Getting Started with Salesforce: An End-to-End Guide on Basics of the Platform Ecosystem

July 29, 2021
13 min

Salesforce platform can do a lot of magic with organizing your data and lead flow, but a dizzying number of Salesforce products can overwhelm and confuse you at the same time. Our guide will break up the process of getting started with Salesforce into baby steps to fast-track the deployment of your solution and to ensure its success.

It’s a fact that Salesforce isn’t very easy to set up so it may take some time to get started because there is quite a learning curve. Add to this that Salesforce is going to be an up-front investment so the preparation should be made carefully to invest your money and time wisely before you jumpstart the implementation project.

Unveiling Salesforce

 

What makes Salesforce tower over other platforms? Since its founding in 1999, it has become a synonym for “innovation”.

Innovation in CRM business, programming, digital marketing, etc.

To prove its name, Salesforce is constantly expanding and adapting its products for the market needs by making them more versatile, user-friendly, and integrable. They’ve revolutionized the whole tech world by creating a unique ecosystem of their own and acquired software.

They were the first to introduce the concept “Click, not Code” to the CRM world where all the Salesforce-based apps and custom objects can be built with pre-built Lightning components (Salesforce framework components) on their own Lightning platform Force.com.

Share Your Salesforce Challenges with Us

We are here to help you with your Salesforce initiative and design your unique CRM implementation roadmap

 

Fundamentals in Getting Started with Salesforce

 

The initial step to getting to know the Salesforce platform is watching the Getting Started with Salesforce video tutorial series.

These five training videos, around 20 minutes each, will tell you about:

  • tools and resources available in Salesforce
  • ways on how to prepare for Salesforce implementation
  • who should be involved in the project
  • how to deploy Salesforce to meet your business goals
  • how to prepare, import, migrate and manage your data
  • how to ensure end-user adoption with effective support, training, and motivation techniques

 

Getting-Started-with-Salesforce-Video-Set

Getting Started with Salesforce Tutorials

 

Moreover, you may read an expert guide from our Salesforce consultants on how to make Salesforce implementation a success from the very first step.

 

When the “Salesforce breakthrough” is completed and you know much more about its capabilities, you can proceed with supplementary educational resources on Salesforce Success Journey Hub. There you can find:

  • products and clouds overview
  • best practices and tips
  • links to helpful articles
  • training videos
  • trails on Trailhead platform that you may help to dive into the topic

 

Salesforce-Success-Journey-Hub

Salesforce Success Journey Hub

 

There are altogether six main sections on Success Journey Hub:

  • Sales
  • Service
  • Marketing/li>
  • Community
  • Analytics
  • Platform and Apps

 

1.  Sales Cloud

 

Sales Cloud tab is split into 5 subsections:

 

Getting-Started-with-Salesforce-Sales-Cloud-Basics

Getting Started with Salesforce Sales Cloud Basics on Success Journey Hub

 

1. Start with the Basics — there you can find links to Sales Cloud description with a video overview and tutorials like, for example, how to:

  • create new users on Salesforce. Org
  • plan implementation
  • define sales processes
  • track activities
  • set up accounts and contacts
  • customize your Salesforce instance
  • import and manage data
  • train users after the implementation.

Also, this section contains relevant links to content like how to get started with Chatter (Salesforce collaboration tool) or how to get started with Pardot (marketing tool for B2B marketers).

 

Discover more about Salesforce products like Chatter, Pardot, Salesforce Einstein, and others in our guide “What are Salesforce Benefits?”

 

2. Drive Adoption  — it contains links to topics like Lead By Example or Measure Success that teach you how to define the management strategy and success metrics to get your team working towards the same goal.

This subsection explains different management strategies for driving adoption and suggests various ways to empower user adoption and measure its success. It also provides insights on how to turn your users into experts and manage organizational changes.

 

How-to-Measure-Success-with-Salesforce

Salesforce Help Resources on How to Measure Adoption Success

 

3. Optimize Your Implementation  — this subtopic contains links to tips on how to:

  • automate your key business processes
  • improve lead conversion
  • win more deals
  • increase sales rep efficiency
  • reduce sales rep ramp time etc.

 

How-to-Automate-Business-Process-Salesforce-Tips

Salesforce Help Resources on How to Automate Business Processes

 

4. Import and Manage Your Data — here you may discover basic ideas on how to:

  • improve data quality
  • prepare and import your data
  • analyze your data by using reports and dashboards
  • manage data effectively with Data Wizard (Salesforce data import tool) and Data Loader (Salesforce tool for importing, exporting, and deleting data).

