Posts by Brian Heys

Photograph Maker, Horse Rider, Lifelong Learner. Often overdressed.

Summer ’18 Maintenance on Trailhead

A step in the right direction?


Summer ’18 Release Maintenance is now on Trailhead for the following certifications:

I completed all three modules this weekend, and I personally think moving the process of certification maintenance to Trailhead from WebAssessor makes perfect sense.

However, Trailhead cert maintenance is definitely more time consuming than the old way. The WebAssessor maintenance exams were unproctored, so it was very easy to consult the release notes or Google something you weren’t sure of. On Trailhead, in addition to answering multiple-choice questions, you’re also quite likely to face a hands-on challenge testing your knowledge of new functionality – and you must complete this in order to maintain your credentials.

The Platform App Builder module in the Summer ’18 Release contains a hands-on challenge. If you know what you’re doing and are confident with Visual Workflow, you won’t find it difficult, but it will take you at least 30-45 minutes to complete.

Some people will find this a nuisance, but I think it’s a step in the right direction. Instead of just winging the maintenance exams, it forces us all to really take note of the new functionality – which should ultimately benefit our clients.

Photo by Holly Mandarich on Unsplash.

Salesforce Certified Service Cloud Consultant Exam Tips

How to pass your Salesforce Certified Service Cloud Consultant Exam.


I’ve been putting off sitting the Salesforce Certified Service Cloud Consultant exam for a long time, and given that I work on Service Cloud implementations for a living, this is a long overdue cert for me.

Over the years I have developed a phobia of Salesforce exams. Something always seems to go wrong: Internet connectivity issues, the window cleaner paying a visit, or one of the cats jumping onto the table (not good during a proctored exam).

Thankfully, this is one of the best Salesforce exams I have done to date. It focuses much more on industry knowledge and consulting experience instead of the ability to remember every nut and bolt involved in configuration. (Which you could just Google in a real-life work situation.)

First step: figure out where you lack knowledge/expertise

Your first move should be to download the official study guide from the Salesforce Certification Website. It’s the same format as all the other study guides, including Salesforce Certified Salesforce Administrator, which is a prerequisite to this exam.

The study guide sections look like this. No surprises here:

Screen Shot 2018-07-20 at 15.16.34

It’s vital that you spend some time reading the sections, because they really do give a good indication of what will crop up in the exam. Put in the time to brush up on the areas you are weakest in, and remember to focus on industry knowledge and your general experience of IT implementations rather than trying to memorise the order in which you need to configure stuff.

Trailhead is your best friend

There are some great Trails and Trailmixes on Trailhead. Some of the puns and jokes can be slightly irritating after you’ve got several dozen badges under your belt, but this really is a fantastic resource that’s free. You should definitely leverage it. I found the following particularly helpful:

Knowledge of the Service Industry

It’s very important to know about Knowledge Centred Service (KCS) and industry terminology such as ACD, Adherence, AHT, ANI, Call Deflection, CTI, DNIS, First Call Resolution, IVR, PBX, Predictive Dialler, etc. These links should help:

Don’t underestimate the importance of this. The exam does use quite a bit of contact centre jargon and if you don’t understand the question being asked you are at an immediate disadvantage!

You don’t need to know how to configure a PBX or Predictive Dialler – you just need to know what one is and what it is typically used for.

A word of warning on mock exams

I say this every time I write an exam tips post, but please do be wary about relying too heavily on mock exams. I have done these in the past and found some of them far too easy (making me overconfident), and others inaccurate (blatantly wrong answers).

Don’t try to memorise questions and answers – putting in the effort to understand the material and content of the exam will pay off.

Be confident in your knowledge

The reason I delayed sitting this exam for months was because as a Solution Architect I’m not doing hands-on declarative configuration every day, and I was worried that I might not know enough of the technical ins-and-outs of things like Omni-Channel or SnapIns.

This exam does not require a detailed ‘under-the-hood’ knowledge of how to configure Service Cloud. It is much more about consultative skills, industry expertise (service industry and IT industry), and experience of thinking through typical business scenarios.

The sample questions in the study guide are a really good example of what to expect. If you answered those correctly first time, and have invested a decent amount of study  into the Trailhead links above, you are probably ready for this exam.

Good luck!

Did this post help you prepare for the exam?

If these tips helped you prepare for the Salesforce Certified Service Cloud Consultant exam, please leave a comment and/or share with your Salesforce Ohana!

Image credit: photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash.

Difference Between Profiles, Roles and Permission Sets in Salesforce

A quick guide to the key differences between Profiles, Roles and Permission Sets in the Salesforce security model.


If you are new to Salesforce, or perhaps haven’t worked with the different tools available in the security model for a while, this handy little guide should give you a steer on whether or not you should be considering using Profiles, Roles or Permission Sets as part of your solution.


