My Dreamforce ’18 Experience

Dreamforce, what can I say…one of the best experiences of the year!

From September 25th to 28th 2018, the largest IT conference took place in San Francisco: Salesforce’s DREAMFORCE, and I was lucky enough to be part of this fantastic experience for the second time together with some of my 4C colleagues and customers!

Dreamforce as a learning experience

First and for most, as a consultant, you go to Dreamforce to LEARN! It’s four days of learning about new features, getting hands-on, ask experts & product managers about all things Salesforce! Get sneak-peaks about what’s coming in the next releases, so you are up-to-speed and are able to support your customers better!

With more than 2600 sessions to chose from, my interest this year was focused to all things Salesforce CPQ, Salesforce Billing and Lightning Roadmap! So if you’ve got any questions on those topics, I’ll probably be able to answer most of them 😉

#DF18: THE Place To Network

Nothing beats expanding your network at Dreamforce! Talking to potential prospects, meeting and chatting with my fellow Salesforce MVP‘s and Community Group Leaders in-person, visiting other partners & AppExchange vendors with whom we could collaborate in the future. It’s all part of the magic!

I’ve had the chance to meet and take some pictures with my biggest idols. People that have had a very big impact in my life and career! People like Steve Molis, Rakesh Gupta, Don Robins and of course David Liu (who was awarded the first ever Golden Hoodie for Developers this year!! Big Kudoos!)

 

Talking about Community Group Leaders. As a Group Leader of the  Belgium, Brussels Administrator Community Group I attended the Community State Of The Union on Tuesday, where more than 400 Community Leaders from all over the world gathered to share tips and tricks & learn from each other on how to expand our reach!

3 Major announcements grabbed my attention:

  • Developer User Groups are now officially part of the Trailblazer Community Groups! (About time I would say 😉  )
  • The Community Team will be Marketing User groups worldwide, which means bigger exposure and awareness! So you’ll see and hear more about us in the future!
  • A new Community Events platform has been started: Bevy! => be sure to join The Belgium User Group on the new platform

And as a member of the organizing team of our very own and first Benelux Community event YeurDreamin’, Dreamforce was the place to be to promote our event, find some potential sponsors and speakers and get the full support of the Salesforce Community Management Team! (Erika Kuhl, Senior Director of Community at Salesforce)

So be sure to bookmark June 14th 2019, Amsterdam in your calendar and follow us on Twitter @Yeurdreamin or visit the Yeurdreamin’ website for more information!

Having FUN at Salesforce Dreamforce

PARTIES

After a long and fruitful day of learning, jamming content into your brains, you need to have some fun right. Every day there are parties hosted by Salesforce, ISV’s, Partners and Consulting companies. The list is too long to name here 😉 But you can be sure you won’t get bored in the evening! Here are some pictures & video’s to give you an overview and apparently my User Group Co-Leader Michael had some wild dreams 😉

Dreamfest

 

QUIP Party with Macklemore

That night when Macklemore crowd surfs wearing @SteveMoForce amazing jacket at #DF18

The SWAG

Last but not least. If you are a big Salesforce fanatic, like me, you want to grab a lot of SWAG! So here is a picture of the swag I was able to collect during my stay at Dreamforce this year 😉

Note that although it was fun getting a MEGA Codey, it was a nightmare to get him on the plane to Brussels 😉 but Codey made it! If you want to meet with Codey, you can find him at 4C office in Mechelen 😉

Looking forward to Dreamforce next year which will take place November 19th – 22th 2019! See you all there!

UPDATED Study Resources Salesforce CPQ Specialist Certification!!

So, I had one of the most read blogposts from the last 2 years, ever since Salesforce acquired Steelbrick CPQ: Tips for passing the Salesforce CPQ Specialist Certification

My post was even referenced in the Offical Salesforce CPQ Admin Essentials for Experienced Administrators (CPQ-211) course, which was an honor for me, for the time it lasted 😉

But Last month Salesforce decided to decommission the old Steelbrick Community to which almost all my links were pointing, so that post became totally useless now 🙁 #SadFace and integrate it all into the Help and Training portal for CPQ. => this is the place to be to stay current about new Salesforce CPQ features!!!

