Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Combining, Segmenting and Managing Salesforce Campaigns with AppExchange Apps

Recently, I faced a rather daunting task to launch a 2-part multi-segment marketing campaign of around 14,000 members.
It is possible to use out-of-the-box tools plus a few free apps to create segmented campaigns and get your sales team involved in campaign planning.

In our org, we've been managing our campaigns for 5+ years using the standard Campaign object, but we're definitely feeling the need for a marketing automation tool that would make this process a whole lot easier.

But for now, we've got Campaigns.

I thought I'd share my process if you too are not in a position to invest in a marketing automation tool.

Step 1: Define criteria to add contacts to campaign. 

We wanted to pull in active contacts (custom picklist field) based on the most recently won Opportunity for the Account that they belong to (custom rollup field on account). So, I created a report with those criteria. Then, I added them all to one big "For Review" campaign using the 'Add to Campaign' button. You'll find out why in Step 3.



Monday, November 12, 2012

Google Calendar Tip: Change Event Color from Calendar View

When the ability to change colors of individual Google Calendar events (rather than all events on a particular calendar) was released, I thought it was a bit silly. I scoffed at what I saw as a throwback to Outlook.

But, my opinion has changed.

Check out this list of 8 useful Google Calendar hacks.
I've started color coordinating some of my events. For example: recurring chunks of time that I want to devote to my education. I've decided to try and spend a bit of my time every Friday to research Salesforce updates and contribute to the community.

In the past, I've found modifying the color of an event to be rather cumbersome. I usually don't go into full event edit mode to create an event. I use the 'Quick Add' functionality... and it frustrated me that I couldn't modify the event color from there.

I was apparently wrong. It is possible. Yay!

Here's how:
  1. You can use Quick Add (click on the dropdown arrow next to the 'Create' button and type your event description, date, time). 
  2. Click on the body of the event that has been added to your calendar (clicking on the event title takes you to the full edit page for the event). 
  3. There's a color dropdown to the left of the event name. Choose one from the list.


Easy peasy!


Jenna Baze is a rather geeky girl with average social skills and an affinity for: Google Apps, Salesforce.com, Pinterest, natural light photography and finding creative ways to avoid doing dishes (which includes updating a handful of blogs).
Emailrathergeeky@gmail.com | Twitter: @RatherGeeky | Facebook: Rather Geeky Tips


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Seattleites, join me at Cloudforce on Nov 13!

If you're located near Seattle and you're interested in learning more about the Salesforce.com platform, you should make plans to attend Cloudforce next Tuesday, November 13th from 9am-1pm.

It's a great event for those that are considering using Salesforce, but there is benefit for current customers too. Networking, reviewing new technology... and especially if you didn't get a chance to be at Dreamforce last September, it's a great way to catch up.

Salesforce will continue emphasizing the social revolution and how we can leverage the platform to connect more with customers.

The Details

WA Convention Center @ 800 Convention Place Seattle, WA 98101
9am: Registration
10am: Keynote
12pm: Networking Lunch



There is limited space but registration is free. (Note: Parking isn't.) It's a half day, so spend your morning getting revved up at Cloudforce with me!

Want to meet up? Let me know! You can email me at rathergeeky@gmail.com.




Jenna Baze is a rather geeky girl with average social skills and an affinity for: Google Apps, Salesforce.com, Pinterest, natural light photography and finding creative ways to avoid doing dishes (which includes updating a handful of blogs).
Emailrathergeeky@gmail.com | Twitter: @RatherGeeky | Facebook: Rather Geeky Tips

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Google Tasks Tip: Add a Hyperlink to Task Name to Jump To It

Here's a brief tip if you're a Google Tasks user.

I often create a task for myself that involves visiting a specific website, eg: modifying a Salesforce report or reviewing a particular record.

To save myself some time and avoid having to bookmark the link or look for it in my inbox, I add it to the task name.



I used to add it to the Notes field, which is just fine. But, it's not hyperlinked. I had to copy and paste it.