Once basic access settings have been configured in your Organisation Wide Defaults, Profiles determine a user’s most basic level of access to objects, and therefore users can’t be created in Salesforce without being allocated a Profile. Remember, you can’t use Profiles to revoke access already granted via Organisation Wide Defaults – you  can only grant additional access.

Here is a partial list of what you can control access to using Profiles:

  • Page Layouts
  • Fields
  • Apps
  • Tabs
  • Record Types
  • Admin Permissions (such as being able to manage users or author Apex)
  • General Permissions (such as being able to send emails or convert Leads)

(To see the full list, just log into your Org as a System Administrator and edit a Profile.)


Roles are different to Profiles, and are used to control access to records rather than objects or fields. These are commonly used to implement a Role Hierarchy whereby for example individual sales reps cannot see each other’s opportunity records, but their manager has a view of all their opportunities.

(See this comprehensive post about Salesforce record security for more information on Roles and Role Hierarchy.)

Permission Sets

Permission Sets are more like Profiles, in the sense that they can control the access a user has to specific objects and fields. Remember, you can’t use Permission Sets to revoke access already granted via Organisation Wide Defaults or Profiles – you can only grant additional access.

Here is a partial list of what you can control access to using Permission Sets:

  • Objects & Fields
  • Apps
  • Visualforce Pages
  • External Data Sources

(To see the full list, just log into your Org as a System Administrator and edit a Profile.)

Need more information?

I hope this post has been useful as a quick overview. The security model is a bit more complicated than this and offers even more features such as Sharing Rules, which I haven’t covered here. As always, your first port of call for more information should be the official Salesforce documentation or Trailhead.

Control Who Sees What – Salesforce Help
Data Security – Salesforce Trailhead

Photo by MILKOVÍ on Unsplash

Salesforce Certified Platform App Builder Exam Tips

How to pass your Salesforce Platform App Builder exam.


I finally got around to sitting the Salesforce Certified Platform App Builder exam. I have previously said that the Salesforce Certified Administrator exam was one of the toughest I’ve taken, but I will now add that the App Builder exam comes a close second.

Having the Administrator and Sales Cloud Consultant certs under my belt, together with lots of practical Salesforce implementation experience, I felt confident going into this exam and expected it to be a breeze. I was completely taken by surprise. There was a lot of ground covered, and while the breadth wasn’t as wide as the Administrator exam, the App Builder questions did go into a lot of detail, so you need to have experience and will also need to revise in order to pass.

First step: find your weak spots

As always, the best approach is to start with the official study guide from the Salesforce Certification Website. This study guide contains the familiar exam outline, which breaks down the exam into sections like this one:


It is very important that you look at each of these sections and spend some time honestly trying to work out where your strengths and weaknesses are. Don’t make the mistake of telling yourself you already know this stuff. This is a tricky exam and you will need to put in some study in order to pass it.

As usual, methodically work your way through the exam outline, highlighting sections where your knowledge is limited or perhaps out-of-date. Scoring yourself out of ten for each item is a good strategy, as it will reveal where you need to focus your study/revision. Being totally honest with yourself is crucial!

As with all Salesforce exams, each section is weighted according to its importance, and so the higher weighted sections will have correspondingly more questions in the exam.

Make use of Trailhead

Trailhead is a brilliant learning resource, and we are lucky to have it. There is a complete Trailmix for the App Builder credential, which you can use to improve on your weak areas. Don’t just spend time reading or scrolling through the material – invest some time in doing the exercises too. It will pay off.

Of particular importance are trails that have been updated to cover Lightning Experience. When I did my Administrator exam, Lightning was only just starting to creep into Trailhead, but now it’s everywhere, and lots of content has been revised accordingly. The App Builder exam is very heavy on Lightning, so you will need to know it well.

Many of my questions were around Business Logic and Process Automation, which is understandable considering it’s weighting of 27% in the exam. These questions covered things like Record Types, Roll-up Summary Fields, Approval Processes, Process Builder, Visual Workflow and Workflow Rules/Actions. You absolutely need to know the differences between these.

There were also lots of questions around User Interface, with a particular focus on the Salesforce Mobile App, Quick Actions, and the Lightning App Builder.

Salesforce Connect was an area I wasn’t particularly familiar with, but I’m glad I took the time to study/revise it. It featured quite heavily in the exam I sat, and there were several questions around the types of relationships that apply to external objects.

The capabilities/uses of the different types of sandboxes also featured quite heavily.

Beware of mock exams!

Once again, be very careful about judging your readiness by some of the mock exams that are available. I think this is very important, as some of them will lead you into thinking you’ve got it nailed when in reality you may not quite be there.