I see a lot of frustrated Salesforce consultants wanting to get certified, but not finding their way to the correct learning resources, and contacting me that my links are broken… Even on the TrailBlazer community a lot of frustrations are posted about this. I don’t know why Salesforce has not made sure that EVERYTHING was ported over to help and training and setup the correct redirections, so this transitions would have been smoother for everybody, but they will have had a reason 😉

Good news for all you out there wanting to become a Salesforce Certified CPQ Specialist and honor goes to SIMPLUS that was just in time to create the following eBook which contains almost everything that was hosted on the old Community!

!!!!!!!!

Download the Simplus Salesforce CPQ StudyGuide here!

!!!!!!!!

Big Kudos to Simplus and I’m prett sure that Gilles Muys (former Technical Architect Steelbrick) had something to do with it, so you can trust the contents!

Salesforce MVP => Salesforce “My Very Passion”

Today I became a Salesforce  MVP. I was not fully aware until my phone didn’t stop buzzing because my twitterfeed started exploding 😉

I’m super thrilled with that honor, in fact I’m still not sure I fully understand how I deserved it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be 😉 and hopefully for many years to come!

For those who don’t know what the MVP Program is and why it’s such an honor to be recognized and accepted in the program, let’s start by explaining what it is:

According to Salesforce, the MVP Program recognizes exceptional individuals within the Salesforce community for their leadership, knowledge, and ongoing contributions to the community. They embody and represent what the spirit of the community is all about by being accessible & responsive, while sharing their expertise and knowledge about the ecosystem. MVPs are also leaders in the community and brand advocates for Salesforce as well as the community.

Reading that I think you can realize how very honored and excited I am to even be nominated and accepted.

I know a lot of MVPs have helped in numerous ways over the past few years either on a personal level as on a professional level:

  • Giving me great advice
  • Providing me with solutions to common day-to-day salesforce problems
  • Creating complex formula’s (SteveMo Formula Guru)
  • Motivating me to try harder and not give up if I am looking at a specific problem for hours. Yes that still happens 😉
  • Pushing me to speak at events
  • Providing me with best practices
  • Just showing me they care
  • Learning me to code (yes you did David Liu!!) Thank YOU!

In my professional career, there is one thing that has always been particularly special and valuable to me: the mentorship that I’ve received. People in the community take time out of their busy schedules to help me not only be a better professional, but a better person all around. Good advice and empathy are a priceless gift that I’ve been fortunate enough to receive. Therefore, I’m going to work hard to put my energy into the MVP Program, so that I can hopefully help some others in a similar way.

But of course I couldn’t be where I am right now in my career, heck I wouldn’t even never have heard of Salesforce, without the help of some really special people, dear to my heart! And I would like to take this opportunity to thank them.

First and foremost 2 great people managers that managed me for several years when I just came out of school and started as a callcenter agent at Orange. They saw great potential in me and gave me lots of opportunities during the first 11 years of my career: Isabelle De Brock & Mario Renneboogh. They have supported me being more assertive, give feedback, learn to coach, train and motivate people!

It’s also thanks to Isabelle, who after leaving and starting a new career at a Waste Management company on the verge of implementing a new CRM, that I learnt to know about Salesforce. In 2009 Salesforce was chosen as the new CRM application at Van Gansewinkel (now Renewi) and she persuaded me to resign and come to work for her and wanted me to become a Salesforce Key-User and Trainer during the implementation. After careful consideration I grabbed that opportunity and I never regretted it!

I participated in the implementation, saw the power of the platform, wanted that business users loved their new tool and I started to learn, learn, learn. For several years I trained, coached and supported 700 users while bringing in new ideas to the implementation team. Until, in 2013, a Flemish law in Waste Management changed and we needed to inform 50K customers and have them sign a new contract. We had no resources nor capacity, nor were our systems ready to do this on a short term, so my management came to me asking to design a solution that met the following requirements:

  • It needed to happen within 3 months
  • Fully automatic
  • As less work for internal employees as possible
  • Reach the 50K customers and inform them
  • Use that as opportunity to extend their contract
  • Use it as opportunity to upsell
  • Oh yeah and our internal Salesforce team and Project team has no resources available for the moment