When I append it to the end of the task name, it creates a hyperlink that saves me a few seconds. I can click on it when I click on the task name in my calendar view.



Have a Google Apps tip that saves you time? Feel free to share it in the comments, or reach out on Twitter! Make sure to mention @RatherGeeky and I'll pass along your tip.

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Jenna Baze is a rather geeky girl with average social skills and an affinity for: Google Apps, Salesforce.com, Pinterest, natural light photography and finding creative ways to avoid doing dishes (which includes updating a handful of blogs).
Email:
rathergeeky@gmail.com | Twitter: @RatherGeeky | Facebook: Rather Geeky Tips

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I really like my Samsung Galaxy S III, but....

So, few weeks ago, I dunked my iPhone 3GS in a lake, attempted to dry it out in a container of rice and ended up with a non-working home key and dead backlight.

Crap.

But, I viewed it as an opportunity to check out the Android options out there. I've always been intrigued by the Android OS - mainly because of the Google Apps integrations (no third party apps required) and the ability to use widgets to get quick glimpses of what's important (eg: an embedded list of my upcoming calendar events).

So, I stopped by and tested out the Samsung Galaxy S III, which I'd heard was supposed to be a competitor for the iPhone 5. I spent some time thinking about it and doing research, then I stopped by again and bought the thing.





After several weeks of use, I really like the phone. The touchscreen is snappy. The camera is great. I've installed a few apps that allow me to customize what my phone does and when (eg: connect to wifi when I arrive home) and the swipe-to-type functionality is pretty gosh darn handy. All of the apps that I rely on were either available on Android or I found good alternatives.

But, there is one apparent glitch that is starting to drive me crazy.

It is this: When I turn wifi off (or go somewhere where wifi is not available), many apps don't seem to automatically switch to using the data connection. Navigation won't work. Facebook gives me a 'not connected' message. Instagram fails when I try to post photos.

Now, all is not lost. If I restart my phone, it usually 'fixes itself.' But, trying to do that when I'm en route to a destination and needing directions or trying to post a location-tagged Instagram photo is pretty lame.

It's gotten so bad, that I've just asked my hubby (or other iPhone using passengers) to look up directions or google something for me.

I'm pretty sure I still have a week or so to decide if I want to keep the phone or upgrade to an iPhone (thanks AT&T). And I must admit, this issue has me waffling.





Jenna Baze is a rather geeky girl with average social skills and an affinity for: Google Apps, Salesforce.com, Pinterest, natural light photography and finding creative ways to avoid doing dishes (which includes updating a handful of blogs).
Email:
rathergeeky@gmail.com | Twitter: @RatherGeeky | Facebook: Rather Geeky Tips

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Why Dreamforce Scares Me

I start to get nervous about a month before. I have to stop myself from thinking about it. Sometimes, waiting to finish planning until the last minute helps.

What makes me so nervous that I start feeling a bit nauseated?

Dreamforce.

It's the annual conference hosted by Salesforce.com - filled with education sessions, technical assistance, vendor booths and seminars on the future of the platform.

Don't get me wrong. I love Salesforce. I love the platform and the community and the training sessions... as long as I am sitting at home snuggled up with my laptop or at my isolated desk at work.

You see, I'm an introvert. And one that has a constantly running internal monologue about why I suck at handling social situations. I enjoy being around people, but in moderation. Social interaction exhausts me mentally. I'd much rather type than talk.

So the idea of traveling somewhere I'm not familiar with (it's my fourth year attending... but still), to wander around Moscone with thousands (tens of thousands!) of people, many of whom I correspond with on Twitter (and whose names I will most likely forget when I see them face-to-face)... it scares me.

That hasn't stopped me from going to Dreamforce in years past. But, my lack of confidence and the doubts swarming in my brain, well, those never stop. And if you're thinking right now 'she seems pretty confident to me!', know this: I fake it well. I put on a show. And then I go back to the hotel and revel in being alone.

