3 Common Pain Points FinancialForce PSA Solves

Managing projects and resources from start to finish is no easy feat. In many companies, departments are working in siloes or entering data into disconnected spreadsheets and solutions, and business leaders don’t know the best way to fix these issues. 

Our clients are often looking for scalable solutions that address these challenges and assist with current or forecasted growth in their professional services departments. The 3 most common pain points we hear about are inefficient project handoff, poor resource management, and revenue leakage from unbilled or underbilled services and products. 

How can FinancialForce PSA help you overcome these challenges? In today’s blog, we’re covering how adding FinancialForce to your Salesforce platform can alleviate these pain points in your business. 

1. FinancialForce improves project handoff.

Miscommunication is inevitable when departments are working in siloes or using solutions that don’t communicate with one another. This pain point comes up a lot in our conversations with clients in the services industry. 

Because FinancialForce is an application built on Salesforce, your business can manage service projects on a single, cloud-based platform with FinancialForce Professional Service Automation (PSA). This minimizes errors and tightens project handoff after your sales team wins and closes an opportunity. 

We’ve written a lot about how FinancialForce is the missing link you need between your front and back office. If you only have Salesforce, you’re likely using a PSA system that doesn’t sync or communicate with Salesforce very well (if at all!) or requires cumbersome code or customizations. With FinancialForce PSA, you’re able to gain the visibility you need between sales and services to see the financial health of your business and make decisions about the future. 

2. FinancialForce helps you resource projects easily and effectively. 

Your team isn’t reaching its full potential without the right project management system. Some of your employees might be overworked while others have the bandwidth for additional projects. Some might not be the best fit for the resource request they’re assigned. Others may have skills and certifications better suited for the needs of the project. 

A common challenge for resource managers is finding resources who best fit the criteria of a resource request. Finding a resource who matches all the project criteria can turn up few or no results. In many solutions, the resource manager must remove certain filter values to return resources in the displayed list.

FinancialForce PSA offers many ways to enhance resource management in your organization. For example, the application’s intelligent staffing feature helps you make quicker, more informed decisions by automating a lot of your project staffing process. 

Released in 2021, this feature “instantly evaluates skills and availability across regions, practices and groups, and produces a stack-ranked result set,” according to FinancialForce. This removes a lot of guesswork for your resource managers; all they have to do is select their project teams accordingly.

3. FinancialForce stops revenue leakage. 

Poor project management is a major source of margin erosion and revenue leakage.

Revenue leakage stems from unbilled or underbilled services or products delivered to your clients. Common reasons are improper scope planning, loss of control over budgets, or gaps between client expectations and key deliverables. 

FinancialForce PSA gives you a clear picture of a project’s “burndown,” which predicts if a project is trending correctly or going over budget. What’s even better? Retrieving a project burndown report takes only seconds with FinancialForce. You’ll be able to see a project’s hours budgeted, charged, planned, and unplanned. 

Automating processes with FinancialForce PSA is another great way to stem revenue leakage. Automation ensures growth in profit margin and billable utilization and gives time back to your team for more complex, revenue-generating initiatives. We wrote a blog about the positive impact automation can have on your team here if you want to learn more! 

Do these pain points resonate with you? We’ve seen how implementing and optimizing FinancialForce for our clients has helped them address these problems and prepare their business for growth. 

If you’re also ready to tackle these challenges, schedule a call today to talk to one of our mentors about your business goals. We’ll share how our team can help your organization get the most out of FinancialForce so you can make decisions about your current and future growth with confidence. 

How Asperato Makes Getting Paid Easier

Getting paid—it’s what your business needs not only to be sustainable but to grow. However, the payment collection process can be difficult and frustrating from start to finish. 

Manual data input and duplication or messy payment integrations are common pain points for many of our clients when it comes to getting paid. Maybe you’re looking for a way to reduce manual processes, errors, and processing costs or add “Pay Now” buttons to your invoices. 

If you’re already a Salesforce or FinancialForce customer or considering it, Asperato offers a solution to these problems. Asperato is a payment collection and processing application that integrates with FinancialForce and Salesforce, providing a single source for viewing and controlling the customer’s journey, specifically in relation to payment. 

Regardless of your business model, Asperato makes collecting and processing payments easy. According to the company, very different business models use the app:

“The solution is used by a variety of business models including: franchises (multi-deposit accounts connected to a Single Salesforce Org), real estate (rental and deposit collection into escrow bank accounts), insurance (premium collections), non-profits (donations), membership organizations (membership dues), services and manufacturing (invoice dues), council and local government (service leveys and online payments) and many more.” 

Today we’re highlighting 3 reasons we recommend and implement Asperato to our clients for payment collection and processing.

1. Asperato, Salesforce, and FinancialForce work together to provide a single source for all steps in payment collection.

We talk a lot about how Salesforce and FinancialForce combined give you a holistic view of your business. Asperato connects payment collection and processing directly to your Salesforce platform, streamlining your business processes even more. 

Asperato is also a code-free solution for your payment collection needs that ensures out-of-the-box functionality and simple customization. 

How does it work? 

FinancialForce and Asperato worked together to build a connector called ReadyApp that brings all core payment functionality from Asperato to FinancialForce’s processes. You don’t have to worry about building or maintaining custom API integrations for different payment processors like Worldpay, GoCardless, Braintree, Stripe, Authorize.NET, and more. 

(The ReadyApp program also connects several other applications with FinancialForce—if you want to learn more about these partners, visit FinancialForce’s website here!)

Because FinancialForce built the integration, it’s maintained and thoroughly tested by FinancialForce and Salesforce. With Asperato, you’ll no longer have to use a payment collection and processing service separate from your Salesforce platform, minimizing manual data entry and errors while accelerating your payment collections and receipts.   

2. Asperato provides multiple options for processors and payment. 

We already mentioned some payment processors compatible with Asperato. You can connect other payment processors like PayPal, Adyen, Checkout.com, Payeezy, and more without the hassle of building and maintaining API connections.  

