Summer 21 is already live, but we're still going with the update write-ups. This will…
1. Salesforce Summer 21 Features – Lightning Sales Cloud, Einstein Sales Cloud, and General Enhancements
Summer 21 is right around the corner – and man, this release feels like it sneaked up on me (trying to figure out why “snuck” was getting flagged as a misspelling and seeing that snuck might not even be a real word. Really? That sneaked up on me too). Spring 21 was so big we started a new approach of writing more focused posts on some of the smaller clouds and wound up with seven posts in all. Summer 21 is just as big and Salesforce has launched a couple of new products since just to keep that list growing. Not complaining as it is why I enjoy this ecosystem, but it truly is getting harder and harder to cover each release in the window between the release notes and the release roll-out. It’s just too much! I have a feeling we’ll be having a couple of posts after the go-live here as I’m starting a little late, too (got my second shot last weekend and spent some quality time sleeping all weekend). With that, here’s the rough order I’m thinking we’re going to be covering:
- Part 1 (this post!) – Sales Cloud, Platform, High Velocity Sales and Einstein for Sales
- Part 1b – Manufacturing Cloud & Rebates Management
- Part 2 – Service Cloud, Service Cloud Einstein and Surveys
- Part 2b – Field Service
- Part 3 – Communities / Experience Cloud, Salesforce CMS. Chatter, Salesforce Anywhere (Quip), and Files
- Part 4 – Rotating Topic: TBD
That’s 5 posts in total – which would be the most we’ve ever done. We’ll give it a shot and see how it goes, but as I said above, even with these posts we’re ignoring a bunch of big products. Well, let’s get at the first one instead of dwelling on what we’re not covering. I’ve got some UNKLE playing and it’s surprisingly good writing music. As always the order for the below is based on what interests me the most. Everything assumes you’re on Lightning by now but if something also works in Classic I’ll mention that.
- Inline Editing within Reports – Whaaaat!? This has to be the most frequently asked user request out there – especially from Sales Managers – “I’d love a report where I can just update all my stuff from.” Well, boom, here it is. You’re going to look like a hero marching into that Sales Managers’ office and showing them this one once it’s live. Basically, you’ll be able to click on a cell within a report and a pop-up will appear where you can change the value. There are some fields this doesn’t work in yet – and those will be marked with a little “lock” icon to make it clear. It’ll work with text, numeric, and checkbox fields so the big exceptions are picklists (probably due to dependency problems), date/time fields, and long text/rich text types of fields. There are a few other exceptions like the Task and Event objects (not sure why they are left out of the fun), compound fields (like address fields), and record type fields. You’re still going to be a hero with this feature – but you’re going to need to temper expectations a little bit when it’s not every single field. Either way, this is a huge feature for users and will be exciting to roll out. It is in beta for Summer 21, so test this out some before just flicking that checkbox and activating it. Besides that, get some cred for this and hype it up anyway before you flick that checkbox. Bask in the glory of this one.
- Pipeline Inspection – Back in Winter 21 Unlimited Edition users only got a new feature called “Visualize Opportunity Changes” which was a pretty cool extension to Opportunity list views that showed color-coded indicators of pipeline movement for the opportunities within the list view. The Pipeline Inspection is that functionality – but on steroids. With Pipeline Inspection we now get a dedicated page that allows management to see all of their pipeline changes in one place. The view has some quick filters to change the time period of when the opportunities are closing and what teams you want to see, but it presents a list view-ish visualization of your opportunities highlighting movement within them. As you can see in the screenshot below, Amount, Close Date or Stage changes are highlighted and color-coded depending on the way they have moved. So, opportunities progressing in the right direction will have their stage colored green, while ones moving backward will be in red. Same for dates and amounts. Even nicer, you can hover over these highlighted fields and get the breakdown of exactly what changed. For example, if you hover over a green Closed Date, it’ll tell you how many days that opportunity closed date was pulled in, and who did, and it when. We also get a column that shows the “recent activity” which will highlight the last change to one of these key fields. Finally, across the top, you get some summary metrics that show the aggregate of how the pipeline has changed – the total pipeline, some forecast bucket totals, how much has pulled in and how much has pushed out, and how much has been Closed Won or Lost (we have a super cool dashboard we’ve built around this for multiple clients called the In ‘N Out Dashboard that captures the same buckets). This is literally everything a sales manager would want to quickly assess their pipeline. Love this feature – but – and I hate that there’s a but – it’s only available to users in Unlimited and Performance edition according to the release notes. Hopefully, that is temporary while they are seeing how the performance of this is as this is an awesome new feature and I want it for myself as well as the other 90% of our customers.
