Tools & Technology

What Salesforce Customers Need to Know About Multi-Factor Authentication

It’s a new year and a new opportunity to strengthen your Salesforce org’s security. As it turns out, Salesforce agrees. On February 1st, Salesforce is requiring every customer to enable Multi-Factor Authentication for users accessing any Salesforce product interface. 

The good news is you and most users are probably already familiar with the security measure. Maybe your company was ahead of the curve and enabled Salesforce MFA for your org last year. If not, you probably already use MFA to access your bank account, social media accounts, and more in your day-to-day life. Implementing changes to your org isn’t always fun or easy, but this one is important. Digital security is an evolving threat that we all face, and MFA is an effective way to enhance login security and protect your data. 

What does Multi-Factor Authentication look like?

MFA increases protection for users against phishing attacks, credential stuffing, and account takeovers. During the login process, MFA requires users to enter two or more pieces of evidence (or factors) to prove their identity. In addition to a username and password to log in – the most common form of identity factors – MFA requires a device the user has in their physical possession, such as an authenticator app or security token. A familiar example of how MFA works is withdrawing money from an ATM – your pin is your known password and your debit card is the physical key. 

Why enabling MFA is important for your Salesforce org

Cyber-attacks and the exploitation of consumers are on the rise, and it’s more important than ever for businesses to understand evolving global security risks. The widespread transition to remote work environments and, consequently, the sharing of user logins, have only exacerbated these risks. MFA is a simple and effective way to protect Salesforce users and strengthen data security. 

How MFA will impact Salesforce customers working with Salesforce partners 

Sharing user login information has always been the easiest way for Salesforce partners to access an org, but the enforcement of MFA will soon make that a thing of the past. This change may sound like a nuisance, but sharing logins creates more opportunities for unauthorized account access that puts your data at risk. MFA will only more your org more secure. 

As a Salesforce partner, we consider the MFA requirement to be an excellent opportunity for customers to reassess data security and strengthen security measures. As a best practice, we recommend all customers provide every person who touches your org with their own license. 

Is your org ready to enable MFA on February 1st? If you’re looking for more clarity on how your partners should be navigating MFA, please contact us today. 

Bite-Size Ways to Incorporate Salesforce Ongoing Learning Into a Busy Schedule

Whether you’re wrangling kids while trying to WFH, chasing down client payments, searching for new gigs, or juggling the demands of a significant other while also trying to take care of yourself, chances are you land among the many who agree this year has been one big balancing act and time warp wrapped into one. This is why, frankly, we’re happy you’re making time for this blog. Time is a precious commodity, and the unique circumstances of 2020 have made that abundantly clear. 

Earlier this year, as part of our “Ask the Expert” webinar series, we explored the importance of why every Salesforce expert should incorporate ongoing education into their schedule. And, with our recently released 2020 Salesforce Talent Ecosystem report, our Salesforce independent consultant survey found some interesting trends. 96% of respondents said they rely on Trailhead to keep their skills sharp and up-to-date, yet 30% of survey respondents also cited that making time to learn new skills is a top challenge of being independent in the ecosystem.

Given the collective challenge we all seem to have in finding enough hours in the day to do it all, here are three quick ways to continue your Salesforce learning, no matter what the day may throw your way:

TrailheadGO: We cannot overemphasize the convenience of this new mobile app. No matter where you find yourself–in line at the DMV, in a waiting room, or on a long car ride (should we ever return to regular travel)–TrailheadGO makes it easy to continue your learning on Trailhead without being tethered to a laptop or desk. Best of all, it’s now available on both iOS and Android. 

Trailhead community and user groups: One silver lining we’re taking away from 2020 and the universal pandemic we are all living through, is the normalization of virtual networking and learning opportunities. As you may recall, not so long ago, Trailhead community and user groups used to be limited by their region, with many groups choosing to meet physically. With in-person meetings on hold, many are now publishing when they are meeting and the topics they are discussing, making them accessible without geographical restraints. 

Prioritize and set goals: There are upwards of 34 certifications in Salesforce and Trailhead can help you prepare for nearly all of them. If you have your eyes set on an exam in the near future, we recommend setting small, attainable goals for yourself that can help maintain your motivation as you reach each one. It can be easy to get overwhelmed by putting high expectations on ourselves about getting x number of badges in a given week or wondering where to go next. Take a step back, break it down into a study plan, and celebrate the small wins while you set yourself up for the big ones.

