LWC Styling Hooks: Summer ’21 Salesforce Release

Today, Andrew is covering another big feature, sure to make front-end devs happy, LWC Styling Hooks. This feature allows you to drop your branding into Salesforce so you don’t have to make any compromises.

Thanks for joining us in the countdown to Summer Release. We really only scratched the surface of the massive feature suite being introduced this Summer, so if you want to dive in deeper, head on over to ➡️ https://digitalmass.com/start/

LWC Quick Actions: Salesforce Summer ’21 Release

For the developers out there – LWC Quick Actions are here!

Yes, you read that correctly! The long-awaited lightning web component quick actions will officially be on the scene tomorrow.

We’re excited to see the performance increase and more standardized patterns offered by LWCs.

Check out what Andrew has to say today.

Pardot vs Salesforce Marketing Cloud: Which tool is right for your team?

With so many marketing automation tools on the market, it can be hard to differentiate which will be right for your team, especially when it comes to Pardot and Salesforce Marketing Cloud. There are key considerations to keep in mind before deciding between the two, and they can make or break your marketing strategy. 

Pardot and Salesforce Marketing Cloud are both owned by Salesforce and are popular tools when it comes to marketing automation. Both marketing automation tools allow you to send emails, create long-term automated campaigns, categorize and group different groups of consumers, track visitors, and send information to Salesforce for reporting. Both of these tools can come out of the box and do similar things, but the path to get there looks different.

Main differences between Pardot and Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Pardot thrives in the B2B marketing automation environment with great features for email and social media marketing. The platform trades a smaller feature set for a more focused offering that requires less configuration and makes it easier to master up-front. This means that smaller teams that don’t have access to technical resources will be able to start deploying campaigns and automating emails right away. 

If you want to create a customized experience beyond the basics, there are ways to extend Pardot’s capabilities with additional development, but it’s not needed to get started. One caveat to keep in mind is that Pardot is typically used alongside another tool like Sales Cloud to serve as the contact management and productivity tracking piece. 

On the other end, Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a platform that can stand on its own and thrives in the B2C marketing automation space. 

Salesforce Marketing Cloud offers a robust feature set across multiple digital marketing studios. Salesforce Marketing Cloud is best suited for marketing teams looking for email marketing, social media marketing, mobile marketing, and online advertising. 

The robust feature set that Salesforce Marketing Cloud offers means that you’ll need more planning, strategy, and configuration up-front to get things moving. To do that, you’ll need a more technical staff that understands and can use AMPscript, SQL, and SSJs to get the most out of this marketing automation platform. 

How to decide between Pardot and Salesforce Marketing Cloud

At the end of the day, nobody knows your marketing team like you do. You know the size of your team, their technical capabilities, your customers, and what the marketing budget looks like.

Overall, Pardot requires a lower buy-in and is best suited for mid to large sized B2B organizations looking for a marketing automation tool that is enterprise level, but still easy to implement. Although Pardot doesn’t have much CRM capability it can be easily used alongside Sales Cloud. 

Salesforce Marketing Cloud is better suited for B2C organizations that are looking for highly personalized, multi-channel customer journeys. It’s also a great choice for B2B companies that want to go to market with a B2C style customer experience. The platform does have a steeper learning curve, buy-in, and will require technical resources, but it does have more CRM capability than Pardot has, so it can stand alone and work great for businesses with a large database.

Hopefully this helps give you a better idea of which marketing automation tool is right for your team. If you’re still trying to decide between Pardot and Salesforce Marketing Cloud, get in contact with our team at Digital Mass. We’ll help you put together a plan so that you can crawl, walk, and then run with your new marketing automation tool. 

Sharing Hierarchy Functionality: Salesforce Summer ’21 Release

Have you ever wondered who has access to a particular record in Salesforce? And more importantly… why?

For Day 2 of our countdown to the Salesforce Summer ’21 Release, Andrew is telling you all about the new improvements that are coming through the new sharing hierarchy button, so that you can save time, and get right to the bottom of it.

Inline Editing for Reports: Salesforce Summer ’21 Release

Three times a year Salesforce does a massive release of new features and changes to the platform. This Friday and Saturday, June 11th and 12th, Salesforce will push all the new features and changes, and developers around the world will cheer with excitement. So today, the countdown begins.

To get ready, Andrew is kicking us off with a rundown of a very exciting new feature for admins – inline report editing! But that’s not all – each day this week he will be back to give us an overview of another feature he’s pumped about.

(Disclaimer: we tried to keep this in one video, but Andrew had… a lot to say. No, we weren’t surprised.)