 

Getting-Started-with-Salesforce-Sales-Cloud-Implementation

Salesforce Help Resources on Data Management

 

5. Develop and Maintain Your Implementation —  in this subsection, you can explore recommendations for seamless planning and preparation for org maintenance and releases, for example, when you need to move your org to a new instance, and ideas for efficiency improvement with Salesforce application management.

 

How-to-Prepare-for-Salesforce-Org-Maintenance

Salesforce Help Resources on How to Prepare for Org Maintenance and Releases

 

If you don’t want to spend much time studying all intricacies of a Sales Cloud or would like to have an expert opinion on which Salesforce solution to select, our consultants are always ready to help.

Ascendix has been operating for 25 years in CRM business and has 19 years of Salesforce experience that allows us to provide world-class services like:

  • Migration to Salesforce
  • Salesforce implementation
  • Salesforce re-implementation
  • Third-party tools integration
  • System consolidation
  • Salesforce customization
  • Salesforce configuration etc.

Explore a full set of our Salesforce consulting services

 

2.  Service Cloud

 

Service Cloud tab is also divided into 5 subtopics:

 

Getting-Started-with-Salesforce-Service-Cloud-Basics

Getting Started with Salesforce Sales Cloud on Success Journey Hub

 

1. Start with the Basics — here you may find out how to:

  • get started with Salesforce Service Cloud
  • implement case management
  • configure Salesforce instance etc.

It also includes relevant links to content like how to get started with the Salesforce App, Salesforce Inbox, or other clouds e.g. Financial Services Cloud.

2. Drive Adoption — this subsection, like the one in the Sales tab, contains references to how to strategize and manage Salesforce adoption or empower your users with resources, knowledge, and skills to boost user adoption.

 

User-Training-Tips-and-Tricks-from-Salesforce

Salesforce Help Resources on User Training Best Practices

 

3. Optimize Your Implementation  — there you may learn how to:

  • increase sales rep efficiency
  • set up and run Sales Cloud Console
  • review Sales Cloud Console documentation
  • automate business processes
  • boost your productivity with Salesforce Lightning

 

How-to-Increase-Sales-Rep-Efficiency-with-Salesforce

Salesforce Help Resources on How to Increase Sales Representative Efficiency

 

4. Import and Manage Your Data — this subfolder suggests how to manage and analyze your data to make informed decisions and spot trends using real-time information.

 

Salesforce-Tips-on-How-to-Improve-Data-Quality

Salesforce Help Resources on How to Improve Data Quality

 

5. Develop and Maintain Your Implementation — here you may check best practices on planning and preparing for Salesforce maintenance and releases as well as ideas on how to develop and deploy apps.

 

How-to-Improve-Efficiency-with-Salesforce-Application-Management

Salesforce Help Resources on How to Improve Efficiency with Salesforce Application Management

 

Our consultants can assist you with implementing Service Cloud from scratch or customization of your current Salesforce solution. We will build your unique implementation project plan and guide you through all the implementation stages to ensure complete user adoption and after-launch support. Learn more about our Salesforce implementation services

 

3.  Marketing Cloud

 

Marketing Cloud tab contains 2 subtabs:

 

Getting-Started-with-Salesforce-Marketing-Cloud

Getting Started with Salesforce Marketing Cloud on Success Journey Hub

 

1. Start with the Basics — here you may learn how to get started with Salesforce Marketing Cloud and check more about related topics e.g. how to get started with Pardot or Salesforce Engage (an email automation tool).

2. Optimize Your Implementation — this subsection includes insights on how to gain operational efficiency with Marketing Cloud Email, improve inbound marketing with Pardot, increase campaign effectiveness with Email Studio (email marketing solution) and optimize social listening with Topic Profile in Social Studio (Salesforce social media management tool).

 

How-to-Gain-Operational-Efficiency-with-Marketing-Cloud

How to Gain Operational Efficiency with Salesforce Marketing Cloud

 

Our team has vast experience in Marketing Cloud implementation for companies of all sizes: from small to enterprise-level organizations. We, at Ascendix, can help you to deliver more personalized customer service, master your marketing campaigns, integrate all your systems, and consolidate clients’ data under one Salesforce solution.

Say “goodbye” to decentralized and siloed data and enter a new level of digital marketing experience with us.

 

4. Experience (Community) Cloud

 

Community Cloud section is split up into 3 subsections:

 

Getting-Started-with-Salesforce-Community-Cloud

Getting Started with Salesforce Community Cloud on Success Journey Hub

 

1. Start with the Basics  — here you can find out how to get started with Salesforce Community Cloud or get started with Chatter.

