Salesforce For Dummies
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If your company’s instance of Salesforce is just a few years old and the Lightning Experience is enabled by default, congratulations! You have a fairly young instance of Salesforce, and hopefully the guidance we’ve given you in this book can ensure your Salesforce customizations use best practices that will scale for the future.

Let’s say that you really want to take advantage of the more modern interface, and the various enhancements that are available only in the Lightning Experience, but you know that your hordes of users have learned how to navigate around your particular instance and the technical resources always seem to be playing catch-up with day-to-day emergencies, let alone helping you with the transition. What’s a Salesforce administrator to do?

Here, you find ten steps to help you successfully navigate a transition to the Lightning Experience. With this information, the journey should become less daunting as you get a better idea of what to anticipate, taken from lessons learned from those who have come before you.

Why the transition to Salesforce Lightning needs to happen now

Yes, the Lightning Experience looks so much cooler and more current than that Classic interface. Yes, all the demos and videos you see about new features always show the world through Lightning Experience lenses. But before you decide to venture on the journey to transition to this new UI, you should really understand what you get (and sometimes, don’t get) with the Lightning Experience.

In building out this new UI, Salesforce prioritized key user personas and use cases in a very intentional order. As the majority of its users are in Sales, they focused on transitioning core Sales Cloud features, and over the years have iterated on additional processes within Sales Cloud, while also rolling out the experience for Service Cloud users.

Make sure you understand both the new features you get with the Lightning Experience that don’t exist in the Classic world, and the ones that aren’t yet supported. You should keep checking as Salesforce has multiple releases a year that continue to narrow the gap between UIs.

The following are page names and related URLs in Salesforce’s own Help documentation that can summarize this for you. These change often so go here for the latest information:

Note the new Lighting-only features you think could benefit your company, and why. Then explain why this transition matters, now. This helps identify both the importance and urgency of getting this project on the roadmap.

Tie it to business outcomes: can it help your sales teams get to creating or closing more Opportunities, faster? Can it reduce a lot of time (and thus, money) and headache shouldered by your IT or Sales Operations team? Also note any missing features and try to categorize this by teams that might be impacted by this, and by how much.

That is, maybe Sales can benefit from Lightning, but the Marketing team working in Campaigns all day who also need to look at Opportunities might not have the full feature experience in the former area (for now).

Identify your executive sponsor

Proposing a transition to the Lighting Experience is a big deal. For some managers and reps, this initiative can cause concerns for a variety of reasons: People get set in their ways, they assume that it’s going to take a lot of their time, and they think there are more urgent business or technical matters to address first, and so on. When other top priorities at work begin creeping in, it’s easy for the importance of the Lightning transition to fall along the wayside.

Every initiative needs a champion to help drive the Lighting migration in your company. That person is there to rally support, break logjams, and ensure that your team has the resources to get things done. Identify who that person will be, and how they and their teams will most benefit from the Lightning Experience in such a way that they realize the urgency of the transition.

What are some of their current pain points that you think LEX can address? None of the cool LEX features will matter to your company until you can highlight the ones that help address business outcomes, and until you can spell out which groups will benefit (and ideally, by how much).

It’s a good idea to identify an executive sponsor once you’ve thought about who would benefit the most. Work with her to get buy-in, so that she can communicate what’s in it for the implementation team and set expectations for what’s needed from all participants. This will go a long way toward calming fears, gaining support and commitment, and nudging the team toward your north star when the team members are at an impasse.

Build your Salesforce lightning project team

The transition to the Lightning Experience is less about technology and more about people, human processes, and your business. In fancy business-speak, what was just described is “change management”.

For your company to get the most out of LEX and the journey to enable it, you need to develop a team made up of critical stakeholders, Salesforce experts, and a cross section of end-users. If your instance is used just by sales and marketing, that might mean that the team includes managers from marketing, sales operations, and IT, some respected sales reps, and hopefully a member of your executive team.

This team doesn’t have to be huge, nor should members expect to be involved in this project full-time. But you must have people who can speak for the business teams, and you must have the resources you need to get the job done. Get every stakeholder to understand the team’s objectives and to buy in from the first meeting.

Evaluate your current Salesforce customizations

Review each business process that is reflected in your Salesforce instance, and understand how it may change in the new UI. The “it” can be anything from the number of clicks, where something is clicked, where someone has to go to initiate and complete the process, and what back-end technical work needs to be done to get the same behavior (if at all).

If you’re not sure if you’ve identified all the groups that may be using Salesforce to track something, it’s best that you also check with your project team. Chances are someone may remember a team whose business process you weren’t familiar with. Add that to the list.