Helping HandsOn Twin Cities Realize the Full Potential of Salesforce

Project demonstrates the impact customized Salesforce applications can have on operations 

Minneapolis. (June 8, 2021) — Recognizing the importance of volunteering in our community, Twin-Cities-based Digital Mass has donated its time to helping the non-profit HandsOn Twin Cities (HOTC) realize the full potential of their Salesforce implementation. The customized application development and instruction has enabled HOTC to expand its use of the Salesforce platform “beyond the basics.”  

“A Salesforce implementation is a massive undertaking for any company, but really making it work through customization, training, and optimization is what’s often overlooked,” said Martin Davis, co-founder and CEO of Digital Mass. “We recognized the value that HandsOn brings to our community and knew what a proper Salesforce implementation could have on helping HandsOn deliver on their mission so we jumped in to help. Now it’s really is a win-win for everyone.”

Celebrating 100 years of service to the community, HOTC delivers on its mission of “transforming Minnesota through volunteerism” by connecting individuals and corporations with volunteer opportunities at local nonprofits. As an organization dependent on data – from membership to fees and contact management – HOTC implemented initially Salesforce in May 2020 in order to centralize the information in a manner that all employees could access and use.

“Relatively soon after we implemented Salesforce, it was pretty clear that there were some gaps and that we needed to build out the platform a bit more,” explained Katie Walsh, Nonprofit Program Director at HandsOn Twin Cities. “We realized that we wanted to be able to dig a little deeper into the data and really make an impact in not only our reporting but also how we operated. That is where Digital Mass helped.”

HOTC engaged Digital Mass to achieve three areas that were initially identified: expand reporting capabilities; streamline and add fields; and build out the system to support HOTC’s pro bono program. During the five week engagement, the Digital Mass team connected daily with HOTC team members in order to assure that the process was progressing, identify areas to further refine the program and to provide training on the platform. 

“Digital Mass helped us unlock Salesforce’s potential,” said Walsh. “From the first meeting, they honed in on our top priorities and identified ways for us to expand how we use Salesforce. In a short, five-week period, they were able to achieve a lot and in doing so have empowered us with the tools to transform how we operate.”

About Hands-On Twin Cities

HandsOn Twin Cities (HOTC) serves as a connector between thousands of individuals who want to make a difference. We provide services to an array of community members including high schools, colleges and universities, young professionals groups, retirees, local conferences, chambers of commerce, affinity groups, court-mandated volunteers, associations, and more than 30,000 corporate volunteers annually. We know that many of these connections lead to long-lasting and transformative experiences for both nonprofits and volunteers. HOTC supports a network of more than 600 nonprofits to help them recruit, retain, and engage volunteers to better deliver on their mission.

About Digital Mass.

Digital Mass is a modern technology practice focused on making Salesforce work harder for the enterprise, in any cloud. The company is driven to do things the right way. Digital Mass uses a ground-up, developer-driven approach and proprietary LeanSF process to ensure clients get to working solutions faster, maximizing business value in every engagement. Backed by a blend of experienced tech vets and certified Lightning natives, Digital Mass offers flexible engagements, working with clients to tackle the cumbersome, business-slowing problems while taking big steps towards a customer-centric organization. For more information visit www.digitalmass.com or email hello@digitalmass.com.

Why local Salesforce development matters

Whether you’re in the process of implementing or evolving your current Salesforce platform, choosing the right development partner is a crucial decision to make. Internal team building strategies and platform expertise aside, the decision almost always comes down to one question: who will deliver the best results for your business? 

Let’s break that down. There is an overwhelming amount of developers who make promises on following through with your Salesforce vision, so who do you decide to partner with? Are you considering how they are to work with? What’s their process? Are there good DevOps? Are they certified? 

And more than that, how will they operate in your current environment?  Do you want someone who can look you in the eye and work through problems together in half the time, or someone who you need to spend more time explaining your business logic to than they spend programming? Do you want a partner who will be able to see the work beyond the code and beyond the implementation, or a team who just meets a project requirement?

Our bet is the latter. But more than a bet – it’s our experience. Having a local Salesforce partner in the trenches can be the difference in an on-time deliverable, a better integration, or a better solution. We are proud to be a Minnesota local Salesforce partner, and find that the best partnerships are made from communication and flexibility to our client’s needs. 

Asking the right questions, delivering the right results

While offshore development has come a long way over the years, experience has taught us that there are still challenges that can be difficult to overcome with an offshore team: the communication lag and complexity, the lack of flexibility they have, and the access that you have to the developers.

When it comes to delivering the right results to business units, the responsibility typically falls on the developer. A Minnesota local Salesforce developer has the ability to ask clarifying questions off the cuff and gain more insight into how the business uses their technology day-to-day. Through this process, better solutions are often brought to light, and more value is delivered at the end of each sprint.