- More Custom Fields Per Object – I doubt this is on purpose, but the mascot for Summer 21 is the goat mascot – Cloudy. Cloudy is apparently the mascot that represents the admins out there (I don’t make this stuff up). With this feature, admins everywhere are going to need Cloudy looking over them. For a long long time, objects have had a limit of 500 fields per object. With Summer 21, that is expanded to 900 – of which, 800 can be your own custom fields and another 100 can be added from managed packages (this isn’t for every object, but it is for most of them. Full list is here). When I first read this I almost whipped out the Woody Woodpecker “hooray video” I use for features I’ve been waiting for. Then, a second later the other shoe dropped in my head and I thought “now people can complicate their objects even more”. So, Cloudy I hope you’re looking out for all the admins out there – because some of them need the guidance to not just suddenly open the flood gates and pile another 300 fields onto an object creating an even bigger mess with their instance. While this flexibility is terrific – you really do need to sit back and ask why do you really need 800 fields on an object? There’s seriously no better way to organize your data? My advice is in a few months from now if you find yourself at your desk suddenly using this new buffer and heading towards 600, and then 700 fields, that you stop for a bit. Sit back and pour yourself a beer or wine or shot (whatever your admin-drink of choice is), drink it slowly, and really think about what you’re doing and why before adding that next field. Maybe even light a candle for Cloudy while you’re at it. Some of you will actually realize the insanity of the situation and embark on cleaning up your object. For the rest of you, well, I’ll probably be writing to you in 3 years when Salesforce bumps the limit to 1,200 fields in Winter 24.
- Forecast on Custom Fields – The Collaborative Forecasting functionality just got a ton more flexible by allowing you to base your forecast reports on any number or currency custom field. This is a pretty major change and it’s one of those changes most companies don’t need, but for the ones that do – this is a big deal. At the end of the day, not everyone forecasts off Opportunity Amounts. For some companies, volume types of metrics like gallons, quantity, etc. are really the most important metric out there. For other companies, they might have variations of the Opportunity Amount that they want to leverage instead. Now Collaborative Forecasting has that capability – but (it kills me that two of the top features have this but) – only for Performance and Unlimited customers. Again, not sure if that’s a permanent limit or if this feature is a phased roll-out, but that does limit a pretty great feature quite a bit.
- Einstein Activity Capture Updates – We get a bunch of new updates to Einstein Activity Capture (EAC). First up, if you’re not on Office 365 and you’re using an Exchange Service instead, you can now leverage EAC with a service account. These service accounts give you much more control over which users Salesforce can sync data from – especially since not all users might have access to Salesforce. In addition, this allows you to simplify the roll-out as you can connect all the users in one shot, versus your users having to do it. You need to be on Exchange Service 2019, 2016, or 2013 to use this. Next up, you now have the ability to toggle on syncing for internal events. Internal events are those events where only people from your domain are attending. While not everyone will use this, if you really are using calendaring heavily and trying to schedule events within Salesforce, this will allow users to see the true availability of each other and not have users that look open for a time when in reality they are already booked for something internal. Another new feature attempts to identify auto-replies that have sensitive information within them and keep them out of the activity timeline. Interesting use of AI here – basically, auto-replies like out of office responses will remain in the feed, but others like something from a bank saying your statement is available or a password reset will be flagged and set to “Don’t Share”. You still have the ability to filter out domains that you specify from sharing and this is above and beyond that. Finally, admins now have a view that shows where all of their users are with getting EAC setup. They can see if their accounts have been connected yet, if they’ve accepted the terms, and what the sync status is. Super helpful to ensure your users aren’t haven’t issues that are preventing them from using EAC.
