Florida Dreamin: M&A Framework for Success Presentation

In late October, I had the chance to speak at Florida Dreamin’ on Building an M&A Framework for Success with Rebecca Gray from Capstorm.

If you’d like to view a recap of this presentation, you can view it below:

During the presentation, we also shared some Resources you can use in your own company to to help with building your own framework for success.

M&A Workshop Planning This planning document supports an initial Workshop to understand the acquired company’s current lead to cash process. This will lay the foundation for the development of the Go-Live checklist.

CRM M&A Acquisition Project Overview and Go-Live Checklist Includes an overview of the individual components that can help you gauge the overall status of your project and can help you determine what “Project Done” looks like. It also includes the go-live checklist, a generic project plan for M&A migrations across the lead to cash process.

I hope you find these resources useful!

Rebecca also wrote a blog post with more information: https://www.capstorm.com/capstorm-forecast/blog/


Motivation (Book Thoughts: ‘Smarter Faster Better,’ by Charles Duhigg)

I’ve been trying to read more Personal Development books this year (instead of just the latest Star Wars novel – on a sidenote, The High Republic books are REALLY GOOD!) and finished “Smarter Faster Better” by Charles Duhigg recently.

I wanted to share some of my takeaways from the book since it resonated deeply with me related to Motivation. With Social Media, you see other people doing BIG THINGS and it’s easy to get envious. With smartphones, Netflix, video games, Instagram (and the list goes on) it’s easy to get endless distracted. So how can you take a “pause” and find a way to motivate yourself and your own goals? Here is a mix of my own thoughts and topics he covers in the book.

First, find an INTERNAL “locust of control.” Tell yourself you can (and WILL) control your destiny. Find one small thing you can do to start working towards a goal. For me, it is learning to code. Code has always scared me. It looks like complete nonsense to me. But if I want to reach my #journeytoCTA goal it means I need to actually learn the “Technical” in CTA. So I started with Apex Academy (thank you David Liu and SFDC99), bought the Focus on Force study guides and practice exams for Platform Developer I, and started small.

Your Action: Make one small decision to put you on the path to your goals.

Second ask yourself the “Why?” Why do you want to achieve that goal? Is it to enter a new career and find new passion and inspiration? Is it to better provide for your family by being able to increase your salary? For me, it’s being able to provide for my family, and find a career where I can make a meaningful difference – which I find in the Salesforce Ohana.

Your Action: Make a list of 3 reasons why you want to achieve the goal from Step 1.

Third, try and think different. Coding is hard for me. But instead of thinking I’m learning something HARD I think I’m learning something invaluable. This leads to a focus on Mental Models. I can see myself learning to code, going through Apex Academy and study guides and Trailhead learning more and passing the Platform Developer I exam.

Your Action: How can you think different about your goal to help you find the motivation? Build that Mental Model where you see yourself succeeding.

Fourth, GOALS on your path to your Goals. Have both short-term and long-term goals. Those small short term goals give you “Cognitive Closure” to help motivate you on the path to larger goals. That small goal can be “review this section” in the Focus on Force study guide but you can find satisfaction in completing it.

Your Action: Name 1 short-term (next 1 year), 1 mid-term (next 3 years) and 1 long-term (next 5 years) goals.

Fifth, find someone to help motivate you and encourage you. If you hang around people who focus on distractions you will focus on distractions.

You Action: Find someone in the Ohana who can help encourage you.

I hope you feel motivated by this post. I feel motivated writing it! Now excuse me, I’m going to do some studying for Platform Developer I.

Don’t Let Salesforce Be A Data Black Hole

I was talking with some end users the other day, and was reminded of something I hate to admit I sometimes forgot:

ALWAYS ask yourself WHY am I collecting this piece of data?

As system architects/admins we love having Salesforce be a rich database of information. But we should always keep in mind that we want USEFUL information.

Data for the sake of data is an administrative burden and a nightmare of tech debt. It sits there draining time and energy and not adding value like a data black hole. It also frustrates end users and hurts adoption.

So how do we stop the black hole?

1. Set a reminder in your calendar (do it now!) to look at one object per month and think about how to simplify the amount of data. Start with Account and work down your related list. (When are you doing it?)

