Hope everyone is having a good and safe summer. Hard to believe next weekend is Labor Day and the summer is almost over. It honestly feels like I just finished blogging about Summer 21 (although I fell 1 or 2 blogs short of my original plan) and here we are at the end of the summer looking over the Winter 22 release. Insanely, the release is a month and a couple of days away, with the release weekends on 10/1 and 10/8. Somehow I feel like I’m late on top of being surprised it’s already here. I guess thankfully Salesforce decided to banish Fall/Autumn from their release cycle and kept it to three releases a year or I’d be really screwed.
As has been the case for years, Winter 22 is another really big release. The release notes are huge and with so many industry and other products now, it’s impossible for us to cover them all. One item that did not make these release notes is anything to do with Slack. Salesforce recently started to release some announcements on what’s coming with Slack + Salesforce but it doesn’t look like any of these are official Winter 22 features. Of course, that doesn’t mean we need to wait until Spring 22 to get them as Salesforce sometimes releases off-cycle, but we’ll probably need to wait until Dreamforce to know exactly when these features are coming. Some really cool features have been teased already – in particular, I love the Case Swarm concept. Alright, with that said, here’s what we’re planning for our Winter 22 blogs (subject to change):
Part 1 (this post!) – Sales Cloud, Platform, High Velocity Sales, and Einstein for Sales
Part 2 – Service Cloud, Service Cloud Einstein and Surveys
Part 1b – Manufacturing Cloud & Rebates Management
Part 2b – Field Service
Part 3 – Communities / Experience Cloud, Salesforce CMS. Chatter, Salesforce Anywhere (Quip), and Files
Part 4 – Rotating Topic: Tentatively thinking Flow
Part 5 – Rotating Topic 2: Workforce Engagement (I really want to write about this new product and there’s a ton of new features in Winter 22)
That’s 7 posts in total – which might be a tad aggressive. I’m going to try and get some help authoring these this time. Jill P helped last time with the Communities / Experience Cloud one and she’ll be making another appearance this release. I’m also going to try and recruit some help with some of the others. We’ll see. In the meantime, let’s get into Sales Cloud. I have a Thom Yorke Spotify mix blasting which is great writing music – although, I will admit, the new Creep remix he released this year keeps popping up and this might be shocking, but I’m not a fan. I can’t tell if he did it as a joke or if that is real. I don’t know. I digress. Onto Winter 22. As always, the order is random and the assumption is you’re on Lightning.
Expanding Inline Editing for Reports – Boom. I love seeing the 1-2 punch from Salesforce here. Inline editing from reports was one of the most exciting new features in Summer 21 but it did come with a couple of restrictions on what types of fields you could edit leveraging it. With Winter 22 Salesforce immediately expands this. Now we can edit date, picklist, and lookup fields leveraging inline editing. With picklist fields in particular one restriction with inline editing has always been if you had record types in play – but I’m not seeing this as a limit. That would be huge if you can finally inline edit picklists with record types! With these three additions, you’re left with only a few field types that can’t be edited: Task & Event object fields (no idea why these objects are singled out outside of they might be so old the object has some issues – like Assets used to), Owner fields, compound fields (address & name), long text / rich text, record type, master-detail, and encrypted fields. Obviously, you also can’t edit uneditable fields like formula fields, created date, etc. Overall though, you pretty much can edit anything, which is terrific. One thing to note is this update is a beta, so there might be some issues, but users will love this – it’s a beta I’d roll with.
