Even though for those of us in New England it feels like Winter just ended, Summer 18 is right around the corner and the release notes are out. (I have to admit, I am not sure about the Summer 18 logo though. First, I’d never want to go snorkeling with a bear. It’s not that I’m scared of bears, but swimming with one just isn’t really on my to-do list. Second, is this particular bear looks like it’s stalking you a little. Like it’s coming out of the lake after it’s been spying on you for a while. Maybe I’m projecting some deep-seeded terror here, but I am not looking forward to that bear staring at me every time a page refreshes for 4 months until Winter 19 comes out.) Back to the release itself – I sound like a broken record with this, but it’s another big one. A lot of Einstein improvements across all of the clouds (including the highly anticipated Chat Bots in Service Cloud) really stand out to me and I think we’re getting to a tipping point with Einstein. It’s been a while since the Einstein announcement and Salesforce has been steadily beefing it up and embedding it across all of the clouds. With Summer 18, if you step back and look at all of the AI enhanced features we now can choose from, it’s pretty impressive. Maybe it’s just me, but I think Einstein is no longer just a curiosity, it is officially a major feature for Salesforce.
For the Summer 18 write-ups, we’re going to break this write-up into four parts which I’ve detailed below. This post will be all about Sales Cloud, Einstein for Sales and platform changes.
Part 1 (this post!) – Sales Cloud, Platform and Einstein for Sales
As always, there’s no particular order outside of my own excitement around the features. At this point, the assumption is you need Lightning to use these features, but if something also works in Classic I’ll call that out (psst. If you’re still on Classic with no plan to Lightning, contact us. We can help!). Let’s get at it.
Reports & Dashboard Improvements – There are a ton of standard Lightning Report & Dashboard improvements with this release.
Sub-Folders! – The folders for Reports & Dashboards now support sub-folders! Such a simple enhancement but this is terrific. Create sub-folders to help organize your report folders and keep things organized. If you’re like me, the reports tab has been a cesspool of organization that my OCD has been struggling with for at least 8 years as I’ve just dumped endless reports into the same folders. Now we can organize away with sub-folders and get things nice, clean, and organized! One note is the security for the reports is still at the top-level folder. So no granular level of security down at the sub-folder level.
Lightning Report Builder is GA – It’s been in beta for a bit so it feels like this has been GA for a while, but with Summer 18 it’s official. As part of this, Salesforce fixes one of the bigger annoyances in that you can now change date column grouped by the date granularity (CY, FY, Month, Week, etc.). Glad they slipped that in as that was the biggest reason I was dropping into Classic Report Builder. Overall, it does take a little getting used to, but I do like the new builder.
Group & Measure in Lightning Tables – I’m already a huge fan of the Lightning tables where you can display a list of records to peruse right in the middle of a dashboard. With this feature they get even more powerful. Now you can group up those details by a field and then add summary (measure) columns to that grouped table. These measure columns need to be numeric (currency and percentage fields count) and they can be used to Sum, Average or find the Min/Max the values by the group. Very slick.
Report Exporting – Great to see this added to Lightning. Now when exporting from a Lightning report you have the option of keeping the formatting or just exporting the raw data.
Joined Reports – Joined reports are now supported in Lightning. With Lightning you can now get up to 5 blocks of data joined together which is pretty crazy. This is beta though and there are still a lot of limitations to it. Seems like this will be much more fully supported with another release.
Report & Dashboard View Improvements – It’s not exactly the ability to create list views of your Reports and Dashboards but it’s pretty close. You can now pick and choose which columns you want to see within the tab and sort by any of those columns. It would be nice to see this evolve into List Views for reports, but I’ll take this with my sub-folders above.
Chart Enhancements – Along with all of the above, we also get a few quick hitters to enhance Charts within Dashboards. You can personalize horizontal bar charts a bit with the option of adding Chatter Photos to the axis if you have it grouped by a user column. If they don’t have a photo Astro is popped in there as the default. You now also have more flexibility on how to display the units within the charts. You can adjust these to be shorted numbers and you now have the option to show the values within Line Charts. You can also choose whether to display Currency Symbols within the Chart. Finally, bar charts now respect the sort order of the second level grouping.
Use the Report Chart for a Dashboard Component – This fixes something that’s always been a little annoying. If you have the chart you already want within the report itself, now when you leverage that report in a Dashboard, you can just default the component to use the chart from within the report. Nice and simple.
Add Links to Dashboard Components – Pretty cool little feature here. Now you can add a link – to either a Salesforce record or an external website – onto a dashboard component. So, if you have something that is supporting the Dashboard as a reference or maybe a help document that explains how the metrics in the Dashboard were built you can link to it directly. Pretty handy.
Add Others to Dashboard Subscriptions – Lightning Dashboards now allow you to add other users to the subscriptions of Dashboards.
Search Improvements – There are some nice improvements to search with Summer 18. First, next to the global search bar you now can quickly narrow the search to a specific object. There’s a drop down list that lets you type in and select an object and then when you search it’ll only return results for that object. I love it. Second is one I’m surprised I never thought of before. Search now supports Synonym Groups. We’ve had this a while for Knowledge Articles but now the global support will leverage them too. This will allow you to group up common phrases so that if someone searches for “picture” you can return the record titled “photo”. Super useful. Finally, global search now indexes Case Comments (about time) and the List Email objects. All good stuff.
