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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Unraveling the mystery about Products , Price Books and Assets

Any technology if its a hot cake is lapped up by job-seekers, people try to subvert the system to get into it.
Why subvert the system when all resources related to current hot-cake salesforce is online and the platform also freely available for developer to use and develop and acquire skills.
I believe in equal opportunity in its true sense , hence I keep blogging at regular intervals so that I may contribute in my very minuscule way in  making information available freely to all concerned.
Leaving behind the small talk lets concentrate on something which forms the very backbone of all business entities- Products.
In context of salesforce - Product is a pivotal piece in its implementation -popularly called the "Sales Cloud"
So what do products signify in slaesforce?

Product is some service or items that as an organization one may sell to people who may need them.
You may think that's fine , but are is there more to products - are they all same?
Do they have any categorization?
Are they grouped or categorized in any way?
Talking of classification or categorization - a term which rings a bell is "Product Family"
Now what is Product Family?
Say there is a home appliance manufacturer, they might make different types of appliances like:-
i. Kitchen appliances
ii. Bathroom appliances
You realize that products can be grouped into different categories based on some common characteristics- such a grouping is called "Product Family" in salesforce.
Generally whenever you shop online you try to find the Product list with the associated prices- such an compilation of products along with the associated prices is called a Price-book
Each Product -with its associated  Price is a Price-Book Entry or in short a price-book is a collection of PriceBook Entries
Every organization has at least one "Standard Price Book" which is the master list of all products with their associated standard price.

Now the question can we have price books which contain the selling price or also called the list price? Yes we can have more than one custom price books  each catering to a different market. For ex. most books have a cheaper Indian editions with economical prices and a International edition with prices at par with international market. So in this case one can create a Domestic Pricebook and an Overseas Pricebook .
P.S. Every product is always present in the standard pricebook and in one or more than one custom pricebook. Also an opportunity can contain only one pricebook.

Many times you might have created too many pricebooks and dont want to use them anymore , then what does one do ? You cant delete pricebooks with associated records. You can Archive them, but once archived but once archived they cannot be restored.

Organization wide / default Access on Pricebooks
1. Use Access - With this access all users of org can view pricebook and can add Price Books and products in price book to an opportunity
2. View Only- With this access all Users can view and report on Price book but not add them to opportunity. So in order people to add price book to opportunity you need to give people /users edit access to opportunity and give "use" access to the pricebooks you want them to use.
3. No Access- Users cannot see or add pricebooks to opportunity. We use this access when we want only specific users to use and view the pricebooks and the people whom you want to use pricebooks grant them "use" access if you want them to add pricebooks to opportunity or give "View only" access if you want them to view and report on pricebooks.
Another important aspect of Products is Scheduling. Its of 2 types :-
1. Revenue
2. Quantity

Enabling schedule from the Setup / Customize / Products/ Schedule Setup (refer to screenshot for clarity)

Enabling schedule adds a scheduling section to the Product page layout. More on Scheduling in later posts.
Enabling schedules also enables users to create reports on for tracking shipments, deliveries and payments using the report type Opportunity with products and schedules.

A product which is purchased by the customer is tracked in Asset. It may be a product purchased from you or your competitor - it may hold information about:-
1. Serial number
2. Expiration date
3. If it is competitor asset or not
Also asset can be tracked from Account, Contact and Product by adding it as a related list to these objects' layouts.
Also one can add a lookup to asset in cases and a case can be created linked to the asset purchased by the customer which will help the support and service folks.

Some questions about Products:-
1. Many times one faces queries like how do I add a check on restricting selection of a particular Pricebook for a particular profile or record type of opportunity?
Answer- You have to add validation rules at the Opportunity Product level and in case if its too complex one may have to write the validation rule logic in a trigger on Opportunity Product.
2. Can i add more that one pricebook to am opportunity?
Answer - No
3.How do I load data related to Products , Pricebooks , etc.?
Now that requires a dedicated post - may be next post will dwell on that.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Lead Status field and the common queries which may bother you!!

Lead Status
Lead Status field the common pitfalls / concerns

Lead represents a Prospect or potential Opportunity.The field named "LeadStatus" (API name) indicates the state of the lead in the pre-sales process of turning a lead into an opportunity. Some default values for the Lead Status field include Open, Contacted, and Qualified.
Some of the things which need to be taken care of w.r.t. leads and Lead Status field in particular:-
I. Do we need to assign at least one picklist value in status field as Converted ? Yes , at least one of the picklist values in this field has to be marked as "Converted". 
One may ask you -How are converted lead status values setup?

How to set converted leads status values?
To set the values available for the "converted status" field on the convert page layout do the following:
1. Click on:
Setup | App Setup | Customize | Leads | Fields | Lead Status2. Click "Edit" next to a value3. Select the "converted" checkbox if you would like it to be an available value during lead conversion (NOTE: you can have more than one converted status value)

II. Can we have more than one picklist value as "converted"? 
Yes more than one field can be related to / or assigned as "Converted" picklist value.
III. Many times a user may find the presence of the picklist value confusing? 
They may ask the picklist value to be re-christened or renamed. Yes you can remove , rename picklist values assigned as "Converted" , only catch is atleast one picklist value has to be there which assigned as "Converted"
IV. How to remove converted status off lead status value?
In order to make a value no longer have a converted status you should click edit beside the value and uncheck the converted checkbox

V.  Many times while converting a Lead we come across errors , what causes them?
More often these error are caused due to presence of Mandatory fields on objects whose records are created as a result of conversion like Account, Contact, Opportunity, Task, etc. In case say you have created a custom mandatory field on Account, then lead conversion will give error if you do not map a mandatory field from lead onto the newly created mandatory field on account. 
VI. If we have multiple values corresponding to "Converted Status" how  is converted status values derived when a lead is converted?
If record types are not being used in Leads, all of the existing converted status values will be displayed on the lead convert page.  But , if record types are being utilized, the values displayed on the lead convert page are taken from the values available on the default record type of the profile assigned to the user who is triggering the lead conversion, and not from the converted status values that are setup on a lead record type / lead process that is assigned to the lead being converted.
Lead  is accorded special attributes and status like Opportunity and Task because of many native or in-built salesforce features / functionality running off them, hence lot of caution and thinking should be invested while customizing or changing the basic characteristics of this functionality.