Salesforce Apps: Conga Composer Document Automation

Conga Composer integrated with Salesforce.com opens up an entire opportunity for document automation and productivity increases.  It is one of our favorite AppExchange apps we use in our Salesforce consulting for its extensibility of field information across data objects in Salesforce.com.

Much of the customization in Salesforce.com is focused on inputting information.  Fields are created and a process is developed for capturing information.  Managing your sales team or service process is then done by Dashboards and Reports for real-time feedback.

Within your business process, you may have documents that have to be assembled as an output of your field capture information.  Conga Composer works with your Professional or Enterprise Edition to quickly design and output custom documents.  A button can be embedded in your different data objects – Contacts, Accounts, Leads, Opportunities or custom records.  Push the button and a script runs to merge Salesforce.com data with your document template of choice.  Multiple buttons can be created for each document type.

Here is how to make document automation of your Salesforce.com business processes:

  1. Identify repeatable document outputs.  You may be producing a letter of intent, invoice, contract or business proposal.  There is typically a template you work from.  Instead of filling in the blanks, make these templates in Conga Composer.
  2. Design and layout.  Design a template in Word, Excel, PowerPoint or PDf format.  Format your text and ensure the graphics reflect your branding and imaging.
  3. Program your documents.  Your system fields need to be mapped into your document.  Capture these and ensure that they are inserted correctly with the right formatting, spacing and layout.
  4. Implement a button.  Each document needs to have a button or link to trigger the automation.  Ensure your team is aware of this new functionality.  As part of the script, record any document creation and distribution via email, fax or mail within your records as an Activity History.
  5. Increase speed.  Everything can be refined.  Look for fewer steps and drive the process of document assembly and automation faster by cutting out steps and data collection.

The opportunity to cut out cycles in creating your corporate documents increases adoption and enthusiasm for Salesforce.com.  Furthermore, work gets done and is accounted for inside records.  Management can see what has happened and what was sent out.  Manual steps are eliminated and consistency is much higher. It’s a process that can be set up within your own Salesforce.com system.

How could document automation help your team with Salesforce.com?  Feel free to comment below.

3 Salesforce Documents Collaboration Tips

Salesforce.com Documents is an integral part of the overall system which your organization can use to align your team’s processes and execution.  Security and sharing are part of the Salesforce Documents object structure.  Making this part of how you get business should consider these strategies:

  1. Organize By Folders. As you store resources for various parts of your organizations, use folders to store information.  Your support team may need different items than your sales team.  Marketing may need more graphics.  Be sure to tag each item so that your team can find items easily.  Having items which are organized but unused makes your efforts useless.  Think about how people will find what they are looking for and organize accordingly.
  2. Create Custom Email Templates. Associate your respective files with email templates that attach the documents to outbound standard communications.  This increases speed and productivity as your team is able to send items to prospects and customers such as tip sheets, marketing materials, support steps or investment reports.  As you update the respective files in the Salesforce.com Documents record, the association will be retained across your email templates.  Outbound communications from your team will always remain current this way.  Be sure to use footnotes that show the version number or updated date to help everyone know the last revision.  Mass email can be used strategically with integrated Documents attached as well to ready personalized email templates.
  3. Manage Your File Sizes. You have a limit to your file storage sizes.  If you are storing pdf files, then compress these.  This can be done even further from the original in many cases.  Manage your data storage by eliminating unused files and keeping things lean.  Your document storage limits can be seen in the Salesforce.com Setup area.  If you are managing large amounts of data in Salesforce.com, there are a few other options to manage your data usage:
    1. Attach Google Docs. Use an integrated Google Docs approach to use Google’s storage via web documents.
    2. Integrate A Cloud Document Management System. A full document management system with check-out and check-in privileges with revision controls and a data structure may be more suitable.  There are a variety on the market which we implement.  Be sure to understand the processes in your company and get the right system.
    3. Buy more Salesforce.com Storage. There is a monthly fee which you can add to increase your storage limits.

Salesforce.com Documents work as an integrated part of resources internally for your team’s knowledge sharing or externally to communicate with customers, partners and prospects.  Avoid allowing this data object from being disorganized or without its strategic potential.  Its relationship to your email templates and other data needs to be considered and managed within the context of well-designed Salesforce.com process and a Salesforce.com Roadmap. Or get Salesforce consulting help to clarify your own approach.

How are you using your Salesforce.com Documents?

Salesforce Conga Merge For Document Automation

Document automation in Salesforce.com is a powerful way to automate parts of your workflow.  If you are seeking to get a proposal out to a prospect or send a non-disclosure agreement, the terms, conditions and varying fields can merge with pre-designed documents in a library.

Our Salesforce consultants continually refine organizational processes.  The tedium of having to create and distribute new documents can be effectively managed with a leading third-party AppExchange partner, AppExtremes.

Their application, Conga Composer, and the suite of other integrated Salesforce.com products extend your ability to gain efficiency in reporting and document creation.

Automating Your Salesforce Document Workflow

Typically, in the course of doing business, you exchange documents with your partners and customers.  You could open up a Word, PowerPoint, Excel or pdf file and type away customizing the document from a template.  However, here are some disadvantages to this manual and inferior process:

No Centralized Document Template

Having a copy of a template on each person’s desktop leaves any change management without good controls for ensuring similarity between templates.  With a centralized document template in Salesforce.com, any changes are in real-time and accessible by users from one place.

No Searchable And Reportable Data

If your merge information is inside your document alone, then you miss the opportunity a cloud database in Salesforce.com affords you.  Your information is part of a data object record.  This becomes searchable, part of a history and can be used in reporting metrics.  It is more strategic.

Less Clicks For Document Production

With Conga Composer, the programming for creating a document within a Salesforce.com record is easy.  A button initiates the process and merges fields from different data objects.  The output can be the document, a pdf or an email template with an attachment.  It is set up initially and made part of a template library.

Automation Reinforces Your Business Processes

If you have a team, then using Salesforce.com to drive collaboration and efficiency enhances your team’s culture and speed for execution.  Salesforce.com is powerful for customization around a process.  As new areas of automation are required, third-party apps help to meet the growing requirements of your team.

This is the beauty of adopting Salesforce.com.  It allows for continual evolution and refinement of your business processes.  Whether you are automating documents, marketing or calling, the opportunity to cut out cycles and provide less friction for your team increases motivation and reduces error.

What are some documents that your team could benefit from automating?  Feel free to comment below.