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Salesforce Workflow Automation – Quick Guide

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Considering what Salesforce enables users to achieve, it should be no surprise that when we talk about workflows, there is a large topic covered within it. This Salesforce workflow automation guide will compress all that you need to know into an easy to follow guide to achieve faster sales processes.

First of all, the simplest understanding of this process is that it involves speeding up a manual and resource-intensive procedure to create an efficient system that pleases the customer as well as the sales team.

You’re probably reading this because you have many questions about the process. Hopefully, by the end of the article, you will have important questions answered and you can implement it with ease.

Definition of Salesforce Workflow

Workflow has been a process employed in several cases and it involves structuring the way actions are executed. One action is used as a supplement to another action within the Salesforce process. When you set these actions up the right way, you can enjoy the benefits of Salesforce workflow automation.

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Workflow Rules

Workflow rules are a set of actions placed in a particular order by a Salesforce user to enable automated actions. These actions occur based on certain conditions. The actions can be set to occur immediately after a particular condition is met or after some time. For example, a particular email can be sent out to a client after they visit a certain page on a user’s website.

What can be Automated Using Workflow Guidelines?

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You need to understand that there is a simple principle around which workflow automation will work within the CRM. It monitors records that are created and updated and based on those actions, decides which corresponding action should be taken. Record taking, therefore, becomes an important part of the sales process, since it will determine how the automation process works. Some functions that can be automated include:

Salesforce Automation Methods

It can get confusing trying to figure out which automation would be the best choice.

Here’s a guide to help you:

If you want something basic and easy to use, then Workflow would be the best choice for automation. It simply depends on “if this, then that” statements. This is effective for automation that will respond to updated records. For example, if the record is changed, then a task will be set up for a member of the sales team.

Process Builder: Process Builder is quite similar to workflow, it is in fact an upgrade that works with the same principle of ‘if this, then that.’ If your team is already used to Workflow, there may be no reason to change. However, if you have just started using Salesforce, then you will have a version that restricts you to Process Builder.

It is ideal for updating records and scheduling tasks. You can also use it for automated messages and notifications among other communications. Salesforce constantly updates this tool, so you may find new features added.

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Apex: If you have no problem with code, then here is an automation method to try. Apex is code-based and powerful. You need a qualified developer who understands Salesforce to effectively implement it. This is usually left for people with extensive training and certification.

Apex however can be used to distribute records, delete, generate templates for email, updating various records as well as manage user activity.

Flow: If you want something less complex than Apex but a step higher than Builder, then go with Flow. It handles automation functions that utilize various criteria. It also has some capabilities that Apex has like deleting information from the CRM. You can also use it to setup confirmation screens within Salesforce.

Although you do not have to use code, Flow will challenge you to have the skills of a programmer. It is probably best to let professionals handle it and a user will need to have admin-level knowledge.

Flow is appropriate if you want to achieve automation in user interactions which you won't be able to achieve with Builder.

Robotic Process: You can take Salesforce automation to a whole new level using this method. This is effective for organizations that want to reduce the amount of human involvement in the CRM process. With RPA, you can trust the software to extract information from an email, process it and either distribute a task based on the information or enter the necessary information into a database.

Robotic Process can even take orders from customers and process payments. There is minimal need for human involvement in this process and it works impressively fast in comparison to Builder or Flow.

Benefits of Salesforce Workflow Automation

You may wonder if it is really worth it to change the way you are already handling your Salesforce process. Well, some users do not notice how much they are missing out on until they taste the benefits of automating the CRM process.

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There’s a lot that can be achieved and here are some cool benefits:

If your sales processes are highly labor driven, it is a good idea to choose an appropriate workflow automation method and get more done faster and better.

And, if you’re looking to automate documents in Salesforce, then try our no-hassle Hub free trial. Check out how document automation in Salesforce can be a game-changer for your sales team by engaging Windward Hub.

Tags Start & End

Tags Can Start & End Anywhere

Appendix B

.NET code for multi-page image output

Appendix A

Java code for multi-page image output

Data Bin Search

The Data Bin can now be searched to find a table, column, node or other piece of data without scrolling through it all.

Shrink to Fit

This will shrink the contents of a cell until it fits the defined cell size.

Time Zone Conversion

A new Windward macro has been added to help with converting dates and times from UTC time to the local time zone.

Image Output Format

New image output formats added.

PostScript Output Format

PostScript, commonly used with printers and printing companies, has been added as an additional output format.

New and Improved Datasets (Designer, Java Engine, .NET Engine)

Datasets have been re-written from scratch to be more powerful and easier to use.

Stored Procedure Wizard (Designer)

This works for all tag types that are connected to a SQL-based data source (Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, or DB2).

Boolean Conditional Wizard (Designer)

Before, conditional statements could only be written manually. Now they can also be built using our intuitive Wizard interface.

Reorganized Ribbon

The ribbon menus have been re-organized and consolidated to improve the report design workflow.

