About Mike Morris

CRM & Marketing Automation Strategist. Mike Morris is a 4X Salesforce certified consultant who joined Sercante in 2019. He has extensive marketing and reporting experience from previous roles leading internal marketing departments and collaborating with large sales organization. Free time activities include staying active by running, biking and getting outside as much as possible.

8 Tips for Passing the Marketing Cloud Administrator Exam

Passing the Salesforce Marketing Cloud Administrator exam demonstrates that you have the skills to configure and administer Marketing Cloud products using industry and product best practices. And having that distinction puts you in a position where employers will compete to welcome you to their team.

That’s because people with Marketing Cloud skills are among the most difficult to find and retain, according to research by 10K. Based on supply and demand, there are great opportunities for those who put in the time and energy to develop these skills.  

Use these tips to pass the Salesforce Marketing Cloud Administrator exam

There are a lot of Salesforce-approved exam prep resources available. So, we’re not going to dive too deeply into them (we’ll touch on them a bit in tip #3). 

This post will instead focus on eight tips that helped me pass the Marketing Cloud administrator exam — and I hope they will help you too.

Tip #1: Pregame with the Marketing Cloud Email Specialist Certification 

While there is not an official practice exam for the Salesforce Marketing Administrator exam, the Marketing Cloud Email Specialist Certification is a worthy stand-in. There’s a fair amount of crossover between the email specialist and administrator exams. Sure, the weights are different and the admin exam goes into more depth, but the overall concepts are similar.

There are different schools of thought as to the order in which the marketing cloud exams should be taken. But I firmly believe you should not take the Marketing Cloud Administrator exam until you’ve passed the specialist exam. It will ensure that you have a solid foundation in place and it will let you beef up your LinkedIn profile with another cool certification!

Tip #2: Setup is king in the Marketing Cloud admin exam

Setup is a whopping 38% percent of the Marketing Cloud Administrator exam. The next closest section is  Subscriber Data Management at 18%. This is basically make it or break it territory. Ace the Setup section, and you are well on your way to adding a new credential to your collection. 

With that said, I take a very methodical approach to exam preparation. I study the exam guide, make sure I understand the weight of each section, and then budget my study time accordingly. This may seem like common sense, but I see people stressing over sections with low weighting all too often.

Tip #3: Don’t trust the internet

We all know the policy about exam dumps and questions floating around on the internet. In short, don’t use them. If you have any questions about this topic, be sure to review the Salesforce Credential Code of Conduct.

Not only is the use of exam dumps and non-approved study materials in violation of the code of conduct, they are often wrong. The only thing worse than studying for hours is studying the wrong information for hours! 

Do yourself a favor (and the right thing) and stick to Salesforce-approved materials.

Here are Salesforce-approved resources I found to be helpful.

Tip #4: Focus on key Marketing Cloud terminology 

I’ve taken my share of Salesforce exams, and I would classify the Marketing Cloud Administrator Exam to be more straightforward than most. If you’ve taken any of the Salesforce Administrator certification exams, you’ve no doubt seen the scenario based questions that are about a paragraph long! 

The questions on the Marketing Cloud Administrator Exam are pretty simple and to the point. The point of confusion lies in the list of answers provided. Outside of a random term here and there, most are terms that you’ve seen in Marketing Cloud. This tends to lead to second guessing as you’ll be telling yourself “Yeh. I remember that one.”

 My advice is to create a list of key terms and know it like the back of your hand. These questions become VERY easy — if you know the terminology and can quickly eliminate the wrong answers.

Here’s a list of terms I made for myself. I compiled these from a variety of Salesforce-approved resources. This list is NOT inclusive of all the terms you’ll see on the exam. Use this as a starting point and add more terms based on your experience level with Marketing Cloud.