2. In your training and documentation, don’t just include what is being captured, include WHY it is being captured. That way you have business requirements built in and can more easily identify when something may no longer be relevant.

3. Whenever you have to adjust a pick-list, run a quick analysis and see what values are being used (or not used!) and clean up accordingly.

Taking 5 minutes now to purge some tech debt and document some use cases will save you hours of time later when you have to try to search through 5+ year old tickets for the business requirements of why something was done. Your future self will thank you!

Remember – we want Salesforce to be a stocking stuffed with presents (aka useful information) and not coal (aka tech debt junk!).

M&A CRM Project Components

When planning for an M&A Lead to Cash Tech Stack Migration, the CRM migration has 7 individual components within an overall project scope.

These individual components can help you gauge the overall status of your project and can help you determine what “Project Done” looks like.

  • Accounts: Map the acquired company’s accounts to your accounts. This can be a central account database or your CRM. It is vital that a coordinated mapping is done between all internal systems using Account Data so ABC Company in the CRM is also ABC Company in Billing.
  • Products: Map the acquired company’s products into your company’s product database, and ensure all impacted parties agree on the structure. Sales needs to know how to sell the products, pricing needs to know how to price them, Operations needs to be able to implement them, and Billing needs to be able to invoice the customer.
  • Sales Users: User configuration, communication, and training. This is fundamental to ensuring a positive experience for these Users. These Users will help the company achieve the cross sell goals set and can help customers see the future vision for the merged company. Make sure it is a positive experience for them too.
  • Service Users: User configuration, communication, and training. This is fundamental to ensuring a positive experience for these Users. These Users resolve customer issues so creating a positive experience for them will help make it a positive experience for your customers.
  • System Configuration: This is the CRM configuration changes (pick list value changes, field additions, etc.) required to move in the acquired company.
  • Data Migration: Moving data from the legacy system into your CRM. Accounts, contacts, opportunities, etc.
  • Training and Post Live Support: Salesforce training is not a one and done activity. It is a two step activity. Step 1 is teaching them HOW TO USE THE SYSTEM. This is how you add a Contact, this is how you close an Opportunity, etc. Step 2 is HOW THEY USE THE SYSTEM. Helping them get the most value out of the system by making it work for them.

These 7 components can be used to report internally on the project status using a % completion measure and objective measures. 500/1000 Accounts have been mapped, 10 out of 15 products are set up, 10 out of 12 tickets for system configuration changes are done, etc

My next post will look at the Lead to Cash workshop (understand the acquired company’s current process) so the Go Live Checklist can be built (how to move their current process into your tech stack).

Just Remember: This is a marathon, not a sprint (even if you are working in Sprints!). Don’t try to rush this project. Get this DONE WELL, not just DONE.

A well done acquisition integration will bring new synergies and leave a positive taste in employee and customer mouths. A poorly handled migration can negatively impact employee motivation and productivity, and customer relationships.

Salesforce Hero #1: Widget Worries Wi-solved

It was a normal day at Widget Company Inc. Bob and Sarah were having a meeting to discuss a new product launch.

“Man am I excited for the launch of our Ultra Widget Deluxe!” Bob said. “That extra 3.6% of performance over the Ultra Widge Standard and 7.5% performance improvement over Ultra Widget Basic is gong to make a big difference.”

“I know!” Sarah shared, beaming with pride.

Later that week, after the product launched, their support agents started getting cases in. But there was one problem – they had no idea which product the case was for!

“Oh no! We can’t access reports about which product is going wrong!“

Back in his base, Salesforce Hero was doing Trailhead in his Astro Jammie’s when his Problem Radar detected a problem.

“Excuse me sir” said his voice assistant OHANA (Our Hero’s Awesome Never-Fails Assistant). “We have a serious problem that needs your help.”

Salesforce Hero jumped up, tapped his ASTRO costume change (Awesome Suit To Return Order) and flew off.

“Salesforce Hero we are so glad you are here!” Bob said. “We can’t track which product a case is about!”

“Have no fear, Salesforce Hero is here! Simply add a Product Lookup field to add the product to the case!”

