13 Lessons Salesforce Taught Us


Salesforce is so robust it’s impossible to master all of its capabilities right away. We asked our in-house experts to think back to the early days of their Salesforce consulting careers to share some advice based on lessons learned the hard way.

  1. Be diligent about keeping track of the changes you are going to push to production. Putting together a change set can be time-consuming and frustrating, especially if you’re trying to piece together each component because you didn’t document it well.
  2. Overestimate the time it will take to train users. They will need a lot of practice and frequent reminders on how to use the new functionality.
  3. Always include descriptions of any new change you make (i.e. fields, email templates, validation rules). After some time you tend to forget why things may have gotten added and who asked for it. With a description, you can easily see the details and don’t have to spend time trying to figure it out.
  4. Clean data is key. It’s easy for data to get really messy really quickly. It’s always a good idea to activate duplicate prevention tools and enforce cleanliness through validation rules where it matters.
  5. Don’t forget to include profile settings when deploying if using a change set (once customizations are tested in sandbox and ready to deploy). This will save time updating Field Level Security once deployed to production.
  6. Make sure to test your work thoroughly once it’s completed. It takes additional time but will save you and your clients from lots of headaches and aggravation down the road.
  7. Before doing a data load, make sure you check all workflow rules, validation rules, etc.  The last thing you want after doing a big data project is for your data load to run into errors, contacts to be emailed or updates to be made inadvertently to records.
  8. Make sure the most recent changes are active before testing while working with Flows/Process Builder.
  9. When developing in an older sandbox (>4months) compare validation rules when looking at test classes to make sure coverage will pass during deployment. It will save time when it is time for actual deployment.
  10. Beware the usage of “&” and “-” in text fields when working with formulas (Buttons/Apex/Formula Fields/etc) as they can be interpreted differently from expected.
  11. Utilize custom settings to store the parameter, such as API keys. This enables efficient access without the cost of repeated queries to the database.
  12. Always back up the existing data before doing any mass data updates. Add your old value columns next to the new, updated value columns, so that after your data updates, your success log has both values side-by-side for quick fixes and record keeping.
  13. If you’re using Process Builder and plan to use a value on a related object in your criteria OR in a field update, be sure to include a null statement as the first line in your criteria.  ‘Lookup Field is null boolean false’ will save you from the single most common error when using Process Builder: the infamous ‘value has not been set or assigned.’

What do you wish you’d known before you started working with Salesforce?