You can also securely save your customers preferred payment methods using authorizations. According to Asperato, “these can take the form of a tokenized credit/debit card, a direct debit mandate, or an eCheck authorization.” You can use these authorizations to collect one-time or repeat payments in the future. 

Do you or your customers have a preference for receiving payments? 

With Asperato, you can collect payments 4 different ways using FinancialForce’s integration: 

  • “Pay Now” buttons, links, and QR codes – Asperato can generate a “Pay Now” button, link, or even a QR code for any sales invoice or other document that takes customers directly to their payment page! You can also send a link via chat or SMS. 
  • Telephone payments – You can securely take payments over the telephone, which is especially helpful for chasing down those late payments! 
  • Auto pay – You can automate the posting of an invoice and collect payments for subscriptions, memberships, and invoice values.  
  • Community payments – If you utilize FinancialForce Community for your customers, you can allow them to self-serve, select, and pay invoices. 

Asperato is also secure and compliant with Scheme Rules and Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards. In fact, Asperato is ranked Level 1 in terms of PCI Data Security Standards, providing the highest level of security for card payments and putting your customers at ease.

With Asperato in place, card details also never touch Salesforce or the customer’s website. It is a 100% token solution! 

3. Asperato is built for scaling and new releases.

When you automate tasks and processes, employees don’t just gain time—they gain “brainspace” for

Choosing scalable solutions and supporting applications is crucial for your business. After all, your goal is to grow! Asperato has successfully processed $0.5 billion in the last 12 months, and the app is built to scale with functionality for processing payments in multiple currencies and territories. 

Asperato is also scalable for new releases, and the company announces new capabilities year-round. 

In Fall 2021, Asperato added the ability to include multiple sales invoices in a single payment.* If you have Asperato, you can click “Create Asperato Payment” on the “Account” page layout and select the invoices you want to create a payment for. Then you can send the ePayment link to your customer or process the payment on their behalf! 

Along with accepting customer payments, this spring Asperato introduced the capability to handle outbound vendor payments without leaving the FinancialForce platform. Using Payments Plus to pull up the payable invoices you wish to pay, you can simply click the “Pay” button, and the Asperato integration will automatically process payments via the API through Airwallex directly to your vendor accounts.

This removes the need for downloading bank files or manually logging into your bank account to make or issue checks, increasing security and reducing setup costs. 

We strongly recommend Asperato for streamlining the entire payment collection process, and we partner with the company to implement Asperato for our clients so it meets their unique business needs. Asperato Head of Global Sales and Strategic Partnerships Matt Tully said, “OpMentors works with the expert team at Asperato to ensure FinancialForce is in control of every payment collection journey." 

If you’d like to learn more, schedule a call today to talk to one of our mentors. We’ll share how our team could help you get Asperato up and running on your Salesforce platform!  

*This functionality is available only for sales invoices. This new release does not support single payment for multiple billing documents without customization. 

How Automation Can Positively Impact Your Team

Conversations about the positive effect of automation often focus on increasing revenue and for good reason—automation does provide a big return on investment. 

But automation can also positively impact your employees! 

People spend a lot of time at work on manual tasks that could easily be automated. Everything from email marketing, recurring invoices, data entry and calculations, talent acquisition and hiring, and project status updates can steal unnecessary time from your team. 

At OpMentors, we’ve seen the positive impact automating tasks and processes has had on our business and clients’ alike. Today we’re sharing 4 reasons you should view automation as one way to take care of your team. Read to the end—we also give you some tips for getting them excited about it!

1. Automation does generate revenue, giving you the option to increase wages for your employees.

You’re probably familiar with what’s come to be known as “the Great Resignation” in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the job market. In November 2021, the “quit rate” reached its highest in 20 years. 

According to a new Pew Research Center survey, the top “major reason” people gave for leaving their jobs in 2021 was because “pay was too low.” Of the 6,627 respondents, 63% said low pay was a major or minor reason they resigned in 2021.

Although this blog isn’t focused on how automation can increase revenue, automation does broaden your bottom line. 

Depending on your company’s needs, you can use some or all of that profit to pay your employees more. When employees see your efforts to pay them a fair, competitive wage, they’re motivated to stay amid a job market in flux.

2. Automation improves productivity and precision. 

In an op-ed backed by more survey data from employees, Susan Leonard writes, “Knowledge workers, on average, spend over 10 hours per week performing manual and repetitive tasks that could have easily been automated. That is over 65 days of time lost per employee.”

What if each employee in your organization is spending 65 days every year on tasks that could be automated? When you automate manual tasks, employees are able to spend less time on “work about work,” improving productivity and efficiency. 

Another positive impact of automation on your organization and employees is its ability to decrease human error. Automating manual tasks like data entry or recurring invoices can increase precision, putting employees at ease that their organization helps protect them against error. 

3. Automation increases employees’ capacity for complex and creative tasks. 

When you automate tasks and processes, employees don’t just gain time—they gain “brainspace” for working on complex, creative, and revenue-generating tasks! 

Responsibilities like sending emails to communicate the status of a project or scheduling a meeting are simple but quickly become a brain drain if they take away up to 10 hours a week from your employees. 

Many people apply for a job not only because it provides income, but also because they want to pursue a passion and do meaningful work. They’re easily burned out when they apply for a job they’re excited about but spend most of their time on manual tasks instead of what gets them out of bed every morning. 

Automation can free up time and energy to work on complex challenges and creative projects. 

These tasks were likely why employees applied to work at your company in the first place!

4. Automation boosts team collaboration and happiness.

It’s no secret that siloed departments and teams, multiple solutions, and manual processes make collaboration difficult. The problem is compounded when companies working this way are hybrid or remote. 

In a Salesforce article on the benefits of automation, Alex Edelstein writes, “According to MuleSoft’s 2022 Connectivity Benchmark Report, 90% of IT leaders say data silos leave organizations disconnected from the data they need to understand their customers, partners, and employees.” 

Automation can alleviate these problems, building bridges for easier collaboration between your organization’s employees and customers. 

