salesforce communitiesSalesforce Community Cloud

Salesforce Community Cloud is a framework for organizations to build branded custom digital services communities and collaboration environments. Important insight and company data from the CRM database can be made available to any internal or external user. This creates a work environment where everyone has access to the same source of information.

Employee Communities help businesses provide better ways for employees to collaborate between departments and communicate with one another. Customer and/or Partner communities provide more streamlined channels for employees and partners to communicate with one another without the endless cascading emails.

Customer Service helps customers find their own answers, with self-service portals and forums.

Account Portals give users access to articles, the access to update their accouts, and create and manage cases and claims.

Partner Central is an elegant management solution for you and your partners with a dynamic PRM site.

Build Your Own solutions and create value that suits your unique needs with Lightning Community Builder.

Fortunately with Community Builder, designing your organization’s portal is easy:

  • Customizable templates
  • Customizable components for your community
  • Custom apps made by third parties
  • Integrate data from any disparate system
  • Streamlined access to multiple communities with single sign-on and identity.

Collaborate with agencies, suppliers, vendors, patients, students, alumni, retail locations, job applicants, or anyone else critical to your business success with Community Cloud. The benefits of Salesforce Community Cloud web portals include:

Connect with every person involved in your collaboration

Partner Channel Sales, Customer Service, and Employees

Salesforce Community Cloud allows employees to connect with resellers, distributors, and partners in a single place. They can find the information they need, register new leads, edit and update records as needed in real time, and manage finances and funds. It’s the perfect way to create a rich self-service portal that allows the necessary teams and individuals to communicate, troubleshoot any issues that may arise, and share valuable insights and resources. Employees can ask each other questions or look up relevant resources, check up on their schedules, log tickets and data, manage reports, and collaborate.

Stay ahead of the competition

Salesforce Communities helps you differentiate your business operations, and your products and services from the competition. With all your data and resources in one place, it creates a more positive experience to facilitate the success of every party involved.

Integrate with useful business software

One of the best qualities of Salesforce is it’s ability to integrate with your legacy systems. You have the option to use native integration or build a custom API to other backend systems to connect data in disparate systems. This allows users to access accurate data in real time, enabling them to provide the best possible service on time. Quickbooks integration with Salesforce is a great example of the kind of integrated finance software or ERP software that can give better visibility into invoices and making payments, all in one place.

Mobile access for convenience

Having the ability to access information on the go is increasingly valuable to the modern day workforce. Community Cloud is already mobile-enabled, so it won’t be necessary to built a mobile component. It may, however, be necessary to optimize using responsive design when customizing your branding. The general user experience and processes specific to your mobile needs may require a Salesforce Support partner to create the best possible user experience.

Reasonable, predictable pricing structure and support options

The pre-built framework of Community Cloud limits the resources you would need to build and maintain a custom application, which would also be significantly more expensive and unpredictable in regards to monthly cost. With Community Cloud’s SaaS-base…there is ongoing support, and can be more simply managed by a Salesforce administrator at a more predictable price. Not to mention, it’s an expense, not capital cost.

Build your Community in 30 days

Is it really necessary to reinvent the wheel every time a business wants to build a custom portal? No. Absolutely not. That’s why Salesforce came prepared with multi-corporate portal technologies built into it’s structure so that it can support whatever intricacies and specifications that your organization requires. Portals can be built in as little as 30 days.

More important details about Salesforce Communities

Licensing

Customer (self-service)

  • The minimum needed for external access and collaboration
  • Standard and Plus

Partner (Partner Relationship Management)

  • B2B interactions where you want to pull in sales data

Lightning External (customization options)

  • Create a customer forum, display data external to Salesforce, or build full enterprise portals that handle everyone
  • Standard and Plus

Domain

You should consider a separate support community domain such as: support.businessname.com. Subdomains for every community makes you save money and keeps your communities linked to your main website.

As a default, communities will have a corresponding URL under this main domain:

businessname.force.com/customers
businessname.force.com/support
businessname.force.com/partners

This *.force.com cannot be changed after you’ve enabled communities in your Org. This is fine for testing, but their not great for brand recognition.

Sandboxes

Sandbox is a great way to test your ideas such as custom triggers, Lightning Components and code development out without making permanent production changes until you are absolutely ready.

Deployments

After you’ve created your Salesforce Community in the Sandbox and you think you’re ready for deployment…consider these things:

Deploying a community can delete pages. 

Usually deployments are additive only, but when deploying the main components of the community, it overrides that structure completely. That means pages removed in sandbox will be removed from production.

Changing the entire community template won’t deploy. 

If you change the template in sandbox, manually change it in production first before you deploy the community components.

Deploy profiles and permission sets with the components. 

As with Custom fields and Objects, if you want permissions to come along, you’ll need to include those Profiles in the Change Set or Package, too.

Audience targeting is also manual. 

If you have certain pages set to show to certain audiences, those settings will need to be manually set up again after deployment.

Note: there are more caveats and gotchas that Salesforce has compiled in a nice list that I’ll include in the links at the end of this post.

Templates

Fortunately, to make things easier on users with limited time and resources, Salesforce Communities comes with out-of-th-box templates that can be customized to fit your corporate branding.

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