Term Definition
Access Log List of non-allowlisted IP addresses and login names logged into Marketing Cloud accounts for network.
Audit Trail Allows security admin users to view Marketing Cloud access and activity records.
Burst Sending Burst Sending allows you to send emails fast. The audience is locked down and the emails are built when the schedule send time is set. Use this feature for flash sales or emergency messaging.
Contact In Contact Builder, it is an individual added to any contact database. A contact is also any other individual to whom you sent a message via any channel using Marketing Cloud.
Contact ID A system defined, unique identifier representing a Contact.
Contact Key A user defined attribute that is used as a unique identifier for the contact model, and other models (Journey Builder) except Email Studio.
Content Detective Tool in Email Studio that will identify spam triggers in your email content. Scans the preheader, the subject line, the body copy for words, patterns, and phrases that it views as spam.
Delivery Profiles Specifies the delivery information for a message (Company, IP Address, Header and Footer).
Domain Allowlist Trust all email addresses within that domain to receive your data.
Export Email Allowlist Individual email addresses that can receive exports via email from your Marketing Cloud account.
Identity Verification Requires you to authenticate the browser or app used to access the application.
IP Allowlist Range of IP addresses who can access your account to prevent unauthorized logins.
Multi-factor Authentication Another layer of protection so users must provide two factors when logging in.
Primary Key A unique field on a data extension that identifies a specific and unique data point. Often this is the contact key, but it can be something unique to that data.
Reply Address Definition Configure reply-to info like email display name, reply subdomain, and email reply address.
Reply Rules How reply mail management identifies and responds to the replies that subscribers send.
Routing Address Email address that replies are sent to when the reply is not defined in the Reply Rules.
Safehouse Decrypt or encrypt files before import or extract without exposing these files to the Enhanced FTP directories. Only authenticated users can access the Safehouse, which resides on highly redundant, highly available central storage servers.
Send Classification Composed of Sender Profile, Delivery Profile, and CAN-SPAM classification
Sender Authentication Package (SAP) Purchased from Salesforce and includes a collection of products, including a private domain with link and image wrapping, a dedicated IP address, and reply mail management (RMM).
Sender Profile Specifies the From information for a send in a central location (from name).
SFTP A secure method for transferring data from one computer to another over the Internet.
Subscriber A person who opted in to receive communications from your organization.
Subscriber ID A system defined, unique identifier representing a Subscriber.
Subscriber Key A user defined text field that contains a value that uniquely identifies a subscriber. Shouldn’t contain email addresses.
Tokenized Sending Used to send contact data that is too sensitive to store in your Marketing Cloud account database. Instead of storing sensitive information in your Marketing Cloud account database, your account stores a single token per send attribute. Support must activate this feature.
Web Analytics Connector (WAC) Free feature that appends a ‘string’ to every Email Studio email link. Simply put, it adds data to the end of your links for tracking purposes. The string is typically used to add Google Analytics UTM Parameters, but it can really be used for anything you want.

Tip #5: The devil is in the details 

Pay attention to details when taking your exam, and be sure to read all options before selecting your answer. I noticed several questions on the exam that had several answers that were seemingly correct.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.

How would a Marketing Cloud Administrator add new users in EMEA to the correct business unit?

  1. Setup > Users > Edit Business Units
  2. Setup > Business Units > Manage Business Units
  3. Setup > Users > Manage Business Units

There are a couple things to note when looking at this question. The first is the navigation path. Can you add users to BUs under Business Units? Nope! This is where you would go to set up your business units. We can now cross answer B off the list.

The second thing to note is the action referenced in the answer. “Edit Business Units” and “Manage Business Units” both sound correct, but you have to choose one. This is where paying attention to details is really important. Inside Marketing Cloud, “Manage” is the action that’s used to add users to business units (and roles).  

So the answer to our relatively straightforward looking question is “C”. You would add users to the EMEA business unit by navigating to Setup > Users > Manage Business Units

Tip #6: Pay attention to product names  — new and old

Salesforce recently updated the names of several products, and Marketing Cloud was impacted (Salesforce Name Changes: Pardot & Marketing Cloud Get A Rebrand). When I took the Marketing Cloud Administrator exam, these changes had not yet been integrated. I’m sure this will be addressed quickly in the next release, but it’s worth mentioning as every question counts! Don’t be too surprised if you see something like this.

The Marketing team would like to be able to pick the next best action based on real-time interaction data. Which Marketing Cloud add-on best addresses this purpose?