You can see why automation also increases happiness at work. In a recent Salesforce survey of 733 automation users, 89% of respondents said they were “more satisfied with their job,” and 91% said automation “saves them time and offers better work/life balance.” 

If you’re still not persuaded, 76% of respondents said they were “more satisfied with their stress levels at work” thanks to automation solutions. When you prioritize automation, more employees will likely look forward to coming to work and contributing their skill sets in a healthier business culture. 

How to Get Employees on Board with Automation

Now that you know more about the positive impact of automation on your employees, maybe you’re wondering how you start implementing automation and get employees on board.

We want to leave you with some tips! 

1. Help employees understand the benefits. 

Fears of Artificial Intelligence (AI) replacing jobs is commonplace in conversations about automation, so you should be aware and sensitive that it might be a concern for your employees too. 

Others might be less trusting of automation to do the job and do it well, especially if it directly affects employees’ manual creative work or they’re still held responsible for the outcome of the automation. 

First, encourage them with this statistic: less than 5% of occupations can be fully automated! Affirm your gratitude for them and their contributions to the organization. Then share the benefits of automation in this blog with them. Communicate that you view automation as one of several ways you work to care for them and explain why they can trust the automated tasks and processes you’re putting in place. 

2. Ask employees for their input. 

Invite end users into the conversation when you’re deciding which tasks or processes to automate first. These employees will be most familiar with the formal and informal manual processes that can be automated. 

Formal processes are those with more standardized or documented steps. Identifying informal processes is more challenging. It requires a lot of communication from your team because informal processes aren’t well documented. These are usually processes employees created for themselves or follow because “that’s the way it’s always been done.” 

Ask them to contribute to the list of automations your company should tackle first. Then continuously seek feedback from them on which automations to improve or add next.

3. Make automation adoption easy!  

In our last blog, we shared some ways to increase Salesforce adoption because successful adoption of any new solution or processe is crucial to the success of your business. 

Automation is no different. You want to make adoption of automated processes as easy as possible for your employees. Check out our last blog—a lot of those tips are relevant to automation. 

Also look for automation solutions that require little or no code. At Salesforce, Edelstein writes, “Traditionally, there hasn’t been an easy way to connect different systems, data, or workflows without having to write a lot of code… Low-code automation bridges that divide with pre-built connectors and point-and-click tools to unite processes, data, and systems.” 

Salesforce, Financialforce, and their supporting applications offer many low-code solutions to make automation adoption easier. 

At OpMentors we’re passionate about helping you get the most out of your solutions, including their automation capabilities, because we’ve seen the positive effects they have on employees. We help business leaders like you automate tasks and processes every day with Salesforce, Financialforce, and other supporting applications. Schedule a call today to learn more about our services, from implementation and optimization to ongoing support. 

10 Techniques to Skyrocket Salesforce Adoption

You’ve learned about Salesforce’s ability to transform your business and invested a lot of time and money into the platform—but how do you get others in your organization on board? How do you teach users how to take full advantage of the CRM and supporting applications? 

Lucy Mazon at Salesforceben.com defines Salesforce adoption as a measure of “the extent to which users have incorporated Salesforce into their day-to-day tasks.”

Salesforce adoption within your organization is crucial if you want the most return on your investment.  

How do you skyrocket Salesforce adoption? 

At this year’s DevOps Dreamin’ conference Ian Gotts said, “User adoption starts at the requirements-gathering phase,” and we couldn’t agree more! To maximize Salesforce and its supporting applications, you must find out 1) what tasks your users are responsible for every day and 2) what’s needed for them to accomplish those tasks.  

Today we’re sharing 10 techniques you can implement to speed up Salesforce adoption and get users excited about your new solution! 

1. Identify your users.

Put together a list of user roles and associate every role with a person. Give them a proper name and a title. Then write out their primary tasks.

Drill into each role’s daily tasks. What can be automated? Are there any processes you currently document with tools like Microsoft Excel that you could bring to Salesforce as a business process? 

Identifying users and their roles in the requirements-gathering phase will set a firm foundation for your Salesforce adoption. 

2. Set up default fields. 

Time is money. The less time your sales team spends on logging any data into Salesforce, the more activities they can do to get them to that million-dollar sale. At the same time, it is important to have your Salesforce data clean. 

Take a closer look at the Salesforce fields. Are there any that can be set at a default value? 

For example, most of the accounts your sales team logs are customers, but sometimes—very rarely, but it happens—you get a partner. In this instance, you will need to set up a default value and train your sales team to switch the account type file when necessary so they can report on it later.

3. Test your picklist fields.

Picklists are menus that expand to give users choices. Sometimes, these lists are too long because Salesforce administrators don’t think about the options end-users do and don’t need. 

Take a look at your picklist fields and think about them from an end-user’s perspective. Try testing all of them. Does the end-user need all of the options available on the picklist? If not, remove the ones they don’t need. 

4. Minimize the number of required fields.

Enthusiasm for user adoption will drop if a user is annoyed because they can’t save a record and instead is inundated with errors on the screen. In this instance, you need to decide which fields are vital to log your business. 

Do you really need to require a customer’s birthdate on the Contact record? Or is it more important to require the email address  that will be your primary way of communicating with the customer and may be tied to a new marketing campaign you’re planning? 

Salespeople want to spend less time entering data and more time selling. Remember that next time you tell your Salesforce admin to require a new field.

5. Group common fields together.

Our brains like to group things so it’s logical to have similar items located in the same space on a Salesforce object! 

Try grouping common fields into sections. User adoption will soar simply because users aren’t expending so much mental energy to associate items with one another—it’s done for them! 

6. Add the “help” section to each custom field. 

Some field names might be confusing to your users. Always try to add some helpful information to each new field you create. The help section should answer this question for your user: “Why and how do I need to fill this out?”

Another neat way to help end-users fully adopt Salesforce is to take advantage of Spekit, an application available on the Salesforce platform to educate and help guide users on a deeper level! 

With Spekit, you can create “speks” for any object, field, or topic. Speks provide contextualized, in-app information about these components—examples include detailed definitions and explanations, training videos, and additional instructions. 