2. Optimize Your Implementation  — this subtab suggests ideas on how to automate your business processes, unleash your productivity with Salesforce Lightning, and how to analyze your data.

 

How-to-Boost-Productivity-with-Salesforce-Lightning-Experience

How to Boost Productivity with Salesforce Lightning Experience

 

3. Develop and Maintain Your Implementation — likewise in the Sales and Service Cloud sections, this subsection educates on how to plan around system maintenance windows, remove the hard-coded references, and get access to Salesforce security best practices.

Our Salesforce consultants will help you to integrate collaboration portals like Chatter, build completely custom solutions, or adapt our multi-channel collaboration portal MarketSpace to your unique business needs. Check what capabilities of MarketSpace solution can help to power up collaboration with your clients, stakeholders, team members, and partners. 

 

5. Analytics Cloud

 

Analytics tab includes 3 subsections:

 

Getting-Started-with-Salesforce-Einstein-Analytics

Getting Started with Salesforce Einstein Analytics on Success Journey Hub

 

Start with the Basics — here you may find out how to get started with Einstein Analytics, Einstein Discovery, and B2B marketing analytics.

Import and Manage Your Data  — this subtopic contains tips on how to analyze your data and to build real-time reports and charts to visualize key business metrics.

Optimize Your Implementation  — this section provides tips on how to improve productivity with Salesforce Lightning.

We, at Ascendix, will assist you with Einstein Analytics implementation to understand better your customer and your business processes, get ‘digestible’ visualization of your key metrics and trends to make informed decisions. Contact our consultants to uncover more advantages of Einstein Analytics set up.

 

6. Platform and Apps

 

Platform and Apps section contains 4 subtabs:

Develop Apps and Maintain Your Implementation — this subsection is about improving efficiency with Salesforce application management, planning, and preparation for org maintenance and releases.

Drive Adoption — this subtopic includes insights on how to plan, manage, and measure the success of end-user adoption.

 

How-to-Manage-Organizational-Change-with-Salesforce-Tips

Salesforce Help Resources on How to Manage Organizational Changes

 

Optimize Your Implementation — this subtab educates on how to streamline your business processes with powerful Salesforce workflow tools.

Import and Manage Your Data — this subsection will help you to discover the best strategies for developing quality data and get your data into Salesforce with import, export, and update options.

 

Salesforce-Support-Resources-on-Effective-Data-Management

Salesforce Support Resources on Effective Data Management

 

Development of our own Salesforce-friendly solutions like AscendixRE (CRM for commercial real estate) and Ascendix Search (our advanced Salesforce search and reporting app), gave us a unique experience in overcoming challenges related to data search and various integrations that our users may experience when using the platform.

Our AppExchange app development consultants can share with you the best techniques on app building and marketing on AppExchange (Salesforce marketplace of B2B apps from independent vendors). Also, we can help you to build new functionality, upgrade, debug your existing AppExchange apps and consult on becoming an ISV (Independent Software Vendor) or OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) partner for Salesforce.

As soon as you’ve finished your exploring tour of Salesforce products on Success Journey Hub, you can join the Getting Started Community. On this Salesforce forum, you can ask questions and get answers from Salesforce experts and customers just like you.

To join this community, you need to set up an account with Trailblazer. When you get to the page, click the button “Join the Conversation“.

 

Getting-Started-with-Salesforce-Community-Basics

Getting Started Page in a Salesforce Trailblazer Community

 

Once you’ve hit the button, you’ll be redirected to the Getting Started with Sales Cloud Community Page where you can join the forum. When you become a Community member, you will start receiving Weekly Digest by default, however, you may change notification settings to receive a Daily or Monthly recap of answers, questions, valuable resources, and files shared in the feed.

 

Getting-Started-with-Sales-Cloud-Community

Getting Started with Sales Cloud Community Page

 

The Getting Started with Sales Cloud Community is the first-hand resource of expert answers from your peers and Salesforce experts. Prior to publishing your question, you may browse posts published earlier that may contain the information you need. If you haven’t found the right answer from community members, you can reach out to our Salesforce consultants to seek help.

To transit from theory to practice with platform capabilities and perks, you may request a free 30-day Salesforce trial. And our next section is exactly about it.

Don't Know Where to Start with Salesforce Implementation? Get Your Free Checklist!

