Happy Holidays to everyone and I hope you’re all getting ready for a great New Year and ready for an exciting 2018. It’s been like clockwork now for 3 straight years in that Salesforce unveils the release notes right before Christmas – delivering a great present to all of us Salesforce geeks out there that love this stuff. Spring 18 will be coming out in early February, and the release notes are jammed packed with new features – nearly 440 pages worth of them. As always Gears is on the case, and cranking out a few blogs to cover the coolest features and what they mean for you. For this release we’ll be doing the following:
- Part 1 (this post!) – Sales Cloud (including Einstein for Sales)
- Part 2 – Service Cloud and Field Service Lightning
- Part 3 – Communities, Chatter and Files
- Part 4 – Lightning Flow (our rotating post)
Alright, let’s jump into this. Just a word of warning though. At this point everything is all about Lightning Experience and basically these features are assuming you are on Lightning to use them. I’m not going to call out that these require Lightning Experience because frankly, they pretty much all do (with like 2 exceptions). It’s nearly 2018 (and probably by the time you read this it’s already 2018) so do yourself a favor and if you aren’t already on Lightning Experience, set a New Years resolution to get onto it. For Sales, you are hurting yourself and frankly not getting the most out of your subscription if you’re still on Classic. If you want some pointers on the great benefits or how to plan for this, check out our webinar recording on why Sales Cloud Users Should Really Switch to Lightning. Make this a resolution you keep. Ok, I’m off the soapbox. As always in no particular order beyond what I think is cool, here we go….
- Paths Everywhere – One of the coolest features from Lightning Experience has been the Sales Paths. This started with Leads and Opportunities and then came out for Custom Objects after. It’s a terrific tool to help users quickly and visually understand where a record is in its life cycle but also provide guidance on what is needed to progress it to the next step. Perfect for Leads and Opportunities and we have seen customers jump all over this. Well, why stop at just Leads and Opportunities? And why limit these to just Lead Status and Opportunity Stages? Exactly. With Spring 18, we get significant enhancements to the Path capabilities. You can now add a Path to any standard object. It comes with pre-created Paths for Accounts, Campaigns and even Cases, but you can add to other objects as needed. As part of this, you can setup these paths against any picklist fields on those objects. You build this with a pretty easy to create Lightning component and then add it to the page layout. The release notes don’t specifically say it but since these are Lightning components, I would assume that means you can also have multiple per object and even page layout (so you can setup different Paths for different record types or processes). Super cool capability and definitely something you should be taking advantage of as an administrator. Help guide your users through your process progressions.
- Personalized Navigation for Lightning – Interesting update to LEX that allows users to personalize their experience a bit more. Now within Lightning itself, users can open items into a temporary tab within the navigation bar. Everyone is probably already in the habit of doing that to tabs within the browser, but now you can do it right into Salesforce so it’s persistent in the navigation while you go view other records. Pretty handy. Users can also flip that tab into a permanent navigation item (only for that user). So, if you have a record – like a key Dashboard you’re in all the time, you can make that an item in your navigation bar. Speaking of the navigation bar – the users now have access to update their navigation items by reordering, removing or renaming items on the nav bar. They can’t remove items the admin has defined, but they can on anything they created themselves.
- Custom Themes for Lightning – In Winter 18, we got a crisper new look for Lightning – in particular a blue themed background which really did help make the page layouts easier to read. As we guessed back in Winter, this is getting expanded with Spring 18. Spring 18 not only includes 6 additional pre-built themes (including an interesting one called Einstein Relativity I can’t wait to see) but also gives you the ability to create your own custom themes. You can have up to 300 of these. Only one of these can be active at a time though and it does apply to the entire org (my prediction is this gets down to Profile or App level next) so I wouldn’t go too nuts and build 300. However, it’s a cool way to mix things up for your users and have some fun.