  1. Journey Builder
  2. Interaction Studio
  3. Automation Studio
  4. None of the above

So where’s Personalization? We all know that the correct answer is Marketing Cloud Personalization, but it’s not included in the list. The first instinct would be to select answer D “None of the above,” but that would be incorrect. 

The correct answer is B “Interaction Studio.” This was the name of that add-on at the time the exam was written. Be sure to know the new and old names — just in case!

Tip #7: Activate those Einstein features 

Salesforce is really excited about the Einstein features in Marketing Cloud (as they should be). A lot of time and effort has gone into enabling marketers with AI, and you are going to be asked about these features.

To make sure that you understand the capabilities of Einstein, activate ALL the features available in your account. I guarantee that you’ll learn something you didn’t know! 

Keep in mind that data is not instantly available in your account after activation. Depending on the feature, it could take 24 to 72 hours.

Tip #8: Get hands-on practice! 

This exam focuses a lot on how to DO things in Marketing Cloud. If you are anything like me, the best way to learn is by doing. There are a lot of great Trailhead modules on Marketing Cloud, but no hand-on challenges. It’s really easy to read the content and answer a couple of questions to get your badge, but did you really learn anything?

My advice is to make those modules hands-on. Login to your Marketing Cloud account and follow along. You don’t need to save all your work in your account, but the act of navigating to the correct sections and clicking the buttons will reinforce your learning. Sure, it’s going to take you a lot longer to complete the modules, but it’s not a race!

As I said  in tip #4, the devil is in the details. You are going to need to know how to navigate Marketing Cloud to pass this exam. If you don’t know your way around (very well), save your $200 and don’t take the exam until you have more hands-on experience.

You can do it — now go pass the Marketing Cloud admin exam!

I would not rate the Marketing Cloud Administrator Exam as one of the toughest Salesforce exams that I’ve taken (that honor goes to the Salesforce Advanced Administrator exam). But it should not be taken lightly.  

You’ll have 105 minutes to take the exam, which I found to be very generous. Don’t rush and take the time to read the question and all the answers before making your selection. With adequate preparation and a good amount of hands-on experience, you’ll pass this exam.

If you don’t pass on your first try, don’t be discouraged. Look at it as a learning opportunity. While exam results don’t show results by individual questions, the section level scoring is a great way to see your strengths and areas for improvement.

If you have any specific questions about the exam or just want to talk Marketing Cloud, drop a note in the comments section or hit me up on LinkedIn.

Good luck — you got this!

Original article: 8 Tips for Passing the Marketing Cloud Administrator Exam

©2022 The Spot. All Rights Reserved.

The post 8 Tips for Passing the Marketing Cloud Administrator Exam appeared first on The Spot.

By |2022-06-15T19:52:33+00:00June 15th, 2022|Categories: Career Development, Community, Real Talk, revive|

How to Manage Salesforce Campaign Activation with a Simple Flow

Twice in the span of less than a week, two different clients had questions or issues related to Salesforce campaign activation. I had my fair share of questions and assumptions about that little checkbox when I was in a marketing role and it seems like I’m not the only one. 

With the help of a very simple Salesforce flow (that we’ll build in this post), we can automate the Salesforce campaign activation (and deactivation) process for Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (formerly Pardot), and let the marketing folks get back to marketing!

What does that “active” checkbox even do?

When creating a Salesforce campaign, we’ve all robotically checked that standard “Active” checkbox and never given it a second thought (because that’s what we were told to do). Well, for every good marketer who “checks the box,” there are plenty who don’t — and it does matter. 

Campaign activation implications in Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (Pardot) 

Just about all MCAE (Pardot) assets REQUIRE a campaign to be selected upon creation including: 

  • Custom redirects
  • Emails
  • Forms
  • Form handlers

When the Active box is checked, you’ll be able to see your campaign and correctly associate it with your MCAE (Pardot) asset. If it’s not checked, then you are out of luck!

Additionally, imports into MCAE (Pardot) also require a campaign and play by the same rules. And completion actions? You guessed it. Only active campaigns can be selected and used.

