Tag: Salesforce

Salesforce Spring ’17 Release

Our Productivity Enhancing Picks
for your Sales Team

The latest Salesforce release (Spring ’17) is on the horizon. This release is going to contain many Lightning Experience usability enhancements. Users will be pleasantly surprised and companies on classic will be starting to take another look at their Lightning readiness.

We have been through the release notes and wanted to focus on user experience and sales productivity within Lightning Experience so here are our favourite enhancements:

Opportunity Products Go Classic

Products have been given a much-needed upgrade. You will now be able to multi-select products, so your sales team must no longer add products one by one in the Lightning UI.

This feature mimics the older Multi-Line layout of Classic and gives you a basic CPQ feel at no added premium. This new upgrade will speed up the time it takes representatives to add products to opportunities.

Sales representatives will be able to:
– Add up to 50 products to opportunities at once,
– Edit 200 product simultaneously,
– Perform multiple product searches without losing previous selections,
– Select multiple products to add to an opportunity, and remove selected products,
– Return to add more products without losing changes they’ve made to line item details.

Quotes get a new face and a major overhaul

This feature set has been on our wish list for a while! In fact, one of my clients asked me how to access the quotes tab only yesterday! The Spring ’17 release makes it possible to view quotes in their very own object and in the much-loved Kanban view that Lightning brings to Salesforce.

Here is a look at what’s changing:
– Show your teams’ quotes side by side for easy comparison and access
– Get the big picture with Kanban. *(Unique to Lightning Experience.)
– View and manage quote line items and quote PDFs
– Create quote PDFs, email quotes, and manage quote syncing.
– Manage email, events, logged calls, and tasks in the activity timeline *(Unique to Lightning Experience.)
– Use Chatter to collaborate during the quote management process. Share information, updates, and documents, and monitor status and key field changes on quote records. To monitor quote and quote product fields via Chatter, enable feed tracking for the fields that you want to track.
– Add Path (setup required) to track quotes throughout your sales process *(Unique to Lightning Experience.)

Collaborative Forecasts

Forecasting allows sales users and their sales managers to more accurately forecast and understand their pipeline. For companies who rely heavily on the Salesforce forecasting object, you can now access this in Lightning without moving away from the new UI.

Sales Management will be able to show reps how sales numbers measure up in a given period by helping teams project sales revenue and quantities from the opportunity pipeline, including opportunity splits and custom opportunity currency fields.

These are our top Sales features coming in the Spring17’ release, watch out for further information on our favourite features across the release and different roles!

Salesforce rely on their customers to feedback to them the features and updates they would like to see in future. If you have an idea you’d love to see get onto the Salesforce Idea Exchange and share your feedback!

If you need help deciding if Lightning is right for you, we can help! Give us a call on 08456 525 625 or fill in your details

Commission Automation using Visualflow


Our client sells trrvel and concierge services to consumers. They needed a solution to automatically calculate the sales commission for each of their commission earners.

They have target based sales commission and bonus programmes that are applied to different roles in the company, e.g. Sales Reps, Deal Managers, Territory managers, Marketing Managers, Collections managers, Training Managers.

Sales commissions and any bonus amounts are paid every 2 weeks according to the sales performance exceeding the bonus criteria within a specified 4 week Bonus Calendar period.

We developed the solution using Process builder and headless Visualforce Flows. The flows we created included the following functionality.

  • Identify records that satisfy OR logic filter criteria
  • Count the number of different reps who won deals in a period
  • Evaluate bonus eligibility for each deal compared with deals won in a specified period
  • Create Commission Payment records and statements for each eligible commission earner every 2 weeks

This note describes the design of the application.

Commission Scheme Overview

Deals are won and lost by Reps and Deal Managers in separate Sales locations which are supervised by Territory Managers (SSM’s)

When a deal is won by the sales team, the deal is deemed ‘Accepted’ on the date that the contract is signed by the client. An ‘Accepted ‘or won deal counts towards the bonus target.

However the deal is only eligible for commission when the full payment for the contract has been received. At this point the deal is deemed to be ‘Completed’

Commission is only paid on deals that have been completed. If a deal is completed before the next Cut off Date , then the commission will be paid out in the next fortnightly payment run, the next working day following the Cut Off date .

Some commission earners are entitled to a Bonus commission.

