September 24, 2021 Salesforce 0 Comments

How can you learn to use Salesforce for free? Our Top 10 Tips.

If you need to use Salesforce for work or fancy learning how to use the system in your spare time, you’re in luck – there is a wealth of free ways to learn about how to use Salesforce. This blog is aimed at people wanting to be able to use Salesforce practically for their work or home study such as creating records and managing your data in Salesforce – it doesn’t specifically include resources on how to administrate Salesforce (i.e. create fields / change page layouts etc.) although some of the sources offer both types of training.

1. Work out which Salesforce you are using or want to use

Typically users will start out with Salesforce Sales Cloud – that’s the basic product which is really what we think of as ‘the normal Salesforce’. The Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) is what most charities and nonprofits will use. Have a look at our ‘how much does Salesforce cost‘ blog which has a useful overview of the main Salesforce products – try to get familiar with the Salesforce version you’re using or looking to use.

Professional, Enterprise and Unlimited editions of Salesforce include the ability to create a Salesforce Sandbox where you can have a play about by creating records in a test system – most organisations don’t have the ability to create sandboxes with all the data in them so I’d definitely recommend working in the Live system for reports.

There are some good tips on how to navigate Salesforce in this Trailhead article. Whichever version of Salesforce you’re on, you’re likely to find these links helpful in your daily use of Salesforce:

  • This Search in Salesforce video helps you understand how to search for records (if you don’t already use Chatter, I’d ignore those references – now Salesforce has purchased Slack, that’s likely to be the future of collaboration connected to Salesforce).
  • This is a handy 4 minute video showing you how to log a call against a record to create a note of a conversation you’ve had with a contact. To add a note or upload a file to a contact record in Salesforce find the contact and then click the Related tab, scroll to Notes and click New, or use the upload files link to add an attachment to the record.

2. For Salesforce NonProfit Success Pack users visit our Curated YouTube Playlist (skip to the next item if you’re not a charity or nonprofit)

YouTube is a great way to learn Salesforce. There is a lot of content on there so we’ve created a curated YouTube Playlist which includes Highlights from the How to Use Salesforce NPSP series.

Tonica’s Curated YouTube Playlist on the NonProfit Success Pack How-To Series

Our playlist includes the 2 – 3 minute videos created by Salesforce including:

  • how to create contacts and households
  • how to merge contacts
  • how to merge and split households
  • marking default addresses and preferred email and phone
  • managing relationships and affiliations
  • how to use leads
  • how to use Campaigns
  • how to add a donation to a campaign
  • Donation Acknowledgements

Top Tip –> In the Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) if you’d like a contact to belong to it’s own household account create the contact but leave the Account Name blank – Salesforce will automatically create the household account for you. If you’d like a contact to belong to an organisation, then create the Account first and when you create the contact put the organisation name in the Account field.

Other resources for nonprofits –> If you’re responsible for setting up Salesforce for your charity, there is a great article on the SalesforceBen website which is well worth a read: Salesforce for Fundraising: A Complete Guide.

3. Learn how to use Salesforce List Views

Salesforce List Views are incredibly helpful to all Salesforce users. They help you visualise your data in an easy to to use format. In a list view, you can bulk edit certain types of fields, you can bulk email data and you can add contacts to a campaign.

This is the Trailhead Training for List Views.

4. Manage your Opportunities

Opportunities in Salesforce are where you store the items that relate to generating income for your organisation – e.g. sales for commercial businesses and donations/memberships/grants for charities. This is a big topic, there is one video here to give you an introduction to how it works.

Work your Opportunities

This 4 minute How to create a Grant video is also really useful for understanding Opportunities in NPSP.

There are different ways to view your list of Opportunities – table view, split view and Kanban view. Kanban view is popular as it allows you to drag your opportunities as tiles into the next stage, similar to Trello. This is a 3 minute overview video of Kanban view in Salesforce.

5. Integrate Salesforce with Outlook or Gmail

To set up this integration is a bit more advanced than the other items on this list so you may want to talk to your IT team or talk to us about helping you set this up. These videos give you a sense of what can be achieved with integrating to your email.

Integrating Salesforce with Outlook
Connecting Salesforce to Gmail

6. Send List Emails in Salesforce (bulk emails up to 5000 recipients per day)

You can send personalised emails to up to 5000 recipients per day in Salesforce using Send List Emails. Before your first send, please read our blog on ensuring good deliverability for your Salesforce emails. This video is a quick illustration of how List Emails work.

Send List Emails in Salesforce

7. Get started with Reports and Dashboards

This Getting Started with Reports and Dashboards Youtube Playlist (also embedded below) will help you understand Reports and Dashboards.

The quick way to create a Dashboard is to click the Dashboards tab (if you can’t find the tab, search for it in the App Launcher, that’s the 9 dots top left in Salesforce) and click New Dashboard. After you’ve created a new Dashboard, click the Reports tab, click on some reports you find useful and you’ll see in Reports you can add a report to a dashboard. This video is a 5 minute overview of dashboards including a demo.

This is the Trailhead Training for Reports. SalesforceBen also has a great How to Create a Report article with screenshots.

8. Google solutions you want to try but haven’t come across in Training yet

If you are googling how to do something don’t forget to put your version at the end, e.g. ‘how do I add a contact to Salesforce NPSP’ – and to avoid seeing advice for the older ‘Classic’ version of Salesforce it doesn’t hurt to add ‘Lightning’ which is the current version of Salesforce to all your searches.

9. Sign up to Trailhead – Salesforce’s award winning free training

Salesforce Trailhead is a fantastic resource that allows you to actually try out Salesforce techniques in a safe way away from your real organisation. Some of the tasks are reading articles with a multi-choice quiz at the end. Others are much more interesting, you get to try to complete a task in a test Salesforce account and the system allows you to check if you’ve got it right.

Pro Tip: if you’re a LinkedIn user, login to Trailhead with LinkedIn, it makes it quick and simple to login and if you change jobs you don’t need to worry about how your Trailhead points will come with you.

10. Connect to the Salesforce Community

There are a whole host of ways to connect to the Salesforce Community – through Twitter, attending your local Salesforce User Group or through watching the content on Salesforce + which launched at this year’s annual Salesforce conference, Dreamforce.

Salesforce Reception, London

Other Resources for Nonprofits

There is a free module for ‘Outbound Funds’ which you can install for your organisation. This 3 minute video is a good demo: Outbound Funds How-To Series: Create a Funding Program and Funding Request.

Other ways to learn Salesforce for free

SalesforceBen recently published a great article on 10 Free Salesforce Training Resources.

What are your preferred ways of learning Salesforce for free? Let us know which resources you find helpful.