Now contrast that with an offshore Salesforce development team: when your team is at the morning standup, the offshore team is in the middle of their first REM cycle. Although every effort can be made by the client to communicate what needs to be solved, things fall through the cracks either from miscommunication or missing context. These situations often result in a “miss” by the offshore Salesforce development team, and then the refactoring reinterpretation cycle begins. We call this the “offshore loophole”.

Assume & Adapt!

Offshore Salesforce development teams are known to program what is on the requirement documents. 

“Wait… isn’t that what’s supposed to happen?”

Well, yes and no.

As consultants, it’s our job to read between the lines and understand what the client is really asking for. If tech and business units are perfectly aligned, this can be a tricky feat. 

As a Minnesota local Salesforce development partner, we’ve found that the best way to fulfill the business’ needs is by assuming the role of the users. 

Our developers seek to understand the client and their business by asking questions and then refining the requirements so that the right problem is solved. Without being able to talk through the requirements, the reasoning behind them, and really understanding what the user is trying to accomplish, the requirements document doesn’t hold much value.  

It boils down to…

Choosing the right partner to implement or evolve your Salesforce may seem like an overwhelming task but really, it boils down to finding the team that works best with you. 

Keeping projects local won’t always magically solve all of the problems that could happen during a Salesforce project, and offshore development projects don’t always fail. But by keeping your Salesforce projects local, you’ll have a faster turnaround, clear communication, and business-driven solutions. 

We’ve made a conscious decision at Digital Mass to only hire Minnesota local Salesforce developers. We teach our development team to quickly learn your business, understand the intent of each requirement, and design a solution that’s done the right way. Through experience, we’ve found that the ability to shadow a business user or quickly ask questions to the product owner at the beginning of an engagement provides an immeasurable amount of context for a developer. As they ask clarifying questions and gain more insight into how the business uses its technology day-to-day, better solutions are brought to light, and more value is delivered at the end of each sprint.

If you’re in the market for a Minnesota local Salesforce development partner that will accelerate your Salesforce platform, contact us, or learn more here.

New FlexPool Offering Solves Salesforce Staffing Challenges

FlexPool enables IT departments to scale responsibility and locally

Minneapolis. (May 20, 2021)Digital Mass, a Salesforce technology partner focused on modern development, has introduced a staffing resource designed to augment IT departments during crucial phases of Salesforce projects in order to avoid delays. Digital Mass’ FlexPool offering provides organizations with local and experienced resources that can “jump in” and complete key project tasks quickly.

“Salesforce projects are complex and often require additional resources to get projects completed on time,” said Martin Davis, co-founder, and CEO of Digital Mass. “With the FlexPool, companies get resources that can jump in and help internal teams keep their projects on track so they don’t have to push work out, delay project deadlines, or even have to go through hiring another full-time employee. The FlexPool empowers Salesforce teams to scale up or down as needed, without breaking the bank, and with local resources… which is a luxury in 2021.”

Ideally suited for organizations with internal Salesforce teams, the new offering enables companies to prioritize needs for each Sprint without long-term contracts or adding to their headcount. The FlexPool strategy is to focus on tackling specific tasks that keep the project on-track without disrupting the duties of the core team. Companies get the resources they need that can jump in and help internal teams keep their projects on track rather than pushing out work, delaying project delivery dates, or having to go through the recruiting process of hiring another full-time employee. 

“I’ve heard so many horror stories about IT managers not being able to find the time or the right resources to complete projects,” said Davis. “FlexPool makes it easier for IT leaders to help their teams get the work done. Because our team is local and lives in Salesforce everyday, there is little ramp up and virtually no churn. As a result, companies have the resources they need to optimize every Sprint without adding unnecessary management duties.”

Through FlexPool, companies have access to Digital Mass’ team of experienced Salesforce developers. These developers are full-time Digital Mass employees and are managed by a Digital Mass Solution Manager who also serves as the product owner proxy to the client, ensuring quality, consistent, and on-time deliverables.

FlexPool will most often be implemented by companies that have an existing engagement with Digital Mass, but an existing relationship is not required to access the service. 

About Digital Mass

Digital Mass is a modern technology practice focused on making Salesforce work harder for the enterprise, in any cloud. The company is driven to do things the right way. Digital Mass uses a ground-up, developer-driven approach and proprietary LeanSF process to ensure clients get to working solutions faster, maximizing business value in every engagement. Backed by a blend of experienced tech vets and certified Lightning natives, Digital Mass offers flexible engagements, working with clients to tackle the cumbersome, business-slowing problems while taking big steps towards a customer-centric organization. For more information visit www.digitalmass.com or email hello@digitalmass.com.