Pipeline Inspection – Winter 22 brings a slew of new features to Pipeline Inspection. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Pipeline Inspection. On the love side – it’s a super powerful feature that really gives you some terrific insights to your pipeline and it just gets even more powerful with all of the stuff I’m about to describe from Winter 22. On the hate side – it drives me nuts that it’s only for Performance & Unlimited customers. When this first started rolling out two releases ago, I was hoping this was just to test out the performance of it, and it’d be released to Enterprise soon after. Looks like this isn’t the case, and it’s going to remain an Unlimited / Performance only feature which is disappointing. Maybe this will change down the road and I can just love this feature – but, being an Enterprise customer myself and having the vast majority of our customers on Enterprise – this is a feature everyone on Sales Cloud would truly benefit from. I’d prefer if Unlimited/Performance remained as more products vs. now including select features. With that said, there are some really cool new features here. First, managers and reps can now flag important deals that they want to monitor more closely. By flagging these they can leverage list views that are filtered by this toggle. This is really powerful as the larger your opportunity list is, it gets harder to find the critical opportunities in the noise. They aren’t always the largest ones – sometimes they are strategic or super competitive or ones that someone is just personally interested in. This makes it much easier to highlight those and keep track of them. Second, you can now create Pipeline Views and filters. Pipeline views have some added features above and beyond opportunity views that were part of the last releases. Previously you just had one pipeline view with these features. Now you can expand that with custom filters and create multiple pipeline list views. My favorite new one is the ability to tier Einstein Opportunity scores (which is the screenshot below). This is a nice way to bucket the opportunity scores into bands which makes it a lot easier to quickly view your opportunities most likely to close – according to Einstein. Einstein Opportunity Scoring is an awesome way to get a more neutral rating of the opportunity and I see it more as a check of the Account Exec’s scoring – basically if they are similar you’re all good, but if Einstein is scoring an opportunity way differently than an AE is, it’s worth investigating and seeing what is off. Tiering will help make this much easier. You get 3 summary tiers: High (scores 67 – 99), Medium (scores 34 – 66) and Low (0-33). As you can see below, you can hover over the summary field and get the specifics around the score. Along with Einstein Scoring, we also get some embedded Einstein Insights. Right from the Close Date field we now get a highlight if Einstein Insights feels this opportunity is not likely to close this month. This is a helpful prompt to investigate and most likely have the AE push the opportunity out. Speaking of pushing out the close date – another new feature is a Push Count field on the Opportunity. Now you can report on how many times an opportunity has had its close date pushed out – another great indication of an AE’s forecasting accuracy – or maybe just the likelihood of a specific customer closing as expected. Finally, within the pipeline views, you can see an indicator if the AE hasn’t updated their next steps within 7 days. This is a personal pet peeve of mine, so love the idea here – although, I’d love to have control over the number of days. 7 days is pretty tight for companies that have longer sales cycles. Maybe that flexibility will be added down the road. Really big update here. If you are lucky enough to be on Unlimited or Performance, this is definitely a feature you need to be checking out and rolling out to your sales teams.
Email Template Enhancements – A bunch of enhancements to building email templates in Lightning with Winter 22. First – similar to how the page layout builder works – you can now add columns or rows to your email templates. You can select from a few pre-built templates and then build out your content within the structured columns. You can also control the padding between these columns easily. If you’re trying to make your email templates look like natural emails, this isn’t something you’d use – but if you’re trying to make them look more professional / from Marketing, this is a really nice feature. The rich text editor now also has an indentation option that allows you to control the indents of text. I’m a big user of this feature in other apps, so good to see it here. Finally, the email template subject line can now be up to 1,000 characters. Previously this was a somewhat restrictive 230 characters.
Activity New Features – We also get a couple of nice new features for activities. You can now set the sort order of your activity timeline to either show upcoming & overdue activities in oldest or newest first. I had never really thought anyone would want to see this any other way but once I thought about it I can see the pros and cons of both approaches. I’m definitely in the “show me the oldest ones first” camp, but I can see how some people would rather see the next one up first which is what’s below. By default, it does show the oldest first by the way. In addition to this, for task and event reports we now have a new CompletedDateTime field which allows us to report on the specific date AND time of when and activity or event was closed. Previously we only had a date field so this extra granularity is super welcome.
