Category Archive: Managed Services

Common Issues for Organizations New to Salesforce (And How to Avoid Them)

Himali Shah November 18th, 2021 by

This blog was originally published on June 7, 2018.

So you’re just getting started with Salesforce, a powerful Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform that offers users a great deal of functionality, and unlimited possibilities! Or, maybe you are using Association Management Solutions (AMS) powered by Salesforce, such as Fonteva or Nimble AMS.

What is the best way to hit the ground running with your shiny, new CRM? Our fusionSpan Salesforce team shares a few common issues, and tips on how to avoid them as a new Salesforce user.

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Salesforce Admin = Company Know-All Source

Salesforce Admin

While it is expected that the Salesforce Administrator should be the in-house Salesforce expert, it is also important that they have a complete understanding of all of your company’s business processes. Without a complete understanding of the business processes, a Salesforce admin is more likely to build an overly complicated process. Think of it like asking a baker to make a wedding cake without telling them when or where the wedding will take place.

Ideally, the Salesforce Admin should get business process training in all aspects of the company, so that person or team can then map that business knowledge to Salesforce. This can allow for better data and the correct setup of object structures.

Defining Report Requirements

In most organizations, only a few staff members are tasked with creating reports for everyone else to use. This is especially true for companies who are utilizing Salesforce, as reports can be tricky to build without proper training.

A common issue that arises is when someone requests a custom report to be built. Once it is provided to them, they find that their requirements have not been appropriately met, such as fields not accessible from the report type.

Understanding the report needs before building the report will reduce the likelihood of having to restart from scratch. If you are one of the report builders at your company, it would be helpful for you to follow up on the report request by asking the following questions:

  • Why are they building this report?
  • What is the intended business use for the report?
  • What information does the user need to get from the report (especially ALL fields they want to see)?

Once you have the answers to these questions, you can start building the report with confidence that you reach the desired end result.

Utilizing Permission Sets

Sometimes Salesforce Admins will create multiple custom profiles to grant permissions to groups of users. These can include enabling additional abilities to transfer or delete object records when the profile only allows read, write, and create access. We recommend not to have too many profiles, as it can be difficult to manage and cause troubleshooting issues.

Salesforce Permission Sets allow the administrator to grant additional access to certain users within a profile, eliminating the need to numerous profiles with similar abilities.

Password Confusion

If your Salesforce entity has a customer community, staff may not realize that they have two separate user accounts: Staff Portal and the Community Portal. This can cause confusion—and sometimes frustration—if they use the same email address for both their staff and community login, especially when they try to reset the password.

We recommend that the Salesforce Admin append one or both of the user accounts with a standardized indicator of which portal the user account is tied to. For example, you can choose to add “.staff” to the end of the user account for the Salesforce user or “.community” to the end for the Community one:

  • Salesforce Login:
  • Community Login:

It’s up to you and your staff to decide which username should have an indicator (or both, if that makes sense for you).

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Tips for Association Professionals Working with Consultants

Avatar photo March 30th, 2021 by

A few years ago, the association I was working at decided to overhaul and upgrade the organization website. Among many other resources, this project involved the need for staff to coordinate work with an outside vendor in order to re-do the site.

Although the website updates were eventually completed, projects rarely go according to plan. Looking back, there are definitely steps we could have carried out differently to better help the consultant understand both our project objectives and expectations. Most of my learning from this specific project centered around communication and understanding business processes.

Within this specific project, these were some of the critical business processes we needed to understand:

  • What and How different departments communicated with members. It was necessary for our team to understand the channels of communication and the content that was being delivered.
  • What and How data processes were used for our Association Management System (AMS). Our team needed to know how data was input into the system, as well as the type of data being collected.

Understanding these pieces played an important role in the project, because it mapped the trajectory of the project and the key stakeholders that needed to be involved. Looking back, establishing this at the onset of the project would have paid dividends to all involved and the project timeline itself.


Note: Recent Reports from the Project Management Institute (PMI) show that about 14% of IT related projects fail outright, and 30% of all projects still fail to meet their goals. On top of that, almost half of all projects still end up being completed late.1

What steps is your association or organization taking to ensure project completion on time?

Gaining this insight was critical to our success, because this particular project involved every department within the organization. Upgrading an entire website was no easy task, so early and consistent communication was essential throughout the entire project.