I'll be there next month.

I know it will be a great experience. It always is.

But, that doesn't stop me from feeling a bit anxious.



Jenna Baze is a rather geeky girl with average social skills and an affinity for: Google Apps, Salesforce.com, Pinterest, natural light photography and finding creative ways to avoid doing dishes (which includes updating a handful of blogs).
Email:
rathergeeky@gmail.com | Twitter: @RatherGeeky | Facebook: Rather Geeky Tips

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

An Awesome Way to Automate Your Life, @IFTTT

Have you ever been so passionate about an app that you start talking like this?

"Oh my gosh you have to install this app I totally love it and I can't believe you don't have it yet why haven't you installed it yet do it now while I'm telling you how cool it is..."

Well, that's pretty much how my conversations have started about IFTTT.

IFTTT stands for 'If This Then That'. It lets you create a cause and effect relationship between a list of applications. This relationship is called a 'recipe'. It isn't a mobile app (yet) but it is a freakin' awesome tool. And personally, I'd rather manage from my computer anyway.

Sometimes when I learn about a new tool like this, my first thought is 'Yeah, that's really cool but I have no idea why or how I would use it.' Were you just thinking that? If so, I'm about to blow your mind (I hope).

First, the basics:

  • It's free. 
  • It's a web app.
  • It connects one app to another, allowing you to initiate an action. (If this is clear as mud, it'll hopefully make more sense when you see my examples below.) These are called 'recipes.'
  • They are currently 49 'channels', or apps to connect with.
  • You can share recipes with other people by making it public, or use recipes that others have created. (Note: When you make a recipe public, it doesn't share your specific information. It only shares the framework of the recipe.)

Now, how I'm using IFTTT:

  • Craigslist -> Pushover: To notify me on my smartphone at the moment an item is listed for sale on Craigslist with the word 'expedit' (I'm on the lookout for one of those Ikea bookshelves!) 
  • Facebook -> Dropbox: When I'm tagged in a Facebook photo, add the photo to a specific folder in my Dropbox
  • Blogger -> Facebook Page: If I post something new on my photography blog, add the first image in the post to a specific album on my photography Facebook page and include a link to the post in the description.
  • Instagram -> Facebook Page: If I post a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #BehindTheScenes, upload it to my photography Facebook page in an album called 'Behind the Scenes'.
  • Twitter -> Evernote: When I favorite a tweet, append it to a note in Evernote.
  • Instagram -> Dropbox: Whenever I post a photo to Instagram, add it to my Dropbox. (This way I have access to all of my photos locally.)
  • Weather -> Gmail: If it's going to rain tomorrow, email me. (I live in Seattle... I'm a glutton for punishment.)
Here are a few screen-captures: 

Above: a sampling of my list of personal recipes.

Above: Here's my favorite recipe - it pops up a notification on my smartphone when an item is listed on Craigslist with the word 'expedit'

I'm constantly thinking of new recipes to add.

The only drawback I've found is that it doesn't support multiple accounts, such as connecting more than one Twitter account or Facebook page. Once you authorize it for a specific page, it's set. But, I contacted support and they told me that this feature should be coming in the future.

If you're interested in automating some connections in your tech-life, check it out!


Jenna Baze is a rather geeky girl with average social skills and an affinity for: Google Apps, Salesforce.com, Pinterest, natural light photography and finding creative ways to avoid doing dishes (which includes updating a handful of blogs).
Emailrathergeeky@gmail.com | Twitter: @RatherGeeky | Facebook: Rather Geeky Tips


Preventing Duplicates with @Ringlead's Unique Entry Tool

Duplicates - they seem to be a natural part of life in any database. But, I'll do pretty much anything I can to prevent them. Data quality rules... naming conventions...

If you're a Salesforce admin like me, this is likely part of your daily life: cleaning and merging, contacting users to fix their records, running data quality reports.

But, I've found a tool that should not only improve the user experience but make my life easier as well. It's Ringlead's Unique Entry app.