I designed a self service portal on Force.com integrating with our ERP to show our customers their current services, the missing services, introduced them to the new law and made use of the opportunity to sell them those missing services for a bargain and/or extend their contract. Hiring an external implementation partner to build it and making use of Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Nintex Document Generation and Docusign this could all happen with just sending a bulk emailing to our existing customers, and behind the scenes everything was created in Salesforce. The contact was updated, the opportunity with products and new services logged, signed contract was captured and activated and a case was created to our back office to handle the order. This project was a huge success! Such a success, that they presented it at Dreamforce in 2012. Shortly after I was asked to join the internal Salesforce Change Team and become an fulltime Salesforce Business Consultant & Admin.

This project changed my life around because now I was sitting behind the buttons and could actually push them 😉

I worked closely with my colleague who setup our Salesforce environment from the beginning and he actually became my mentor. Rene Te Poel, a big thank you for sharing everything you new about Salesforce and giving me your support and guidance! We made fantastic stuff and we all had to thank Frank Salens our Head of Change, who from the beginning saw what Salesforce could do and always wanted to be one step before the competition! You weren’t shy to try out new Salesforce features at all, giving me the opportunity to learn to know them and use them ranging from Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Nintex, Docusign, MapAnything, Communities, Live Chat, Service Console, custom apps, appexchange apps, you name it,… Van Gansewinkel had it!

This was the time I really fell in love with the power of the platform!

As an admin who needed to learn everything, the community was my go to place to search for solutions and luckily there were lost of people eager to help and a lot of them were Salesforce MVPs!

There were a couple of things I missed at that time, face to face contact with experts, discussing with like minded people, sharing common problems and discussing possible solutions and just learn more about Salesforce! 

In the online community I was getting answer and help and I heard a lot about User Groups in America, but there wasn’t one in Belgium. I missed that, really missed that! And weirdly enough I think somebody read my mind or it was telephathy but only a few days later the Belgium User Group was created by Samuel De Rycke (MVP) & Matthew Schutz. Ofcourse I immediately subscribed and on a rainy december evening 2015 5 people were sitting at a table in a pub discussing what we wanted to get out of meetings about Salesforce in Belgium. Matthew was London based and wanted somebody to help Samuel in leading this newly created User Group and I accepted. For the past 3 years now our User Group has grown to an average attendance of 50 people, meeting every 2 months sharing their experiences, discussing new features, going through release notes, doing Trailhead exercices, having fun!

Meanwhile more User Groups have been created in the BeNeLux by AWESOME and PASSIONATE people like Sergey Erlikh, Rob Van Waveren, Pattrick Ittah, Martijn Schwätzer, Hans Post, Ayako Sawada, Jesse Hoosemans, Sjoerd Woltjer, Erik Van den Hurk, Cornel van der Heiden, Bhavna Bahnoda, Giorgio Vinci, Paul Ginsberg, Andre Van Kampen, Lianne Aurik, Ruben Schuring, Thomas Cherlet, Julie Minners, Kevin Jackson, Nathalia Medvedeva and Michaël De Feyter! Be sure to join them all at www.beneluxusergroups.com to stay up-to-date on next events!

And keep an eye out on social media when we open registrations for our new Community Lead Dreaming Event called “YeurDreamin“, that will take place for the first time in april 2019!!!

After 3 years as an admin & developer at Van Gansewinkel I joined a consulting firm with values that are completely aligned with what I value most, 4C (Platinum Partner). This gives me the possibility to be surrounded by experts, learn from them, share my knowledge with them & help different customers get the most out of Salesforce on a day-to-day basis! I really want to thank my 4C Family for letting me in and coping with my loud voice 😉 They provide me with all the support I need to become better at my job, but also to give back to the Salesforce TrailBlazer Community by hosting User group events, letting me spend time to organize them and contribute in several ways, spread my passion, learn more, network and go to Dreamforce to meet all those awesome people!

Being so passionate about Salesforce my colleagues even think I’m a walking Salesforce billboard because I have more Salesforce branded clothes than normal clothes! And I actually ware them 😉 but hey I’m not sleeping with the mascottes yet, so I’m not complete freak yet 😉

But man,… MVP…, who would have ever imagined I would become part of that AWESOME group of people! I hope to be able to help lots of others in the same way they have all helped me (and hopefully keep helping me) in the future! I will certainly give it my all!