- Microsoft Teams Integration – This has been in pilot for a few releases, but with Summer 21 it finally goes GA. When this went to pilot it was a pretty big announcement, but between then and now Salesforce decided to snatch up Slack and squarely dive into the Teams space. Obviously, it will be interesting to see how this evolves over the next few releases especially as Slack begins to be introduced to Salesforce, but in the meantime, this is a robust integration that allows you to leverage Microsoft Teams within Salesforce. Teams has a lot of customers out there and those teams will be able to benefit from the added collaboration. Within Teams itself, you can mention any object in Salesforce and pin them within chat and channel tabs. In addition, reps leveraging Teams can take full advantage of Salesforce Meetings.
- Salesforce Meetings New Features – Salesforce Meetings was one of the big new features we covered in Spring 21 and unfortunately just like in Spring 21, it’s still only available to Performance and Unlimited instances (not liking this fairly obvious trend here). Hopefully, this opens up in Winter 22 to the rest of us, but in the meantime, Summer 21 has added some new features to this. First among these is deeper integration with Zoom and Einstein Activity Capture. Users can now leverage Inbox to generate links to Zoom meetings when they schedule using the Insert Availability. This is pretty slick as when the person you send your availability to selects the time they want, the Zoom meeting link will automatically be updated to correspond to that selected time (please make this available to Enterprise customers – I want that). In addition, the Meeting Digest page can now be adjusted like any other lightning page and you can add new components to it. We also get a new out-of-the-box component that highlights insights about follow-ups that should happen after the meeting. These include quick-actions to send emails to the internal and external attendees. Finally, from the Meeting Digest, you can now create records directly from the attendee list – similar to how Inbox works. If there’s an attendee you don’t have in Salesforce, you can click them and right from there create a new lead or contact. For attendees already in Salesforce, it’ll prompt you with data gaps you can fill in like “Add Title”. Lastly, you can even send an email directly to an attendee from the digest. Pretty handy and really expands that meeting digest area into a more productive hub.
- High Velocity Sales Updates – Spring 21 was a monster release for High Velocity Sales – so much so that we wrote a blog post dedicated just to it. It’s tough to have two big releases in a row, but Summer 21 still has two cool updates. First, there are some new report types that allow you to report on engagement and sales cadence steps. The engagement report is pretty neat as it lets you see across all leads or contacts within HVS and how many emails were sent, delivered, opened, or replied to them by month. It’s a nice view to see how you are targeting specific leads or contacts. At the top of the report, you get some summary totals for the same metrics. The cadence step report is similar as it measures the same metrics but by cadence step instead of leads/contacts. This is super helpful as it’s showing you what stages customers are hitting in your campaigns and how effective each of these cadence steps are. Finally, we also get a new component that expands on that cadence step report and shows engagement success for each cadence over time. It’s a really nice visualization that lets you filter the metric and time period to see what your most effective cadences are over time. Pretty cool. As a reminder, High Velocity Sales is an add-on product to Sales Cloud, so it’s an extra license you need to buy.
- Picklist Enhancements – Two quick but nice enhancements for picklist fields are part of Summer 21. First, you can now pre-populate dependent picklists with default values. This isn’t for all objects, but it’s the major ones: accounts, opportunities, cases, contacts, leads, and custom objects. You also get some new flexibility around the number of inactive picklist values allowed. By default, there is a limit of 4,000 inactive picklist values on a field. You now have the ability to remove that limit if you want. The reason the limit is there is for performance reasons so this is another one that’s like the field limits above where you should be consulting Cloudy before doing this. 4,000 values is a lot – I mean, really a lot. If you need more than 4,000 inactive picklist values in a field, you might want to re-think that field and what you’re doing. But, the option is now there. Use it wisely.
- Restriction Rules – This is a pretty cool new feature that admins can now leverage in their security toolkit. Restriction Rules allow you to set deeper restrictions to what records users can see by allowing you to specify a subset of records a user has access to. These are available for custom objects, contracts, tasks, and events and they are managed through the Tooling and Metadata APIs. You’re talking pretty granular security here (which can very much be needed) but an example of this is when a user has access to an account, they also get access to all the activities, tasks, and contracts hanging from that account. Maybe you want a user to be able to see the Account – but not the account activity. This allows you to set that more granular access. Custom objects fall into the same example. If you have access to a custom object record, you get access to all the related objects to it. This will let you pick and choose which related objects they should have access to instead of getting that broader access. This is in beta right now and it’s definitely what I’d call an advanced admin feature, so this is one you need to really test out in the sandbox before rolling it out to prod.