Ringlead graciously let me install Unique Entry in my production org before it was officially released. I'm excited about the potential.

The challenge I find with duplicate prevention tools is that some of them are so... forceful. They stop the user from entering more information when a potential duplicate is identified. I've avoided those kinds of tools in the past because I know that my users could find it frustrating. I never want to put up a roadblock that could foster an 'I'm not entering it in Salesforce because that's a hassle!' attitude.

But Unique Entry is more flexible. It shows the user a message that they might be entering a duplicate and gives them a link to view the existing record. But it doesn't force them to stop creating the record. I like that. And I think my users will be more comfortable with it.

I also appreciate that, in contrast with many apps I've installed from the AppExchange, it doesn't include a custom tab. (We're reaching the limit on our tabs and I find that many app tabs go unused anyway.)

Here's a little more information about the app:

  • It can be used on the Account, Contact and Lead objects.
  • It is easy to configure - you just override your 'New' button to use the appropriate visualforce page in the package. That's it!
  • It retains your custom fields on the page layout.
Here's what it looks like - to configure and in action:




So, if you're looking for a tool that will allow a 'soft' duplicate warning and is extremely easy to set up, contact the folks at Ringlead. (They're nice.)





Jenna Baze is a rather geeky girl with average social skills and an affinity for: Google Apps, Salesforce.com, Pinterest, natural light photography and finding creative ways to avoid doing dishes (which includes updating a handful of blogs).

Emailrathergeeky@gmail.com | Twitter: @RatherGeeky | Facebook: Rather Geeky Tips


Monday, July 2, 2012

Gmail/Chat Chrome Extensions to Enable

I'm constantly on the lookout for Chrome extensions that can boost my efficiency and expand functionality of tools that I use everyday, like Gmail.

Lately, I've noticed that the tab new message counter  in Chrome doesn't update immediately (it shows a new message long after I've read it). And it bugs me. I found myself checking it even more often because I wasn't sure if there was something I needed to reply to or not.

I've been looking for an extension that will allow me to see new messages (I know, I know... there's benefit to only checking them once every # hours, but I just can't bring myself to do that yet) but not have to constantly jump to my inbox.

I can't leave my inbox entirely because I need to be logged into Google Chat (which we use as a sort of in/out board where I work).

But, I think I've stumbled upon a rather handy combination of Chrome extensions that addresses the email notifications and chat integration.

  • Checker Plus for Gmail
    I can enable an audio notification (Pavlovian response anyone?) or just the visual one. I can also reply from the popup window.
  • Chat for Google
    It can run in the system tray or I can launch by clicking on the extension icon. I get popup notifications of new chats even when I don't have Gmail open.
Both of these extensions support Google Apps.

If you're using Google Apps and want to receive email notifications or be easily available via Chat, I recommend checking these extensions out.



Jenna Baze is a rather geeky girl with average social skills and an affinity for: Google Apps, Salesforce.com, Pinterest, natural light photography and finding creative ways to avoid doing dishes (which includes updating a handful of blogs).
Email: rathergeeky@gmail.com | Twitter: @RatherGeeky | Facebook: Rather Geeky Tips

Friday, April 20, 2012

Templates for Sending Custom HTML-Formated Emails

In my last post, I shared a link to a tool that lets you design or send HTML-formatted emails.

When I was first experimenting with it, I used Vertical Response's templates as a starting point.

But, I found a few other great template sources that you can use. They are free and a great way to get started, especially if you aren't adept at manually crafting layouts in HTML. Or, if you're like me and you can never remember all of the attributes for a table.

I prefer to use a template to start, then switch to HTML-mode and make changes as necessary to spacing, alignment, etc.


email template


Without further ado:

Tips: 
  • When editing HTML, Ctrl + F becomes your friend. Use it to find specific code snippets or to locate the formatting properties for a particular text block.
  • Once you have the main template customized as you'd like, you can copy/paste it into a new Salesforce email template. Fancy!