- Duplicate Jobs – Pretty surprising new feature here. This is an area I always figured Salesforce would leave to AppExchange partners but they have added the ability to clean your data in batch jobs. You can now leverage standard or custom de-duplication rules and schedule them up to run in batches. When these rules run and they find matches, they’ll automatically merge your records for you. This will work on Leads, Contacts, Accounts or Person Accounts. Can’t overstate how powerful this can be to keep your data clean. Admins have had to do this manually or with a tool like Demandtools forever and now you can automate a lot of this. It’s still not going to help with things like net new list loads, but man, this will be great to keep the user created data clean. Huge update.
Update: It looks like that is unfortunately only for Unlimited and Performance instances. I missed that when I first wrote this.
- Privacy Preferences – Interesting new feature here. With all of the new privacy laws coming into play – like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) being passed by the EU, you are now responsible to honor your customer’s wishes about what can be stored about them. To assist with this compliance, Salesforce has created a new Individual object that hangs off of Leads and Contacts. Essentially these will act as the “policy” that these individuals are asking for. For example, if a Contact asks you to delete all personal data about them, once you delete that data you can reflect this requirement in their Individual record. There are some standard fields on the Individual object for the main compliance needs like Collecting, Storing and Sharing personal data or Deleting records and personal data but you can also add custom fields to add your own policies. A pretty cool concept and I can see a lot of potential here to expand this. Globally these data requirements are getting more complex to manage and this is a great start.
- Einstein Forecasting – For those of you using Collaborative Forecasting, you’re about to get a treat. Spring 18 rolls out the beta of Einstein Forecasting. A really cool concept that basically predicts your Best Case & Committed Forecast based on your forecasting trends but also based on algorithms based on the Opportunity itself. For example, if an Opportunity is sitting there still Forecasting at 90% but there are no activities on it and it’s essentially been stagnant leading up to the Close Date, Einstein will lower the changes of that Opportunity closing in its algorithm. It then compares the Einstein Forecast to your internal Forecast as well as to your quota. You get some cool reports as well that really act as a second set of eyes (and who knows, maybe a smarter set of eyes) for your Forecast. I’ve read the details on this three times to be sure and it looks like this is part of standard Sales Cloud – so you don’t need to purchase anything new. You just need to be using Collaborative Forecasting and have your Forecasts set by month. Two other requirements that might be a bummer – it only works with standard fiscal years and you need a full two years of Opportunity data (sorry new customers) for this to work. If you have all of that, turn this on and check it out.
- Person Account Updates – We also get a few good improvements to Person Accounts. First, you can now email to Person Accounts using the same Send Email functionality as you can in Contacts and Leads. A much needed fix there. Second, Person Accounts can now finally sync to both Outlook and Google Contacts. You need to use the Lightning Sync for this to work. Finally, if you use Assets with your Person Accounts, you can now view these from the Person Account record in Lightning. Previously this didn’t work if you filled in the Contact of the Asset as a Person Account.
- Opportunity Teams Update – A simple but really effective new feature here. Now, from the Opportunity teams, users have the option to set the Opportunity team to match the Account team with a single click. Boom.
- Report Builder Updates – The Lightning Report Builder came out in Winter 18 and while it looks awesome, it did still have some gaps vs. what was available in Classic. We get a bunch of updates to the builder in Spring 18. First, you get a super cool new feature called Cross Filters. Essentially, this let’s you add filters to look across other objects that are related to the primary object you are reporting on. So, if you wanted to only look at Accounts with Cases, you would add a Cross Filter for the Cases object and from there you can add additional filters based on the Case fields. In the report, that would show only Accounts with Cases that match those filters. This definitely expands the “report type” potential and let’s you build off core objects without worrying about creating a slew of report types. Unfortunately, as of now, looks like there is still no way to do the “give me all Accounts with NO Cases”. Soon hopefully. In addition to this, Bucket Columns are now available in Lightning and seems to act mostly the same. Summary Formulas are supported now as well. Finally, you can also now filter by role hierarchy within the reports.