I wonder what the future will bring.

Again thank you all for your support, for your nomination and being my friends! What a wonderful year this will be.

 

 

 

Resources for Passing the Salesforce Certified CPQ Specialist Exam

Most of you know I love working with Salesforce CPQ and since a short time also Salesforce Billing. If you don’t know what the new Salesforce Quote-To-Cash is and why I like it so much then read my blogpost on it.

Living in Belgium and interested in learning more on Salesforce Quote-To-Cash? Then join the Belgium User Group session on April 25th 2017 and register here for free!

Beginning of february I had the chance to participate in the Beta Exam for the new Salesforce Certified CPQ Specialist certification exam. Having passed 6 Salesforce certifications at first try, having followed the Steelbrick CPQ Technical Training course, passing the CPQ Brown Belt accreditation and having more than 7 months experience in assessing & implementing Salesforce CPQ configurations, I thaught it would be a walk in the park… Well I guessed wrong,…VERY WRONG! I failed a Salesforce exam for the first time. Major Bummer! But I’m not ashamed of it 😉

Actually it did not come as a surprise because when I came out of the exam room I just knew I didn’t pass, but because it was a beta we would only get our results after 2 months. 2 months of waiting and being completely baffled by the level of detail and complexity those 110 questions were, including calculations with block prices (type slab) and discount schedules with quantities in each slab and having percentages like 12.5% and 15% and not being able to use a calculator??! In this day and age?? I can honestly say I’m not bad at math but it has been more than 18 years since I had to perform manual division with pencil and a paper 😉 I lost a lot of time at those exercises and couldn’t finish responding to all questions within the given time. 8 questions unanswered and time was up… this never happened before 🙁

So when approximately 2 months passed and I received my negative results I wasn’t surprised, on the contrary, I gained extra motivation to pass this exam as soon as it would be made publically available to register again.

And yes about 2 weeks ago Salesforce announced this new certification was open for registration and I immediately registered and booked a seat for today, but this time I would be EXTRA prepared! This would not happen again and I want you to be prepared also!

Oh yeah and by the way I PASSED 😉 I am now a Salesforce Certified CPQ Specialist… #OVERJOYED

So for that reason I ‘ll list some resources for you to study and prepare yourself for this exam, but be aware for the following:

  • Do not only read the resources listed underneath, you’ll need to understand the concepts very well!
  • Theory only will not get you to pass this exam, at least spin up a dev org and install CPQ and try configuring some bundels, quote them, make sure to create a quote template including Terms and Conditions! You can find the downloadlinks to the latest CPQ version here.
  • If possible and you have access to partner training or premier training follow the Steelbrick Learning Pathway
  • If you see any links to other articles within the articles hereunder, click through and read them! 
  • If an article contains a video, watch the video!
  • Get into the details!

So here are the resources that can help you study for the Salesforce Certified CPQ Specialist exam and without reveiling any questions I’ve put 1, 2 or 3 exclamation marks for subjects on which I received questions and how many questions. So !!! means multiple questions or very detailed questions.

 

UPDATE: THE OLD STEELBRICK COMMUNITY HAS BEEN DECOMMISSIONED! ALL LINKS HAVE BEEN REMOVED!!

UPDATED BLOGPOST HERE: http://www.vandeveldejan.com/tips/for-admins/24-updated-study-resources-salesforce-cps-specialist-certification

