Salesforce gives users the ability to automate an approval process by building it inside the Salesforce organization. Read this article to learn the out of the box functionality for Approval Process in Salesforce and decide if it works for you and your team.
Why Salesforce Approval Process
Salespeople quite often face the need to confirm their transactions at in-house departments (for example: legal, accounting).
Usually, it involves quite many emails to different people, then you need to make sure it is confirmed.
No secret that this process may take quite some time.
That is why Salesforce developed a built-in approval process that you can use to automate approval getting.
Once set up, you can request approval by a click of a button.
Steps to Set up Approval Process in Salesforce
Our Salesforce Consultant Chris Petersen recorded a detailed video to show how to set up an approval process for Deal in AscendixRE CRM, a version of Salesforce for the commercial real estate industry.
Note, that this process is similar to all Salesforce instances as well so keep reading if you wish to learn about the Salesforce approval process set up.
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Step 1. Decide who is an Approver in your process and set up a Queue.
Approver can be an individual – fixed user, or a team of people. A queue is basically a name of that group and individuals that belong to that group.
👉 Learn more about a Queue in Salesforce
In our example, we’re going to set up the Leasing department heads and Legal Team queues. To do that:
Step 1. Go to Setup > Quick find box > start entering Queue. Select Queues and click new
Select Queue from Setup
Step 2. Add the Queue Label, choose if you wish Salesforce to send emails when new records are added to the Queue
Define Queue Name and Email Address
Step 3. Decide what objects the Queue should apply to.
Set Queue Supported Objects
Step 4. Add Queue members (one or multiple users) and Save.
Add members to the Queue
Step 5. Repeat Step 1 to create the Leasing department heads Queue
Step 2. Set up an Email Notification.
An email notification will inform an Approver or Approvers that some record needs his/her or their attention.
To set up an email notification you should have an email template.
In our example we will create a basic text approval that will be used to notify about every Deal on the negotiation stage that requires approval from the recipient:
Step 1. From Setup enter Classic email in Quick find box > select Classic Email Templates > New
Find Classic Email Templates from Setup
Step 2. Select Text type > Next.
Choose Type of the Email Template
Step 3. Select a folder to store your template and check Available For Use.
Step 4. Enter a name, description and a subject of your template and the text of your message.
Step 5. Click Save to save your email template.
Email Template basic Information
Note that you can add the merge fields in the email body.
In our example, we added the links to a Deal record so an Approver can quickly review the Deal.
👉 Learn more about Classic Email Templates in Salesforce
Approval Process Setup
Step 3. Setting up an Approval Process.
Now we’re going to set up an Approval Process so that our Leasing department heads and a Legal Team can review and confirm a Deal.
To set it up you need to:
Step 1. Go to Setup > start entering Approval in Quick find box > select Approval Processes
Step 2. Select an Object your Approval Process is going to be applied to
Step 3. Create New Approval Process > Use Standard Setup Wizard
Starting New Approval Process
Step 4. Name your Approval Process and Add a Description, then click Next
Adding Name and Description for Approval Process
Step 5. Define if records, triggered by your process should meet any specific criteria, then click Next
Criteria for records which should be used by Approval Process
In our example, we have selected Deal from Manage Approval Process drop-down list. Also on Specify Entry Criteria Step, we defined that Deal Sales Stage should be equal Negotiation, which means that this Dealsheet Approval Process will run when a Deal will go to Negotiation Sale Stage.
Step 6. Choose an Automated Approver and record editability properties > Next
Set up an Automated Approver and a Record Editability Properties
Automated Approver is a person whom an automated approval routing will be directed to.
This can be either the user’s manager or the record owner’s manager.
In this example, we left this field blank, which means that a user will need to define the Approver manually.
Also, you can specify record editability properties – by setting it for Administrators only or Administrators and assigned Approvers.
We left this for Administrators only.
👉 Learn more about Automated Approvals here
Step 7. Select an approval notification template: email, or post or both and click Next.
Email Notification Template
Step 8. Choose fields to be displayed for Approver on the Approval Page layout.
Step 9. Decide, display or not the approval history information.