Campaign deactivation implications in Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (Pardot) 

Scrolling through long lists of campaigns in MCAE (Pardot) is not one of my favorite things. Deactivating campaigns helps by limiting visibility and shortening lists.

However, deactivating a campaign will NOT remove associations to assets that were made when the campaign was active.

If there’s an Add to CRM Campaign completion action set, it will continue to add members after the campaign has been deactivated. However, you will not be able to create new completion actions that reference the deactivated campaign.

I thought that box was automatically checked

I’ve been there too! Seems like a logical assumption. 

If you’re going to ask me for the campaign start date and end date, then why the hell don’t you put it to use! 

We’re going to do just that with a simple flow.

Enter Salesforce Flows

For MCAE (Pardot) Admins, think of Flow Builder as the Salesforce equivalent of Engagement Studio. With Flow Builder, just about anything in Salesforce can be automated using a graphical user interface and no code. 

For Salesforce Admins, you should be getting comfortable with flow as Salesforce is retiring Workflow Rules and Process Builder at the end of 2022.

Let’s build our Flow to automate Salesforce campaign activation

Prerequisite Requirements 

Before we start building, we need to ensure that we have all the necessary data to power the flow. Take a moment to look at your campaign page layout and make sure the following fields are present and required. 

  • Start Date (Make required)
  • End Date (Make required)

We recommend you build and test your flow in a Sandbox environment. After testing and validation, deploy to production.

Step 1: Create a new Salesforce Flow 

We will be using a Record-Triggered Flow for this use case. The flow will launch when a record is created, updated, or deleted.


Step 2: Configure start 

In this step, you’ll be selecting the object and configuring the trigger. We’ll be using the Campaign object in this example and we’ll be triggering the flow when a record is created. 

We won’t be adding any entry conditions, but you might want to based on how your organization is set up. For example, you could set the Flow to only trigger for marketing record types.


Step 3: Configure the immediate path

We’ll be using two paths in this flow. We’re going to address the first path in this step and we’ll tackle the second path later.

The first path will run immediately (hence the “Run Immediately”) label. All we need this path to do is check the active box once our campaign is created. 

To do this, we’ll be using the Update Records element. Add this by clicking the + sign under the Run Immediately label and selecting Update Records.

You’ll then want to add a descriptive label and set the field values. In this case, a good label is “Set Active to True.” 

The field that we’ll be updating is the IsActive field. Since this is a checkbox, we’ll be using the $GlobalConstant.True to “check the box.”

Step 4: Configure the second path

To add a second path to your flow, select the “Add Scheduled Paths” option. If you don’t see this, you’ll need to click on the “Start” trigger to open the editing section.

After adding the scheduled path, we’ll need to configure it. Below are the key elements:

  • Path Label – Name/description of the path
  • Time Source – The time element that will trigger the path
  • Offset Number – The length of the delay
  • Offset Option – Specify the measure of time (minutes, hours, or days) and if the path should activate before or after the Time Source

In this example, the scheduled path will run one day after the campaign end date. If you would prefer to have your campaigns visible for a longer period of time, you can increase the Offset Number.

After configuring our scheduled path, we’ll need to add another Update Records element. This will look very familiar from the Run Immediately path. The only difference is that we will be using the $GlobalConstant.False value to uncheck the Active box.


Step 5: Save, Activate and Test

Your flow should look like the image below at this point. 

If you are anything like me, you don’t want to sit around waiting days to see if your flow works as expected. To speed up your testing, simply update the setting in your scheduled path. 

You can set the Time Source to Campaign: Created Date, Offset Number to 5, and Offset Options to Minutes After. With this configuration, your campaign will be deactivated 5 minutes after it’s created.

You can test your flow by creating a campaign (be sure the flow has been saved and activated), verifying that the Active box has been checked, and then checking the campaign again in 5 minutes to confirm that the Active box has been unchecked.

Once your testing is complete, don’t forget to update your scheduled path options back to the original settings.

Step 6: Deploy to Production

Once your flow has been tested, deploy to production using a change set, and sit back and relax! 

Full Salesforce campaign management

The flow we built today was very basic and served a single purpose — to automate the activation of campaigns. However, it does not need to end there. 