XPath 2.0 as Data Source

Adds various capabilities such as inequalities,descending sort, joins, and other functions.

SQL Select Debugger

SQL Select  Debugger

  • The look and feel was improved
  • Stored Procedure Wizard
  • Improved Exceptions pane

Tag Editor/Tag Selector

Added a Query tab as a field for typing or pasting in a select statement

  • Color Coding of Keywords
  • TypeAhead
  • Evaluate is now "Preview"

Rename a Datasource

All tags using that Data source will be automatically updated with that name.

Connecting to a Data Source

New single interface to replace 2 separate dialog boxes

Tag Tree

Displays of all the tags in the template, structured as they are placed in the template. This provides a simple & intuitive way to see the structure of your template. Also provides the capability to go to any tag and/or see the properties of any tag.

Added Javelin into the RESTful Engine

Support for Google Application Engine Integration

The ability to integrate the Windward Engine into Google’s cloud computing platform for developing and hosting web applications dubbed Google Applications Engine (GAE).

Additional Refinement for HTML Output

  • Improved indentation for ordered and unordered lists
  • Better handling of template header and footer images
  • Better handling for background images and colors

Redesigned PDF Output Support

This new  integration will allow for processing of complex scripts and bi-directional  text such as Arabic.  Your PDF output  will be much tighter and more closely match your template, and we’ll be able  to respond rapidly to PDF requests and fixes.

PowerPoint Support

Includes support for new ForEach and slide break handling, table header row repeat across slide breaks, and native Microsoft support for charts and images.

Tags are Color Coded

Tags are color coded in the template by type, making it easy to visually identify them.

Increased Performance

Version 13’s core code has been reworked and optimized to offer a reduced memory footprint, faster PDF generation and full documentation of supported features and limitations in the specifications for DOCX, XLSX and PPTX.

Advanced Image Properties

Documents can include advanced Word image properties such as shadows, borders, and styles.

Improved HTML Output

Windward has updated HTML output to reflect changing HTML standards.

Version 13 New Data Sources

Windward now works with a slew of new datasources: MongoDB, JSON, Cassandra, OData, Salesforce.com

Generate Code

The Generate Code tool in the designer allows you to open an existing template and, with a click of a button, automatically create a window with the code needed to run your current template with all data sources and variables. Simply copy this code and paste into your application's code in the appropriate place. You now have Windward integrated into your application.

You only need to do this once. You do not do this for each template. Instead, where it has explicit files for the template and output, change that to parameters you pass to this code. Same for the parameters passed to Windward. This example uses explicit values to show you what to substitute in where.

Pivot Tables Adjusted in Output

Any pivot tables in an XLSX template are carried over to the XLSX output. The ranges in the pivot ranges are adjusted to match the generated output. So your final XLSX will have pivot tables set as expected in the generated file.

This makes creating an XLSX workbook with pivot tables trivial.

Imported Template Can be Set to Match the Parent Styles

In an imported sub-template, if its properties for a style (ex. Normal) differ from the parent template's properties for the style, the use in the sub-template can be set to either use the properties in the sub-template, or the properties in the parent.

You set to retain when you don't want the child template's styling to change when imported. You set to use the parent when you want the styling of the imported template to match the styling in the parent.

Any explicit styling is always retained. This only impacts styling set by styles.

Tags can be Placed in Text Boxes

Tags can be placed in text boxes. Including linked text boxes. This gives you the ability to set the text in a textbox from your data.

Tags can be Placed in Shapes & Smart Art

Tags can be placed in shapes & smart art. This gives you the ability to set the text in a shape from your data.

HTML Output Supports Embedded Images

When generating HTML output, the engine can either write bitmaps as distinct files the generate HTML references, or it can embed the images in the HTML providing a single file for the output.

Footnotes & Endnotes can Have Tags

You can place tags in pretty much any part of a template, including in footnotes & endnotes.

Document Locking Supported in DOCX & XLSX

Any parts of a DOCX or XLSX (PowerPoint does not support this) file that are locked in the template, will be locked the same in the output.

Specify Font Substitution

If a font used in the template does not exist on the server generating a report, the font to substitute can be specified.
In addition, if a glyph to be rendered does not exist in the font specified, you can specify the replacement font. This can be set distinctly for European, Bi-Directional, and Far East fonts.

Process Multiple Datasources Simultaneously

If you need this - it's essential. And if you don't need it, it's irrelevant.

Windward enables you to build a document by applying multiple datasources to the template simultaneously. When Windward is merging the data into a template, it processes the template by handling each tag in order, and each tag pulls from different datasources. (As opposed to processing all of one datasource, then processing the next.)

This allows the select tag to use data from another datasource in its select. For example, if you are pulling customer information from one data source, you can then pull data from the sales datasource using the customer ID of the customer presently processing to pull the sales information for that customer. If you're interested in patching together your data from multiple datasources, read this post on our blog.

Genesis Abel

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Genesis Abel
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