- LinkedIn Leads Integration – When I first saw this in the release notes, it definitely peaked my interest considering Microsoft outbid Salesforce in a pretty heated bidding war for LinkedIn. I was a little surprised to see native integration with LinkedIn as a feature – but it’s definitely nice to see. That said, this isn’t full blown integration, but rather integration for Leads that are generated by LinkedIn ads. With this new feature, if you advertise on LinkedIn and someone fills out your form, that information will automatically feed into Salesforce as a Lead. This seems to act a lot like web-to-lead and you can route into normal assignment rules, etc. You do have a limit of 500 per day that can be fed in, but if you exceed that you at least get an email for the additional Leads vs. losing them. If you leverage LinkedIn ads, this is a nice feature and hopefully a sign of tighter integration to come.
- New Objects in Search – A few new objects have been added to the Global Search. Folders is a big one, as now it’s easier to find Folders for reports and dashboards. In addition, Email Messages are now also searchable. This is definitely a useful addition. Finally, some of the new objects like Individual (talked about above) and Surveys (will be in the Service Cloud post) are also indexed.
- Campaign Updates – Two nice updates to the Campaigns functionality. First, we get a streamlined UI to add Campaign Members to Campaigns. Instead of having to leave the Campaign record, you now can add Leads and Contacts to the Campaign right from the Campaign record itself. You’re able to search and add multiple Leads and Contacts at a time. Pretty slick. Second, as I mentioned above, Paths are now everywhere. Campaigns are no exception. Campaigns now have a Path you can setup to show the progression of the Campaign across its statuses (or any other picklist field).
- Pardot Campaigns Connection – If you’re a Pardot customer you now have much tighter connections between your Pardot campaigns and the Salesforce campaigns. This is pretty huge. Currently you pretty much have to flip over to Pardot to go view any of the stats or run reports on your Campaigns. Now, a slew of engagement metrics are fed over to the Salesforce campaign. We get Email stats like multiple open metrics, delivered metrics, and click-through rates and Form stats like view and submission metrics and finally even Marketing Links click metrics (and all of these respect your Campaign Hierarchies!). Some of these are updated daily, others are hourly, but you’ll still need to pop over to Pardot for true real time information. However, even without being truly real time, this is super handy to have available on the Campaigns and available for reports and list views. Finally, as part of this, there are some really nice looking Lightning components that you can add to the Campaign to show off these stats. A great update for Pardot users.
- Pardot Lead to Account Matching – Another feature that is available to Pardot users is a pretty intriguing one. Pardot will now attempt to match Leads to Accounts based on a series of pre-built matching algorithms. This has a few elements to it. First, you get a “Matched Leads” component that you can add to your Account record. From this component users can see a list of Leads that appear to be related to the Account you are looking at. From here, a user can easily convert one of those Leads without having to leave the Account. Really convenient for users for sure. Now, how does Salesforce match these? Well, they’ve added some matching equations that attempt to do this based on Account Name, Address, Phone and the Website. There is a level of fuzzy matching / cleansing going on as part of the matching as well. Basically, Salesforce is doing some normalization like removing Inc, Corp, and cleaning the street address, etc. It’s not as strong as something like Demandtools but it’s certainly more powerful than just a straight match (it’s worth reading the actual logic in the release note details). You can’t modify the matching logic, so it pretty much is what it is. In addition, I don’t think the Lead is physically linked to the Account with a lookup – it’s more just a suggested match that the component presents. Due to that you won’t be able to use related lists to display these or reporting to look at these in bulk. Overall though, a great feature and one we’ve been building out custom for years for our clients. Not sure why this is only for Pardot though. Anyone using Leads could really use this.
- Activity & Event Updates – A few improvements to Activities and Events. My beloved Activity Timeline now has the ability to quickly load more Activities. From a dropdown you can now select to show 8, 15, 25 or All activities in the Timeline. Another improvement to make the Activity Timeline even more powerful. On the Event side, we get our Reminder Pop-ups back (woo hoo?). I’m sure some people will love this – others of us hated the pop-ups. But, for those users where the global notification window wasn’t enough to remind you of an Event, you can now turn on a reminder that will pop-up in the right hand corner of your browser. As part of this, users have a bit more control of how reminders work and when they pop. The reminders still appear in the global navigation – which now gets a handy “clear all” option to help keep that nice and clean. Clear all does exactly what it says – it clears out all your reminders. Finally, with Lightning Sync, Events are now automatically linked to Leads or Contacts that are invited to your meeting. Instead of just syncing as a stand-alone Event, you’ll also see that Event right from your Lead and Contact records.