This flow can be enhanced to automatically update campaigns to “Completed” when they end and to send reminder emails to the campaign owner if they fail to enter the Actual Cost in Campaign.

Automate your Salesforce campaigns with Flow 

Campaign management does not need to be manual. And it’s an essential piece when reporting on your efforts as a marketer. With the help of a simple Salesforce Flow, automation can be used to simplify the process and make things easier for your marketing team. 

If you have questions about the simple flow detailed in this post or would like to look under the hood of the full campaign management solution, drop us a note in the comments section or reach out to the team at Sercante.

Original article: How to Manage Salesforce Campaign Activation with a Simple Flow

©2022 The Spot. All Rights Reserved.

The post How to Manage Salesforce Campaign Activation with a Simple Flow appeared first on The Spot.

By |2022-04-20T17:31:05+00:00April 20th, 2022|Categories: Analytics & Reporting, Marketing Automations, Pro Tips, revive, Strategy|

What Successful Marketers Know About Salesforce Auto-Association

BY MIKE MORRIS

What you don’t know about auto-association could be completely ruining your campaign influence reports in Salesforce.

Let that sink in.

Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about this auto-association thing. 

I spent many years in marketing and, I have to be honest, the term “auto-association” was never uttered at my company. As a marketer, I was relying on our Salesforce Admin to ensure that Salesforce magically spit out the correct information on all my campaign influence reports. But were they accurate?

Auto-association is key to ensuring that your campaign influence reports are attributing opportunities to the campaigns that truly had influence. It does this by limiting the time that a campaign has influence and/or by applying auto-association rules.

Auto-Association for Campaign Influence Set Up

Let’s break this down a bit.

Campaign Influence Eligibility Limits

Setting up timeframe limits for Campaign Influence in Salesforce allows you to specify the maximum number of days that a campaign is considered to be influential. This is determined by comparing the date that a contact was first associated with the campaign and the date that the opportunity was created. The general rule of thumb is to use two-to-three times your sales cycle to set these limits.

Let’s see this in action.

If your Campaign Influence Time Frame is not defined, all campaigns will be included in your campaign influence reports. Yep – All campaigns.  If a contact was associated with a campaign 5 years ago, another last week, and then had an opportunity created, the credit would be equally divided between both campaigns. It seems hardly fair that the old campaign is receiving equal credit for the efforts of your hard-working, new campaign!

If your settings look like the image below, in other words, and your Campaign Influence Time Frame is blank, then this is exactly what’s happening.

Let’s look at that same scenario – with one small change.

If your Campaign Influence Time Frame is set to 60 days, only campaigns with opportunities created within this 60-day window will be included in your campaign influence reports. If a contact was associated with a campaign 5 years ago, another last week, and then had an opportunity created, the last campaign would receive 100% of the credit. The old campaign would not receive any credit because the time between campaign association and opportunity creation is greater than the 60 day limit. Now that’s more like it!

Here’s an example of how a 60 day campaign influence time frame looks in Salesforce setup.

Now that we’ve covered Campaign Influence Time Frame, you may be wondering, what’s the deal with auto-association rules?

Glad you asked!

Auto-Association Rules

Setting auto-association rules in Salesforce allows you to apply criteria to limit campaigns that are considered to be influential. They are not required, but are highly recommended.

Consider this scenario.

You have an Engagement Studio Program set up in Pardot with the action to add all prospects to your “Follow-up” Salesforce campaign with the campaign member status of Sent and another action to update the status to Clicked (if an email was clicked). One of the members of this campaign also attended a webinar three weeks ago and is also included in your “Webinars” campaign with a campaign member status of attended. How would you apply campaign influence if a new opportunity was created and…

  • A prospect did not click any of the emails in the Engagement Studio Program
  • Versus a prospect who clicked an email included in the Engagement Studio Program

In my eyes, the act of being sent an email should have zero impact on campaign influence and should not be considered in your influence reports. However, the story changes if that email is clicked. This is where auto-association rules come into play.

The rule below ensures that only the Click campaign member status is included in your campaign influence association reports and excludes the Sent status. Pretty cool!