If you’re interested in learning more about what’s trending in the Salesforce expert ecosystem, or you’re just curious about how your peers are feeling going into 2021, you can download our Salesforce Talent Ecosystem Report here

10K Customer Case Study Webinar: Using Salesforce Community Cloud to Scale Your Business

Last week, 10K Chief Customer Officer Mike Martin sat down with Tracie Pruden, 10K customer, and the Chief Information Officer at Advanced Turf Solutions. Advanced Turf Solutions is primarily a distributor for the green industries — ie. anyone that’s growing and maintaining real grass, from golf courses, sports fields, and schools, to municipalities and lawn care operators. They also have a retail arm that is a walk-in business with about 25 locations where homeowners can buy their products. 

Given the many different arms of the organization, Mike and Tracie discussed how she’s used Salesforce to improve communication for their employees and customers alike while increasing effectiveness by creating an all-encompassing ecosystem of collaboration with many of its different products.

Read on for discussion highlights or view the captioned recording here.

How have you become such a power user of Salesforce, both yourself and at ATS?

Prior to ATS, I was a consultant on and off with them and I knew they had some IT challenges. For instance, before I came on board they had implemented a pretty old school client server ERP, and they had about 100 sales reps out in the field that didn’t have access to it. With that knowledge, and having been working fulltime as a Salesforce consultant before coming on board at ATS, I knew Salesforce would be big for them. We started implementing with Sales Cloud first in about 2017.

How do you think Salesforce has helped your company grow and scale in ways it wouldn’t have otherwise?

A lot of different reasons. Like I said, our ERP is a pretty old school service. Not only do our sales reps not have access to it but it’s really hard to customize. We were using spreadsheets and forms and all of these things outside of our system simply because we didn’t have another way. Salesforce has been really valuable for us in a lot of different departments now and has become an extension of our core processes, not just a CRM. It’s been huge for us. We had no collaboration in any of the software we had before Salesforce so it lets our departments collaborate with each other and gives us a lot more accuracy and a lot more accountability while bridging that gap for our sales team, our ERP, and other users who didn’t have a way to communicate with each other.

What was your catalyst for implementing Community Cloud and why is it so important now?

Our initial catalyst was to give our customers a way to access their information, view and edit their account profiles, view their past orders, and pay for invoices online. We actually were stepping back a bit when we implemented our original ERP before I was at ATS because we used to have a customer portal. They haven’t had that for a few years now, so the IT team and the marketing team have been working hand in hand really trying to drive this. And while the pandemic has thrown a lot of curveballs, it’s done one positive thing for us. We were already planning on implementing our customer community this year but our sales team wasn’t totally sold on it. They thought that our customers didn’t want or need to have that kind of self-service element and what we found when we were forcing our customers to call and place orders ahead of time for safety reasons, was that they loved it. So now we have some more internal champions who realize how important it is. And we do have a lot of customers in a lot of different regions, so for our sales reps to be able to give customers things that they need and to give them the ability to do things without having to do a site visit, or even make a phone call, is huge.

How are you taking advantage of FSL (Field Service Lightning)?

Talk about spreadsheets! Our entire sports turf services team was operating on Google Sheets and our only communication with our techs out in the field was that we knew they left the warehouse in the morning and maybe they would call us at night and let us know how the job went. 

So we implemented Field Service two years ago, which was great because now we know where our team is, we can move things around and be flexible if we need to, and we communicate with our customers a lot better. Actually, 10K helped us customize Field Service so we really had no idea from a business standpoint what our different services were costing us from a labor perspective because we weren’t tracking it very well. So it’s been helpful to know exactly how many hours we’re spending on jobs, and how much it’s really costing us to do the different kinds of work that we do. 

You guys are taking advantage of Salesforce a lot more than other companies your scale and size. What advice might you give to other companies looking to invest in Salesforce and some of the clouds that you’re using as well?

