Monthly Archives: August 2015

Considerations When Adding A New Field



The Sales division just asked for one new field.  Before you go off to your sandbox to get started, you have some questions to ask.

1) What is the Data Type, Name, Description, & Help Text? 

  • After you know the name and purpose of this field, search the object for existing fields that may already serve the same purpose, but perhaps worded differently
  • Depending on data type and purpose, it might need to be unique, external, or encrypted


2) Is this data already available somewhere else, like the parent record?

  • If yes, why is the same data also needed on this object?   (You should mind object limits)
  • If determined a separate field is indeed needed, would a user ever need to edit it?
    • If yes, create the field
    • If no, create a formula field to display value from parent record (default read only)


3) Who Can Access It?  Who Can Edit It?

  • Don’t expect a list of profile names, you may have to figure that out on your own.
  • Confirm user list with the requestor.  What if a profile contains users who should not see/edit this field?


4) Should this field be required?

  • If so, for all records? Or just on certain page layouts?


5) Is it required for certain conditions?  

  • If yes, you’ll need a validation rule.


6) Should it have a certain format?  Or prevent certain words or characters? 

  • If yes, you’ll need a validation rule


7) Which Page Layouts should it be added to?  And where?

  • Same as profiles, don’t expect your end users to know page layout names, but they should know record types.  You can then find the page layout name by viewing Page Layout Assignments.


8) Are you going to report on this field? 

  • If so, it will need to be added to the custom report types that are in use by the requestor & team.  Otherwise expect a frustrated requestor wondering why they can’t report on their new field.

A Design Decision: Case or Custom Object?

My Top 5 Favorite Lightning UI Features

Lightning Logo Top 5


5) Drag & Drop Homepage Components!

The homepage is fully drag and drop customizable, allowing a homepage designed with components most relevant to what your users are doing.



4) List Views!

If you’re a Salesforce Admin in a large org, you know List Views can be a huge pain, especially when you have your own list views. Now you can search & sort. But wait, there’s  more!   Embedded analytic charts next to each List View.  Whoa.

List views



3) Assistant!

Being able to see everything across multiple objects in one place is going to be a big win for my users. And what else?  The Assistant will alert users of a lapse in account activity.  Look at the bottom below, it shows an Opportunity that had no activity for 30 days. Sweeeeet.



2) Drag & Drop Opportunities! 

This allows the user to see a view of every Opportunity they own, each under Stage headers. Need to move a few to another stage? Drag and drop em.


1) Reports & Dashboards!

If you’ve seen Wave, you got a preview of the future. Were you hoping for a four column dashboard? How about a NO column dashboard! You put the new beautifully designed components where you want WITH the ability to resize them.

Report Builder was also improved, with more interactive features for the end user, including the same beautiful dashboard components available right on the report.




Tips For Acing Your Salesforce Certification Exams



Last Update: January 2016

I’ve taken 6 Salesforce Exams (passed 4 & failed 2), so I’d like to share exam tips & strategy that work well for me.  Everyone learns differently though, so I encourage you to do some research and find what works best for you.


Scheduling The Exam

  • By scheduling the exam, you’re committing yourself.  This is important.
  • Give yourself about 6 weeks to study.
    • I prefer taking the exam on Fridays around 10am.  This allows me to ease into my day and review my notes I start the test.
    • Why Friday?  Whether you Pass or Fail, it’s the weekend baby!
  •  You should be doing Admin, Developer, Adv Admin, and Sales Cloud consultant as close together as possible, as they have a lot of overlapping information.  I did Developer, Adv Admin, and Sales Consultant in only 9 weeks.
  • I recommend taking the exams in this order:1. Administrator
    2. Platform App Builder (formerly Developer)
    3. Advanced Administrator
    4. Sales Cloud Consultant
    5. Service Cloud Consultant


What’s on the test?

Study material

A great thing about Salesforce is that there’s a ton of info available.  For exam prep, I’ve been sticking to and guides.

  •  Each topic usually has related articles for considerations and limitations.

  • Salesforce Guides

  • Trailhead:  Trailhead is awesome because while it provides great info to help with the “knowing” part, it also walks you through the “doing” part.


Taking Notes & Studying

You need to commit to exam prep & study time. I usually block out 30-60 mins during my workday, plus time at home in the evenings.

