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Salesforce Workflow Rules Explained

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Salesforce Workflow Rules Explained

One of the high-quality benchmarks for any business is keeping all tasks well organized and synchronized. Organizations that keep all processes streamlined tend to get more success than those that don’t.

Daily routines of all the employees are part of that bigger goal to keep things well organized. Nowadays, businesses leverage technology to automate those daily routine tasks to achieve work efficiency as well as to save the precious time of the employees so that they can be deployed to work on more important things.

Salesforce Workflow Rules work as an automated conveyor belt that automates all the daily routine operational tasks to achieve more efficiency and performance. Salesforce offers a bunch of automation tools that can be beneficial for any business like:

  • Process Builder
  • Workflow Rules
  • Flow
  • Approval Process

In this post, we will learn about Workflow Rules in detail. We will first look at how Workflow Rules work, their components, and usage, and come to their limitations. Moving forward, we will also demonstrate how to create a Workflow Rule.

Workflow Rule is an automation tool that can automate manual business processes and save time. Workflow Rules are certain criteria that must be met to trigger the automation.

For example, you can set a date in the Workflow Rule to trigger an automated email response to the subscriber on a particular date. So, on that specific date, automation gets triggered, and an email is sent to the subscriber.

In simple words, Workflow Rules can reduce human efforts from daily repetitive tasks and reduce cost, as automation works very efficiently. 

Now let’s uncover various components of a Workflow Rule.

Workflow Rule Components

There are 2 major components in a Workflow Rule.

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1. Criteria

Criteria are certain conditions that you need to add to the Workflow Rule to test records. An example of criteria is the If/then statement. Like, If condition x is met, then perform y action.

2. Action

What we discussed earlier in the criteria about the statement is action. When certain criteria are met, then perform an action.

There are two types of actions in a Workflow Rule,

  • “Immediate Action” triggers just after certain criteria are met.
  • Time-Dependent Action triggers after a certain duration of time as per you set. You can either perform the action before or after a certain time duration. For example, you can send automated email series to your users at specific time intervals.

After you set the criteria, whenever you add/edit any record, the criteria get evaluated for that particular object record. If the evaluation is True, then the action is triggered in the Workflow Rule. And if the evaluation is False, the record gets saved, and there is no processing further.

So, this is how Workflow Rules automate the process. It helps to trigger subsequent actions in the Workflow Rule. You can set evaluation criteria as per the business requirement. For example, you can set evaluation criteria like if the record is created, then action x is triggered, if the record is edited, then action y is triggered, etc.

You can also put other actions in the Workflow Rule, like sending an email or assigning Tasks to teammates. 

Now we will see various use cases of Workflow Rules.

Use Cases of Workflow Rules

Salesforce Workflow Rules

Creating a Salesforce Workflow entirely depends on the business requirement. So, conditions can be very vast. In the same way, there are a number of probabilities while creating a Workflow and setting up Workflow Rules. Still, we will try to understand the use cases of workflow rules with the help of 4 broad actions in any business process. Those actions are:

  1. Create a Task
  2. Update a Field
  3. Send an Email Alert
  4. Send Outbound Message

1. Create a Task

For any business, creating and assigning tasks automatically to any team member can be very helpful and time-saving. For example, assume that any customer came to the shop to purchase something. Once he completes the purchase, his transaction status will be changed to paid. That paid status can be used as a Workflow Rule trigger that can create a Task and assign it automatically to the warehouse staff to create the package and make it ready for shipping.

2. Update a Field

Updating the fields in the database is one of the most common use cases of Workflow Rules to make it automated. Here you can create Workforce Rules to overwrite the existing data in the field with new data.

Let’s understand it with an example of an e-commerce store. Assume if any customer has not paid the amount after the purchase, his payment status in the database can be overdue.

You can set Workflow Rule in this case to add some criteria like timeline and dates. So that if the customer does not make payment by that date and time, the Workflow Rule will trigger, and automatically, the payment field will be updated from overdue to delayed in the database.

3. Send an Email Alert

Email automation is one of the most popular use cases of Workflow Rules. It makes business processes efficient by sending automated email alerts. The same task can take days if it is performed manually.

Assume that you are running a subscription-based business. In such a business, the most important thing is retaining the existing customers after the end of their current subscription period. You can use Workflow Rules to keep a watch towards the end of the subscription date.

So when the subscription end date is near, Workflow Rule can trigger a reminder email to the subscriber to renew their subscription. You can also include any discount offers in that same email to lure the subscriber to renew the subscription.

Another use case where Workflow Rules can be effective is to automatically send emails to their employees on various occasions like their birthdays or wedding anniversaries.

4. Send an Outbound Message

Organizations can use Workflow Rules to send an outbound message out of Salesforce to any other external system to notify them about any modifications to the database.

Let’s assume that some organization is using Salesforce for business operation and using Active campaign or any other email marketing tool like Mailchimp for their email marketing and Lead generation tasks. And both Salesforce and Mailchimp are using common data from the client.

So, you can use Workflow Rules to keep Salesforce and Mailchimp in sync. When you make any changes in client data with Salesforce, you can create a Workflow Rule to automatically notify Mailchimp with an outbound message.

Now that you have understood the use cases of the Workflow Rules, let’s explore how you can create them with the help of various elements.

Elements that Form Salesforce Workflow

A Workflow Rule consists of the following elements.

  • Object: This is the basic element where workflow starts. It can be any Salesforce object like a Product, Order, or User.
  • Evaluation Criteria: The action will be triggered if those criteria are met during the evaluation.
  • Workflow Rule Criteria: These are certain conditions that must be met to trigger the event 
  • Action: When certain rule criteria are met, the defined actions are performed.
  • Receipt of Action: You can make it optional, or if you need confirmation, you can set a recipient of action upon completion for your reference.

Salesforce Workflow Rules

As mentioned earlier, you can either set immediate action or a time-dependent action as per the business requirement. 

Limitations of Salesforce Workflow and Workflow Rules

  • As of now, only 4 actions are available. You can select any of these 4 actions in the Workflow Rule. So, you can not automate any tasks in the workflow as of now. For example, you can make changes to the record in the workflow, but you can not update sub-records within that parent record. You need a Process Builder to do that.
  • Also, the workflow rule can be tied to only one object as of now. You will be required to set up more than one rule even if you need it on a similar object.
  • Workflow Rules have certain limitations to avoid overburdening the object. So there are restrictions on the number of actions, triggers, and active Workflow Rules (a maximum of 500 actions in one hour) in a particular duration. These numbers and limitations depend on your Salesforce license and the version you are using.
  • In the same way, these restrictions also apply to the number of automated emails you can send within 24 hours. Here you need to know that if sending your automated email exceeds your upper limit, Salesforce disposes of the remaining emails. The automated emails start after 24 hours.
  • The last but very important one is that you should have good knowledge of Workflow Rules before you create them. It is quite normal to have various conflicting rules in a complicated large Salesforce org. But, if any two Workflow Rules contradict each other, the whole workflow won’t function properly. Furthermore, if one Workflow Rule field update updates the field to a value that triggers another Workflow Rule which sets it to the earlier one, then there can be a recursive loop. So, you need to have a proper working knowledge of that before you create workflow rules and workflow.

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Summing Up

We hope you have now understood how useful Workflow Rules are and how crucial they can be to automating a business process. You can automate many manual tasks. The possibilities are endless. You can automate your email delivery, assigning tasks, and data updation with the help of using various Workflow Rules.

So, that’s it about Salesforce Workflow Rules. If you think you need to discuss with the experts, join the saasguru Slack community for free and get a chance to interact with industry experts and seasoned Salesforce professionals.

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