There are some good mock exams and some bad ones that include wrong answers! Universally, I have found they are all way too easy. The questions you will face on the actual exam are much more in-depth and will require a lot more thinking through.

So, use mock exams with caution!

Be confident and try to ‘feel’ when you are ready

I don’t know if you’re the same as me, but I get a kind of instinctive feel when I know I’ve done enough study. I suddenly get a surge of confidence and am keen to just sit down and get through the exam as soon as possible.

In order to get there, I make sure I put in the hours of working through the study guide, evaluating my strengths and weaknesses, and focusing my learning where I’m weakest. If you take the same approach, you should pass this exam.

As usual, I had a problem mid-way through, which seems to be traditional for me! The WebAssessor site seemed to go down and I was faced with an HTTP/500 error that wouldn’t go away. If something like this happens to you, don’t panic … just click the little Help icon and wait for someone to come to you. Worst case, they will be able to suspend and immediately reschedule the exam for you, and you can just pick up with the questions where you left off.

I don’t think there’s a lot more I can add here except to wish you luck.

If I can do it, so can you!

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Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Assign a Lead in Salesforce based on existing Contact Owner

Lead Assignment Rules in Salesforce are useful, but fairly limited. For example, one of the things you can’t do is assign a new Lead to the same owner of an existing Contact in Salesforce.

Why might you want to do this? Well, let’s say your business uses Web-to-Lead functionality where customers/prospects fill in an enquiry form on the website and their enquiry automatically gets created as a new Lead in Salesforce. What happens if that customer has bought from your business before, and dealt with a specific sales person? You might want the customer’s repeat business to be automatically assigned to the same rep.

Lead Assignment Rules don’t allow this kind of Named Account/Contact assignment, even though apparently themselves operate such a named account policy in their sales organisation.

In the Salesforce Trailblazer Community, lots of people ask how to assign Leads to appropriate Account/Contact owners (as in this post), and there are a few apps in the Salesforce AppExchange that provide the functionality at a price.

Here’s a way to implement a simple version using Process Builder and Visual Workflow. It uses just four elements in a Flow which searches existing Contacts for an email address, and a simple Process that fires when a new Lead is created. This works for existing Contacts, but it would be easy to extend to existing Accounts if you need to.

Create the Flow

The Flow we are going to create uses just four elements: an sObject Variable that contains the Lead that gets passed in from Process Builder, a Record Lookup to search existing Contacts for the Lead’s email address, a Variable to store the found Contact’s OwnerID, and a Record Update to save the Contact’s OwnerID to the Lead.

In this blog post I’ve name the Flow ‘Search Contacts for Email Address’.


Use the Resources Tab in Flow Designer to create an sObject Variable. This will be used by Process Builder to pass the Lead record to the Flow when a new Lead is created.


Use the Resource Tab in Flow Designer to create a Variable. This will be used by the flow to store the OwnerID from an existing Contact.


From the Palette Tab in Flow Designer, drag a new Record Lookup element onto the Canvas. This will be used to search for any existing Contact that has the same email address as the new Lead, and obtain the Contact’s Owner ID. This Element needs to be set as the Start Element in the Flow.


From the Palette Tab in Flow Designer, drag a new Record Update element onto the Canvas. This will be used to save the Contact Owner ID back to the new Lead record.


That’s it in terms of Visual Workflow configuration. Make sure you activate the new Flow so you can see it in Process Builder in the next step.

Create a Process

In Process Builder, create a new Process that starts when a record changes. In this blog post I’ve named the Process ‘Assign Lead Owner’.


Choose the Lead object as the object for which you wish to start the Process, and specify to start the Process only when a record is created.


Define criteria for a new Action Group, and set the condition so that the Action Group is only executed if the Email Address on the new Lead record is not null.


Finally, configure the Action Group to launch the Flow you created earlier in this blog post, and set the Flow sObject Variable ‘NewlyCreatedLead’ to Lead. If you correctly setup the Flow in the previous steps in this blog post (and activated it), everything should be selectable from within Process Builder.


Remember to activate the new Process.

Now, whenever a new Lead record is created in Salesforce, a check will be carried out to see if there is a matching Contact with the same email address. If there is, the new Lead will be assigned to the Owner of the existing Contact. Otherwise, the new Lead will be assigned to the user creating the Lead.

Limitations of this solution

This isn’t a perfect solution. One of the limitations is that the Owner of the original Contact could have moved on, and is no longer an Active User in Salesforce.

Another limitation is the fact that the Lead must have an email address matching an existing contact. A more flexible solution might be to attempt a match a Lead’s Email domain against the Website domain on an Account, which could enable any new Leads for an existing Account to be assigned to the Owner of the Account.

Has this helped you?

I hope this post has been useful. If it has helped you, please share the love with your Salesforce Ohana and leave a comment and/or share this post!