First, I would say not to be scared of that. Utilize experts in the beginning and not just for basic implementation but to really look at what products you might need, and what level of license you might need. We’re a small IT team and we have a lot of different clouds and all these different things we’re supporting and yet I think we’re saving money because we really figured out, with the help of experts, what level of license our different users need. Some of our users are on partner communities, some are on full Sales Cloud. We have a full variety, and again, we’re a small team so it’s important to lean on experts to help with that, but it’s absolutely possible and valuable and I wouldn’t look back on how we’re doing it now.

How did you come to first work with 10K and why did you like/decide to go with the on-demand contract model rather than the larger traditional firm?

I knew Mike through Appirio. After I learned about 10K’s model and knowing 10K has experts around the country in all these different specialties, those things are important for us. And as a small IT team, we rely on our partners really heavily but we need a partner that can be more agile and flexible and do small things if we just need a little more bandwidth, with some small Salesforce projects for instance. But then we also need someone who can do things like our FSL project, and have experts available that are technical architects and can design solutions. Those are big projects we could never take on internally so having that spectrum and all with one company is huge for us.

Upwork research states that 47% of hired managers are now more likely to engage independent talent in the future due to the COVID-19 crisis. What do you think took them so long?

I know for sure, especially at ATS, people get comfortable in the way they do things and they don’t always like to think outside the box. I think this year more than ever has shown us that the old way is not always the best way. I think if we learn anything from all of this is the need to be flexible. So for me as an IT leader, I need to give my team that, and not just them, but all of our employees – the ability to work remotely, to be flexible, and to still be able to be effective. I think this year has put that under a microscope really. And then, I think it’s important to have flexibility with your partners, too. Obviously, with a model like 10K, we know that location is not going to be a factor, that you’re able to react quickly, and you can have the experts you need no matter where they are. I think that’s more and more important every day. And I think, again as an IT leader, I think the talent is going to expect that flexibility, so it’s important from all angles. 

You also use Partner Community. Can you talk about what that implementation has looked like for you?

So we have another company that is a partner of ours who we wanted to be able to have some of our sales information shared with, as they are out there doing demos and sometimes our reps are doing demos of their equipment, and we need that collaboration. So 10K actually helped us implement a partner community so we can share information and it’s been awesome. I think that just shows the power of Salesforce. It didn’t take long, and now they have full Sales Cloud licenses and we’re still able to help them and support them from a technical standpoint and still keep them separate.

QUESTION FROM AUDIENCE: As a small IT team, how were you able to make the case to your leadership that using Salesforce for so many parts of the business made sense?

The great thing about Salesforce is that you don’t take a great big bite all at once. So being able to add things on later has really helped us sell that, because if I had just gone to them at the beginning and said “Hey, we’re gonna get 200 licenses,” I don’t think that would’ve flown. But because the model works that way, that’s been how we’ve been able to sell it. And honestly, I wouldn’t have wanted to do it all at once, as I can’t imagine we would have been able to. So, having added things in bits and pieces and not all in one chunk helped us sell it and it helped us manage it ourselves. 

How has adoption been affected by that rollout process?

We don’t have an entirely tech-savvy group of employees, and it’s just the way that it is. Not everyone likes change – we were nervous about some of our specific users in some of our departments and how they might adopt it, but honestly, it’s been great. I think it’s because we were able to do things in smaller increments. Maybe start out with one thing, get them really comfortable with that, and then we would add on things. And sometimes now we’ll add on three things. Especially, since we’re split evenly between sales and operations, our operations team has been awesome and receptive to what we’re doing in Salesforce and I think being able to roll that out in bits helped with that. 

QUESTION FROM AUDIENCE: Follow up on the specific types of communities, is it one community with different licenses for a partner/employee/customer, or is it one URL, or did you use an out-of-the-box template? Can you talk about the different communities you’ve set up, how they’re different, and if you used a template or a custom UI?

Basically, our partner community is totally separate so it has its own set of partner licenses and its own URL. 

For our customer community, we also use those licenses for our internal community, but we do have a template we used to start with and then we customized it so our customer community is all based on a template. We didn’t do the work internally so I can’t tell you what template it was but now it has its own separate URL, though on the backend we’re using the same community licenses for our internal community, too. They’re the community plus licenses, which, what’s cool about that is if we do want to add on e-commerce, which we plan to do, is that we’ll be able to do that with those licenses, and then it gives them the ability to do reports and dashboards. 

The employee community is separate and was originally set up for our daily health checks. And we’ll just continue to add onto that because it’s working really well for the people who didn’t have Salesforce licenses. 