“Wow that’s amazing! Thanks Salesforce hero!” Sarah said, standing and cheering.

“No problem! Your Salesforce Hero is always ready to help!”

*Cue triumphant exit music*

Narrator: Whenever there is a Salesforce problem, never fear Salesforce Hero will be there to SAVE THE DAY!

Note: This story does not take into account linking cases to assets or records of products purchased by a customer. This was me having fun at 3 AM!

M&A Framework for Success

I’ve had the joy of migrating 6(!!) acquired companies into our Salesforce org and am working on/planning for 5(!!!) more concurrently.

Integrating an acquired company into your Salesforce org is one of the biggest projects any Salesforce Admin, Business Analyst, Program Manager, or Developer can take on.

It almost has to be seen as a “full implementation” in terms of gathering business requirements, setting up users, making system configuration changes, training, etc. – so a MASSIVE undertaking.

I’m going to publish a series of blog posts on M&A to share what I’ve learned. So here is step 1: have a crystal clear set of guiding principles. Here is mine.

1. COORDINATION across the lead to cash tech stack to ensure a smooth transition. Each step is a link in the lead to cash chain and if one is broken it all falls apart.

2. TRANSPARENCY on what is happening when and why. You are moving a lot of people’s cheese. They deserve to understand what is changing (a new CRM!) when (keep them informed of migration dates) and why (one view of the customer).

3. ACCOUNTABILITY that you will follow through on what you tell them. Employees are a company’s biggest assets and the work we do during a CRM migration impacts the way people work each and every day, and their opportunity to close deals and provide for their family. Treat them with respect and honor your word.

4. STOP things from becoming “THINGS.” This is my personal favorite. It’s so easy to let something fester and blow up, especially with the intense stress of an acquisition and migration. By being TRANSPARENT, COORDINATED, and ACCOUNTABLE everyone can work together more efficiently.

So that is step 1 – your guiding principles. My hope is that these capture the basics to help you develop your framework. Future blog posts will look at the phases of a migration, the project components, and key tools to help plan and prepare for the migration.

Building Your Personal Brand

On December 3rd, I am partnering with the St. Louis Salesforce Admin User Group to talk about Personal Branding at their “Ask an Expert” round table. To help me prepare, I put some thoughts down to share at the meeting so I wanted to share them on my blog as well.

Here are some tips on building your Brand:

  1. Just get Started! Share a Post, a Tweet, a Comment – just do SOMETHING.
  2. Understand your Purpose. Draft a Mission Statement. Find your Niche.
    1. I want to be a thought leader (and share things that have worked well for me) and find resources to help me on my journey to CTA.
  3. Always be Authentic. Share YOUR Voice.
  4. Set Goals for yourself. Get to X Followers. Post 1 time per week/month.
    1. I am terrible about this – a goal for 2022 is to have goals!
  5. Build your Branding. Get a Logo from Canva. Post a picture of yourself.
    1. Arch-Force: ARCH is for my hometown (St. Louis) and my goal of becoming an ARCH-itecht.
    2. I used Canva for my Arch-Force logo. It isn’t fancy but it’s a start.
  6. Check in with yourself. Is my investment of time paying off? How can I adjust my strategy?
    1. I’ve connected with lots of fantastic people – including getting to be at the Ask an Expert event! Building online connections to hopefully speak at a Dreamin event and Dreamforce eventually.
  7. Understand your Platform
    1. Twitter: Real time/small tidbits.
    2. LinkedIn: Longer thought provoking posts.
    3. YouTube: Videos in a stored Library.
    4. Blog: Your own Site (I use WordPress)

Keep in Mind!

  1. The Internet is Permanent. Be kind!
  2. Time Management is crucial. Social Media is designed to suck you in. Make sure YOU control IT and IT doesn’t control YOU.

Helpful Links:

  1. https://www.salesforceben.com/5-simple-steps-to-create-a-personal-brand/

Certifications vs Experience

I’ve seen a few posts lately talking about Experience vs Certifications, and I wanted to chime in with my own two cents.

Studying for Certifications has given me the knowledge to get more involved in Projects and get more EXPERIENCE.