Jenna Baze is a rather geeky girl with average social skills and an affinity for: Google Apps, Salesforce.com, Pinterest, natural light photography and finding creative ways to avoid doing dishes (which includes updating a handful of blogs).
Email: rathergeeky@gmail.com | Twitter: @RatherGeeky | Facebook: Rather Geeky Tips

How to: Send HTML-formatted Emails with Gmail

I love Gmail. But sometimes, there's a feature that I *really* miss from desktop email applications.

Html-formatted emails is one of them. I'm not talking about bolded text or selecting my font. I want tables sometimes... and columns...

And so I was excited when I discovered a tool for designing and sending html-formatted emails with Gmail.

You can use the editor to design your email and then paste the html code to send or you can write the html manually. I used a template from Vertical Response to get started and customized it in their editor. Then, I pasted the code into the Google Docs sheet tool and sent.

It worked exactly as I expected! I used it to transform a bland text email to new users into a more professional welcome email.

It turned out like this:




Potential uses:

  • Company bulletins
  • Tip emails
  • Personal newsletters (no need to buy credits and use an email service!)
  • Pretty much anything...

Here's the link to the tutorial. Give it a try!



Jenna Baze is a rather geeky girl with average social skills and an affinity for: Google Apps, Salesforce.com, Pinterest, natural light photography and finding creative ways to avoid doing dishes (which includes updating a handful of blogs).
Email: rathergeeky@gmail.com | Twitter: @RatherGeeky | Facebook: Rather Geeky Tips

Monday, February 27, 2012

Admin Journal: Crafting a Unique Id for Updating when Record Id is Missing (@salesforce)

Dear Admin Journal:

Sometimes, users do something silly... like exporting a report to Excel, making changes that they'd like me to import and forgetting something pretty important: the record id.

It's not impossible to update records without the record id. It's just not handy... and it can be error-prone.

Over the years, I've figured out various ways to get around the missing record id, usually involving several queries and some rather complex vlookups.

But, here's a pretty simple method that I used today when the csv I received from a user had only 7 columns + one column for reassigning record owner.

  1. I queried Salesforce to pull out the same 7 columns + record id with LexiLoader.
  2. In my user's spreadsheet, I created a new column. I concatenated 3 fields that I knew would have at least 2 unique values, so it looked kind of like this:

    AccountName&LEFT(BillingAddresss,5)&BillingCity
    .

    Side note: I used the LEFT() function because my user had copied the data from a report in their browser and pasted it into Excel. The Billing Address had split into two rows in the spreadsheet. So, it wouldn't match my query.
  3. In my query spreadsheet, I created 2 new columns. In one of them, I concatenated the same 3 fields to use as a unique id. In the other column, I created a vlookup to match my manually created unique id and return the column that had been updated in my user's spreadsheet.
  4. Before updating using LexiLoader, I could remove the columns that I'm not using (Owner Name, Forged Unique ID, etc), or I could just leave them out of the field mapping.
It sounds kind of complex. But trust me, it's simple. 

Here's a rather lame screenshot (Skitch doesn't support blurring? What!?):



So, when I'm stuck with a spreadsheet without the record id and the user is waiting for me to update their data, I calmly remind myself of this.

In other news, I switched to a MacBook Pro last week. While I really like my Mac (I hesitate to say 'love'... but I'm sure someday I will), I've found that quite a few of the tools that I relied on are not available. I'm missing the Excel Connector, but I'm making it work with LexiLoader (a version of the Apex DataLoader for OSX) and Excel (although OpenOffice or Google Docs would work fine too).

Now, I'm off to finish updating.

Love,

Jenna, The Admin

Jenna Baze is a rather geeky girl with average social skills and an affinity for: Google Apps, Salesforce.com, Pinterest, natural light photography and finding creative ways to avoid doing dishes (which includes updating a handful of blogs).
Email: rathergeeky@gmail.com | Twitter: @RatherGeeky | Facebook: Rather Geeky Tips

Saturday, February 4, 2012

How I Geekified My Wedding Planning

I've been married for 2 weeks to an adorably sweet and geeky man. #happyhappy


When we began planning our wedding (about 3 months before the big day... yeah, I just said 3 months), there was no question that we'd go about it in a Rather Geeky way.