QUESTION FROM AUDIENCE: Can you talk about how a small team like yours supports such an advanced Salesforce implementation? What does your team structure look like and when do you decide to use partners?

We only have four people on our IT team, and it’s not super clean but two of us are more network hardware customer support base and two of us are the software and Salesforce side of things. In fact, we both do have Salesforce certifications, so we typically do a lot internally, especially custom fields, small changes, and even workflow. If we’re doing something on the change management side of things, that’s impacting a whole department and changing the way they might do things, that’s when we’ll to see if we should use a partner. Then I wouldn’t even know where to begin making customizations among all those clouds or in Field Service Lightning. So we definitely outsource that part of it, and internally we’ll do reports and admin (and my developer has done a lot of cool stuff on his own), but ultimately we’re all wearing so many hats that we can’t simply do it all ourselves. There’s no magic recipe for when we decide to do it out of house but it’s nice to have that option. 

What does your ratio of employees to admin look like?

We have 250 employees but about 200 of them have Salesforce licenses of some level and we do only have two people working in Salesforce in the back end. The rest of our IT team does some things in Salesforce to help people out but we really only have two admins for those 200 users.

Closing thoughts

Ultimately, I don’t know if we are unique or not, but if you’re a small company or midsize company, don’t be afraid of using something like Salesforce and really exploring what’s in the ecosystem because I would never look back. I think we are saving money because we’re not getting 800 different things, we’re all in Salesforce and able to collaborate and to have all those important workflows, approval processes, and everything in one place and with different levels of access. To be able to be a small company and support people in a lot of different divisions is incredible.

What You Didn’t Know About Cloud Integration: Q&A with Marlie Andersch

We recently sat down with Marlene (Marlie) Andersch, CEO and Founder of rockITdata, to discuss all things Cloud integration. With nearly a decade of experience with Salesforce, Marlie took her expertise and started rockITdata two years ago, which among other things, specializes in implementations with a focus on integration solutions including Call Center, Field Service Lightning, and AWS connect solutions. 

Let’s dive in.

What are the most important aspects of a successful integration strategy? Is it ever too late to create one?

When you talk to me about integration, unlike someone on the IT side, I approach it from a business angle instead of a technical one. Therefore, the most important aspect of your integration strategy is to make sure that you have buy-in from ALL parties involved, including the customer, the business, and IT. 

Everyone involved should understand the end result and ultimate objective and be on board before the integration starts. This helps manage expectations and maintain flow throughout the process while minimizing “surprises.” However, with that said, it’s also imperative that people understand that working within an agile environment means that things can change, and you yourself should be willing to be – wait for it – be agile. 

And as far as whether it’s ever too late to create one, the answer is no. It’s never too late to pivot, especially if you utilize an agile methodology.

Are there any common obstacles I should be aware of throughout the process?

While I wouldn’t necessarily call all of these obstacles, I would say the following are things you should consider in order to avoid any obstacles.

Understand your data. What are the sources of data and where will it end up?

What is the why? If you don’t understand the “why,” then that will absolutely become an obstacle. Don’t just do an integration because you think it’s the right thing to do. You need to make sure you know who the audience is that you’re trying to reach and the main objective you’re trying to accomplish once you reach them. 

Dirty data. If you find yourself in a situation where the data is dirty, you have to understand where you are in the process of cleaning the data i.e., which sources will be important to either consolidate or eliminate. Prior to a data integration, defining “how” to clean and ”when” it needs to happen is imperative for it to be successful. If the data isn’t clean then an integration is pointless and can pose a huge problem.

The culture of the organization. This goes back to the first point I made. There needs to be buy-in across the board for any integration to be successful. This will either create speed and efficiency or more than likely if there isn’t consistent buy-in, then things will be slow and ineffective. This is a large and common obstacle I see, where a business is trying to figure out how to get something done but there’s a roadblock from IT or the business. For instance, the end objective is not agreed upon, and bureaucracy and office politics rear their ugly heads. Avoid this if you can.

What are the benefits of integrating applications? 

Hands down, it’s the ability to share common data, therefore, creating improvement processes for the business.

When looking for a Cloud integration partner, what should I look for in the vetting process?