The experiences I’ve had from that has enabled me to study and earn more CERTIFICATIONS.

Everyone seems so focused on “which is better” that we forget that they work together to drive your overall career.

My wife and I had these ugly yellow outlets in our house, so I watched a YouTube video and was able to swap them for some nice white outlets. I was able to efficiently translate “head knowledge” (learning) to “real world experience” (swapping power outlets). Again, they work together – learning leading to real world experience.

At the end of the day, be kind. Someone may be focused on certifications because of free or inexpensive online learning options to move into a new (awesome!) Salesforce career from a career with limited opportunities for real world experience. Someone may have loads of experience and no certifications and we should applaud them for their wealth of knowledge. Everyone has a different background and a different experience.

What do you think? How many certifications do you have? Why have you (or have you not) pursued them?

Salesforce Starter Reports: Increase the ability of your Users to create Reports for themselves, by themselves.

In an ideal world, Salesforce is the Single Source of Truth (“SSOT”) for information in your Organization. Having it be the SSOT also means that many end-users (Sales, Marketing, Sales Operations, Finance, Service, etc.) are going to want to pull Reports out of the system to answer questions like:

  • How is my forecast looking for Q1? Q2?
  • What is the ROI on our most recent webcast? And trade show?
  • How many calls are my Reps making? How many meetings?
  • How many cases came in last week? Last month?

These questions tend to be variations of the same theme. However, it can be cumbersome having to start from scratch each time (choosing from 100+ Report Types) or trying to find a Report you can copy in the hundreds (or thousands) of Reports currently floating out there with helpful names like “Customer List FES”, “Webinar Contacts”, or “Copy of Pipeline”.

Even once a decent starting Report is found, as you layer in With/Without conditions, object relationships, filters, etc. it can quickly get overwhelming for End-Users to figure out how to get from point A to point B.

To help solve this problem, I recommend creating “Starter Reports.” Think of these as “Report Type” Reports that users can start with. It saves both end-users and Report Analysts time by curating a list of Reports to answer common questions in your organization, that can quickly be modified to meet specific criteria. Here is an example:

As you can see, we have two reports pre-built. Since we have two Asset Record Types, one for tracking Customer information and one for tracking Competitor Asset information, we created one Report for each that includes a filter to only include the appropriate Asset Record Types. Based on your org, some common Starter Reports might include a standard Opportunities with Products “Pipeline Report”, or a Leads with/without Campaigns “Campaign Measurement” Report. The possibilities are endless!

We created a Guide to help Users with better understanding how to use these Starter Reports. Our hope was to empower Users in two ways:

  1. Provide some basics on Reports in Salesforce.
  2. Understand the types of information provided by each Starter Report.

Below is the information we shared:

Salesforce Reports Overview

Report Types in Salesforce are the building blocks of Reports. They link together related Objects for Reporting purposes.

  • Report Types are linear. It’s like clicking through records in the Related List.
    • From Account, you can click into Opportunities and then into Opportunity Products.
    • Report Types cannot pull in data from unrelated objects. For example, you can’t combine Account+Contact and Account+Opportunity information since they are non-linear, and both start from Accounts.
  • Report Types can build Object relationships using WITH or WITHOUT  or WITH/WITHOUT related records
    • If an “Opportunities WITH Products” report is created, it will not pull in any Opportunity records WITHOUT related Product records.
  • Once a Starter Report is chosen, “Save As” to the folder you’d like BEFORE modifying fields and filters.
  • To Export click on the down arrow in the Report’s top right hand corner and select Export. Depending on the size of the file, you may want to switch to “Details Only” and set the format to CSV.
  • There are standard “Filters” in Salesforce for certain objects. These include:
    • My Territories: Only pulls records for your Territory.
    • My Territory’s Teams: Pulls records for your Territory and below it
    • My Team: Pulls Records related to your Role for the team you manage.
  • Linking together Reports can be done using the 18 Character RecordID.