  • I retain information better when writing notes.  For each feature/topic, I focus on:

         1. What is it?  What does it do?  What are the benefits?
         2. Considerations
         3. Limitations

  • After feeling pretty confident that I’ve taken notes on all the topics the test will cover, I start studying them everyday.   I’m not big on flash cards, for me just reading my notes has been working.
    • I’ve read that studying in different places helps you retain the information better, so I try to mix it up.  I can recall some questions on an exam where I’ll actually remember the room I was in when I studied that topic.   I guess it works.
  • When I start feeling confident that I know my notes, it’s time to test myself.
    • I will set out a notebook and pen, then find the flash cards on Cram and practice tests on ProProfs
      • Here’s the key, I’m not really paying attention to the answers.  What I care about are the questions.   If I can’t answer confidently, or more importantly, I don’t even recognize the topic,  I’m writing them down on a list.
      • Once complete, I go back to the start and research those items and retake notes.


Exam Day

  • I like to go into a test rested and not feeling stressed or rushed.

  • I give myself about an hour to review my notes before heading to the testing facility.


Taking The Test

  • Step 1:  scratch paper
    • I write down 1-60, with 2 columns.
    • For each question, I indicate my confidence level. Either a “ √   for 100% knew it or a ”   for a need to review later.
    • After the first pass, I add up all my checkmarks.  If I have more than 43, I’m doing pretty good. If less, then I need to really think hard on the questions I marked for further review.
  • Your 90 minutes can go faster than  you think, try not to spend too much time on questions that stump you.  Just mark those as review later and come back to them at the end.  Sometimes another question later in the test can actually help you when reviewing at the end.


Before You Hit Submit

Relax, take a deep breath, and remember that whatever the result is, you gave it your best.  Failing only means that you have to study a little more and retake it.  Like I said above, I’ve failed twice, and while frustrating, it’s not so bad.  


I Failed!  Now what?

  • If you fail the exam, immediately write down all the topics you can remember that stumped you, as you will not be allowed to take any scratch paper with you from the testing facility.
  • You should book the retake in a week or two, do not put it off much longer than that.

I Passed! Now what?

  • Reward yourself!   This is a big accomplishment that you worked hard for.

  • I recommend booking the next exam immediately.

  • Take a week off and then get back to studying for the next one. 


Looks like Brent Rambo just passed his exam. Great job, Brent.




Savvy Salesforce Admins Know Where To Search When Stumped

Internet Kid

I’m 4x certified, but not a day goes by that I’m not searching for a little help. Your ability to find the answer when you don’t know can make a huge difference in your success as a Salesforce Admin.

I’ve listed these in order by the path I would usually take to find an answer.  All headings are hyperlinked.



  • This is my first stop, as a search will almost always lead me to one of the other sources listed below.
  • Tip: Use the word “Salesforce” in your search. Ex: “Salesforce Problem/Question/Feature”

  • This was pointed out to me after I published this post. I just tried it out and highly recommend, definitely an awesome search engine for all things Salesforce.

  • This is where you can find a variety of great content for every feature Salesforce has to offer.
  • My favorite part is the list of related topics at the bottom of every article.  “I just came in for an overview of this feature, but what are these considerations & limits?”



  • I use Twitter specifically for Salesforce (@RyanLorenzen) and there are thousands of other Salesforce Admins that do too.  So follow us.  We’ll follow you back and when you tweet a question, you’ll get an answer.  My Twitter feed is a constant stream of awesome Salesforce information. 


Success Community: Answers

  • There are tons of really smart people who love answering the questions posted here.  


Success Community: Groups

  •  Got questions? Someone in a user group probably has the answer.  Find one here
  • Bring questions your local user group meeting


Salesforce Stack Exchange

  • Salesforce Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for Salesforce administrators, implementation experts, developers and anybody in-between. It’s 100% free, no registration required.

  • If you don’t know Reddit already, I feel a little bad for introducing you…it’s addicting. Reddit is used for a lot of things, and Salesforce is one of them. Post a question, start a discussion, comment, etc…


Salesforce Tip Sheets & Implementation Guides 

  • Some of these guides are huge, so if you use ctrl + F, you can usually find you topic pretty quickly.


Salesforce Blogs


  • The next time you’re on YouTube watching cat videos, you should check out the Salesforce channel.   Everything from Product Demos to Dreamforce sessions are there.  There are a ton of user uploaded videos as well.
  • YouTube is usually where I find my answer when it involves an AppExchange App.


  • There is absolutely no better place to get answers to your questions than Dreamforce. I try to write down as many as I can before I head out, because I know they’re all getting answered.


  • I have to mention Trailhead here.  While it’s not an optimal source for finding answers, it’s a top notch tool for learning about a process end to end.