Topics on Records – Finally! Topics are now supported on records within Lightning. For the 15 of us out there that are topic geeks, this is beautiful. In all seriousness, this is a super cool feature that lets you tag any record with a topic which then builds a dynamic Topics page that shows everything tagged with that Topic. Especially if you work in industry with lots of different types of products or features or specifications this can be extremely powerful. Another strong concept here is to automatically tag records with Topics. You can build out a list of important Topics and then when a record is added with that in fields you monitor, the Topic is automatically added. You could do this with a custom metadata setting (or custom object) with triggers or with our native Rules Engine BREeze. Great way to link related information.
Einstein Forecasting – Einstein Forecasting came out in beta in Spring 18 and we discussed it in our Spring 18 write-up so I won’t go into heavy detail here. Overall, this is a really cool feature if you use Forecasting, but it does have some limits. You need at least 2 years of Opportunity history in place for it to build out its model and you also need to have a standard fiscal year with forecasting setup monthly. It can’t handle a custom fiscal year or quarterly forecasting yet. Also, it looks like I was incorrect in Spring 18 that this was a free feature. You need Einstein Sales Cloud to leverage this. Sorry about that.
Einstein Sales Cloud Enhancements – Outside of the new Einstein Forecasting, the other Einstein Sales Cloud offerings all had some quick updates. First up is Opportunity Scoring. We mentioned this when it first came out that it would be nice if you could add the score to reports and dashboards as if you’re using this it’s a key metric. Well, Salesforce listened and you can now add your Opportunity Score to reports. The score is actually not a field but a secondary object (which is interesting how they did that) so now you can create that join report and build away. Next up, on the Lead Scoring side, we can now exclude fields that we don’t think are relevant to the scoring model. I’d be a little careful here in that you may think something is irrelevant but the second set of eyes (Einstein) might tell you differently. However, if they are fields that really have nothing to do with the customer and are more for tracking, etc. then it’s worth pulling them out. Einstein Automated Contacts gets a new feature as well. If you remember, Automated Contacts is looking at emails and activities that are linked to Opportunities, Leads and Accounts but are not actually Contacts in Salesforce. After the same person is copied or added multiple times, Einstein gives the sales rep a nudge saying “hey, you really want a Contact here, right?” and then lets the rep create that Contact with a single click. Pretty cool. Well, with Summer 18, now Automated Contacts provides a view of all of the Contact suggestions they are making so a user can rip through this view and create them all from one place. Even cooler. Finally, Einstein Insights is available to be seen on any Emails that were added via Einstein Activity Capture. These Insights are specific to Emails and determined by scanning the content of the Email. The four Insights they have to start with are Executive Involved (where Einstein sees a new Executive has been added to the email chain), Scheduling Intent (in the email there is a call to schedule a meeting), Pricing Mentioned (pricing is being discussed within the email) and Out of Office (Einstein sees an out of office bounce back). These Email Insights are viewable from the Email or within the Activity Timeline. All of these are making Einstein that much more useful to Sales users. Great stuff.
Einstein Activity Capture now part of Sales Cloud – I had to read this feature twice to make sure it was real, but this one is terrific. Einstein Activity Capture is now included with Sales Cloud. No more Inbox or Einstein Sales Cloud licenses required (there is potentially a 100 seat limit to this being free based on the fine print but that’s not completely clear). Einstein Activity Capture is a great Sales productivity tool where it will automatically associate emails and events to records within Salesforce. I’ll say it again: automatically. No more having to do it from the connector manually. This is a feature your Sales team will love and not only the users. Management and Marketing will get a better picture of what is happening with all of these activities being loaded now. By the way, with this, your users get the Einstein Email Insights on the emails we mentioned above. This does require Outlook 365 or Google, but if you have that, get this to your Sales users right away.
Product Schedules – Product Schedules are now supported in Lightning. This was one of the last big features that only worked in Classic and for organization’s that forecast based on shipping or production schedules, this was a big blocker to move to Lightning. If you’re not familiar with Product Schedules, essentially, this gives you a way to break-out an Opportunity into a schedule of when you expect that Opportunity to be recognized. This is pretty big in Manufacturing in particular. For example, imagine you are manufacturing gears and you are bidding to be a provider of those gears to a plant for a 3 year contract worth $500,000. While it’s great to know you are forecasting a $500,000 deal, it might also be really helpful to know how that $500,000 of gears will be spread-out over the 3 years. Are you selling the same amount of gears equally over 36 months? Is this a ramp where it’s $100k worth in year 1, $150k in year 2 and then $250k in year 3? The way to do this is you use Product Schedules. You can line-up a schedule to show how the quantity or revenue will break out over time and then you can leverage this in reports and forecasting. Overall, the functionality seems to perform the same way it did in Classic, but the UI does seem to be improved to make it easier to setup these schedules.