So, here's a roundup of the apps and tools that helped us get things done.

Planning and Pre-Wedding 

Google Docs
I love the whole suite of Google Apps, but Docs came in especially handy. We used it to collaborate on the following:

  • Guest List
    We created a spreadsheet to store First and Last Name, Address, Category (family, friends, coworkers, etc). When preparing our invitations, we downloaded this and did a mail merge to print directly on the envelopes.
  • Reception Playlist
    We created a spreadsheet for Song, Artist, When to Play (Mingling, Dancing, Slow Dancing). I shared it with a few family members to make sure we had selections that would appeal to a large group of people.
  • Food Signup Sheet
    Since we had a potluck-style meal, I sent out a Google Form (to track Name, Contact Info, Dish) by email to our friends. It worked great!
  • Crafting Session Signup Sheet
    I had a number of DIY projects that I needed help with. So, I sent out a signup sheet and some of my friends volunteered to help.
  • Gifts Received
    We didn't want to lose track of any of the gifts that we receiving at our wedding shower and later at the wedding. So, we created a spreadsheet to track the gift, who gave it and whether or not we've send a thank you card. (I'm still working on that!)

Side note: When I first got in touch with my good friend's brother that I ended up marrying, he had a Hotmail address. His sister told me: "Don't hold it against him." Ha. It didn't take long for him to create a Gmail address too. :)

Pinterest
Pinterest is a visual bookmarking app that I use to catalog crafting ideas, recipes, inspiration and photos of things that I find interesting. I created a 'board' full of all the wedding ideas I liked.... and then copied the ones that I thought I might actually do to a smaller board.




Google Sites

Soon after we got engaged, I created a Google Site so that we could share our story with friends and family. It included a guest book that people could sign (as a Google Form).

Wunderlist
We tried several task-sharing apps (such as Hunny Do and Checkvist) but we settled on Wunderlist. I like that it allows you to share individual lists and also has a web interface (as opposed to Hunny Do which is just for the iPhone). The UI is clean and easy to use. We did have some issues with it not refreshing properly on occasion but overall it was very handy.



MyRegistry.com
We used a global registry site that allowed us to choose gifts from any store or website from the convenience of our computer or iPhone. When someone purchases something from the registry, you receive a notification (and it's easy to view a list for sending thank you cards). It also allows you to create a Cash Fund that people can donate to.



YouTube
We planned on doing a flashmob after our first dance. We had friends in Alaska and elsewhere that planned to join. Since we couldn't practice in person, we recorded a video tutorial. Here's the final result:


Skype
We coordinated with our wedding planner using Skype. (Having a planner to handle all the details on the day-of was invaluable!)

The Day Of 

Instagram
We document our daily life with the nifty Instagram iPhone camera app, which allows you to take 'polaroid'-style photos and apply various effects. I discovered that you can use hashtags just like on twitter, so we designated #weinerwedding (Weiner is my new last name.... pronounced like 'Wine-er') to be used for any photos taken on the wedding day. I downloaded the Carousel app on my iMac (which would show a live stream of photos on the screen). Over the course of the day, we ended up with over 40 photos that give a glimpse into what we and our guests experienced. En route to our honeymoon, I pulled the feed up on my phone. We were delighted to see what our guests captured.



The Honeymoon 

Instagram
We headed up to a cabin near Mt Rainier for a week for our honeymoon. There was no cell phone signal... but we still wanted to take pictures of the sights with the app. So, we took them and queued them for upload, where they would sit until we had signal again.


While driving around one day, we happened upon a strong signal. So we stopped for a few minutes to reconnect and upload our photos.