If you feel like your users could benefit from some more in-depth guidance, ask us about how we can help you take advantage of Spekit!  

7. Set clear expectations. 

Managerial support is a powerful tool when it comes to user adoption. If a sales manager has a  regular pipeline review with the team, there is no better way to run the call than by utilizing out-of-the-box tools already provided by  Salesforce. Free dashboards for basic pipeline review come already pre-installed with every org. You can use them as a starting point and track team goals and progress.

You can also take advantage of Tasks and Activities in Salesforce to assign action items to team members and further track the status of the activity. You can configure them to fit your organization’s needs. For example, you can set up recurring events or reminders on Accounts, Contacts, and Opportunities. This is a great way to ensure your team is following up with prospects in a timely manner or doing their part on the team project.

8. Monitor user activity.

This point goes hand in hand with the previous one. Once you’ve decided what activities you’d like your sales team to log, track those activities in a weekly report. 

Salesforce Labs also has a great Adoption dashboard that shows you the daily usage for the whole organization. It’s free and easy to download from the AppExchange

9. Get user feedback.

We recommend that companies new to the Salesforce environment set up a weekly hour-long session with Salesforce admins and end-users called “Salesforce Wednesday.”

You can break this session into several parts: user training, new features, updates, Q&As, and some user feedback. Constant feedback is very important for Salesforce adoption and communicates to the end-users in your organization that you care about their experiences, challenges, and successes on the platform.

10. Develop Salesforce “power users.” 

Salesforce “power users” are those users catching on fast! Identify the power users in your organization and start hosting advanced training sessions with them. 

After you see that they’re confident making small changes in the system, create a specific profile set of permissions for them. You can assign additional permission sets for them so they’re able to manage reports and dashboards. 

Power users are also great team members to test new releases or champion adoption among other end-users! 

The success of Salesforce adoption among your users is a strong predictor of your return on investment in the solution and its supporting applications. We hope you’ll use these 10 techniques as a starting point for encouraging buy-in from your organization. What other techniques have worked for you? Let us know in the comments below!

At OpMentors, we’re passionate not only about helping you implement and optimize Salesforce in your business, but also about providing adoption support. Schedule a call today, and we’ll share more about how we help with adoption support so your organization can maximize its potential! 

3 Key Upgrades from XL Loader to Datastream

XL Loader has served its purpose in the past for uploading tabular data to the Salesforce platform, but two major changes have recently deprecated the data uploading tool. 

First, the need for a replacement was inevitable after Salesforce announced the company would require customers to enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to use Salesforce products and partner applications. (You can read more about this requirement here if you missed our blog post about it!) Second, Salesforce also recently made an API change, making XL Loader obsolete. 

Effective May 1, 2022, you’ll no longer be able to use XL Loader to upload tabular data to the Salesforce platform.

However, FinancialForce introduced a replacement for XL Loader in October 2021, called Datastream, a tool for uploading tabular data with multiple headers and lines to the Salesforce platform.

Here’s why that’s a good thing, even if it requires some effort on your part to learn how to use a new tool. XL Loader wasn’t without its limitations since the plug-in was created for Microsoft Excel.

Datastream is a Lightning app embedded on FinancialForce, making it quick and easy to upload and create Financial Management records like journals, sales invoices, payable invoices, credit notes, and cash entries. Because Datastream is internal to FinancialForce Accounting, its functionality and security settings no longer rely on systems outside the Salesforce ecosystem, making it better, faster, and more secure for you when uploading spreadsheets!

Datastream is free for FinancialForce customers, and we love how easy it makes uploading spreadsheets. Even though it’s internal to the FinancialForce Accounting solution, Datastream will support any object on the Salesforce platform—even accounts and contacts! If you haven’t tried it, today we’re sharing 3 key upgrades from XL Loader you’ll experience when you install Datastream.

1. Datastream easily adapts to different operating systems and spreadsheets.

For a long time, FinancialForce users relied on XL Loader to upload data from a spreadsheet onto the Salesforce platform. Because XL Loader was a plugin for Excel, users like you were limited to Microsoft Excel if you wanted to transfer tabular data to the Salesforce platform.

Not anymore! Datastream is much more versatile. FinancialForce wanted to create an app that wasn’t dependent on a single source—Microsoft in this case—for data transfer. With Datastream, you can upload your data from any spreadsheet file, such as Microsoft Excel, Numbers, and Google Sheets.

Because Datastream lives within FinancialForce, the app is user-friendly for both Mac and Windows. XL Loader required an up-to-date version of Windows and Microsoft Office or a virtual workspace like Amazon Workspace or Parallels. You won’t have to worry about these requirements anymore with Datastream!

2. Datastream allows you to copy and paste multiple headers and lines at once.

You can say goodbye to slow uploading times for tabular documents that must be converted to CSV files first. With Datastream, you’re able to just copy and paste your data in the Lighting tab from any spreadsheet file. Because of this, the app can handle uploads with a higher volume of data at faster speeds than XL Loader.

You can also upload multiple headers and line items at one time, and Datastream will map the line items to their respective headers. Unlike XL Loader, you don’t need a separate mapping tool to link a column to its field in Salesforce—Datastream is “smart” enough to map them on its own! How? The column headers just need to be correct.

FinancialForce also has pre-designed templates available in the Community that you can modify to meet your individual business needs. Then you can easily make changes to your template without the hassle of manually mapping the fields again before you upload them.

Datastream uses the API name for the objects you’re uploading so make sure your source record includes them. You can find a list of these API names for FinancialForce Accounting on the templates available to you by logging into the FinancialForce Community and visiting the group called “FinancialForce Labs Datastream.” You can also find the API name by going to the object in Salesforce (Setup > Object Manager > Select Object > Details > API Name).

3. Datastream quickly catches errors before you upload tabular data.

A final step up from XL Loader is Datastream’s ability to catch errors before you begin uploading your spreadsheet to the Salesforce platform. If you used XL Loader, you’re familiar with the process of uploading a file, only to have the upload fail due to an error.