The company operates a Target Bonus calendar of 4 – week periods throughout the year. For example:

Deal dates                                     Cut Off Date

04/01/2016        – 31/12/2016         03/02/2016 

01/02/2016        – 28/02/2016        02/03/2016

29/02/2016        – 27/03/2016         30/03/2016


A sales rep will receive a bonus commission on a deal if they won more than N deals within the Deal Date four week period that the deal was Accepted.

e.g if the rep signed a deal as Accepted on 07/02/2016 and this deal was fully paid for on 29/03/2016, then if the rep won N deals between 01/02/2016 – 28/02/2016, he would receive a commission and bonus commission during the commission Payable Period commencing 31/03/2016.

A more complicated criterion applies for a Deal manager who supervises the sale of the rep.

A Deal Manager is entitled to bonus commission on a new deal if he/ she has supervised more than X deals from at least 3 separate Reps within the Deal dates that include the Accepted date of the new deal.

The names of the Rep and the Deal Manager are logged on each contract, but other commission earners are not.

A Territory manager is entitled to a bonus on the new deal if there are more than Y deals won in his / her Sales locations within the Deal Accepted dates window.

Other commission earners only receive a basic commission percent and are not entitled to a bonus commission.

Objects to Enable Commission Automation Solution

Custom Setting: Bonus Target Dates.

This is a public list custom setting that defines the Cut off date for each ‘From – Accepted Date’  to ‘To – Accepted date’ period for each calendar year.

Commission Account:

This record identifies

  • the name of the commission earner, employment, contractor status and role
  • the invoice address of his/ her account,
  • the IGIC/ Tax rate to be applied to the invoice
  • The commission / bonus rates that this earner is entitled to and any bonus target criteria that must be met.

Commission Payable Period:

  • This record is a child of each Commission account record.
  • It defines the period of deals that are eligible for payment up to the Cut off date .
  • The record also calculates the sum of all commissions and bonuses due for each deal that was completed prior to the end of the cut off date.
  • The record sums the deductions that should be applied for this period and calculates the net amount to be paid to the commission earner.

Commission Payable:

A Commission Payable record is automatically created each time a Subscriber contract is completed and marked as ‘eligible for commission ‘ by populating the field Commission Eligible Date.

This record contains the following information;

  • Commission Type: e.g Rep Deal, TOM Deal (Deal manager), SSM Deal (Territory manager) , . These values determine how the commission and bonus due is calculated.
  • Subscriber Contract.
  • Commission Opportunity
  • Rep Name, TOM Name
  • Deal Gross value, Deal Nett value, Balance Amount
  • Deal Commission value ( e.g: Deal Nett value x commission percent for this commission earner)
  • Target dates: these are the start and end dates of the commission period for this deal whose Accepted date is within these dates.
  • Deal written. : The number of deals written by this commission earner or manager within these target dates
  • Bonus Percent: The percentage that should be applied if the bonus criteria has been met or exceeded
  • Bonus Value: Deal net Value x Bonus percent
  • Spiff Commission; A place to record a discretionary value for a Spiff deal payment.

The workflow – VisualFlow solution

Process Builder Workflow

A master headless flow and a series of subflows are launched by a Process Builder workflow ‘Trigger flow to Create Commission Payment records’

This workflow launches a headless flow when the field ‘Commission Eligible Date’ is entered into the ‘Subscriber Contract’ object record.

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Commission workflow trigger

Commission workflow trigger for headless flow

The Master Headless, Autolaunched Flow

A high level overview of the Master and subflows is illustrated below:



The master flow and subsequent sub flows all start by identifying the Subscriber Contract or Deal record that is eligible for commission and assigning SObject variables to each of the fields that will used later in the flow.

The master flow and sub flow elements are shown below: Elements 1-15 are used to execute Box 1 and 2 of the high level overview



Elements 16,17,18 are the subflows in boxes 3,4,5 of the high level overview.

Flow design:  Create Rep Commission record

  1. The FLuDSR_Deals Fast lookup looks up all subscriber contract records where accepted date is within bonus target dates.FAst Lookup Contracts within bonus dates
  2. Record Create: Create New Commission Payable Record for a rep. This element populates a Commission payable record (as a child of the Commission Payable Period record created in the prior flow element or found in element 6) with commission value earned by the rep for a deal. The record will be updated with the Bonus commission value in step 15.Create Commission Payable record for repThe commission value payable to a rep is calculated using a Formula {!RepCommPayValue}. This applies the commission percent that the rep is entitled to (specified on the reps Commission account record) for this type of deal, to the Deal Nett value.Record Create: New Commission Payable record for a RepThis flow element contains two formulas to populate field values on the new record.Record Create: New Commission Payable record for a RepThe field Cut Off date needs to be populated with the next Cutoff date that immediately follows the Commission Eligible Date of the Subscriber Contract record that triggered this flow.Calculate Next run cut off date