Einstein Activity Capture Enhancements – Speaking of Activities, Einstein Activity Capture also gets a number of enhancements with Winter 22. First is a really nice Recommended Connections component that can be added to the lead, contact or person accounts page layouts. This is a handy little component that will show you which other contacts/leads/person accounts the person you are looking at is related to and how strong that relationship might be. Einstein is figuring that out based on meetings where they are together or emails where they are both on the same email strings that are being synced by Einstein Activity Capture. I could see this being expanded with more data points down the road and it’s a really handy concept. Next up, Activity Capture is now trying to identify emails with sensitive information – like social security numbers and login credentials – and when it detects them in an activity it is syncing, it automatically flips that activity to private. Another feature I expect will just get smarter and stronger down the road. On the admin front, you can now include Inbox users in any Einstein Activity Capture configs. Previously if they used inbox you couldn’t include them which was a bit of a pain. Nice to see this updated. Finally, you can now toggle whether Einstein Activity Capture users are allowed to see the Activities dashboard. Previously this was defaulted to active. Not 100% sure what scenarios you’d want to hide this, but flexibility is always better in these situations.
Scoping & Restriction Rules – Consider me intrigued here. With Winter 22 Salesforce really expands an admin’s options on what records users can have access to or see. Restriction Rules was released as a beta in Summer 21 and allows admins to get even more granular with record restrictions (hence the name I guess) than you can with sharing rules. With Winter 22 this is now GA and definitely something to look into. Basically, this allows an admin to restrict a subset of records related to a record someone might have access to. For example, if a user has access to an Account record, maybe you still want to restrict their access to the Account activity. With standard sharing, this isn’t possible but with Restriction rules, you can get down to these granular controls. Overall, very cool. Where things get even more interesting is now with Winter 22, Salesforce has just introduced the concept of Scoping Rules. This appears to be equally cool (although the release notes are really light for this). Basically, Scoping Rules allows admins to control the default set of records a user sees. The user isn’t actually restricted from what you “scope out”, but they don’t see them by default. This is basically less about access control than trying to reduce the noise and chaos of a complicated org. We get this request all the time – especially from sales teams. A big example is if you have shipping/bill to account records and sales gets confused by the tons of variations here – but – they need them for quoting so you can’t restrict the object. Well, now with this it looks like you can hide them from their day to day so they don’t get overwhelmed with the noise, but when they need them they won’t be restricted from selecting them. This could be really big for user experience. For now, this is a beta – so definitely test this one like crazy – and it’s limited to just the Account, Case, Contact, Event, Lead, Opportunity and Task objects (surprised it’s not on custom objects). For this beta, you’ll specifically need to contact support to turn it on. Very cool though.
Forecasting Updates – Two quick updates to Collaborative Forecasting. We can now add a “Most Likely” forecast category to the usual four categories if we’d like. This gives you more granularity in your reporting between Best Case and Commit and is definitely handy. I do get a laugh at the feature title though – “Track Forecast Categories Your Way.” It’s actually the exact opposite of this – you get to add 1 more category with no control of what you call it. Regardless, it is a usual feature and definitely one I suspect a lot of sales teams will take advantage of. In addition to this, you can now bookmark forecast records using the standard lightning bookmarks. Never noticed it wasn’t possible previously, but nice to see that restriction removed.
Territory Management – Enterprise Territory Management also gets two new features, the first of which is a way to speed up the account territory assignment. Instead of having to run assignment rules for all accounts – which depending on the number of accounts you have can be a slow process – you can now select to run assignments on a subset of accounts. You have the ability to filter by last modified date ranges and then one other criteria based on the Account record fields. This subset will run much faster and allow you to force through changes much quicker. The other feature is also performance-related – you can now toggle whether you want assignments to run during Account inserts or not. If you’re loading a large batch of accounts, running assignments as you load them will slow down the load. This allows you to run those assignments after the fact and get the accounts in. Overall, if you don’t have a lot of accounts, performance probably isn’t an issue you have, but for those managing large sets of accounts being assigned, these are welcome updates.
Search Enhancements – Einstein Search has a couple of new enhancements as well. First, it’s now turned on by default. It doesn’t appear there is a way to toggle it off, but from everything we’ve seen, there’s no reason to. It only enhances the previous search. Second, admins now get control over which objects are presented by default and which ones require users to click to search more. This setting is a global one – ideally down the road this becomes something you can set by profile – but it’s nice to get some control over this. I know previously admins were frustrated this was completely at Einstein’s discretion. One thing to note, this is a beta, so test it out first.