XL Loader also returned only the first error in a line, even if the line had multiple errors. Many times the returned error had a generic message like “Document has errors,” making it difficult to pinpoint the source of the problem.

When you copy and paste templated data into Datastream, the app returns any errors at that time—before you begin your upload! This makes it easier to correct any errors upfront and upload higher volumes of data at once.

After you’ve copied and pasted a table, a red box will appear if your table contains an error, and it will provide details for the error returned. You’ll just amend the data in the source table based on Datastream’s feedback, click the “Clear” button in Datastream to reset the workspace, and paste your revised data.

Once you’ve uploaded your data successfully, Datastream will provide a summary panel with the overall status of the upload. It will also give you detailed panels underneath with the individual objects you added or updated in the Salesforce platform.

Make sure you’re prepared for making the switch from XL Loader to Datastream by May 1. We appreciate the effort FinancialForce put into creating a replacement for XL Loader that is faster, more versatile, and more secure. Schedule a call today if you need help preparing for this change to take effect! Our mentors are always ready to walk alongside business leaders like you to help you get the most out of Salesforce, FinancialForce, and their supporting applications.

What Running and Salesforce Have in Common

OpMentors Associate Consultant Meghann Milligan took up running around the same time she dove into Salesforce. 

She had no previous experience with running or Salesforce. Meghann admits she wasn’t technically inclined when she started learning about Salesforce—she got her bachelor’s degree in anthropology and classics! Previously a volleyball player, she wasn’t inclined to running as a hobby either. But she discovered a lot of crossover between both interests.

“To be successful at running and avoid unnecessary injuries,” Meghann explained, “you need to start gradually and build up strength and endurance.” 

Learning the ropes of Salesforce was no different. Before Meghann discovered the power of the Salesforce platform, she owned her own business as a massage therapist. Later she took a course on data analytics while working as a client operations manager at a mental health clinic. 

Then she learned about Trailhead, a free educational tool from Salesforce. She found a new passion—and a new career path—she wanted to pursue.

“I went from being a massage therapist that sold fancy soap to someone who builds organizations and plays with declarative coding to streamline processes,” Meghann said. “I really am a student at heart. I was always the kid asking, ‘WHY!?’ I like knowing how things work, why they work the way they do, and how to make it better. Once I started down the paths Trailhead, it really started to fire up the neurons.”

Meghann started gradually running—literally and metaphorically on Trailhead. She learned that being a successful runner and becoming a successful Salesforce consultant both require you to start small and build strength and endurance. If you’re unfamiliar with Trailhead, here’s how Meghann describes it: 

Trailhead is a gamified learning platform, and by that I mean you complete “trails” and earn badges, and you reach different ranks based on how many badges you earn. The Trails are on all things Salesforce from “How to Be a SysAdmin” to “Learning APEX” and “UX/UI Design.” I think it's one of the most brilliant ways to bring people into an ecosystem who may or may not have that tech background… And as someone who loves learning (the ongoing joke in my family is that I would be a professional student if possible), this is an exciting “dream” platform. There's always something new to learn!

At the same time, Meghann began learning the foundations of running and Salesforce—and why they matter. She says understanding the foundations are important when dealing with compounded systems, whether you’re referring to the physical body or Salesforce platform!  

“You’re in charge of complex systems in both of these instances,” she said. “When running, you need to focus on your form, your breathing, your foot placement, stretching your muscles, and hydration. In Salesforce, your focus is on object and user management, permissions, security, and clouds!” 

Grasping the foundations are so important when learning your way around Salesforce, and Meghann wants to encourage readers just starting out to be patient with yourself.

“My boss tells me all the time, ‘Crawl. Walk. Run.’  I think it’s so easy to want to dive into the deep end,” she said. “Sometimes, you forget that knowing your security settings, profiles, and permissionsthis is your bread and butter.”

Once you get a handle on the foundations of Trailhead and Salesforce, it’s important to also understand the “why” behind what you do on the platform.  

“To be successful at Trailhead and Salesforce, you need to understand the core of CRMthe ‘why’ behind the Trail,” Meghann said. “Anyone can just click and blitz through the modules and earn those badges, but what have you retained?”

As you learn to solve complex problems, the “why” becomes important. Just like anyone can take up running, many different types of organizations, structures, and systems can take advantage of Salesforce because of its adaptability. However, the “why” is important for optimizing Salesforce so that it meets your unique needs. Meghann recommends Trailhead Superbadges to deepen your knowledge and understanding about how Salesforce works once you’ve got the basics:

I love the Superbadges, which are the best way to learn in my opinion. This outlines a problem you need to tackle.  It doesn’t tell you how so it’s a great way to see what you’ve retained.  I wish other people knew [Trailhead] is a guide.  Eventually, when you get into the ecosystem (and, by this, I mean you land a Salesforce job), there are so many different ways to solve for X that you need to be able to open yourself up to the possibilities.

Now that she’s learned to crawl, walk, and then run on the Salesforce platform herself, Meghann loves to help OpMentors clients solve complex problems too. She hopes her journey encourages you to have patience with yourself while learning how to maximize Salesforce and FinancialForce in your own organization. She also says not to take yourself too seriously: 

Even though it’s silly, WRITE IT DOWN when you learn something new. Six months from now you’ll look at a note and think about how adorable it is that at one point this was noteworthy… It takes time. Be patient with yourself. There’s no perfection, only progress. This is all applicable to running and Salesforce. I know it sounds like the worst platitudes, but they are all true. You are going to look foolish, and it’s so much easier if you can accept that you’re learning. 

Meghann and the rest of our team at OpMentors are passionate about helping business leaders like you get the most out of Salesforce and FinancialForce. Want to learn more about how these solutions can adapt to meet the unique needs of your organization? Schedule a call today, and let’s talk about how our team can help you get started.

Our Top Reads for Building Your Business

Today is National Read Across America Day! 