Forecast by Product or Schedule Dates – Speaking of forecasting by the dates in your schedules, Forecasting now has more flexibility on which dates to use for the forecast. Previously it was off of the Opportunity Close Date. Now with the addition of Product Schedules to Lightning, you have the option to use those Schedule Dates for the Forecast instead (by the way, if you use schedules and you have an Opportunity that doesn’t have a schedule, Salesforce automatically treats the whole Opportunity as a schedule with the Close Date as the Schedule Date). With this change, you also have the option to use the Product Date within the Opportunity Product Lines as well. Much more granular date tracking and flexibility.
Activity Improvements – Some great new stuff in Activities as well. First, List Views for Tasks just got a whole lot better. Even having a tab for Tasks was a nice recent touch in Lightning, but now you can build out List views with custom filters so that you have different slices of your Tasks. On top of that, you can display these list views in three different ways: Table (the old stand-by), Kanban (which displays them in tiles organized by Status and also gives you the ability to drag Tasks to different statuses which is very cool) and finally Split view (which is sort of like the Console where you have the list of Tasks on the left and then you see the full record in the right when you click on it). All of this really let’s your users get control and manage their Tasks across records in a much more productive manner. Another cool new features is the ability to create copies of a Task for multiple users. Now when a user assigns a task to multiple users or even a group, each user gets a copy of that Task for them to work on. A nice touch and super useful. Finally, another Lightning parity feature – similar to Classic, you can now have pre-defined subjects on the Task (this works for Events too).
Drag & Drop Email Attachments – Simple but great time saver here. Now when sending emails from Salesforce you don’t need to click on the upload attachment and go find it. Now, you can simply drag and drop the attachment into the email. Boom.
Calendar Drag & Drop – Email Attachments aren’t the only thing getting some new drag and drop functionality. Now you can reschedule your Events in your Calendar by simply dragging them as well. No more needing to click into the Event to update it. Also, to make it a little easier to read, you can now collapse the calendar side panel as well.
Email Template Enhancements – Email Templates get some nice additional features as well. First, you can now add HTML directly to your email templates from the Lightning template editor. The rich text menu has a “Source” button that allows you to view and modify the HTML. In addition, a pretty cool improvement to Merge Fields. Now, we have Handlebars Merge Language (HML – no idea why it’s called Handlebars though…) which really streamlines the Merge fields. Leveraging this, you can add one merge field that will handle the merge across Contacts, Leads and Users. No more setting up different templates for “First Name” variations across those objects. The old templates all still work and are supported. Great feature. Finally, the management of templates is a bit easier in Lightning now and your old Visualforce templates are also supported in Lightning.
Campaign Improvements – A few nice improvements to Campaigns are part of Summer 18 as well. Now you can add all Contacts from an Account to a Campaign in one-shot. I love this. Basically, right from the Campaign Members list on a Campaign you can search for an Account. That will then display all of the Contacts for that Account. You can select all with one click, or select ones you care about and then add them all to the campaign. Big time saver for Sales users who are asked to add their customers to various events, etc. Next, you can now also send List Emails to members of a Campaign. Pretty handy if you don’t have a tool like Pardot as this really helps the Marketing team. Another great new feature is an improvement to List Views for Contacts and Leads. Now from those Lists Views, you can use Campaigns as a Filter and it’ll narrow it down automatically to just Leads / Contacts within that Campaign (this is already in Classic, so more of a catch-up feature for Lightning here). Finally, an interesting change that allows you to set sharing rules for Campaign Members. You can essentially let Marketing view some details from the Campaign Members but no longer have to give them full access to Leads & Contacts. Having Pardot or other automation tools sort of defeats the purpose of this though as they’ll be able to see those records in there, but this would be nice to use so you don’t have to give all of Marketing full-blown access like you typically do today. This change also works in Classic by the way.
Person Account Changes – There are two small changes to Person Accounts as well. First, you can now administer the Person Account setup – layouts, record types, etc. within Lightning now. No more needing to flip to Classic for that. Second, which is a bit more of a fix, is that Person Accounts now work in Quick Actions properly. Previously the Name fields were displaying incorrectly. Now, when creating or editing a Person Account, the Quick Action will display the right Person Account information.
Lead Conversion for Contacts with Multiple Accounts – If you have Contacts to Multiple Accounts turned on, you’re going to like this feature. Now, if you convert a Lead and convert it to an existing Contact, you’ll be able to associate that Contact to the new Account you’re creating in Lead conversion or to other Accounts automatically. This really lets your Sales user leverage the functionality to have one Contact linked to many Accounts without making them do extra steps.
More Security around Lead Merge – They’ve broken out the access to Merge Leads so that you have more control over the access. Now, users will need the Org-Wide Merge and Delete setting to be able to do a Lead merge. This also applies to Classic.
Well, that’s it for part 1. A ton of enhancements to Einstein and some great new productivity features across all of Sales Cloud. Can’t wait to get my hands on this. Next up in part 2 will be Service Cloud and Field Service. As always, if you have any questions or you’re looking for help on implementing some of these features or Lightning in general, feel free to reach out and we’ll get right back to you.
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.