Easy Tips to Expand the Power of Workflow Automation

photo by ralphbijker on Flickr

Workflow Rules and Automation from Approval Processes are very valuable tools in Salesforce. If any of you were at Dreamforce 2012 this year, you will have seen and/or heard session titles such as “Cross-Object Workflows, OH! The possibilities!”

This particular article surrounds two simple field updates that can greatly aid your Business Processes and efficacy within Salesforce. These two field updates are to the Record Type and the Name fields. While they may seem random or useless, I assure you that they most definitely are not and will discuss their use cases below.

Record Type

Updating the Record Type field is often used at the end of Approval processes. For example, say that you use the Quotes object in Salesforce. You have a Quote Approval Process and afterward, your Sales Reps send it out in a PDF form right from your Salesforce screen, all of which is standard out-of-the-box functionality.

However, you have been finding that many people are sending the Quotes before the information can be vetted in your Approval Process. Your clients and prospects are receiving bad data and too many discounts, among other things. Whoops…

An easy fix is to have two Record Types and two Page Layouts. One Record Type and Page Layout is used before a Quote is approved and the other set is used after it has been approved. This allows you to hide the “Create PDF” and “Email Quote” buttons before and during the Approval Process and to show them afterward, keeping your reps from sending out quotes prematurely.


Updating the Name field using Workflow Rules and Field Updates can be used to implement auto naming conventions within your business. So if you typically name your Opportunities “[Account] – [Open Date] – [Owner]” or even some sort of tag line like “Don’t be Lazy! Sell this Opportunity for [Account]” – you can do so with a field update to the Name.

You should be aware of the fact that Workflow Rules fire on “Save.” This means that when you create a new record, you will encounter a blank Name field and not one that is pre-populated with your innovative tag line.

Also, sigh, the Name field is required by Salesforce. So your users will need to input something as simple as “1” or “Name” or “Blah” and after they save their record, the new name of “Don’t be Lazy! Sell this Opportunity for [Account]” will appear in place of the dummy text.

Due to this slight inconvenience, this Field Update is used as a workaround in place of developing code to write an Apex Class or Trigger to accommodate naming conventions. However, it is still a great and cost effective tool as writing code can be a time consuming and expensive project.

These two Field Updates can be used in Workflow Rules to make your experience with Salesforce more efficient and more user-friendly!