Starter Reports

For each of the Starter Reports, we provide the following information:

  1. Objects included (Accounts WITH Contacts)
  2. Description: This report includes all Accounts with related Contacts.
  3. Questions it answers: What Accounts do we currency have in the system? Who are our Prospects? Who are our Clients?
  4. Native filters (with a description): My Territory’s Teams, My Accounts.
    1. This will depend on your Org. We don’t have Account “Owners” so the My Account filter isn’t applicable for us.
  5. Limitations: If an Account doesn’t have a related Contact, it will not get pulled into the Report. This will not be able to pull in the Assets (services) a Customer is using. You will need to also pull an “Accounts with Assets (Customer)” Report and combine them outside the system using the 18 Character “AccountID” field.

What now?

  1. Identify common reporting requests received to identify what Starter Reports would be helpful in your organization.
  2. Find the right place to store the Starter Report guide information.
    1. Do you have a Quip page? Confluence? A PDF in your files library?


  • We found this approach helps Admins save time as well. If a modification is needed, that edit can be made directly in the Starter Report instead of having to go into Setup and modify the Report Type directly. Fewer clicks!
  • The starting field layout can be easily updated as you create each starter report to pull in the relevant fields, and place them in a natural order. Your end-users will thank you!

Salesforce Data Governance: Identify an “Owner” for Each Piece of Data

Salesforce as your Single Source of Truth (“SSOT”) means everyone in your organization (Finance, Marketing, Sales, Service, etc.) will be updating and maintaining information in the system. This also means that everyone in your organization (Finance, Marketing, Sales, Service, etc.) will be pulling that information out of the system for reporting purposes.

Since not every piece of data in the system has an “Owner”, how can your users know who to partner with to resolve any questions?

  • What if a Contract Date looks off?
    • Why is the expiration date after the original contract date?
  • What if a customer’s Order information is off?
    •  This client has never purchased Widgets from us before, so why do we show they purchased 10,000 units yesterday?

To help resolve this challenge, we recommend instituting a comprehensive Data Governance model. This helps each team using the system to know what they are responsible for, and helps users pulling data from the system to know who is responsible for maintaining the data they are using.

There are 4 buckets in this RACI:

  • Responsible: Initially creates and/or maintains the Record.
  • Accountable: Ultimately responsible for the accuracy of the record.
  • Consulted: Asked for feedback on changes in the record.
  • Informed: Proactively informed of changes.

Using this perspective, a matrix similar to the one below can be created:

ObjectSales (RACI)CommentContrat OperationsComment
Find the “Account Owner” on the Account PagesN/AN/A
Find the “Account Owner” on the Account the Contact is related toN/AN/A
ContractAccountableFind the “Account Owner” on the Account PagesResponsibleSubmit a Support Request to contracthelp@mycompany.com
Salesforce Data Governance

Some things to keep in mind:

  1. Informed means proactively informed.
    1. Sales should be proactively informed of Marketing Campaigns and Marketing should be proactively informed of Sales Campaigns being created so they can partner together and coordinate plans.
  2. Consulted is used for things like Reports – if you are pulling a report of Contact data, the Contract Operations team will want to provide input.
  3. The lifecycle of a Record is to create, maintain, and ensure accuracy. We split Responsible to cover the first two, and Accountable to cover the last one. This means a Team can be both Responsible and Accountable for a Record. Sales creates and maintains the Account Record, and is ultimately accountable for ensuring it’s accuracy. If the address changes because they move, Sales would be one of the first to learn about it to make the update in salesforce.

Once finalized and approved, this model should be posted in a universally accessible place – such as a Salesforce intranet site.

What next?

  1. Make a list of your SalesForce objects and teams that currently use Salesforce. Identify a single stakeholder for each team who can provide final approval on the Data Governance model.
  2. Make a preliminary Data Governance model with a small strike team. This will allow for a quick first draft.
  3. Meet with the stakeholders and give them a defined period of time (2 weeks is what we used) to provide feedback. If no feedback is received, Silence is acceptance.
  4. Post the model publicly. This will help keep everyone informed of who is responsible for what, and keep the right team accountable for data accuracy in the system.

SIDENOTE:Having a Data Governance model is another Salesforce Admin/Business Analyst lifesaver by allowing them to focus on the structure and maintenance of the system while identifying the right teams to own the data in the system.