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Six easy ways to optimize Salesforce for your nonprofit

Merriam Webster defines Optimization as an act, process, or methodology of making something as fully perfect, functional, or effective as possible.

I don’t know of any CRM system that is perfect but we should always strive to make our system as fully functional and effective as possible. Here are six things that you can do optimize your Salesforce system to help make the system more functional and effective.

1. Update your page layouts

One of the most frustrating things for users is when they have to scroll through data that they don’t need just to get to the data they need. Making a few simple changes to page layouts can make a big difference to your users.

Review each of your page layouts. Are the fields that are most commonly viewed/updated at the top? Are the fields grouped in appropriate sections so they can be collapsed? Are there fields that are no longer relevant that should be removed?

Here is a quick example of a before


And after…Phone, Email and Mailing Address information were grouped into section. Fields that are no longer used (Recognition Levels, Fax, Other Phone) were removed or moved from the top of the page making the page layout cleaner and easier to read.


Consider different page layouts for the different profiles in your organization. Even if all your users have the same security level, you may want to consider using profiles and having different page layouts for each profile. For example, your fund development team may want to see giving information first and foremost while a program manager will want to see how the person is involved in programs first.


2. Update list views

Review the use of list views and coach users on how to use them. Are you using views to get the lists you need? Do your views show the fields that you want to see?

List views can make it easy for your users to get to the data they need. Inline editing is supported if the view contain records of the same record type and if you have enabled inline editing and enhanced lists. With inline editing, views can also speed up data entry when making the same change to multiple records.

Here’s an example of updating your board members. We have a list view called Board Members. Walt Disney and Donald Duck are moving off the board so we will use a list view with inline editing to quickly make the changes.

Using the Board Members view to show your board members, check the box next to Walt and Donald. Click on the pencil edit icon.

You will be given the option to enter a value and have it applied to the one record clicked or all the selected records.


Multiple records have changed with just a few clicks.


3. Reports

Reports are so critical. Do your users have the reports that they need? Are they editing a report every month to get exactly what they want? Are they exporting report data and making changes? Could changing the report or creating a new report avoid this step? Spend time talking to key users and walking through their important reports to understand where improvements could be made.

Have your report folders become out of control? Set up a report about your reports to see when reports were created and last run. Create a folder called “Soon to be Obsolete” and move old reports into that folder. After an appropriate period of time, you can delete these reports. For more tips on removing old reports, see Mike Gerholdt’s post on Simplifying your Salesforce Reports.

Do you have all your reports in one folder? Are your report folders well named? Make it easy for your users to find reports by categorizing reports into folders that have a descriptive name.


4. Dashboards

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Dashboards are a great way to get a quick view of what is happening. Are you using dashboards? Are your users seeing the dashboard that is most relevant on their home page? Do they know of all the dashboards that are available? Users can customize their home page to select the dashboard that they want to show by clicking on “Customize Page” in the Dashboard section of the home page.


5. Custom links

Do your users have reports or websites that they frequently access? Consider adding a custom link to the sidebar navigation.


6. Customize tabs and apps

Review the tabs and apps that are visible for each profile. Are there tabs that no one is using or tabs that only certain profiles need to access? Consider setting up an app to define the tabs needed for specific profiles. For example, you might have an intern who will be helping to update contact and account information and assisting in creating reports. The Intern app might look like this:

Users can also customize which tabs they see without going through an administrator.

The best way to help your users is get their feedback. If you can sit with them for just a few minutes to watch them use Salesforce you may see where you can make a few small changes that will make the system more efficient for your end users.

Looking to take your Salesforce system to the next level? Contact us to find out how we can help.