- Expiration Dates for Permission Sets – Another really cool new security feature for admins – you now get the ability to set an expiration date on a permission set or permission set group assignment. So when that user is asking for permission that you really didn’t grant them on purpose – but you’re under the gun and can’t do what they’re trying to do on your own, you can now grudgingly give them that access but with an expiration date. I can literally hear it now: “Fine, here you go. But you have 1 week to get this done”. Which really is perfect, right? You don’t need to remember to remove it later and you can temporarily give out access to get things done. Love it. This is in beta by the way – so test it out first!
- Other Reporting Enhancements – We covered the massive new feature around inline editing within reports above, but we also get a couple of other reporting/dashboard features too. The first one solves a major pet peeve of mine with custom reports where new fields will now be automatically added to custom report types with an Auto Add feature. Not sure if this is a toggle or now the default, but I’ve never been able to figure out why this wasn’t the norm anyway so not sure who wouldn’t flick this on if it’s a toggle. Super happy to see this one (and since this all seems to be a theme on this one – if you do go and add 800 fields to a custom object, hey, at least you won’t double your pain by needing to add them all to your custom report types now!). The last feature saves you from using Snagit all of the time in that we now get a little download option for dashboard where we can download the dashboard as an image so you can distribute it.
- Segment Leads for Lead Scoring – You can now create segments for your leads and allow Lead Scoring to score the segments separately. This allows you to have more accurate and relevant lead scores within that section. For example, in your big mass of leads, event leads might all score as lower lead scores – but by creating an event segment you’ll be able to better see the highest-scoring leads within that segment and not have them lost in the broader lead pool. Super powerful if you have a lot of different lead sources and/or pools of leads for different products or divisions.
- Requirement to Enable MFA – I’m sure everyone has seen the MFA pop-ups within their Salesforce instance and Salesforce has been emailing and reaching out about it quite a bit as well. It’s still a ways off, but the clock is officially running where Salesforce will require all internal users (Experience Cloud users seem to be exempt) to use MFA (multi-factor authentication) to login to Salesforce. This will become mandatory on 2/1/22 so you do have time to roll this out. This is definitely something you want to get ahead of as this is a strict MFA, not one where a user can just use their cell phone and text a code. You will need to roll-out a legit MFA verification method to your users like the Salesforce Authenticator app, physical security keys like Google’s Titan Key, or time-based apps like Google/Microsoft Authenticator. In other words, this is something you’re really going to need to coordinate with your end users and have a solid roll-out and support plan. There is a lot of details about this in Salesforce’s MFA FAQ and I highly recommend reading this and beginning to figure out your strategy. This is not something you want to be scrambling on last minute in January 2022.
- Track Your Active Licenses – Another admin goody – a slick new Lightning App that let’s you monitor your active, assigned, and available licenses. This lets you more easily see what you have in play within your instance. One thing to note is this is updated each Sunday, so it’s not real-time data.
- See Record Access Reasons – This is one that’s been in Classic for a long time and it’s finally added to Lightning. You now have the ability to view who has access to a record and why as well as what type of access. This is especially handy when you’re in a complex sharing model leveraging manual or automated sharing rule settings. Nice to see this in Lightning. Note this isn’t available for all objects, but it is for the main ones: accounts, opportunities, cases, contacts, leads, and custom objects. I think that all this works on in Classic too, but could be wrong.
Well, that’s it for Sales Cloud and the general release features. Looking at this list, maybe there really is a reason Cloudy is the mascot for this release as this release is loaded with stuff specifically aimed at admins. I’d love to think that they actually target these release logos like that – although that would be sort of terrifying in a weird way if they did. Overall though, this is a big one and a lot of stuff for admins to think about. As always, if you have questions around any of these features or want help enabling or planning for these – like building out an MFA roll-out plan – feel free to reach-out and one of our Solution Architects will get right back to you. Thanks for reading – Service Cloud is up next!