- New Time Field Type – In Winter 18, this came out in a private beta, so it wasn’t fully available. This is now in beta and available to anyone. You can now add a field type to represent Time without having to mess with Dates. Really big for Service Cloud, but also time and project management. To support this, we get a few new functions as well: TIMEVALUE, TIMENOW, HOUR, MINUTE, SECOND and MILLISECOND. I assume this always goes off of the running user’s time zone, but it could be GMT. Definitely something to check.
- Opportunity Scoring with Einstein – Sales Cloud Einstein already had Lead Scoring, and now it gets Opportunity Scoring. Opportunity Scoring is essentially scoring Opportunities based on its algorithms to identify what it feels is the most important Opportunities. There isn’t a lot of information on what that algorithm is yet, however, the idea of having a more impartial rating of Opportunities versus trying to do it based purely on a Sales Rep’s judgement is a really interesting concept. It would give Sales Management and Sales Ops a way to have visibility into Opportunities that might be slipping especially from weaker Sales Reps that might be missing a true opportunity. It’d be interesting to see what the algorithm is – and the geek in me is curious if it takes different Sales Rep’s forecasting and Opportunity management habits into account and tailors the score based on that. Pretty cool potential here, but as a reminder, this requires Sales Cloud Einstein which does cost additional.
- Einstein Lead Scoring Updates – Einstein Lead Scoring gets two pretty nice updates as well. First, it has added an algorithm to detect a Lead’s Job Rank and Department based on the Title. So, by translating the Title field it can give you the broader level rank – like C-Level or Manager Level – of the Lead and their Department – like Sales. These are displayed in the Einstein Score component. Pretty handy. It’d be even cooler if these were stored somewhere on the Lead so you could use them for List Views, Reports or even Pardot segmentation (hint hint!). Second, you now get more visibility into the logic behind the Lead Score. Within the component, you can now see the Top Positives and Top Negatives that contribute to the Lead Score. For Sales, this is critical to show to remove skepticism around why a Lead has a certain score. As a reminder, this is part of Sales Cloud Einstein and that is an additional cost.
- Lead Conversions without Opportunities – It’s not a common use case, but there are Sales team out there that don’t typically create Opportunities when they convert Leads. Companies with heavy Account based sales where the main objective is to grow the org chart comes to mind. For these Sales teams, you now had some admin options to remove the Opportunities section of the Lead Conversion page and/or set the default on the conversion page to “Don’t create an Opportunity”.
- WebEx Integration – If you’re also a WebEx customer, you can now add WebEx meetings directly from an Event record. Users have the option to use their Personal Romm or create a new meeting directly from an event record. Nice and easy.
- Classic Features now in Lightning – This list is getting smaller each release, but here are some of the Classic features that now work in Lightning Experience with Spring 18.
- Opportunity Splits – Splits are now supported and it comes with a slick widget to add the splits.
- Opportunity Contact Roles – We get a much improved Contact Roles page on Opportunities to update Contact Roles. You can also set the Primary Contact now as well.
- Report Builder – As mentioned above, Bucket Columns, Summary Fields and Filtering by Hierarchies are now all available in the Lightning Report Builder
- Color your Dashboards – You now add color to your Dashboards. You could previously do this in Classic, but the color options weren’t great. The Lightning options are much broader.
Alright, that’s it for the Sales features. Some great stuff here for Sales Cloud and Pardot. In particular the beginnings of some pretty cool features like de-duplication batches and the Path explosion. Very exciting stuff. Next up with be Service Cloud and Field Service Lightning. As always, if you have any questions or want help implementing any of these features, comment on this post or Contact Us and we’d be happy to help.