Step 10. Define Security Settings.
Approver Page Layout, Approval History and Security Settings
Step 11. Select whom to allow to submit the initial request for approval.
Step 12. Define the Page Layout and Approval Recall Settings > Save.
Select the Submitters, Define Page Layout and Approval Recall Settings
We’ve selected Approval Email Template, which was created on Step 2.
Now it’s time to add an Approval Step to an Approval Process. Approval Steps define a sequence of approvals for a process.
👉 Here you can learn more about Approval Process Steps in Salesforce.
To add an Approval Step, you should:
Step 1. Select Approval Process from the list of Processes > Approval Steps > New Approval Step
Step 2. Add Name, Description, Define Step Number > Next
Name, Description, Number of Approval Process Step
Step 3. Set the records entry criteria for this particular step and click Next
Specify Records Entry Criteria for Approval Process Step
You can choose either all records or records that match certain criteria and define such criteria.
In our example, we’ve selected All records should enter this step option.
Step 4. Define a user, or a group, who should approve records that entered this step > Save
Select Approver(s) for Approval Process Step
You can choose either to let the submitter define the Approver manually or assign to a single Queue or select multiple Approvers (Users, Queues or Related Users) for this option.
In our example, we have assigned our Queues created on Step 1 as Approvers on the first step (used Add Row option to select a second Queue).
Also, for multiple Approvers either Approve or Reject based on the First response or Require Unanimous approval options are available. First means that the first response defines if the record is approved or rejected.
In our example we have required unanimous approval, which means that the record approval will be successful only if everyone approves it. If any rejection received for the record – approval request is rejected.
👉 Find out more about assigned Approvers for an Approval Step.
Next you can set Automated Actions to an Approval Process steps, initial submission, final approval, final rejection, or recall.
In our example we have left Initial Submission Actions, Final Approval, Final Rejection and Recall Actions as they were defined, locked or unlocked for editing, when record is approved or rejected.
Actions for Approval Process
Step 4. Activate the process.
Approval Process Activation
Step 5. Check the result.
Finally, we can get back to the Deal record, and check, if the process works as defined. To do that:
- App Launcher > AscendixRE > Go to Deals from Navigation Bar
- Click on any Deal record > Select Submit for Approval
Deal record Submitting for Approval
In our example we have selected Deal from a Tour stage. After entering comments, we have received an error message saying that no applicable process was found (as our Approval Process trigger Deals from Negotiation Sales Stage). Let’s repeat previous steps but before – change Deal Sales Stage to Negotiation.
Deal record on Negotiation Sales Stage Submitting for Approval
The first thing that happened here – process added the related records to Approval History. Approval History captures the submitter, his/her comments and the Approvers, whom it’s assigned to.
One more thing there – if a record has Notes and Attachments – an Approver won’t be able to see it through the approval form; he/she will need to go to the Deal record to check the Attachments there.
Related Records for Approval
Now let’s check an email notification – the one which Approvers receive when there’s something for them to approve.
Email Notification for Approver
The first link in the Email notification brings Approvers directly to the actual Deal record, but the actual Deal record will not allow approving or rejecting.
So, the best way here is if they click one of these other links to view the actual records for approval.
Additionally you can check the Considerations for Email Approval Response to learn more about approve or reject through email options.
On the approval record Approver can see fields which represent a Deal on a high-level. These are fields which we defined during Step 3 – Setting up an Approval Process. From this record an Approver can Approve or Reject a Deal and leave a comment.
Comments on a Deal Approval Record
You can check changes on a Deal Record Related Page.
Changes on a Deal record after Approver resolution
I hope now you know how to set up an approval process for your company.
Still have questions on the Salesforce approvals? Feel free to contact us or leave your questions in the comments section below.
About Ascendix Technologies
If you haven’t heard about Ascendix Technologies yet, we are a CRM consulting company founded back in 1996. We offer complete Salesforce consulting services, including custom app development and administration of your Org.
We help companies from any industry implement, customize and love Salesforce. If you are not sure that Salesforce is the right fit for you, contact us and we’ll discuss options as we have worked with no less than ten different CRM platforms.