    The run/ Cutoff dates are every other Friday commencing the First cut off / Run date for a calendar year. This formula finds the remainder days in a week when dividing the (Commission Eligible Date – Start date of the Run Cut off custom setting) by 14. If the remainder is 0, (i.e the commission eligible date is Friday)  then the Run CutOff date = Commission Eligible date. If the remainder is > 0 then the Run CutOff Date = the next alternate Friday  (Commission Eligible Date +14-Remainder)
  3. Decsion: Does an existing Commission Payable Period record exist for this rep?This element checks to see if the Id of the Commission Payable period is null or not null. If Null the next step is to create a new Commission Payable Period record for the Rep.Decision: Does an existing Commission Payable Period record exist for this rep?
  4. Record Lookup: Commission Payable PeriodThis looks up an existing Commission Payable Period record for a rep if the Cut off date is greater or equal to the eligible date.Lookup Commission Payable Period
  5. Record Lookup: Subscriber Opportunity
    This record is a parent of the Subscriber contract and contains the names of the Rep and Deal Manager (TOM)Lookuo subscriber opportunity
  6. Record Lookup: Commission Account
    This finds the Commission Account record for the Rep who is eligible to receive commission on the deal. It sets variables for commission and bonus rates and the bonus target criteria.Lookup Commission Earner Account
  7. Record lookup; Public List Custom Setting. Run/Cut Off Calendar DatesThis custom setting defines the first and last Cut off dates of each calendar year. This data is required to work out the next Payment run / cut off date compared to the Commission eligible date of the subscriber contract that triggered the flow. Note that the field filter {!CommEligYear} is a formula that converts the Commission Eligible date to a Year value
    Lookup Custom Setting for Cut Off dates
  8. Record lookup: Subscriber Contract record
    This element looks up the subscriber contract record ID passed to the flow by the Process workflow.
    It sets the SObj variables for each field that will required in this flow.Subscriber Contract Lookup Element
  9. Record Lookup: Bonus Target Dates
    This looks up the Custom Setting public list that defines the start and end dates of the bonus target periods.
    It identifies the record where the Accepted date of the subscriber contract lies within one of the calendar bonus periods.
    It sets variables for the CutOff date for that period and the Start and end dates.Lookup Bonus Target Dates
  10. The loop through the collection of FLuDSR deal records, checks to see if the rep name is the same as the Commission Earner account name who won the contract that triggered this flow. If the rep names match then, a count of these records is assigned  to the variable {!VarCountRepWrittenDeal}.
    (Note that if  the Subscriber Contract included  the Rep name field value this loop process could have been simplified.)
  11. This element finds the rep name of each loop recordLoop record Lookup
  12. This decision element checks a match the  the rep nameDecision Is rep commission earner
  13. This assignment element adds a count of 1 to the variable {!VarCountRepWrittenDeal}.Assign count of won deal
  14. Record update: Commission Payable record
    This element updates the Commission element record with the bonus percentage entitlement  and calculated bonus value using formulas.
    Record Update Commission payable

    Deal Manager Commission subflow

  15. This subflow is similar to the Master flow that calculates the commission for a rep.Create TOM commission SubflowIt has a more complex Loop to calculate to check the bonus criteria of n deals from 3 different reps in a period.Create TOM commission flow
    a. The fast lookup creates a collection of records where the Deal Manager (TOM) has approved a deal which was signed within the target bonus period.
    As a lookup does not support a cross object field filter value, The collection of records is listed by a custom field that contains the Rep Id on the Subscriber record.Fast Lookup Deals by repb. The Loop element is straightforwardLoop TOM Deals by rep
    c. The Record lookup of the loop record identifies the Id of the rep so it can be compared with the variable {!PriorRepId} which has a null initial value in the following decision element.Loop Item Record Lookup
    d. The assignment element counts the no of deals approved by the deal manager in the loop .Assign no of deals by TOM e. Decision element compares the loop variable of the Rep ID with the variable {!PriorRepId} which initially has a null value.
    Hence the first record  will have a decision  that the Rep Id does not match the prior value.
    This record will be counted as a deal record with a unique Rep ID.Decision is rep name unique
    f. This assignment element updates the variable {!PriorRepId} with the Rep Id of the current Loop recordAssignment Update prior rep id.
    g. This  assignment record counts the number of records with a unique Rep IDAssignment count unique reph. The record update calculates the Deal manager bonus for the commission payable record and records the no of deals signed in the target bonus periodRecord update TOM commission payable record
  16. Territory Manager (SSM) Commission workflow