Multi-Factor Authentication is Coming – We mentioned this in our Summer 21 write-up and we just recently wrote an entire blog post dedicated to this upcoming security requirement. I won’t go into all of the specifics here (read the blog post), but I will stress this is not optional, it is coming on 2/1/22 and this isn’t something you can just roll-out and flip on a critical release update at the last minute. These next couple of months are when you need to be making your plan of how you are addressing this if you haven’t already.
High Velocity Sales New Features – Winter 22 is a big release for High Velocity Sales as well. Before we dive in, as a reminder, High Velocity Sales (HVS) is an add-on product and isn’t included with Sales Cloud. It’s a powerful feature for anyone that has an inbound / outbound sales team – especially ones where you have structure around the sales cadences. We did a webinar on HVS as an introduction back in December 2020 if you’re interested in seeing it in action. It’s been a couple of releases since then, so it’s only gotten stronger and Winter 22 even goes further. First up is one that will have sales managers rejoicing – the ability to modify action sales cadences. Now you can edit a sales cadence – while it’s active – by adding new steps, updating steps, rules, etc. without having to interrupt your in-flight calls. No more having to time these after hours or on the weekends, or worse, make your sales team stop calling while you make the edits. Another big enhancement is variant testing for email templates and call scripts. This feature is super powerful. You can build our variants (Loki will forever change that word for me) and specify what percentage each variant should appear to the sales team. From there, sales reps will be presented the varying call scripts and email templates based on your percentage assignments. Over time you’ll be able to report on which ones perform better and eliminate the ones that perform the worst. This is a big deal, especially in high volume teams where a 1% difference can be a lot of revenue. Next up is a slick new pre-built dashboard that will let Sales Managers view up to 20 key metrics around their cadence and rep performance. A screenshot of the dashboard is below, but this dashboard provides the following out of the box: Leads in Sales Cadences, Lead Conversion by Sales Cadence (and by Sales Rep by Cadence), Target Disposition by Sales Cadence (what are the most common outcomes by cadence), Pipeline Generated by Sales Cadence, Successful Calls and Emails by Sales Rep (how many successful call & email engagements did reps achieve in the last 30 days), This Month’s Most Engaged Leads, Most Engaged Sales Cadences, and Most Engaged Sales Cadence Steps. Obviously, a dashboard you could create on your own – but super nice to have this all put together out of the box to get running with. Another update now saves automated email as list emails. To users, this won’t matter but to an admin, this saves a bunch of data storage. Now when you send large batches of emails, instead of these saves as an individual record for each they now will be a single list email record which will really help your data storage. Nice to see. Finally, managers can now run reports on sales targets – leads or contacts, and then update their sales cadence membership directly from the report. A nice time saver.
Dynamic Dashboard Gauge Components – File this under “things I didn’t realize I wanted.”. This is a pretty cool update to the Gauge component on dashboards that allows you to set a target for the component and then let it dynamically set the color tiers for you. I don’t know about you, but I probably spend more time than I should trying to figure out the exact right thresholds to switch colors on these things – but now that it can be done automatically – well, have at it! This is a beta, so I guess it could still have some issues but can’t see how this could be too risky here.
Update Permission Set License Assignments Faster – A nice little update that will save you time as an admin. Now you can add or remove permission set license assignments to multiple users at once instead of one at a time. We now have a new UI that allows this instead of having to go to each user’s page individually. Especially if you’re managing a large number of users – this is a nice touch.
Alright, that is it for the Sales Cloud and platform new features. There are obviously a bunch of other smaller ones that we just couldn’t list here, but overall an impressive release. My guess is some new Slack features will be coming soon as well which will be even more new features hopefully. As always, if you have any questions or would like some help on some of these features, please reach out and one of our Solution Architects will get right back to you. Next up will be my personal favorite – the Service Cloud post. Thanks for reading!
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.