8 Reasons Why You Should Start Automating with Flow
One of the many reasons why Salesforce is the most popular CRM in the world, is the amount of customization and automation that’s available for admins.
Even without any programming skills, there are multiple ways to automate tasks that sales representatives, managers and admins themselves have to do manually.
If you are a Salesforce administrator, you are probably familiar with most tools that can be used for automating processes in Salesforce Sales or Service Cloud.
The most basic ones are Assignment Rules and Workflows. You can use them to automate simple tasks and they are easy to set up. The configuration can take just a few minutes if you are used to setting them up.
But because they are so easy to use, they are limited in what they can accomplish. After all, workflows support only four actions:
- Field update,
- Email alert,
- Create task,
- Send outbound messages.
In most cases, that’s not enough, especially if your automation requires more complex logic.
That’s where the Process Builder comes in. It can handle many if/else statements and allows you to use way more actions, such as creating/editing records, posting to Chatter or calling an Apex code. It brings a lot to the table.
Process Builder is a great tool but as your organization grows, and more complex requirements come from the stakeholders you might realize that Process Builder also has some limitations.
Fortunately, Salesforce offers yet another, often overlooked tool for automations - Lightning Flow.
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With Salesforce CallRail integration, you can track your leads from the moment they visit your website or call your ad to the very end of their customer journey. There is no better way to understand if your marketing strategy is working or not than to take a look at the entire marketing cycle.
What is Flow?
As Salesforce admin, Flow Builder is one of the most powerful tools in your toolbelt. By using a code-like logic you can build automations and collect information from users.
The interactive interface is easy to manage, and lets you create automations for complex business processes.
Let’s look at the list of reasons why you should start using this tool.
Why You should Use Flows for Salesforce Automations
Build Wizards to Collect Information
One of the most useful features of the Flow Builder is the ability to build Screen Flows. They allow you to create wizards that can guide your users through various business processes. You can collect information from users and update/create/delete records on the spot.
If you feel like some standard procedures in Salesforce are too complicated for your users, or take too much time, it’s a good idea to use a screen flow to create a simpler and more streamlined solution. This can prove especially useful if you have trouble with user adoption.
Screen Flows can be placed on a lightning page or can be set up to launch with a click of a button. There are many different ways you can give your users quick access to a Screen Flow.
Connect Unrelated Objects
One of the most useful features of Process Builder is the ability to modify fields of related records. Works great, but what to do when you want to update a record that's not directly related?
This kind of problem might be the first time when you start thinking about Process Builder limitations. It only allows you to update a related record.
Things are different with Flows. The Flow Builder lets you look up any record of any object on the criteria of your choice. If you want to update a Contact based on what happened to Opportunity, you can use the common piece of information between them - the Account ID.
And the records don’t even need to be related. Maybe you would like to change a field on all Opportunities from Minnesota if a user changes a field on a custom object.
The possibilities are endless. It’s all up to you and the business requirements from the stakeholders.
In Most Cases, Flow Can Replace Process Builder.
For a long time, Flow was more of an addition than an alternative to Process Builder.
The reason for this is that the only two types of flows we could build were a Screen Flow and an Autolaunched Flow. Neither of them could be triggered by creating or editing a record. One way to do that was to create a Process Builder that would run a specific Flow as an action.
But with the latest updates to the Flow Builder, we can now create Record-Triggered Flows, which behave exactly like your typical Process Builder.
Considering the limitations of Process Builder, it might be a good idea to go for a Flow next time when you are building a record-triggered process.
Flow is faster than Process Builder
One important fact about Record-Triggered Flows is that they can update a Salesforce record 10 times faster than a record-change process (Process Builder). The reason for this is that it makes additional updates to a record before it's saved to the database. This kind of update is called “before-save”.
Easier to Test
How many times did you have to test your Process Builder before activating it for all records? It can be a headache creating test records and figuring out what went wrong.
You’ll be happy to hear that Flow has a debug tool. It lets you input any variables at the beginning so you can see different results for given records and gives you a full step by step report once it runs.
Screens work great if you aren’t exactly sure why one of the steps is failing. You can use them to display values calculated at specific point to see why the final result isn’t what you expected.
The debug tool for autolaunched Flows also offers a rollback mode. After running the flow for testing you can instantly revert any changes that were made. It sure is helpful!
Schedule Your Automations
Another useful feature of Flows, introduced in the Winter ‘20 release is the ability to schedule Flows. It’s a great solution if you need an automation to run daily, or weekly instead of running each time a trigger activates.
You can set the start date, time and frequency.
Not Enough? Welcome to AppExchange
Are you still missing some functionality that's required for your automation? Don’t worry. Salesforce lets users add their own components to Flows. Even if you aren’t a developer, there are many custom components in the AppExchange. And if you look around the web, you can find some unofficial components as well. Just make sure they are safe!
Salesforce's Focus on Flows
And last but not least, a very important fact - Salesforce has really been focusing on improving Flows. Each release introduces something new, making this declarative tool even more powerful. While Workflows and Process Builder aren’t getting updates, Flow is growing.
If you want to grow as an Salesforce Automation Specialist and Administrator, start using Flows!
What more to say? Flow is an amazing tool that will surprise you with how much can be done in Salesforce without any coding. And the features listed here are only just a beginning to the functionality that Flow offers.
But before you jump in, a word of advice. Like it was mentioned before. Flow uses a code-like logic. For example, all data is stored in variables. Without understanding how variables work it can be very difficult to work with Flows.
We recommend visiting Trailhead - to grasp this concept.
Check out our blogs for more information on Flows and specific guides how to create ready-to-use automations:
Flow - Populate "Related Opportunity" Field on Contact