    Territory Manager (SSM) Commission workflow

    The initial elements of this subflow are similar to the Master flow that calculates the commission for a rep.SSM flow

    a.The Record lookup element needs to find the Commission account for the SSM. The SSM for this deal is determined by the Sales location of the deal.
    The Lookup element only supports AND filter logic which prevents the filtering such as

    Look up OR filter

    Note that since this work was completed , users have discovered undocumented existence of OR logic filters. Please see this post: https://explorationsintosalesforce.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/hidden-logic-in-visual-flow-lookup-filters/
    In this case we have used a formula to find the Id of the SSM

    b. This subflow contains a loop that counts the deals in the Fast Lookup collection of records which are under the jurisdiction of the SSM

    Fast Lookup SSM Deals

    c. Assignment: Add One to record count

    Assignment count unique rep

    d. Update SMM Commission Payable record
    At the end of the loop this element calculates the bonus entitlement and commission value for the Commission payable record

    Update SSM commission record

    Compliance Commission (excluding bonus) subflow

    Compliance Commission Subflow

  17. A standard flat rate commission is also paid to administration staff associated with the deal.
    These staff do not receive a bonus percentage related to a target period for signing deals.Compliance Commission Flowa. The Fast Lookup in this subflow identifies the Commission Account records for each admin staff user who is entitled to commission.Fast Lookup Compliance Accountsb.  This record lookup finds any existing Commission Payable periods which have a cut off date later than the Commission eligible date.fig-40-record-lookup-compliance-commission-pay-periodsc. This record Create element creates a new Commission Payable record if none were found in the prior step.fig-41-create-compliance-commission-payabled. This record Create element created the Commission Payable record for the commission earner account in the loopfig-42-update-compliance-commission-payableEND OF DOCUMENT


How to Get Sales to Adopt CRM

salesforce lightning

CRM System

Some sales people have a natural adversity to using and benefiting from their CRM system.

We have many requests to train sales teams so that they will fully adopt their CRM system.

We discuss the reasons for poor sales adoption, the benefits that a good CRM system can deliver to Sales and outline a training programme to get Sales to want to adopt the system.

Why do some sales people not use their CRM system to maximum benefit?

CRM Purpose and Objectives

If sales do not understand the objectives that deployment of a CRM system was intended to achieve, they lack a conscious reason to use the system.

In essence a CRM system is a single source of Customer Knowledge and a platform for customer delight. How clearly has your organisation described the purpose and goals behind your CRM investment?

If this is clearly communicated, it places a subliminal obligation on the Sales person to use the system.

CRM should be the only source of performance data for all management layers.
If management use sales data from sources other than the CRM system, Sales know that they can avoid entering data into the CRM.
Best practice requires the leadership team to declare that “If the data is not in the CRM system, it never happened or it never will happen” and for them to be seen using the CRM management information.

The CRM system is not designed to map to your Sales Processes
Very frequently, CRM systems have not been configured to permit Sale people to enter and find the data they need for different sales scenarios.

The out of the box process and data flow does not reflect their working practices. Training Sales on effective use of your CRM system can only be really effective if the configured system has taken account of the sales team’s needs.
“It takes too much of my time entering all this data”
If the person has never had to record any information before the introduction of a CRM system, this rare individual may have a valid point but a short prognosis of future employment.
It may be that he / she is really complaining that:

  • They can’t enter data any time anywhere so they first write it down and then transcribe it into the system
  • Too much data is required
  • They are not comfortable with computing
  • Their sales skills are far higher than their writing skills

A Cloud CRM system which is fully mobilised offers the fastest way to enter data so people need effective training on the mobile application.

The CRM System should be configured to only show the Sales person those fields that he/ she needs to use.

A powerful antidote to low computing or literacy skills is to use a voice to text mobile application, a transcription service, or to enable the user to upload voice files to the CRM record.

“Knowledge is power”
Some sales people are reluctant to share customer information as they feel it maintains their position as the ‘Fount of Knowledge’, or exposes them to competition or secures their indispensability.

It is easy to establish data privacy between sales people or sales teams, if required, in most CRM systems.  Sales training should include time to explain the CRM data security model.

CRM applications such as Salesforce Chatter, provide an excellent platform for individuals to be visible knowledge contributors.
What are the benefits of CRM to Sales?