Download a free starter kit with a detailed guide on how to launch your Salesforce implementation project so as to ensure its consistency and success

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Getting Started with Salesforce Platform

 

To get practical experience with Salesforce Org, you may choose between two main options: to create Trailhead Playground (a sandbox org to complete hands-on challenges (practical tasks for trails completion) and to try out customizations) or get a free Salesforce trial.

 

Trailhead Playground

 

A Trailhead Playground is a demo Salesforce Org that lets you get to know the platform, make customizations, test new features and code without impacting your production org.

This sandbox version comes with a set of Trailhead-specific data that you can use when completing challenges, however, it has some limits, but for the most part it gives you the same customization options as a production org.

To create your first Trailhead Playground you need to sign into your Trailhead account with your Salesforce account or a linked social account. A Playground will be created by default and linked to your Trailhead account.

To set up a new Trailhead Playground, you will need to click the name of your org and click Create Playground. Then, you will have to give your playground a name, click Create, and setup is finished!

 

How-to-create-Salesforce-Trailhead-Playground

How to Create a Trailhead Playground

 

Salesforce Free Trial

 

To start your free trial, you need to set up an account with Salesforce. It doesn’t require any credit card information and software install. With your free trial, you’ll get an opportunity to use pre-loaded data in the CRM or to upload your own, and leverage pre-configured processes, reports, and dashboards.

As soon as you set up an account with Salesforce, you’ll get guides, how-to articles, and best practices in Sales delivered to your inbox.

The first step in getting your Salesforce account is filling in your first name, last name, and job title.

 

Getting-Started-with-Salesforce-Account

Step 1. – Fill in Your First Name, Last Name, and Job Title

 

On the second step you need to enter your company name, the number of employees, the country your organization operates in, and if you are in the US, you’ll need to fill in state.

 

Getting-Started-with-Salesforce-Account-step-2

Step 2. – Fill in Your Company Name, Number of Employees, and Your Location

 

With the third step you’ll be asked to provide your phone number, email, and to agree to the Master Subscription Agreement.

 

Getting-Started-with-Salesforce-Account-step-3

Step 3. – Fill in Your Phone Number and Email

 

Now it’s time to start using your Salesforce Org! Once you get your trial sandbox version, you will be offered to take an online tour through Salesforce functionality and features. On this journey, you will learn how to plan your pipeline, use Salesforce features to close more deals, use data and reporting tools to sell smarter, and how to customize your org.

 

Start-Your-Salesforce-Journey

Start Your Salesforce Journey Pop-up Window

 

During your online tour you’ll be shown different tabs, objects, and, also, you’ll be asked to complete easy tasks. e.g. to open your Opportunities in a Kanban view or to select All Opportunities.

 

Salesforce-Org-Tour

Sales Cloud Org Online Tour

 

Right after the successful completion of your journey around Salesforce, you can check Salesforce’s top features, start uploading and managing your own data, subscribe to Salesforce, and leave feedback. In addition, you may attend the Getting Started Webinars series to have a complete beginner’s overview of the platform and use an opportunity to ask your burning questions.

Remember that your free trial org is already a pre-configured version where all data is organized. When you purchase your first license, you’ll have to organize, cleanse, import, and migrate your data, configure and customize key features and objects in your Salesforce org on your own or look for expert assistance if your team doesn’t have enough skills, resources, or time.

Final Thoughts

 

After watching a great volume of tutorials, reading tons of educational resources, and having a free trial you may need a reliable source of knowledge to clarify some points and to double-check or prove your ideas.

Moreover, before launching your Salesforce implementation project, you need to be sure that the solution you want to invest in, will align with your business goals and mitigate your pain points.

Salesforce can do many things to enhance your sales, marketing, and customer services activities but it won’t define your vision, inspire your team, and identify your goals and problems instead of you. That’s why you need to be critical and reasonable in setting your expectation of the platform’s capabilities.

Preliminary consulting with professional agencies will ensure whether you are on the right path with your expectations. Also, Salesforce consultants will help to design or to tune your implementation strategy, recommend the best Salesforce solutions, editions, and apps for integration and suggest best practices to prepare for implementation or migration, data import, and management.

 

Together Ascendix and Salesforce can bring more value to your business by combining comprehensive products with implementation and enhancement expertise.

Our Salesforce consultants will assist you in assessing your existing business processes and technology systems, identifying gaps in technical implementation and business usage, discovering key system requirements, and providing the best ideas for Salesforce optimization.

Choose Ascendix your implementation partner to maximize your Salesforce investment and don’t wait another minute to tell us about your challenges!

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