Once you have a high level list of key stakeholder groups and the business processes they perform in Salesforce, work with your technical team members to compare notes on functionality as they should also be understanding technical improvements and workarounds that may be needed for any potential modifications to custom code.

At this point, or in parallel, a Salesforce administrator should go into Salesforce (Classic) and run the Readiness Report from SetupàLightning Experience. This is an automatic report that is generated with specific analysis of your org’s customizations, and permissions given to your user profiles.

This is another key step in making the ambiguous daunting unknown of migrating to Lightning less intimidating and more tangible. Review this information with your technical team. If you have an old org, there may be a lot of unused (or, at least, unrecognized) customizations that come up.

Make a note of these are you try to reverse engineer what business process this customization supports, which business users it impacts (if any). Try to translate what some customizations do into business-speak and work with your stakeholders to see if anyone has any historical context. Make note of which processes are old and can be deprecated for sure (at least, from a business’s point of view), which ones no one knows about, and which ones are critical to keep.

The Lightning Experience readiness report also iterates regularly, so make sure to routinely run this to see if any enhancements have occurred that may change any part of your last assessment.

The Lightning Experience readiness report does its best to assess the majority of your org’s customizations and the impact of LEX on your user profiles.

Confirm business processes as a key element to your “state of our org” assessment. Understand the level of technical effort needed for each process to live in the new UI. By doing this, you gain further understanding to drive agreement on prioritization of which business processes to replicate and when to roll them out in Lightning (if at all).

Ideally you will know enough of Lighting features that you can assess if a new “standard in Lightning” feature can replace a custom less-efficient process in the current org; be sure to call out that as reducing the reliance on custom code (and internal teams that are already stretched thin). Ensure that you’re creating a plan that addresses existing or desired processes of managers and their teams.

Plan your change management strategy

Once you’ve fine-tuned your value proposition, spelled out the potential ROI that can be gained with the change, have an idea of which features will behave a certain way, confirmed the technical effort level needed, and taken inventory of the business groups that will be impacted, you need to solidify your change management strategy.

That’s a fancy way of saying that the more you can manage expectations, remind people of why they’re undergoing this, and ensure them that it’s all worth, the more you can plan for a successful transition.

To demonstrate to decision makers that you’ve really thought this out, make your objectives measurable by applying specific success metrics to an objective. (A success metric is a numerical goal that you want to achieve, ideally within a specified time frame.)

For example, it’s one thing to say that you want to reduce contract negotiation time, and it’s quite another to define that you want to reduce response time and mouse clicks by 20 percent as a result of the Lightning transition.

Salesforce has taken its immense set of learnings and community tips and provided change management templates and guidance so you don’t have to feel like you’re starting from step 0 without a lifeline. These templates will help you articulate the benefits and secure buy-in from various stakeholders to address the “why are we doing this?” and “why are we doing this now?” questions.

You can find more in-depth discussion about change management recommendations at Salesforce’s “Change Management for a Successful Transition to Lightning Experience” page.

Define your scope and prioritize initiatives for a successful Lightning migration

You can do a lot with Salesforce, and if you’re working with an older Salesforce instance, many customizations have probably happened to it; some will be complex, some will be simple-but-convoluted (why did they build so many workflows chained together?), and sometimes the odd process in Salesforce is just reflecting odd inefficiencies in your business process that no one has bothered to optimize because “that’s how we’ve always done it,” or “that’s the only way we could do it in Salesforce X years ago.”

As you evaluate these customizations, the more complex ones could increase the time to fully transition to the Lightning Experience, as more teams (often technical ones) have to get involved. As you assess the various business processes, prioritize initiatives and determine what’s in scope and out of scope for the initial implementation. Consider keeping the transition limited by focusing on the major priorities, but only if you can determine a fair and painless workaround for teams and processes not in the first phase.

Also evaluate which existing business processes could be dramatically improved and simplified in Lightning (whether that’s counted in mouse clicks, or transitions or notifications to different business teams).

This transition could be the kick in the pants that some teams need to improve previously inefficient processes (since, who wants to transition a known crappy process into a new world?). You’ll need to balance the ability to improve broken processes in the new UI, against the time it may take to get all the buy-in and do the standard transition work to make the behavior change.

Be prepared to propose potential new behavior to key stakeholders so they understand the benefits. Manage expectations as to the effort level needed for any retraining (you know that old adage about old dogs learning new tricks? You don’t have to be physically old to be established in your ways around how you work in Salesforce . . .)

Be ready to socialize this with key approvers who might be managers that may not be in the tactical weeds every day, so you can gain their support of there are behavioral issues where you need their help to unblock stubborn situations.

