until this feature, Picklists were essentially restricted from the UI only. In other words, a User couldn’t navigate to a record and put in a value to a picklist field that wasn’t on the picklist. Pretty obvious. However, behind the scenes you could. Any user with the ability to bulk load data, could load any value they wanted to that field – whether accidentally or on purpose. Now you have the option to stop that. Each picklist can be set to “Strictly enforce picklist values” and if selected, it will reject any attempt to enter a field value not in the picklist. Really nice enhancement. The only negative is it looks like you can’t do this for existing picklists. This will only work on net new fields created after Spring 16. Also, just note this is actually a beta.
Custom Metadata Types – Custom Metadata Types actually came out in Winter 16 and we’ve been spending a lot of time with them here at Gears. Just a warning, this is a totally geeky feature in salesforce, but it is incredible. With Spring 16 these become even more powerful, but this is something you definitely want to look into if you have a complex salesforce instance (or if you’re just a salesforce geek). Basically, they are a lot like Custom Settings, but with some great new features. The biggest of these is that they can be packaged completely. Custom settings are great, but the biggest issue is the most important part of the custom setting was the data being put into it. But, being data, it meant you couldn’t package the actual value or push it between instances. Every time you refresh your sandbox, etc. you’d need to reset up all the values. With Metadata Types even the data within is considered part of the setting. For normal salesforce instances this means you can reduce a ton of time with refreshes and deployments across sandboxes. For packages, this means you can actually lock setting values into your managed packages. This is really big to manage your variables and settings. With Spring 16, you can now bulk upload directly to these Metadata records with a new metadata loader and in beta, you can now use picklist fields too. Picklists are also great for this and was missing on the Custom Settings. Woo hoo!
Easier Merge Fields for Email Templates – A nice update to make creating Email Templates faster. Now there is a very quick search interface to find and insert merge fields. Especially with objects with a ton of fields, this will save a lot of time.
Custom Fiscal Years in Collaborative Forecasts – Collaborative Forecasts now supports those of us that have Custom Fiscal Years for their business (like us, and ironically salesforce themselves). Nice to see this added.
Pardot Sync Improvements – Two subtle but big enhancements to the sync for Pardot. Previously you would basically need to say either Pardot or salesforce was the master and only update in that direction. Now with this, Pardot can intelligently see updates on both sides and sync based on the most recent record update. Especially when you have a fast moving sales process, updates are happening constantly on both sides, and this will now greatly reduce any sync issues. In addition to this, Pardot will now remove records from Pardot that have been deleted or more importantly merged in salesforce. Prior to this, if you deleted or merged a record in salesforce, that record would be stuck over in Pardot. Really nice updates to the sync here and furthering how Pardot has the best sync of any marketing system out there.
New Visitor Graphs in Pardot – Now from Pardot you can see some slick new graphs about your website traffic including page views, visitors and the top companies visiting your site.
Expanded Synonym Groups – Pretty interesting update here. Knowledge Articles have always had the concept of Synonyms so that you can surface articles faster without having to sprinkle the article with all variations of a keyword. With Spring 16, these Synonym groups that you create can be expanded to Cases, Chatter, Files, Ideas and Questions. This will really help with search results across those areas. In addition, the limit of Synonym groups has been bumped up from 3,000 – 10,000. Very nice increase.
Spell Correction in Search – In Google, if you misspell a word in a search, Google will attempt to return search results for the word they think you meant. Salesforce is now rolling out a similar feature that will work in search results for Articles, Chatter Feeds, Files and Questions. Especially important for mobile users where the chance of fat-fingering the search is much greater. One thing to note is this only works in English as of now.
Account Hierarchies in Data.com – For customers that have Data.com’s Prospector, a cool new feature that will show you the Account’s Hierarchy with a slick looking Lightning component. All of the data is driven from D&B, so they don’t need to be accounts within your salesforce instance. Handy new feature.