Contrary to popular belief, going with the big guys isn’t always better. You’ll find that sometimes there are a lot of great, hungry smaller consulting firms that can give you a better experience because they tend to be faster, more efficient and sometimes less expensive. Not to mention you’ll find a lot of the people at these smaller firms came from the bigger ones you may be initially inclined to hire, so you’ll be paying for the same expertise but for a fraction of the cost.

Should I use an integration middleware tool or custom-build an API integration?

It depends on four things: scope, timeline, complexity, and cost. Ultimately, you need to have the data to make decisions, though sometimes it’s not that easy and you have to pull different data fields and it’s expensive and you don’t get the value. That’s when you might consider using a custom API integration. 

Everyone can get from point A to point B, it’s just a matter of how you want to get there. Do you just want to get there as cost-effectively as possible or do you want to ride in style, get there quickly, and are less concerned with your budget? If it’s the latter, then you might consider a middleware tool, but again, beware that you’re going to pay for it, and for good reason. With a super simple integration, middleware is a legacy app best suited for those more concerned with time and efficiency than cost.

How do I choose a middleware tool?

This is more or less the same as above. It depends on requirements and how difficult it is, what your timeline is, and how much money you’re willing to spend. When you choose a middleware, sometimes it’s easier to hire a firm that can come in and do a vendor analysis that can give you several things, including recommendations (as they understand your requirements) and in some situations, a suggested roadmap to help you get to where you need to be if it’s a relatively complex project.


“Ask The Expert” Webinar Series: Always Be Learning, The Need For Ongoing Education

Investing in Salesforce is like giving your organization a gift that keeps on giving. With tri-annual releases and a vibrant user community comes non-stop innovation and new capabilities. At 10K, it’s our mission to make sure every Salesforce customer is getting the most out of Salesforce, so this may not be the first time you’ve seen us promoting the benefits of ongoing education

In our latest “Ask The Expert” webinar, 10K CEO Nick Hamm sat down with Trailhead SVP, Amy Regan Morehouse, to explore the seemingly endless ways organizations can use ongoing education to get more out of Salesforce. As Amy notes in this webinar, the most effective way to make ongoing education a habit (much like committing to a new workout plan) is by simply getting started today. 

Click here to watch the full discussion or read on below for highlights. 

Who is Amy Regan Morehouse?

Amy is currently the Senior Vice President of Trailhead Academy and Trailhead Go-To-Market and has been at Salesforce for nearly 13 years. With more than half of her Salesforce career dedicated to educating its users, Amy is an admin gone Salesforce superfan with a penchant for advancing every Trailblazer’s career. 

Why Education is a Pillar for Excellent Salesforce Programs

At the beginning of the webinar, Nick explains that while ongoing education is one of the five pillars for long-term, successful Salesforce programs, he’s rarely seen customers implement education programs or goals. Given our new normal and the need to adapt quickly, Amy agrees that it’s now more important than ever to lean on ongoing education to reskill your teams. 

The pandemic has also created an opportunity for every organization to provide new pathways for its members. Ongoing education is an excellent way to empower employees during uncertain times by giving them the tools and knowledge they need to enrich their careers. 

Not Investing in Education is Actually Bad for Business

By not taking advantage of Salesforce’s rapid innovation, it’s kind of like buying your dream car but not getting your license to drive it. To drive this point home, Amy shares three striking statistics from Salesforce’s own CSG organization that show how companies that don’t invest in learning are seeing:

  • 80% lower feature adoption
  • 64% greater employee turnover
  • 60% greater time to proficiency 

The Framework Any Organization Can Adopt

Recognizing that it’s everyone’s goal to create a fast-track to proficiency, Amy outlines how to build a common language and framework that works organically for your organization’s unique culture and goals. 

Prioritize: Be an Advocate

To drive awareness, Amy encourages taking ownership and leading by example. To most effectively vocalize the benefits and hold your teams accountable, this message needs to come from the very top of every organization. That means every leader should be practicing ongoing education themselves and promoting it company-wide. 

She also encourages setting bold goals. Amy notes she’s been pleasantly surprised and thrilled to see some of their largest customers that run Centers of Excellence leading by example and becoming Rangers themselves. 

You’ll also need to give your learners time and permission, may that be a lunch-and-learn or dedicating a day or week to a specific educational challenge. 