You can accomplish the same thing by creating a rule that looks for Responded status equals True (or combining both with an OR statement).

Keep in mind, this rule is looking at the Responded designation only, not the Member Status. If you go this route, you need to ensure that all your campaigns have Responded selected for at least one member status. If you don’t, that campaign will not be included in your campaign influence reports.

Use Salesforce Know-How to Step Up Your Marketing

Auto-association is just one aspect of Salesforce that can seriously impact marketing. As Salesforce and Pardot continue to move closer to a single platform, Salesforce knowledge is becoming a requirement for successful digital marketers and Pardot Admins.

Sound intimidating? Fear not – we’ve got you covered with our new Salesforce Basics for Pardot Admins training course. Check it out to learn more tips to improve your digital marketing effectiveness by working smarter in Salesforce.

The post What Successful Marketers Know About Salesforce Auto-Association appeared first on The Spot For Pardot.

By |2020-07-22T22:54:59+00:00July 15th, 2020|Categories: Uncategorized|

Scoring Categories and HML: The Peanut Butter and Chocolate Moment

BY MIKE MORRIS

Let’s start by saying that if you’re not using scoring categories in Pardot, you probably should be. If you offer more than one solution or service or have multiple topics represented on your website, scoring categories are for you. These little gems allow you to break down your total score and identify your prospects’ specific areas of interest. This is huge when it comes to tailoring your marketing messaging and directing your sales team’s efforts.

To get started with scoring categories, check out Erin Duncan’s post Pardot Scoring Category Basics: What, How & Why.

Another super cool feature in Pardot that you may not be utilizing is Handlebars Merge Language (HML). HML, rolled out in August 2019, expands the personalization capabilities of Pardot well beyond Pardot Merge Language (PML) and introduces the ability to use conditional statements (among other capabilities).

To learn more about HML, check out Skyler Nakashima’s post How Pardot’s New Handlebars Merge Language Improves Personalization.

Now for the peanut butter and chocolate moment!

Using Scoring Categories + HML to Power Dynamic Content

A client recently asked me if we could use the scoring category data we built into her account as criteria for her dynamic content. While there are lots of options that you can use to inform the variation of dynamic content out of the box, including score, scoring categories is not one of them. However, with a bit of ingenuity and HML, scoring categories can be used to fuel dynamic content. Here’s how.

The Process

Step 1 – Create custom prospect fields (checkbox) in Pardot that align to your scoring categories. I also like to use a standardized naming convention so the fields are 1) grouped together and 2) easy to identify.

Step 2 – Create automation rules to update the checkbox value to “True” based on the achievement of a defined category score. You’ll want to set the score to a value that is high enough to show significant interest in the topic. This number will vary based on your scoring model.

Step 3 – Create dynamic content for each of your topics. When doing this, you’ll also need to consider how you want the content to display in your message. If a prospect has an interest in multiple topics, do you want to display a block of dynamic content for each in the email or would you prefer to only show one? In this example, we are going to choose to prioritize our topics as 1) Dogs 2) Cats and 3) Birds and display only one piece of content in the body of the email. 

Note: The default content for Dogs is blank. This was done intentionally and is necessary to ensure the proper functionality of the “else” HML statements. Only add default content into the final topic in your list of priorities – Birds in our example (see below).

Step 4 – Now the HML magic! The code below is essentially a conditional statement based on the dynamic content that we previously created.

{{#if dynamic_content_1789}} {{{dynamic_content_1789}}}
{{else}}{{#if dynamic_content_1791}} {{{dynamic_content_1791}}}
{{else}}{{{dynamic_content_1793}}}{{/if}}{{/if}}

It helps to have a decoder ring to see exactly what’s going on here. In this example, the dynamic content aligns to the topics as follows:

  1. Dogs – {{{dynamic_content_1789}}}
  2. Cats – {{{dynamic_content_1791}}}
  3. Birds – {{{dynamic_content_1793}}}

Based on this, the plain English behind our statement is:

  1. If Dogs is Yes, show Dogs 
  2. else if Cats is Yes, show Cats 
  3. else if Birds is Yes, show Birds 
  4. else If Birds is No, show Birds default content

Take Your Dynamic Content to the Next Level with Scoring Categories & HML

Scoring categories and HML are very powerful features in Pardot. While both add tremendous value independently, they can be combined to open up even more possibilities. If you need a hand getting started with scoring categories, HML or have questions about how these features can work together, drop us a note or add your questions below in the comments. 