Automatically Enrich New Leads with Data.com – This is something we always wanted to be able to do with Data.com, but we weren’t able to previously. Basically, as new Leads come in, Data.com Clean will be able to enrich those new leads with key account information immediately vs. having to wait for the nightly batch jobs. This is hugely valuable as you can then use this enriched data to drive assignment rules or just to ensure your sales team has critical information at their fingertips as soon as they call – and if you have a good sales team, they are calling pretty quickly. The data that can be enriched immediately is: Annual Revenue, DUNS number (hidden benefit here – by being able to add the DUNS number immediately, you can use this as a key to see if the Lead is already an existing Account in your instance, and then trigger logic off of that), D&B Company, Industry and Number of Employees. Note this is a beta right now, but if you have Data.com Clean, definitely worth checking out.
Enhanced Charts for salesforce1 – The super slick new Wave based charts that have been put into Lightning, are now available in salesforce1. When viewing a chart, you can just tap right into it to drill down to the details. Seems this only works on phones for Spring 16.
Email Alerts for Activities – This is hidden in the Process Builder section of the release notes, but looks like we can now send Email Alerts with Workflow when Tasks or Events are created. Previously these were 2 objects Email Alerts didn’t work on. It wasn’t something we hit often, but when we did this was a pretty annoying limit and really glad to see it removed.
Data Import Wizard Enhancements – A bunch of new enhancements to the Data Import Wizard. First, it now support Person Accounts. For those customers that use Person Accounts, that’s a pretty big update. Next, the Data Wizard begins to look a little like CRMFusion’s PeopleLoader (which is a good thing). You can now upload Contacts or Person Accounts as Campaign Members at the same time. You can also change the Status of Campaign Members in bulk. Both of these save you a bunch of steps, and is something we used to recommend PeopleLoader for. Doesn’t look like it can do this for Leads though, unless that was functionality it had previously, but I don’t think it did. Finally, there’s a new user permission to allow a Profile to import records to Custom Objects. This could be really useful to remove some work from overburdened admins.
Custom Button & Links in salesforce1 – This has been one of those little annoying things about salesforce1, but with Spring 16 it’s now corrected. Custom Buttons and Custom Links will now appear and work in salesforce1. Yeah!
Quick Action Options – Two neat little enhancements to creating records leveraging the Quick Actions. First, now you can toggle whether that action creates a feed record or not. In some cases, the Chatter Feed would be nothing but “so and so created a record” which really added a lot of clutter. Nice to see this as an option. Second, you can now add a success message once the record is created. Especially useful on the Community side where your Community users aren’t as familiar with salesforce.
Updated Data Loader – A new version of the Data Loader is available in Spring 16. It doesn’t look like it has any new features, however, it does include compliance with the new security protocols salesforce is going to be enforcing shortly. Once salesforce cuts off support for TLS 1.0 all of the older versions of Data Loader will no longer work and you’ll need to upgrade to this version. Sounds like that will begin happening in the next 3 months.
Admin Analytics App – I need to stop saying we don’t cover pilots in these blogs because every time I see a cool pilot I wind up mentioning it. Well, here’s another cool pilot for you – The Admin Analytics App. Last release, salesforce released the Sales Analytics App and there are a bunch of business specific Apps being rolled out with Wave Analytics. This one though is more for administrators than users and it’s pretty cool. You can now basically hit all of the Event Monitoring data with Wave Analytics. Visually you can see how different types of events or transactions are being accessed by your users and you have the ability to drill down by user profile and roles. Pretty cool and exciting to think about where this can go from here.
Alright, that’s it for another big release. Lots and lots of different features in Spring 16, and a ton of updates to Lightning Experience which we expected. No one big major new feature. That said, if you haven’t seen, salesforce has a big event planned on 2/2/16 where Marc will be discussing the product vision for 2016. You can register for it here, but I suspect some big announcements could be made here. Well, thanks for reading and looking forward to getting all of these new features next weekend!
Harry is the CEO and founder of GearsCRM, with more than 18 years of experience working with the Salesforce platform. Outside of Gears, Harry enjoys debating Star Wars and Marvel with his son and sharing music and videos with his daughter. He is an avid racquetball player, bleeds Dodger blue, cries Jets green and always tries to find spare time to read a good fiction novel.