If you don’t know about the holiday, the National Education Association (NEA) established March 2 as National Read Across America Day to get students, teachers, parents, and communities excited about reading. March is National Read Across America Month so today officially kicks off a month-long celebration of the joy found in reading. 

Our team at OpMentors loves to read. To celebrate the holiday, we’re sharing some of our favorite reads about building your business on topics from developing emotional intelligence to learning leadership principles and skills from Navy SEALs! After you finish reading, leave a comment and tell us your favorites too. 

The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy by Jon Gordon**

Last week we wrote about how Jocelyn Fennewald and Machell Enke started OpMentors 8 years ago. They read The Energy Bus together, and it has had a lasting impact on the way they lead OpMentors today!

Through artful storytelling, Gordon shares 10 secrets to positive, forward thinking that lead to true accomplishment in your life and work. You’ll learn how to overcome common obstacles and bring out the best in yourself and your team. 

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Jocko Willink and Leif Babin led “the most highly decorated special operations unit of the Iraq War.” Now, they’re helping businesses from startups to Fortune 500 companies excel by teaching what they learned about leadership in combat. 

Their book details the mindset and principles that helped their unit accomplish such difficult missions, and they demonstrate how you can apply them in your own business environment to lead your team well. 

Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant

Resumes focus on individual achievements, talent, hard work, and passion. But we all know that true success is dependent on our interactions with others too, especially as business leaders. 

With “cutting-edge evidence and captivating stories,” Adam Grant argues in Give and Take that most people are takers, matchers, or givers at work. Givers are those who serve others without expecting anything in return and achieve great success across a range of industries. Read his book to learn how to be a giver who drives success not only for you, but also for your team. 

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

Before Start with Why became a book, it was a TED Talk that reached 28 million people! Sinek argues that people have to understand why before they invest in anything, whether a product, service, movement, or idea. 

Want to get buy-in, whether from employees, partners, or clients? Start with Why introduces a framework for your business that can explain why people with little in common like Martin Luther King, Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers were able to capture people’s attention and inspire them to action. 

Emotional Intelligence 2.0: How to Create an Emotional Agility That Will Allow You to Change Your Life by Theresa A. Rego 

As a business leader, emotional Intelligence is crucial for leading a team and making decisions, but it’s often relegated to other characteristics like intellectual intelligence or a skill set. 

Rego argues for the need to move it up on your priority list when building your business. Emotional intelligence “refers to identifying, evaluating, and managing one’s emotions.” Check out Rego’s book to grow in the emotional intelligence you need to lead your own team and look for it in others. 

The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday

Obstacle or advantage? Ryan Holiday argues in The Obstacle Is the Way that your problems can become your biggest advantages with the right perspective.

Holiday relies heavily on stoicism – “the ancient Greek philosophy of enduring pain or adversity with perseverance and resilience” – to demonstrate how people like Amelia Earhart, Ulysses S. Grant, and Steve Jobs turned “obstacles into opportunities.” This book’s for you if you’re looking for a fresh perspective on the obstacles you’ll encounter as you grow your business. 

Leading with Questions: How Leaders Find the Right Solutions by Knowing What to Ask by Michael J. Marquardt 

Many business leaders lead with requests and demands, but have you ever thought about leading with questions? Michael Marquardt says leaders start to see incredible results from their teams when they encourage questions and actively listen to their responses. 

This book is both theoretical and practical. Marquardt offers “specific techniques of active listening and follow-up, and helps you understand how questions can improve the way you work with individuals, teams, and organizations.” 

Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman

Does your business feel like constant chaos? We talk a lot about how digital solutions can help at OpMentors, but Traction addresses issues like personal conflict, profit deficits, and stagnant or insufficient growth. 

In his book, Gino Wickman highlights 6 key components of any business and how you can strengthen them. You’ll learn practical ways to create a business culture of focus, growth, and enjoyment for you and your team! 

Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems before They Happen by Dan Heath

Desmond Tutu famously said, “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.” You can say the same about problems in your business. 

Many business leaders are constantly reacting to problems and putting out fires. What if you took a different approach and looked upstream to identify and fix the systems causing the issues? You’ll learn how to switch to an “upstream mindset” and be proactive in your business when you read Dan Heath’s book, Upstream.

Happy reading – and Happy National Read Across America Day! These favorites of ours have impacted how we measure and achieve success at OpMentors, especially since they emphasize the importance of relationships in building a business. These books have helped us better meet the needs of others, both internally in how we work with one another and externally in how we relate to our clients and other partners. We hope some titles caught your eye so you can add to your wish list too. 

In your business, implementing and optimizing strong solutions is another way to prepare your team for success. That’s what we do best! Schedule a call today if you’d like to learn more about how OpMentors can help you get the most out of Salesforce, FinancialForce, and other supporting solutions. 

**Throughout this blog post, we provide links for the books we recommend so you can easily find them. These are NOT affiliate links, and we don’t benefit monetarily or otherwise from the links we provide. 

What Business Owners and Bus Drivers Have in Common

In 2013, our founders Jocelyn Fennewald and Machell Enke were in the audience at Dreamforce – a conference for Salesforce users – when a speaker asked this question:

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

They wanted to share what they had learned with business leaders like you and help you take the guesswork out of Salesforce, FinancialForce, and supporting solutions. 

On February 24, 2014, OpMentors became a company! But before there was OpMentors, there was Panera Bread…

Jocelyn and Machell met at Panera Bread one day, thought long and hard together about what they wanted to achieve, and crafted their vision and goals for the company. Eight years later they compare owning your own business to driving a bus. They use this analogy a lot when talking to others about what it takes to run a business.

How do you run your “bus” – or your business? In honor of our eighth anniversary, we're sharing with YOU what Machell and Jocelyn have learned along the way. 

1. Find a partner you can trust. 

By 2013 when they attended Dreamforce, Machell and Jocelyn had mastered Salesforce and FinancialForce in their own company, which went paperless with these powerful solutions (a big deal in 2013!) and grew in sales and revenue without scaling the back office. 

Each knew the other partner had the knowledge, skillset, and passion to teach others about these solutions, but they also knew they could trust one another.