Confirm the Salesforce Lightning experience for your business

After you evaluate your company’s business processes, understand which ones are supported and not-yet supported in Salesforce, the effort level needed on the business and technical sides to make this transition, and what sort of rollout approach you’re going to take, you’re going to want to start prototyping the new world to ensure it can still be modeled to reflect your business.

There may be times where the location of a Lightning button may change, or the need for an existing button goes away due to standard functionality in Lightning. At this point you should be able to tell if there are any core business processes that “totally won’t work” in the new UI, “will work with retraining”, or “will work as before.”

However, it goes without saying that you’re probably new to the Lightning Experience too, or at least a transition, and may have some questions to confirm your assessment. Work closely with your Salesforce Customer Success Manager, and technical team to validate your findings, to ensure questions can be addressed sooner rather than later. If you still have questions, make sure to ask your peers on the community forums as well.

Customize Salesforce Lightning for user relevance

When designing Lightning records and layouts, keeping it simple isn’t always appropriate. Some businesses do have complex needs. Some may just have a lot of custom field buildup that they haven’t ever prioritized the time to clean up. In the old Classic UI, when a record got too long and bloated with a ton of fields, people would create page layouts to hide fields that no one used but no one wanted to spend the time to determine if they should be deleted or not.

Use this transition as yet another housekeeping milestone. If you could scrub your page layouts yet again, what additional fields would you hide? Which are the handful of fields in a record that all users swear by?

It’ll be helpful to know this as you build Lightning page layouts, as fields are surfaced in a new look and feel, and can be highlighted in new ways. When folks hover over a lookup field, is the information they’re seeing, sufficient? Use this as a time to make low-effort small adjustments to search result layouts too, to improve relevancy and adoption while people learn a new interface.

Regardless of UI adopted, it’s just good practice to focus your customization on relevancy to your users. Standardize information as often as possible, using picklists rather than free text fields, which will help with more accurate reporting. For fields that have to be text fields (such as the Opportunity Name), use this time to determine a simple standard naming convention.

As you accomplish major milestones (such as customization of different records or layouts), validate and socialize your work with a representative of your end-users. By doing this, you can make sure at key points that you’re building a solution that works for your internal customer, while also giving them an advance preview of the Lightning Experience, which should make the transition more tangible and less daunting.

Build a comprehensive training plan for Salesforce Lightning

As early as you can in the transition process, start building a training plan. (A change management plan is different in that training is a part of change management, but also encompasses a lot of other elements around socialization, alignment building, and expectation setting.)

Don’t assume that users will know what to do their first day in the Lightning Experience. Just because the look and feel looks more modern, user’s brains still have to undo (sometimes) years of learning how to navigate within Salesforce Classic.

Those that think they can just brute force learn this on their own will miss out on a lot of nuances and productivity improvements, even if they do learn a few small processes very well.

While Salesforce has a ton of online videos, documentation, and Trailhead self-paced learnings, you should still prepare training materials relevant enough to your customization. Take parts of the online materials and weave it into your own company’s custom training efforts. Make sure you preview materials — there may be some features you’re not implementing, and you may be asked why or why not.

Blend prerequisite classes, custom sales training, and reinforcement training in your plan. The key is to make sure that enough relevant training is provided so that people effectively and correctly know how to use Salesforce in the Lightning Experience on the day they transition, or feel they remember enough of the training to unblock themselves if they get stuck.

Your new customization may look awesome, but if a user feels helpless (or worse, stupid) in a new UI that they previously thought they were very proficient in, you will have a much harder adoption journey. If you don’t have the time or resources to deliver the training part, consider reaching out to Salesforce for help with some custom training made for your business.

Connect with peers during the Lightning migration

As you evaluate the transition to the Lightning Experience, and after your teams are up and running in it, you should constantly gather feedback and track how adoption is faring. Also, get out there and meet your peers — others who have rolled out Lightning and have advice and stories to share.

Through online community discussion boards, local user group meetings, and Dreamforce (Salesforce’s annual user conference), you have several channels where you can ask questions, seek guidance, and share information that can ensure a smooth transition to the Lightning Experience.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Liz Kao has been a member of the Professional Services team as well as an independent Salesforce consultant. She has implemented CRM solutions for companies both large and small.

Jon Paz is a Salesforce consultant and former editor. He has delivered world-class solutions to an assortment of perplexing business challenges for his enterprise clients.

Liz Kao has been a member of the Professional Services team as well as an independent Salesforce consultant. She has implemented CRM solutions for companies both large and small.

Jon Paz is a Salesforce consultant and former editor. He has delivered world-class solutions to an assortment of perplexing business challenges for his enterprise clients.

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