Another benefit of using Instagram is that you can use a tool called Prinstagram to create miniature albums from your photos. I plan to do that with the tagged wedding photos and with our honeymoon photos.

Google Docs
  • Cabin Research
    When choosing locations for our honeymoon, I created a spreadsheet to compare features of the various cabins. That helped us make a decision on where we wanted to stay.
  • Menu Plan
    Because we were heading to a fairly rural area, we had to bring our own food (which was perfectly fine because we enjoy cooking together). So, we crafted a menu plan and created a spreadsheet with days of the week of slots for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It worked great! 

Despite the winter storm and the fairly short planning period, everything came together quite well thanks to technology... and the wonderful friends and family that did whatever they could to make our wedding day a success.


Jenna Baze is a rather geeky girl with average social skills and an affinity for: Google Apps, Salesforce.com, Pinterest, natural light photography and finding creative ways to avoid doing dishes (which includes updating a handful of blogs).
Email: rathergeeky@gmail.com | Twitter: @RatherGeeky | Facebook: Rather Geeky Tips

Friday, February 3, 2012

Handy Chrome Extensions for the @Salesforce Admin

Confession: I have an addiction to Picante Beef Top Ramen. I know it's horrible for me. But, it tastes sooooo good. When I discovered that I could make it in the microwave instead of on the stove top, it made my addiction that much harder to break. Why? Because I'm a fan of getting things done faster.

That brings me to this list of Chrome extensions that help me accomplish my job as a Salesforce admin more efficiently. Nice segue, right? ;)

Snap Links Light

This has become my favorite extension recently. It allows you to open a list of links in new tabs by right clicking and dragging a box around them. Need to open 7 email templates for editing? No more CTRL + right clicking. Just drag and bam! They're open.



Salesforce.com Id Clipper

Thanks to Judi Sohn (@judis217) for bringing this extension to my attention and to the awesome Steve Anderson (@gokubi) for developing it.

Sometimes you need to pull a record ID out of a url (which may contain ? and return url info). This extension allows you to do two things: 1) Click on an icon in the url bar to copy the 15-char ID to your clipboard. Click again, and it passes the 18-char ID. 2) You can right click on a record name and grab the record ID from the link. I often search for account names while updating import spreadsheets of Contacts/Accounts and I spent a bit of time searching for the record, clicking on it, copying the ID from the url and then pasting it back in my spreadsheet. This will speed up that process quite a bit!




Salesforce.com Enhanced Formula Editor

Kyle Peterson (@kpeterson85) left a comment on Judi's post that I mentioned above. He referred to this extension, which I installed and tested. It adds syntax highlighting to the formula editor (in addition to making the text area resizeable, although that seems a bit buggy. I had to double click and hold down on the second click. It also supports parenthesis autocomplete). It seems rather handy for those of us that build formulas (complex or not). Sometimes it's easy to get distracted by all those parentheses.

I like that it also has a toggle right there - because sometimes I do want word wrapping on (although if my code was better formatted, I guess I wouldn't need it!).



Force.com Utility Belt

Jeff Douglas of Appirio (@jeffdonthemic) developed this handy reference tool (which can convert 15-char IDs to 18 along with a few other nifty things). I haven't used it much but as I do more development work, it is helpful to have around just in case.

Judi Sohn (@judis217) mentioned this on her blog post too.



Force.com LOGINS

Another Appirio employee, Toshihiro Takasu, came up with an extension that allows you to store multiple logins. I'm currently logging in to 4 orgs - one production and three sandboxes. That's not much, but if you're logging into quite a few, it can be tedious to toggle. It does store your password and security token and I'm sure not everyone is comfortable with that. As an alternative, I will sometimes add this to my browser shortcuts, like so: https://login.salesforce.com/?un=myusername&pw=mypassword

I had tested this out before but after seeing it on Judi Sohn's (@judis217) post, I gave it another try.



Cloud Developer's Search Engine

When I'm searching for help with some programming concept or admin question, I often turn to google. But, this allows you to be a bit more focused, searching across the development boards, code guides and blogs.