The source of warm leads and new deals
Your CRM system should be delivering a continual source of qualified leads to your Sales team or at least a data repository of suspects that they can mine for opportunities.

If your marketing automation applications are fully integrated with your CRM system, Sales can be instantly alerted to new leads that have been scored as ‘Ready for Sale’, or ‘Ready to buy’.

The sales person can immediately see what information the prospect has been exploring or downloading or discussing in Social media prior to making the first call. By using the links to the social media platforms from the lead record, you can arm yourself with the career history and social media interests of the prospect.

An Aide Memoire
For those not blessed with perfect recall, your CRM system will remind you to complete important actions and  gives you instant access to the information you need prior to any customer call. Invariably it is useful to use the CRM data and correspondence records to remind the customer what they said or committed to.

Rapid Search and Retrieval of Information
Global Search of your CRM system saves huge amounts of time to assemble relevant information about a customer

A Tool to Prioritise and Organise Work
Sales outcomes are determined by the successful execution of an activity plan. By logging activities in the CRM system, the system can tell you how you need to correct your work activity to achieve or exceed your goals.

Easy to use list views or reports allows you to prioritise anything.

Route planning applications shows a geographical distribution of prospect or customer locations.

A Closed Deal Accelerator
Having all the CRM information at your fingertips on a mobile device, means you can spot threats to a potential deal. Are there any outstanding customer service problems, or overdue payments?
The facility to automatically generate quotes or order forms with one click and obtain electronic signature from the client means you don’t have to get back to the office to get a deal signed.

Track Communication Effectiveness
All Email communication should be logged against the contact, account and where relevant, the opportunity record. This is easily achieved by using the native email tools inside your CRM or by integration with Outlook or your chosen email server. You can identify which emails have been opened or read by your prospect / customer and make the call to get them to read the proposal you sent last week.

Time taken to email a customer is dramatically reduced by using editable email templates, or emails triggered by workflow.

Collaboration with Colleagues
Collaboration environments such as Chatter, enables Sales to ask colleagues to provide instant help, suggestions or advice on a deal. Or sales can learn from the best members of their team by ‘following’ how their deals are progressing.

Salesforce offers a neat feature which allows a salesperson to find examples of other deals which have similar characteristics as the one they are working on. They can find out what worked in these other deals or recruit help from their colleague who won it.

Less Credit Control Effort
If your CRM system is integrated with your finance system, then Sales has immediate visibility of a customers credit risk and the credit control department has all the information they need to secure payment without interrupting sales.

Reduce Time for Account Reviews
CRM systems offer real-time performance data for sales people and their managers. Time to prepare data or presentations for the sales reviews is reduced to a click of a button. Sales Forecasts based on the opportunity records are always available at the click of a button.

Real Time Personal Performance Data
Sales should have instant dashboard visibility of their performance versus target, and if required their relative performance against their peers. The system can be also configured to show actual and forecast commission earnings which appeals to the primary instincts.  For those sales people who are members of an account team, they get immediate notification of any change or development of a future deal.

Content on Demand
Any documents or presentations to support a sale are immediately available in content libraries reducing or eliminating effort in assembling and preparing information packs. Better still, you can see if the prospect has looked at the content.

Eliminate Paperwork
A well configured CRM solution should eliminate the need to manage paperwork or use spreadsheets.

CRM training for Sales

A CRM training agenda for Sales should be designed around the sales processes that you want to be adopted and the Sales productivity features that you have invested in.

A suggested agenda is given below:
1.CRM Training Goals and Objectives: This should be opened by an executive leader who can explain why this training is required, what the companies CRM goals are, and the importance the leadership team attaches to the effective use of the system
2.How to capture and qualify new leads. Understand what intelligence about the lead is available in the system
3.How to access Social media pages used by the lead or contact
4.How to log calls or activities, send emails, use email templates, sync emails between your CRM and email system, track opened emails
5.How to use voice to text or transcription services
6.How to mass email contacts
7.How to arrange meetings for one or more attendees and log meeting outcomes
8.How to create and manage new deals, renewal orders
9.How to sync files to the CRM records
10.How to use Content on demand to support a sale
11.How to find Similar Opportunities
12.How to use the collaboration tools
13.How to create list views to see tasks to be completed, prioritised sets of data,
14.How to Create quotations, proposals
15.How to have documents electronically signed
16.How to manage forecasts
17.How to create and use reports and dashboards
18.How to use Mobile CRM
19.How the System could be improved.

by Mark Riley,BSc, PhD