Data is King

We’ve heard it all before…you’re only as good as your data. But users get creative and sometimes they will put things like a contact’s nickname and mobile phone in the zip code field. Which, for some reason, the post office doesn’t seem to appreciate their resourcefulness.

So what can you do to ensure consistent data that is easy to report and filter on? Validation Rules!

With validation rules, Salesforce admins can specify which values make the cut and get saved and which ones are rejected.

Going back to the postal code example, as an Admin you can specify that a postal code must be either 5 numbers or 5 plus 4 numbers if the country is USA. When your user tries to put in a 10 digit phone number in the postal field they will receive an error message that tells them it can only be in the 5 digit or zip plus 4 format.

Pretty cool huh? Here are some other common validation rules that many admins use:

  • Opportunity Close Date Must be Current Month
  • Opportunity Name Format
  • Mailing Address is required
  • Account Number must be a specific size
  • US Phone has 10 digits

Salesforce has put together this handy little cheat sheet filled with hundreds of useful validation rules.

http://login.salesforce.com/help/doc/en/fields_useful_field_validation_formulas.htm

 

There are a lot of powerful things you can do with validation rules to make sure your data stays squeaky clean.


What do I do when…

Sure you’ve read the Salesforce.com help docs, you’ve even tried calling Salesforce support but, for the life of you, Salesforce still won’t do what you want it to do. Don’t fret it happens to the best of us.

Of course, you can search the posts here on CRMology but chance are you have a real specific question. What do you do then? Take it to the cloud! That’s right–to the cloud.

There is a whole community of Salesforce experts answering your most pressing salesforce questions. Go to http://success.salesforce.com/answers and ask away. As someone who personally answers a lot of questions in the community here are some helpful tips to remember before you post:

1. Do several detailed searches first before you post. Chances are good someone else has already asked a similar question. Within minutes you can have the answer you were looking for–or at least enough information to start heading in the right direction.

2.  Give your question a detailed, meaningful title. Avoid generic ones like “New to Salesforce” or “Sending Emails”.

3. Take some time explaining your situation in a clear and concise way. Too often I’ve seen people leave important information out or ask too confusing of a question because they were in a hurry. This can lead to a lot of back and forth clarifying emails.

4. Include screenshots. This can greatly help with solving your problem. If you have sensitive information just black it out using basic image editing tools.

It couldn’t be easier to get your salesforce questions answered! When you get the right answer be sure to mark it as the best answer so others can learn from your experiences. And when you become a salesforce guru yourself be sure to pay it forward and start answering questions.


Reporting Accurate Record Counts

If you’ve created a report in Salesforce you’ve no doubt noticed that sometimes the record count that is shown doesn’t quite jibe with the one you were expecting.

In this example, let’s say you wanted to know how many Accounts there were on the report, the Grand Total shows 7 Records. But wait, if you look closely there are only 3 accounts and 7 contacts. So how can you report on the TRUE count of Accounts?

Inaccurate Salesforce Record Counts

For a small report like this you could hide the contacts and count the Accounts by hand or you could export it to Excel but I have a better solution.

Simply add a custom formula field to each object with the value of 1 and sum that field. I know, I know, it sounds crazy. I personally scoffed at this idea the first time I heard about it at Dreamforce a few years ago. But trust me, it works. Add the formula and voila! you get this instead on your reports…

Accurate Salesforce Record Counts

Look how nicely it counted the Accounts for me. She’s a thing of beauty.

Here is what the formula looks like. The value of the formula is “1”–yes, literally the number 1 in the formula field. Salesforce gurus call this “The Power of One“.

Pro tip: When creating the formula there’s no need to add it to a page layout since it is for reports only.

Salesforce Power of One Formula

The Salesforce Power of One Formula is Super Easy to Create

If you’re like me you’re probably still a bit skeptical but give it a go anyway, I know that once you try it you’ll be using it all the time and adding it to additional objects. Trust me, you’ll love it.

>>ST