Introduction to Salesforce

Salesforce is a cloud-based platform designed to help businesses sell, service, market, analyse and connect with their customers. It has standard features in the form of apps, which facilitate cloud storage, automation and communication. Beyond standard functionality, the platform itself can be customised to meet individual business needs.

At its core, Salesforce is a CRM. Customer Relationship Management. This is technology designed to optimise the sales and support processes among other things. It can directly grow sales and improve the customer experience. Hence the name salesforce. In Salesforce the CRM is standard functionality.

Salesforce has a lot to do with data and how its stored. To understand how data is organised there are three key terms:

  • Object. Analogous to a spreadsheet. Refer to a particular type of data such as contacts or events.
  • Record. Analogous to a row in a spreadsheet. Individual instances of an object. For example the person who is saved as a contact.
  • Field. Analogous to a column in a spreadsheet. Fields are associated with an object and serve to store bits of information about records, such as the phone number of a contact record.

Standard functionality includes a suite of common objects with predefined fields; optimised and ready to add records to. To name a few:

  • Accounts. The companies you’re doing business with. Can also be “person” accounts for solo traders.
  • Contacts. People who work at accounts. This is a good example of two objects being related.
  • Leads. Potential prospects, someone you might contact to see if they’re interested in buying something from you.
  • Opportunities. Qualified leads that have been converted into… well, an opportunity. Qualifying a lead creates an account and contact.

The Salesforce platform is what allows you to build your own objects, relationships and automations. Every business is different but most “things” have certain qualities, occur in different instances and are related with other things. This is why the objects, fields, records and relationships model can be applied well across all businesses.

Lightning is basically a modern user interface designed to be used more efficiently. It’s particularly useful for Sales reps.

Salesforce1 is a mobile app which allows most of the same functionality on-the-go.

-Based on Salesforce Trailheads-


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