Customize: Put Learners First 

Consider the goals of both your organization and its learners. By syncing the two, you can curate learning journeys that will promote action. 

Amy describes two camps of learners. Those who need the skills to, for example, effectively complete a project, and those who want the skills to advance their career to the next level. This is why we should put learners first through goal-oriented customization. Amy recommends checking out myTrailhead to provide the ultimate customized experience for your learners. 

Engage & Reward: Create a Learning Culture

While financial rewards might be part of the equation for your organization, you should also ask what will best engage your learners so it becomes a natural part of your culture.  

Amy describes an S&P type Salesforce customer that’s prioritized ongoing education via their hiring and promoting process. By asking candidates about their ongoing education and encouraging certifications, they’re able to identify the individuals who invest in themselves, and ultimately, would provide a great return for their company. 

How to Skill Up With Trailhead Starting Today

Amy’s most recommended tool, of course, is Trailhead, Salesforce’s free learning platform that provides everyone with democratized access to education. 

For those who are unfamiliar but ready to get started ASAP, Amy recognizes that Trailhead’s vast array of tools can be somewhat daunting, but she doesn’t want that to deter you from getting started. In fact, she confirms it’s absolutely not necessary to create a formal, sweeping education strategy.

For recommended content (Trails) catered to at-home learning, and even strategies for marketing ongoing education to your organization, check out Trailhead In A Box. Here are some of the assets you can take advantage of to launch a culture of learning:

  • Virtual Collaboration Module
  • Succeed From Home During COVID-19 Trail
  • Playbook For Driving Virtual Engagement
  • Trailhead Marketing Assets

Introducing a Trailhead challenge to your organization, per Amy’s experience, is one of the easiest strategies for customers to drive. With easily trackable results via Trail Tracker (found on the AppExchange) it’s a breeze to give ongoing education challenges to your learners. Try one of these common challenge templates, such as “Who can earn the most badges and points in 6 weeks?” or “Who can achieve the Ranger Rank by the end of the year?”

And when the challenge is complete, Amy recommends a few different rewards and modes of recognition. Examples include giving recognition via Chatter, email, or meetings, gifting a Trailblazer hoodie (or other swag), and donating to the winner’s charity of choice.

Salesforce is a powerful platform, but if you’re not using it to solve your business needs, or skilling up your employees to use it for your business needs, you’re absolutely missing out. Check out the rest of the webinar and a final Q&A with Amy and Nick below. 




Salesforce Announces Fast Path To Free Certifications

You can always count on a new Salesforce release to remind you of how important it is to practice ongoing education. Thanks to tri-annual releases and constant innovation by those using the platform, Salesforce is always challenging us to get more value from our investment. 

So with the launch of the Summer ‘20 release last week and rapidly growing Trailhead user trends, it may be a good time for you to explore the abundant educational resources Salesforce has to offer.  

Partner Learning Camp 

Last week we outlined our four recommended ongoing educational resources that independent experts and partners alike can benefit from. Interestingly enough, this past week Salesforce also promoted that if you’re a Salesforce Partner, you have access to Fast Path – a curated, certification-specific learning program that was designed to fast-track those who are preparing to take a certification exam with key exam topics, deep-dive resources, and exam tips. While there’s a growing list of Fast Paths available in the Partner Learning Camp, Trailhead made an effort to highlight the following in-demand certifications (some of which you may recognize from our own 2020 Certification Scholarship Program):

  • Community Cloud
  • Marketing Cloud Developer
  • CPQ
  • Field Service (coming soon)
  • Marketing Cloud Consultant (coming soon)
  • Service Cloud (coming soon)

Why Use Fast Path?

Just this week, Trailhead for Partners announced a new incentive to roll up your sleeves and commit to the certification you’ve been working toward. The deal is if you complete any Fast Path curricula in Partner Learning Camp, you’ll receive a free voucher for the certification exam (a $200 value). Not only do we think this a solid offer from Salesforce, but at 10K, we’re always excited to see the promotion of ongoing education to help drive the ecosystem forward.  

Check Out Our Ongoing Education Webinar With Trailhead SVP, Amy Regan Morehouse

We have yet another way you can expand your Salesforce learning best practices. Check out our latest “Ask The Expert” webinar featuring Trailhead SVP Amy Regan Morehouse.