How C&E Companies can Excel with a CRM

How Construction and Engineering Companies can Excel with a CRM

There’s nothing easy about pursuing work within an industry like construction and engineering. It’s an industry that is floor-to-ceiling (pun fully intended) chock-full of details that, if left unnoticed, could spell certain doom for an Opportunity from the moment you get an RFQ or RFP to the interview, and beyond selection, as pre-con work kicks off. 

But there are a few ways that a construction and engineering company can take advantage of the capabilities that Salesforce provides to centralize information and win more work. In this article, we’ll touch on relationship management, Salesforce CPQ, and reporting on analytics. If you’d rather skip the reading portion and talk to an expert on our team, you can do that here.

Elevate your Relationship Management 

When people hear “Salesforce” they automatically think “CRM”. Customer Relationship Management refers to a centralized, single source-of-truth representation of the relationship between a business and its customers. Although Salesforce has capabilities that go far beyond being just a CRM, they do customer relationship management incredibly well. 

For the construction and engineering industry this kind of software is a no-brainer because if there’s one cornerstone of the construction industry, it’s the relationships.

Within construction and engineering companies, the most up-to-date and realistic representation of clients, partners, and competitors is usually stored in an Outlook list, an Excel file, or within a business development rep. While that system might work for a while, it’s certainly not sustainable. With no central source of truth, there’s no strategy behind relationship management. This is problematic for many reasons, but frankly, it’s an outdated way of trying to manage the work pipeline. 

With a CRM like Salesforce, gone are the days of isolated Outlook contact lists, desktop-stored excel workbooks filled with activity history and clear-as-mud communication between team members.

Let Salesforce help elevate and automate your relationship management.

Configure Salesforce CPQ to Empower Quotes and Estimates

There’s nothing easy about pursuing work in the construction and engineering industry. And while no one part of the pursuit is necessarily “easier” than the other, a critical piece of the puzzle is any estimating or quoting work you’ll be doing along the way. 

It’s becoming more common for prospective clients to ask for preliminary estimates before getting in a room with you as part of a shortlisting process. This is where the Salesforce CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) utility comes in handy.

Using much of the same information you would have already entered into Salesforce for an Opportunity, you can generate a consistent scope estimating process using the pricing logic that you and your team have defined and manage. Because Salesforce CPQ supports pricing logic as simple or as complex as your business needs, you can rest easy knowing that it will support a cost consideration for union jobs and manage the unique state and local requirements that will influence your bid.

Implementing a pricing tool like Salesforce CPQ adds transparency to your pricing process both internally for business development reps and externally for customers who want to know more about how you got to the number in front of them. Beyond serving as a comprehensive utility for pricing your services, Salesforce CPQ builds trust, and in this industry, more than most – trust is as good as gold.

Be Confident in What you’re Reporting On

Construction and engineering opportunities come in a variety of flavors. Some days, a client that you have a master maintenance agreement with will request you be at their headquarters tomorrow to fix broken light fixtures. In other cases, you respond to an RFP with a few weeks of lead time and scramble to pull together the necessary data and people in advance. And in increasing frequency – larger commercial contractors are positioning work for months or even years before finally sitting face-to-face with an owner or their rep.

Pursuits are varied, complex, and only surpassed in complexity by the projects they hopefully materialize into. So, why not make sure that all of that hard work, both before and after shovels hit the dirt, is paid for in derived quality reporting and analytics? 

Luckily, Salesforce comes equipped with robust out-of-the-box reporting functionality that is both configurable and accessible by your everyday users. By taking advantage of Salesforce CRM, construction pipelines, and pursuit history is stored in one place, and you’ll no longer be left to wonder about the quality of your RFQ or RFP responses due to data being sourced from all over the place.

Be confident in your data by implementing a CRM that business users can be owners and stewards of. It’s an added bonus that the affected parties aren’t just your business development and marketing teams, but team members at every level. You won’t have to keep struggling with pipeline reporting or keep a Sales/selection process alive in Excel. Senior leaders will appreciate the expediency and transparency that centralized pursuit data and reporting creates. So, spend less time collecting and cleaning data, and more time helping your Sales teams win more work.

At the end of the day…

There are so many details that could derail a project from getting started. Instead of leaving room for error, take advantage of the capabilities that Salesforce offers to help manage your relationships, easily report on data, and provide transparency into the estimating and quoting process – all in one place.

See what a Digital Mass developer has to say about relationship management and Salesforce CPQ in Episode 0.6 of The Developers Speak.

If you’re interested in exploring different ways that a CRM can help the construction company you’re working at excel, let’s find time to talk about it.