Firebug Light for Chrome

If you ever have to create buttons/links that pass parameters via a url, you'll need a tool like Firebug. It allows you to capture the field names for input on the form. Hit the 'Inspect' button while in edit mode on a form, hover over the field and there you go.



Reload All Tabs

Sometimes, I'll make a configuration change and will need to refresh a handful of records for testing. Rather than F5ing them all, I just click this button. Handy dandy.



Grab y'all Links

If I have several records open and want to send links to all of them, I used to click on each tab and copy/paste the url. No more! Now, I use this extension to grab them all at once and then copy and paste them into an email, for example.



Salesforce.com Sandbox Favicon Extension

When you have production and sandbox orgs open at the same time (especially if you're kind of tab-happy like me), this favicon can help you visually distinguish between them.



Speed Dial

I quickly got tired of the native Chrome launch screen. I like to customize my own start page, thankyouverymuch. Here I link to my email inbox and other sites I use on a daily basis.

--

So, what Chrome extensions do you use to speed up your Salesforce admin life? I'd love to hear about them in the comments.

Oh, and about the Picante Beef Top Ramen... I recently discovered that chicken broth + a little bit of Sriracha tastes just like it. Mmm.


Jenna Baze is a rather geeky girl with average social skills and an affinity for: Google Apps, Salesforce.com, Pinterest, natural light photography and finding creative ways to avoid doing dishes (which includes updating a handful of blogs).
Email: rathergeeky@gmail.com | Twitter: @RatherGeeky | Facebook: Rather Geeky Tips

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Teach, Don't Just Do | Tech Support & Boiled Eggs


I'm going to just ignore the fact that I haven't posted anything in four months. (Four months, really!?) I'm going to pretend that my website wasn't down for a few weeks because I totally forgot to renew my domain while I was planning my wedding. Just smile and nod and proceed to the next paragraph. Please. For me. 

Earlier this month, a coworker emailed me with some questions about basic Salesforce functionality. I didn't have time to do a GoToMeeting to train him (I always get sidetracked with demonstrating functionality that they don't need to know but is just so stinkin' cool... and I didn't want that to happen).

It would have been easy to just do the tasks for him and reply 'done.' 

But, I recalled a conversation with my boss, likely during my employee evaluation. While it might not be the easiest or quickest route, we discussed the benefits of training people rather than just doing something for them.  In addition to benefiting them, it helps you (or me) because the next time they need assistance with something similar, they'll be better equipped to handle it themselves.

When I was growing up, my mom never taught me to cook (or do laundry or start a lawnmower). She would say "Oh, just let me do it!" when I didn't catch on quickly. She didn't have the patience to let me fumble a bit and learn. (This is why I had to call her when I moved out in my early 20's to find out how to boil an egg. No joke.)

So, with a little life experience and encouragement from that conversation with my boss, I wrote out a tutorial with screencaptures (uh, got Clarify? It's awesome.) and sent it to him. I told him that if he needed further help, I was available.

I expected a response something like this: "I'm-too-busy-to-following-your-numbered-directions! I-have-so-many-things-to-do-because-I'm-an-important-sales-guy!! My deals-are-worth-more-than-you-make-in-a-year!"

But this is what I received instead. 



Good technique on your part - provide instructions and let me do it - that's the best way to learn.

That totally made my day.

I know that not everyone is going to respond this way. And that's okay. This experience reminded me that the effort I put forth to help other people become geekier is worth it. I'm going to do my best to provide support that will help my coworkers get something done and build their skill set. 

The moral is this: go forth and do. But also take the time to teach.


Jenna Baze is a rather geeky girl with average social skills and an affinity for: Google Apps, Salesforce.com, Pinterest, natural light photography and finding creative ways to avoid doing dishes (which includes updating a handful of blogs).
Email: rathergeeky@gmail.com | Twitter: @RatherGeeky  | Facebook: Rather Geeky Tips
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