While this particular website upgrade was just one example, the lessons I took from the overall project have helped me throughout my career. Once a new project is underway, here are a few tried and true methods to help both the consultant(s) and your association staff keep the project on track and on budget:

Establish & Update Standard Operating Procedures

Make sure that your Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are in place and up to date. When a person leaves a position within an organization, it creates a knowledge gap. If the person leaving has the best understanding of why things are done the way they are in your association’s AMS, all of that knowledge leaves with the employee unless you have appropriately documented the processes used within your organization. SOPs ensure you are not one person deep on important business knowledge and processes.

SOPs not only help internal staff, but they also help consultants understand how and why an organization operates a certain way. SOPs can be looked at as an organization’s user manual.

Additionally, when your SOPS include why and how processes are handled a certain way, your consultant will better understand your organization and be able to provide the best recommendation for how to move forward. At fusionSpan, we establish SOPs for both internal and external work, and we constantly work to update these procedures with the adoption of new tools or processes.

Set Clear Expectations From The Beginning

Keeping the lines of communication open between the association staff and the consulting team from the very being is key to a well run project. It’s important that all involved understand each other’s roles and responsibilities.

When I started working on IT related projects, I learned there are some helpful things to adopt when communicating with a consultant:

  • Provide clear and concise steps for how you came across the issue.
  • Include screenshots that are clearly labeled – include a clear description of what the screenshot is showing (or not showing).
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions, but also be prepared to provide information on your end.
    • For example: If you are working with a consultant to upgrade your AMS, then providing a login will help expedite the process.
  • Help your consultant better understand your association and the community (members) that you represent. This can help the consultant better understand the associations goals and help them to understand how the project fits into the organization long-term.

Communicating who will be the point of contact and SOPs for various business functions across the organization is a key step while undertaking a new project. Establishing clear procedures, and being proactive instead of reactive, will help ensure project completion and success.

Be Responsive & Flexible!

While we are all working to ensure that the project is completed in accordance with the timeline, roadblocks will almost always arise. Be sure that you have a team and procedure in place to adjust scope or requirements for the project, and communicate early and often over any changes within the project.

Most of us are still working remotely, and it might be worth adopting some temporary procedures and measures full-time. Ensure that your team is well-equipped and ready to address project adjustments quickly while continuing to work from home (for more insight on setting your team up for success while working remotely, check out some of our previous blogs).

Remember that when working with consultants, communication plays a key role not only the initial outreach, but throughout the entire project scope. The main takeaway is to remember that all involved are working together to bring the project to completion in a timely manner with the best end result possible.

“Success Rates Rise.” PMI’s Pulse of the Profession, Accessed 2020.

Why help desk ticket systems aren’t just for IT

justin fusionSpan Team August 25th, 2016 by
IMG_2321Everyone gets complaints. Complaints about their service, complaints about their products, complaints about the cost, complaints about the noise (more on that last one in a minute). Which is why at fusionSpan we have a help desk system that allows us to track everything. A help desk allows us to both ensure we’re following up on all our customers’ issues, as well as tracking the kind of issues we’re getting. Yet most non-technology departments are not using a help desk system, or a customer relationship management (CRM) system to track the complaints, which is a huge mistake. In the time of big data, not capturing your data can put you at a significant disadvantage. You are unable to make strategic decisions based on the trends in your complaints, which will ultimately result in you making decisions that just result in more complaints. (more…)

Associations and Windows 10: Say “NO” to These 2 Microsoft Updates

Avatar photo July 30th, 2015 by
Say "NO" to Win10 Auto-UpgradeYesterday was the official release date of Microsoft’s newest operating system: Windows 10. It’s fast, has a ton of a new features, and makes excellent use of hardware resources. I’ve been messing with this newest addition in a lab environment over the past month or so and absolutely love it.

That being said:

  1. It’s not for everyone.
  2. Microsoft is pushing your staff to download and install it automatically through Automatic Update prompts, which will cause many people frustration, downtime, and learning curves.
  3. Microsoft touts an easy rollback (downgrade to the previous Win7/8 instance) for folks who install Win10 inadvertantly. But, through experience I can confidently tell you not to trust rollback processes, especially for systems in their infancy.