By |2020-05-14T11:18:13+00:00May 14th, 2020|Categories: Experiments|

5 Fab Functions of Salesforce Formulas

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “formula”? If you are anything like my 13-year old daughter, the quadratic formula and other dreaded mathematical functions come to mind. While formulas in Salesforce can be used to do calculations, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Below are five cool things that you can do with formulas.

Keep Data Clean

Is poor data derailing your marketing efforts and making your reporting impossible?

Hey – I’ve been there and feel your pain. Fortunately, formulas in validation rules can save the day!

Here’s a good example. Let’s say that you are in charge of marketing a product to individuals in the USA and Canada and that state or province is needed for your marketing segmentation. Your organization also does some business in other parts of the world, so state is not required when entering leads into Salesforce. Formulas to the rescue!

The simple formula below checks the country of leads upon entry and will not let the record be saved if the country is USA or Canada and the state field is blank.

Nothing too fancy, but effective. When users try to save the record with missing data, they are greeted with a friendly reminder at the top of the page.

Build Picklist Dependencies

One of my favorite Pardot form functions is dependent fields. This feature allows you to shorten forms and only show select fields based on the response to a dependent field. You can build very similar dependencies in Salesforce using formulas.

Let’s put our marketing hat back on for a moment and consider the situation below. As the marketing leader of an organization, you know the personas of your customers quite well and have determined that job function is one of the most critical factors in identifying future buyers. Based on customer analysis, you have created picklists in Salesforce to capture this information in a consistent manner when leads are entered (nice job!). You also had the foresight to include “other” as an option in your picklist to capture titles that may not be in your list or may be associated with future product releases. 

After creating “Job Function” as a required field (with picklist values) and creating a non-required “Other Job Function” field, the formula below can be added as a validation rule. This rule will require that the “Other Job Function” field be completed prior to records being saved if the “Other” option is selected in in the picklist.

Here’s the error message that users will see if “Other” is selected and the “Other Job Title” field is not populated.

Add Images

If your Salesforce org is any like the ones that I work in, there is a lot of data on your lead and contact page layouts. While the data is needed and serves a purpose, finding key information can often be a challenge. We’ve all heard the expression “a picture is with a thousand words” – you can leverage this concept by adding images with formulas. 

The example below is used to apply visual indicators based on lead rating. If the lead is Hot, five stars are displayed. If the lead is Cold, only one star is displayed.

Simplify Complexity

One of our core values at Secante is to “simplify complexity” and formulas can help us do that too. Sometimes we don’t need all the data presented on a page layout. The information needed can be conveyed through the humble checkbox.

Let’s say that your organization has a list of target accounts that are treated differently than other accounts. Asking the sales team to memorize a list of accounts that may be in a state of perpetual change, is just not scalable. However, the addition of a simple checkbox on the contact page layout to serve a visual indicator would easily address the need.


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.png

Simplify Other Formulas

We’ve started off with some pretty simple formulas, but the reality is that formulas in the real world tend to get much more complex. In this example from the Advanced Admin Trail, a text formula named Case_Category _ _c was created to color code cases based on the length of time that they have been open.


While technically accurate, this formula has a lot of redundant components. Sticking with the “simplify complexity” theme that we mentioned earlier, a helper formula can be used to make this formula a bit more efficient.

In this case, the logic for calculating the case’s age can be defined in another formula called Case_Age_In_Days_ _c. We can then insert this formula field into our original formula and eliminate the need to do the age calculations within the “IF” statements. The result is a streamlined formula that’s much easier to read and understand.

Learn More

Check out these great resources from Salesforce to build and expand your formula skills.

By |2020-05-02T17:45:03+00:00May 2nd, 2020|Categories: CRM, Salesforce, Uncategorized|