“What The Heck Does This Error Mean?” Simple Explanations of Common Errors

Apex Error

If you know how to troubleshoot a few common Apex errors, you can resolve issues faster.  Technical Architects and Developers will love you for not asking them as much.

Furthermore, If you can teach your users what some of the Apex and other common errors mean, they might be able to resolve something on their own without coming to you.  

Here are some phrases to look for.

 “Attempt to de-reference a null object”

  • Most often, this means that a record involved in the process is missing a key piece of data referenced in the code.

  • It could also mean the user who triggered this process doesn’t have access to a field, object, or record type.



  • There is a validation rule preventing the record from being updated.


“System.LimitException: Too many query rows: 50001

  • You get this error when when Apex Code tries to query more than 50,000 records, which is the Salesforce limit for Apex.
  • Solution:  Try to use more filters in the search. A code update may also be needed


Other “Exceptions”


“Insufficient Privileges”  

  • The user doesn’t have access to edit or view a record.
  • Could also happen due to a lack of user permissions


“Insufficient access rights”  -or-  “Invalid access rights on cross reference ID”

  • Basically, this is the Data Loader version of Insufficient Privileges.


“ID value of incorrect record type”

  • Another Data Loader error, caused by a funky ID on your source file.
    • Check your ID’s, are they valid?
    • Could also be that you mapped a text column to the Salesforce ID column.


“Your account has been disabled”  (The dumbest error)

  • It happens on Approval Processes and has nothing to do with the user who received the error, but they’ll think it does and come to you quite concerned.

  • What it actually means is that one (or more) of the steps on an Approval Process contains an inactive user on the approver list.


Did I leave any out? Any other tips for troubleshooting errors?  Comment below.

Custom Button Breakdown


Did you know…

  • Custom Buttons that pass data via URL (aka URL Hacking) are ‘frowned upon’ by Salesforce and not supported?
  • At any time, a variety of changes made by could BREAK these buttons?

When this happens, you’ll need to be able to understand what your buttons are doing,  as you’ll need to create the functionality another way without disrupting the business.

It’s time for a Custom Button breakdown.  Here is an example of a button on a Case that creates an Opportunity.

/500/e?RecordType=012800000003iXA&retURL=%2F500%3Ffcf%3D00B80000008A6pP &CF00N80000003Suly={!Opportunity.Name}&CF00N80000003Suly_lkid={!Opportunity.Id}&cas4={!Opportunity.Account}&00N30000002AJuy{!Opportunity.Customer_Account_ID__c}&00N80000004Jmha={!Opportunity.Product_Name__c} &00N800000050WMq={!Opportunity.Some_Picklist__c}&00N800000050VAI={!Opportunity.Some_Field__c}

Do you look at this and just see a jumble of code?  There was a time when I did too, but it’s actually super easy.  Let’s first break this out into lines.  If you’re lucky, your buttons already appear this way.


Now I’ll explain each line.


  • ‘500’ is the Salesforce ID of the Case Object 
  • e means Edit Mode.  
  •  Translation: “Open a Case in edit mode’



  • 012800000003iX is the Case Record Type ID. 
  • Translation: “For this new Case, use this record type”



  • This line is just directing the URL where to go if the user cancels or needs to go back to the record they were on.



  • CF stands for Custom Field
  • CF00N80000003Suly is the field ID of your Opportunity lookup field on the Case object
  • _lkid   –  means “lookup ID”
  • {!Opportunity.Name} & {!Opportunity.Id}   These are the fields on the Opportunity the data is coming from, same as email templates. 
  • Translation: “The Opportunity lookup field on the new Case will be this  Opportunity”





  • The rest are easy, just more custom field ID’s for the Case Object and the source field from the Opportunity.  Remember the format:  &Case Custom Field ID = {!Opportunity Field value}


There could be minor variations of these URL Custom buttons, but if you understand this much, you’ll be all set.   So now what are you supposed to do?  It’s time to convert these buttons to Javascript (I think they’ll be OK) or Actions my friend!

A Better Study Guide For The Advanced Admin (ADM-211) Exam


I’ve taken the Advanced Admin study guide from Salesforce and made it into a true study guide by listing the topics by test weight and providing links to material to study.  Last Update: Winter ’16 (current)

 I highly recommend Salesforce Trailhead as part of your exam preparation!


