Salesforce: Basic Terms - dummies

By Tom Wong, Liz Kao, Matt Kaufman

If an application isn’t easy to use, you won’t use it. Period. Salesforce succeeds not only because it offers a universe of integrated tools but also because users can pick it up within minutes. You navigate it much the same way you do other websites: by pointing and clicking over text links and buttons.

Still, you have so many ways to navigate Salesforce that it makes sense to lay down the obvious (and not-so-obvious) best practices for getting around the application.

Even if you’re familiar with Salesforce, you might want to scan this list of terms that are used repeatedly.

Before you delve into the mechanics of navigating Salesforce, familiarize yourself with these basic terms:

  • Salesforce: When you use the term Salesforce, you mean the secure website that your users log in to that contains your customer information. Salesforce.com, Inc, offers a family of products and has over 100,000 clients who use its service, but each company’s secure website is separate from the other websites and might look different to suit that company’s unique needs.

    When you use the terms Sales Cloud or Service Cloud, those are parts of Salesforce specifically meant for use by sales and marketing, or by a support organization.

  • Home tab: This is the main page that appears when you log in to Salesforce or click the Home tab.

  • Tabs: Clickable links appear at the top of any Salesforce page. When selected, a link is highlighted and looks like a tab, and so they’re called tabs. Each tab represents a major module in which your company needs to know some information. By clicking a tab, you go to a tab-specific home page. For example, if you click the Accounts tab, the Accounts home page appears.

  • Apps: Apps are tabs that have been grouped together and given a name, providing you with the convenience of seeing only those tabs most relevant to you.

  • Tab home pages: These are the pages where you go to find, organize, and manage specific information related to a particular tab. For example, to access your opportunity records, you could go to the Opportunities home page.

  • Record: This is made up of a bunch of fields that hold information to describe a specific item. For example, a contact record typically contains fields pertinent to a person, including name, title, phone number, and e-mail address. A record is displayed on a detail page.

  • Detail page: This web page shows both the saved record and a set of related lists pertinent to the record.

    You can often use the terms record and detail page interchangeably. From a detail page, you can perform and track a variety of tasks related to the specific record. For example, if you have and are looking at an Account detail page for Cisco, you see fields about the company and lists of other records related to Cisco.

  • Related lists: These lists comprise other records linked to the record that you’re looking at. For example, the Account detail page for Acme might display related lists of contacts, opportunities, activities, and so on associated with that company.

  • Sidebar: Located on the left margin of a Salesforce page, the sidebar displays messages and alerts, custom links, recent items, and a drop-down list that you can use to create new records.