  • Access the official Study Guide
  • Trailhead CPQ Basics
  • Adding Features
  • Adding Options
  • Changing Option Selection Method !
  • Controlling when Bundle Configuration is Required
  • An Overview of Product Bundles
  • Adding Option Constraints
  • Check Prior Purchases & Option Constraints (To Avoid Creating Product Rules) !!!
  • Product Validation Rules !
  • Configuration Selection Rules !!
  • Alert Rules !
  • Overview of Product Rules
  • Create a Product Rule Based on a Prior Purchase !
  • Product Actions !
  • Configuration Attributes
  • Price Rules from Configuration Attribute !
  • Configuration Attribute Layouts
  • Hiding Options in Configurator !!
  • Auto-Mapping: Twin Fields !
  • Auto-Mapping: Twin Fields Q&A !
  • Bundle & Feature Level Field Sets
  • Product Managed Fields
  • Smart Start
  • Setting Configuration Type !
  • Package Product Code !!
  • Package Product Description
  • Subscription Pricing
  • Guided Selling Overview
  • Building a Workflow to Map Quote Process
  • Dynamic Questions in Guided Selling
  • Guided Selling Use Case !
  • Custom Actions !
  • Search Filters !
  • Dynamically Displaying Quote Line Columns !
  • Draft Watermark Added to Quote PDF
  • Creating Template Sections !
  • Translating Quote Templates
  • Quote Template Fields
  • Setting Document Output Formats !
  • Creating Dynamic Proposals !!
  • Custom HTML Template Content Troubleshooting !
  • Receiving error when previewing Quote Template: Invalid conversion from runtime type Boolean String
  • Create Template Content
  • Multiple Quote Term Sections
  • Building Quote Term Conditions
  • Creating Standard Terms !
  • Lock Quote Term from Edits
  • Merge Fields !
  • Generate Documents !
  • Filtering Line Items to Display in Separate Sections
  • Line Item Groups !!
  • Automatically Grouping Line Items in Quote Templates !
  • Configure Quote Line Item Columns !
  • Block Pricing !!
  • Discount Methods: Discount Schedules Overview !!!
  • Combine Block Pricing with Discount Schedules !!!
  • Percent of Total Pricing !!!
  • Cost & Markup Pricing
  • Price Rules 1 – Overview, Price Conditions & Price Actions !!!
  • Lookup Object / Table !!!
  • Real-Time Price Rules in Configuration !!
  • Writing Advanced-Calculator-Compatible Formulas
  • Overview of Product Pricing !!!
  • Quote Line Managed Fields !
  • Adding Summary Variable
  • Original Price – MSRP Pricing !!!
  • User-Defined Discount Schedules
  • Discount Methods: Discount Schedules Overview !
  • Multi-Dimensional Quoting (MDQ) !
  • Configure Steelbrick CPQ Package-Level Settings !!
  • Making MDQ Products Appear in the Standard Table by Default
  • Segmented Products: Yearly
  • Custom Segments in MDQ !!
  • Quote Line Managed Fields !
  • Monthly & Daily Prorate Precision !!
  • Subscription Pricing !
  • Effective Quantity
  • Discount Methods: Partner Discounts
  • Quote Calculation & Triggering Calculations !!
  • Contracted Pricing !
  • Ignore Parent Contracted Prices !
  • Auto-Generating a Contracted Price 
  • Change Auto-Populate Behavior in New Quotes
  • Opportunity Products Troubleshooting !
  • Edit Lines Page !
  • Bundle & Feature Level Field Sets !
  • Quote Line Editor Overview
  • Permissions on Profiles !
  • Field-Level Security
  • Contracts Overview !
  • Contracting Assets
  • Renewal Overview 1 – Setup !!
  • Preserve Bundle Structure on Renewal Quotes
  • Asset Amendments !
  • Localization with SteelBrick – Translation Overview !

I hope you will be well prepared for this exam and I wish you lots of success!

 

 

Resources to study for passing Salesforce Platform Developer I certification exam

Preparing for a Salesforce Certification exam always raises the question “What do I need to study and where can I find any good resources?”. 

As a good habit I developed over the last years I try to start the year of with a bang and getting a new certification always does the trick 😉

So in this post I’ll share the resources that I’ve used to study for the Salesforce Platform Developer I exam and what to expect from the exam.

60-70% of the questions I’ve got were scenario based, so you should have a good understanding of each topic referenced in the study guide. During the exam certain questions will leave you confused with more than one correct answer so read through the questions more than once before you select your answer(s).

 

Define your strategy:

Start with Salesforce platform developer 1 Certification study guide. Go through each section from the study guide to see if there is any specific area you need more knowledge on. Don’t rely on practice exams or exam dumps as they are mostly out-of-date and never replicates real exam. Sometimes those question/answers are just wrong. Salesforce has loads of documentation on each specific topic, so if you study hard and practice a lot in your developer org, you will do just fine!