Trust is important, especially in a business partnership. Before you get on the bus and start a business, make sure you have a partner you can trust. You and your partner should also have a common destination for your journey and feel you both have the freedom to be honest about your goals and even disagree at times. 

2. Have a “navigation system” in place.

When driving a bus, the driver needs a roadmap or navigation system. Business owners need one too! 

You should find a business partner who’s not only trustworthy, but also shares your destination or vision. Jocelyn and Machell knew they wanted to be operational mentors focused on helping people maximize Salesforce and FinancialForce in their businesses. They shared the same destination. 

One way to ensure you’re driving in the same direction is to craft a mission statement. A mission statement is like a point on the horizon you’re driving towards. Since the beginning, OpMentors’ mission statement has always guided Machell and Jocelyn when making decisions to ensure they’re staying true to their core. 

Another way to keep your mission statement in view is to brainstorm a company name that captures your mission. Machell and Jocelyn admit picking a name was probably the hardest part of starting a business. 

They knew they wanted to be operational mentors. After discovering the dictionary definition of a mentor as “an experienced and trusted advisor,” Machell and Jocelyn decided on OpMentors. They wanted their clients – or the passengers on their bus – to know they’re on the journey with OpMentors to the same destination of success. 

As a business owner, a good “navigation system” will also include trusted advisors, mentors, or coaches. Machell and Jocelyn had a business coach for several years to help them become better leaders and drive the company’s vision forward. 

3. At every bus stop, determine the right people to join you.

Like passengers on a bus, partners on your business journey come in all shapes and sizes. Passengers aren’t limited to clients and employees – they include other strategic partners, mentors, and even family members. All of them play important roles in achieving your mission.

When starting a business, Machell and Jocelyn recommend picking up these passengers first: an accountant or tax advisor, investment planner, your spouse or significant other, family members, and friends. You also need a good system for getting a holistic view of your business – like Salesforce and FinancialForce, of course! 

Then you can look for employees and clients to grow your business. When Machell and Jocelyn began, they were the drivers, mechanics, and maintenance crew of their own bus. 

You don’t have to do it all by yourself! Utilize others’ skill sets. Decide which employees you should hire first. Weigh the pros and cons of using strategic partners for certain responsibilities. Utilize networks like WITness Success or Trailblazer Community and events to help you find the right passengers.  Hire others to help you create your website or market your company. 

Last but not least of your passengers are your clients. Some will work with you for a short time, and others will stay on your bus for a while. 

Each client has their own expectations and final destination of the journey in mind so practice active listening to assure them you understand their goals while clearly communicating your own goals and expectations for the ride. Expect to learn something from your clients too! 

4. Prepare for growth (and surprises!) along the way. 

As you scale your business, you’ll want to set realistic goals for success. Continue to build strategic partnerships and diversify your offerings when possible. 

You’ll also want to consider the knowns and unknowns of your business. What can you plan with certainty, and what remains an X factor? 

If you drive a bus long enough, you will inevitably come across some surprises or bumps in the road. Be encouraged: there are other routes to reach your destination. Finding them just requires some flexibility and creativity! 

Discuss alternative routes with your business partner and remember not to take yourself too seriously – eating ice cream and laughing along the way are perfectly acceptable on your bus.  

You’ll hear entrepreneurs talk a lot about the trials of starting a business, but you also need 3 G’s – grit, grace, and gratitude – for the journey. Machell and Jocelyn are proud to have grown a company that can play a significant role in others’ journeys too. We hope the lessons they’ve learned are helpful and encouraging to you as a business leader charting your own course.

If you’re ready to utilize Salesforce or FinancialForce in your business journey, our team at OpMentors can help! We recognize that every business is different and take a consultative approach to your solutions so they meet your unique needs. Schedule a call today, and let’s talk about how OpMentors can help you pursue your mission. 

Love Year-Round: How Kurandza Shows Love through Education

OpMentors is celebrating Valentine’s Day a bit differently this year. We want to express our gratitude for organizations showing love and impacting the world on a daily basis

If that’s you, our team is thankful for the work you do! 

One organization near to our heart is Kurandza. If you’ve not heard of it, this week we want to introduce you to Kurandza’s founder, Elisabetta Colabianchi (pictured on the far left below), and the amazing work the organization does to ensure more girls around the world get the education they need.

Based in Mozambique, the grassroots nonprofit’s name means “to love” in Changana, the local language of the villages where Kurandza works. We asked Elisabetta why they chose the name. She said the name honored both the local culture and the organization’s core value.

“We chose ‘Kurandza’ as the name of our organization because love is our top value and what fuels our work!” she said. “We strive to pour love into everything we do and everyone we work with – from the girls in our education programs and the women on the team to our amazing partners.” 

In 2014 (coincidentally the year OpMentors was founded!), Kurandza began as a sewing cooperative, equipping Mozambican women with knowledge about financial literacy, health, and entrepreneurship. Over the years, Elisabetta and the rest of the team’s focus shifted to education. They realized that the difference education can make in a young girl’s life and the trajectory of her future is invaluable.

In 2017, they launched the first #IStandForGirls campaign with the goal to send 100 girls to school. Since then, Kurandza has been equipping girls with the education and mentorship they need to become leaders in their communities. 

Kurandza’s approach is holistic. The team has “focused our efforts on providing scholarships, resources, and psychological support to the now 250 girls in our program.” Elisabetta said they make sure love is the motivator for all they do, and this has made a big difference in their relationship with the girls they serve.

“We care for the girls holistically, from start to finish of their schooling (and even once they graduate),” said Elisabetta, “and the girls have seen this firsthand and trust us. They feel cared for and loved by our entire team and the many donors and partners around the world. This translates into increased confidence, self-respect, and courage.”