My Tips For Acing Salesforce Certification Exams
A Better Study Guide For The Admin (ADM-201) Exam



Security & Access  20%

1) Describe the capabilities of territory management and the implications to the sharing model

2) Given a scenario, determine the implications to record and field data access

3) Compare and contrast the capabilities of custom profiles, permission sets, and delegated administration


Process Automation  13%

1) Given a scenario, troubleshoot an approval process

2) Given a complex scenario, determine the solution using a combination of automation tools to solve a business problem


Sales Cloud  10%

1) Explain how to customize and maintain products, price books, schedules, and quotes

2) Describe the capabilities of Customizable and Collaborative Forecasting


 Service Cloud  10%

1) Explain how to create and maintain Salesforce Knowledge

2) Explain how to create and maintain service entitlements and entitlement processes

3) Describe the features of Salesforce which enable interaction between support agents and customers

Change Management  10%

1) Describe the options available to move metadata between environments

2) Describe the capabilities and best practices for using change sets to move metadata between environments

Reports & Dashboards  10%

Given a scenario, determine the appropriate analytic tools to meet complex reporting requirements

Data Management  10%

Tools & Best Practices to improve & enrich data quality

Extending Custom Objects & Applications  8%

Describe the appropriate use of relationship types when building custom objects


Auditing & Monitoring  6%

Given a scenario, determine the appropriate tools for monitoring and troubleshooting system activity


Content Management  3%

Explain how to set up and maintain Salesforce CRM Content



10 Tips for New Sys Admins at Dreamforce

10 Tips Photo New
1) Come with the right mindset: So you’re new to this huh? Don’t know a Workflow from a Related List?  Then you need to know that Dreamforce loves people like you. 
2) Write a down a list of areas you’d like to improve in, approval processes for example.  Checking off this list is your primary objective.
3) Register for breakout sessions you listed in #2.     If a session is full, you can probably still get in if you show up early. There are always open spots for walk ups.
4) Write a list of questions.  Maybe they are problems you’re trying to solve or maybe just things you’re curious about.    There are experts EVERYWHERE to answer these questions for you.
5) For breakout sessions, arrive early, sit in the front, and take notes.    Yes, I said sit in the front.
6) Been looking at using a 3rd Party App? They’re all at the expo.  Talk to them, get information, leave with free shwag.
7) Everyone is going to want to scan your badge, it’s the equivalent of giving them your business card.  Just be warned this often results in a lot of post-Dreamforce follow ups.
8) You don’t know what you don’t know.  Explore everywhere, there are potential game changing solutions for your users to be found all over the place.
9) The word DEVELOPER doesn’t always mean CODE.   Don’t shy away from it.
10) Attend the Sys Admin keynote!




Get Organized To Get More Done



Over the years, I’ve experimented with different ways to get more work done without working harder.  I’ve learned that being organized really keeps me focused and increases productivity, while desktop clutter tends to cause stress and kill creativity.

Some people would argue the opposite, an example being Albert Einstein who once said, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”

However, Theo Theobald, Co-author of Detox Your Desk, had this to say, “Our research found a clear desk space also gives a clear mind space. It helps you prioritize what’s most urgent and makes you more efficient. It also helps your ability to make good decisions because you have the information available where you need it.”

Here’s some of the things I do to keep my mind clear and organize my work. 

Your Desk/Cubicle 
“Hey everyone! My home, car, and Salesforce org are also this cluttered

  • Try keeping your desktop as free from clutter as possible.  
  • If you write meeting notes on paper, use folders for each project.  
  • Use Post-It notes for your To-Do list & reminders.
    • It’s funny how one of the motivating factors for finishing a task becomes tearing that note off the all, crinkling it up, and throwing it away.
    • Ideas/Reminders: Get a random idea when on a call or working on another task?  Write on a post it and throw it on the board…this keeps you focused on your current task. 
  • Before leaving for the day, and especially Fridays, I clean my desk and put things back in their place. 


Email Management
Managing your email is like managing your weight. It requires a little self-discipline, but if you can stick with it, you’ll be better off.

  • I check email a few times a day, usually checking them between tasks.
  • Categorize emails and store them in inbox subfolders

  • Rules for daily emails and DL’s that aren’t important.
  • If an email must remain in the main inbox, flag it for later. Make it a point to catch up on flagged emails.


Using Salesforce To Organize Work
“I’m not only the Admin, I’m also an end user”

You’ve build efficient processes to increase your users productivity, but have you built anything for yourself?

  • Use Cases to track every Salesforce change, request, issue, etc… I live out of a Case list view all day.
  • Use a Project object for Projects that consist of many Cases.
  • Salesforce teams can use a dashboard to track the work of everyone on the team.