 

Each section in the study guide is assigned percentage of questions:

 

  • Logic and Process Automation (46%)
  • Data Modelling and Management (12%)
  • Testing (12%)
  • User Interface (10%)
  • Debug and deployment tools (10%)
  • Salesforce Fundamentals(10%)

 

 

What to study?

First of all if you have access to a Premier Online Training catalogue or Partner Training catalogue do lookup the following online course:

Certification Preparation for Platform Developer I

 

It takes about 4 hours, but gives you a nice detailed summary of the most important topics and I actually had some questions that were clearly answered in this course! Highly Recommended 😉  😉

I watched this course when I started to study and then watched it again the morning of the exam as a review.

Besides that I studied the following materials:

 

Logic and Process Automation

            Remember roll-up summary fields only work with Master-detail relationships, so as soon as you read that it’s a lookup relation it can’t be a roll-up summary field

            Very important table in the Process Automation Trailhead Module which compares capabilities of process builder, workflow, approval process and visual flow.

 

Testing

 

Data Modelling and Management

 

Debug and Deployment Tools

 

Salesforce Fundamentals

 

User Interface

 

 

I also recommend unlocking all the Trailhead modules necessary to do the Apex Specialist Superbadge. I’ve done this and found it highly valuable, but I have to say that the Superbadge itself was a real pain in the **** and took me about 12 hours to complete 🙁

 

I hope this helps anyone who wants to pass the certification exam! Good Luck!

Interactive Salesforce Marketing Cloud Demo with real Use Case

Most of you have seen some Salesforce Marketing Cloud demos before at events like the Salesforce World Tour, Essentials, roadshows or even Dreamforce. The problem with those demos is that they look very high-end and sofisticated and when you purchase such a product you come to the conclusion that almost nothing comes out-of-the-box. 

That is why we have tried to present a real use case only based on point-and-click functionality at our User Group meeting with The Belgium User Group and also with The Netherlands User Group.

All participants were thrown into a real customer journey upon registration and in the course of a month they received some emails (with personalised & dynamic content). Based on their engagement with those emails and several calls-to-action they followed the journey untill some of them converted from lead to customers and when the deal was won were shot into an onboarding journey.

We have used several different features from the Marketing Cloud that we will show you behind the scenes like Automation Studio, Contact Builder, Journey Builder, Personalised Content, Dynamic Content, Social Studio and ofcourse integration with Sales Cloud and Service Cloud through the Marketing Cloud Connector.

Continue reading Interactive Salesforce Marketing Cloud Demo with real Use Case

Salesforce Trailhead: a new way to learn working on the Force.com platform

As a Salesforce Administrator & Developer I’m always looking to expand my knowledge on the Force.com platform.

Salesforce provides lots and lots of different resources to its customers which help them to better work with the platform and deliver “best-in-class” results. Ranging from the Help & Training portal to the different Customer Success Communities, as well as the different free workbooks and paid instructor-lead courses they offer.

A couple of days ago I stumbled upon a new, completely free, way of learning that Salesforce developed called Salesforce Trailhead

Continue reading Salesforce Trailhead: a new way to learn working on the Force.com platform

How to deal with the case insensitive VLOOKUP in Excel when preparing a Salesforce datafix?

Sharing my Salesforce Certified Administrator preparation notes

While preparing for my Salesforce Certified Administrator exam, which I passed in april this year, I wrote some notes down to review just before taking the exam.

The majority of the notes came from someone else who took the exam somewhere beginning of 2012, and as I was watching the video’s on Premier Help & Training portal, I edited and corrected them and even added some content to them.

Continue reading Sharing my Salesforce Certified Administrator preparation notes

Nice way to start 2015: Passing the Salesforce Advanced Administrator exam.

For the past few weeks, while the family was eating, drinking and having fun over the holidays, I was actually preparing myself for the Salesforce Certified Advanced Administrator exam.

Maybe this seems a bit dorky to you, but I was actually having fun too ????

Discovering functionality that I hadn’t used before, playing with it in a developer org, making notes, trying out some own ideas tweaking the exercises… that’s just pure fun isn’t it?!

Continue reading Nice way to start 2015: Passing the Salesforce Advanced Administrator exam.