Elisabetta lives in California and runs Kurandza stateside. She primarily oversees operations, develops programming, and communicates with donors and supporters to ensure girls in Mozambique receive the education they need to succeed. However, the day-to-day operations are primarily led by women in the local community in Mozambique, according to Kurandza’s website:

As a grassroots organization, Kurandza has deep roots in the community and much of our leadership team is the 1% of Mozambican women who go on to complete a college education. They serve as a powerful example and true embodiment of the difference schooling can make in one’s life. Our hope is that this will inspire the girls in our program to see the possibilities and, in turn, dream of a brighter future for themselves.

Elisabetta said the daily commitment these female leaders make to serve others and put others’ needs above their own is how Kurandza shows love through action.

“It is easy to clock out when the work day is done or do what’s required and nothing more,” Elisabetta said. “However, we strive to go above and beyond, going the extra mile for the girls, donors, and fellow team members. It’s important to us to do an exceptional job and that everyone we come into contact with feels heard, seen, and appreciated.” 

Elisabetta said spending time in Mozambique has changed the way she thinks about love. The kindness and hospitality among Mozambicans has shown her that love is often displayed most through “simple actions that put others above ourselves” – things like serving a warm meal to an unplanned visitor, traveling out of your way with someone to make sure they get where they’re going, or stopping an important task to help a friend. 

When asked how Elisabetta might encourage our readers to love others this year, Mozambique’s influence is evident in her response:

“Love is kind, and showing random acts of kindness to strangers is a fulfilling and impactful way to show love,” she said. “You could pay for a stranger’s lunch or coffee, add coins to expired meters, smile and say hello to someone on the street, [or] let someone go ahead of you in line. There are so many simple things you could do to be kind and show love to someone you don’t know!” 

What’s on the horizon for Kurandza in 2022? The organization is working to break ground on a new learning center in Mozambique, create an alumni program for their first Kurandza graduates, and get to know their community of partners better. You can learn more about their goals this year and the milestones they achieved in 2021 here

If you want to support Kurandza, Elisabetta said the best way to do so is to donate to their mission here. Another simple way to support their mission is to educate yourself and others about the statistics and impact that education can have on girls across the world (especially those in rural communities!) and spread the word about the impact Kurandza is making.

Elisabetta would also love for you to check out their Instagram page to stay informed about their initiatives and learn more about the impact Kurandza is making and the love they are showing on a daily basis!

This Valentine’s Day we celebrate the love Kurandza is showing in Mozambique every day as they equip girls with the education they need to thrive and lead. We encourage you to learn more about the different ways you can support Kurandza’s work.  

What You Need to Know about Salesforce's MFA Requirement

Yesterday Salesforce began requiring customers to enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to use Salesforce products and partner applications, including FinancialForce. 

Take a deep breath if you haven’t implemented MFA yet – you won’t be barred from your Salesforce account. 

You still have time to enable MFA if your users aren’t ready, but Salesforce will begin enforcing this requirement by automatically enabling the feature so that Salesforce administrators can easily enable this feature for users.  

You’re not alone if you’re overwhelmed and inundated with information about this additional level of security to your solutions. On our blog today, we’re answering some questions we’re commonly asked about Salesforce’s MFA requirement and what you can expect in the coming months.

What is MFA? 

MFA stands for “multi-factor authentication.” Salesforce explains it best:

MFA is an effective way to increase protection for user accounts against common threats like phishing attacks, credential stuffing, and account takeovers. It adds another layer of security to your login process by requiring users to enter two or more pieces of evidence — or factors — to prove they’re who they say they are. One factor is something the user knows, such as their username and password combination. Other factors are verification methods that the user has in their possession, such as an authenticator app or security key.

Salesforce prioritizes trust and takes security seriously. Businesses face a growing number of threats to their data for several reasons, including the globalization of information and increase in remote work. Requiring two or more factors from users improves login security and safeguards against attacks that can compromise the data of your business and customers

If the concept of MFA is unclear to you, Salesforce’s comparison to your debit card is helpful: “A familiar example of MFA at work is the two factors needed to withdraw money from an ATM. Your ATM card is something that you have and your PIN is something you know.”

When users are required to log in with two pieces of evidence instead of one, the chances of an attacker being able to guess or hack both of them is dramatically lower.

What’s Next? 

According to Salesforce, “internal users who log in to Salesforce products (including partner solutions) through the user interface must use MFA” as of yesterday, February 1. This means that Salesforce is contractually requiring your company to implement MFA for all its users. You can enable MFA directly in your Salesforce products, and the functionality is available at no cost to you. 

If you haven’t enabled MFA, you have some time, but Salesforce will begin automatically enabling MFA for users who log into Salesforce products. (You will receive a minimum of 6 months notice via email before MFA is enforced in your Salesforce products.) Salesforce has a good plan in place for implementing MFA here. If you need assistance with MFA rollouts, our mentors are here to help too!

Salesforce is also very transparent with planned dates for enforced MFA rollout when MFA will be a mandatory requirement for all users. The MFA Enforcement Roadmap here is Salesforce’s public page detailing this process and provides auto-enablement and enforcement dates for each product so you can plan ahead if you haven’t already. 

What Verification Methods Are Available?

Maybe you understand the comparison between MFA and your debit card, but you’re wondering what the extra authentication step will be for Salesforce users.

Salesforce has created the Salesforce Authenticator App, a free mobile app that makes logging in with MFA quick and easy. They’re encouraging users to download this app for additional verification. To learn more, you can watch a short video about the app here

But you can also use a third-party authenticator app, security key, or built-in authenticator. 

Salesforce has provided a great guide here for admins if you want to learn more about these verification methods and weigh the pros and cons of each. The guide also details instructions about how to implement MFA and roll it out to your Salesforce users.

It’s okay if you still need to implement MFA for some or all of your Salesforce products and partner applications. To recap, here are some helpful resources we’ve linked throughout the article and others we didn’t:

We hope this information and the resources provided clarify any confusion about adding MFA to your Salesforce products. If you have any questions, please ask them by commenting below, and one of our mentors will respond! 

Our team is always here to help you get the most out of your solutions and ensure they’re secure. Schedule a call today to learn more about how to maximize Salesforce, FinancialForce, and other supporting applications in your business.