Salesforce Configuration vs. Customization

CRM tools are the backbone of today’s profit-driven businesses. These systems are designed to encompass all the information necessary to facilitate and maintain a positive relationship with both clients and prospects.

Perhaps the biggest name in the realm of CRM solutions is Salesforce—the #1 CRM platform for growing businesses. Considered a “client success platform,” Salesforce’s scalability, flexibility, and multitenant architecture make it highly sought after by organizations worldwide. Not to mention, it can be also configured and customized to ensure users can get the most out of their Salesforce investment.

But this begs the question: to configure or to customize?

Or better yet, what’s the difference between configuring Salesforce and customizing Salesforce?

While many use these terms interchangeably, they’re not the same.

Salesforce Configuration and Customization

The Salesforce platform is vast and filled with a wide range of features and capabilities.

In order to leverage this CRM for the best results, it’s important to have a clear idea of the distinctions between Salesforce configuration and customization and when to use each one.

What is Salesforce Configuration?

Salesforce configuration is defined as all the tasks that can be achieved while inside the system, without any customized coding. This means you can do the majority of it yourself, of course, with a bit of external help from a developer.

Put simply, with this configuration, you’re utilizing Salesforce’s built-in tools without changing much of the basic structure. It’s the fastest and most straightforward way to make Salesforce do more for you.

The core features of a configurable Salesforce application allow you to:

  • Offer user-defined values that allow certain modules to begin operating.
  • Hire Salesforce administrators who can help with preparing initial settings within time and
    budget constraints.
  • Work alongside an admin panel to modify switches and setups in your programs.
  • Integrate new fields, surveys, workflows, and reports by adjusting settings in the Salesforce panel.

Salesforce Configuration Examples

  • Creating email alerts
  • Adding tabs/apps
  • Designing profiles
  • Adding/editing/deleting fields and objects
  • Building custom reports and workflows
  • Setting validation rules
  • Integrating email clients
  • Changing page layouts and record types
  • Data verification
  • Gamification
  • Security roles
  • Membership types
  • Revenue recognition schedules
  • Portal forms

Advantages of Salesforce Configuration

  • Supports various types of clients and users
  • Enables any-sized business to grant access to employees the way they want to
  • Provides high-end flexibility
  • Prevents the duplication of code
  • Can be leveraged for better development and operations by clients
  • Gives you the ability to manage all the logic in one place effectively

When to Use Salesforce Configuration

You can use Salesforce configuration when you want to utilize all of the features and modules that are already available in the application.

Configuration is also the best option if you have multiple user segments or if your budget, time, and expertise are limited.

What is Salesforce Customization?

Combining both configuration and customization options, Salesforce customization refers to the custom development of code to add features that can be seamlessly integrated within your business procedures and bring your ideas to life.

It is a step beyond Salesforce configuration and is applicable in cases where configuration doesn’t fulfill the desired purpose.

With customization, Salesforce users can fine-tune and enhance the platform’s functionality to fit their individual needs and design their own apps to perform a specific task.

Depending on your industry and service offerings, you may find that utilizing custom Salesforce components is the best way to get the most out of the CRM.

Here are a few major features of customizing a Salesforce app:

  • It helps develop functions that aren’t offered as a part of the standard Salesforce solution.
  • It allows the team to complete certain actions that aren’t covered with configuration and require some custom code.
  • Customization enables the addition of triggers on the object to carry out certain functions.

Salesforce Customization Examples

  • Apex triggers
  • Apex classes
  • Different third-party integrations
  • Visual force emails
  • Altered page layout using CSS
  • Building visual force pages
  • Creating custom processes
  • Enabling bulk operations
  • Creating lightning components
  • Building Sites.com/Force.com sites
  • Using CSS to alter the design of pages
  • Using JavaScript to add capabilities

Advantages of Salesforce Customization

  • Easier to build as it caters to exactly what a client asks for
  • Results in higher client retention and satisfaction rates since it directly addresses what the client needs
  • Does not impact the rest of the application
  • Beneficial for customized websites and systems integration
  • There are a variety of functionalities to choose from

When to Use Salesforce Customization

Salesforce customization can be pretty complex and often involves giving special attention to user adoption. However, when done properly, customization can yield fruitful results.

Generally speaking, customization is required for companies with a large number of sales representatives and sales channels. Salesforce customization is also necessary when business procedures aren’t able to be attained through workflows and validation rules. In some cases, there might be a need for third-party integration, or perhaps standard reports may not be enough to get the needed information. In other cases, it could be that end users aren’t comfortable with the configured platform.

If you’re considering the Salesforce customization option, it’s a good idea to hire an expert Salesforce partner to take care of the customization for you.

Which is the Best Choice for Your Business?

In the battle of Salesforce configuration vs. customization, who wins?

The reality is both configuration and customization in Salesforce can give businesses a substantial boost to their business development.

But remember, whether you decide to opt for one or the other, it’s important to ask yourself if the change is a must-have or a nice-to-have.

What’s more, you don’t want to start customizing something that can be handled via configuration or vice versa. Your choice will heavily depend on your business processes, technical expertise, and what you ultimately want to accomplish.

Be sure to take a good look at your current staff, the team you’re developing, the partners you have, and the applications that you can leverage to turn Salesforce into the platform that will help take your company to the next level.

Find out more about Salesforce consulting by scheduling your free consultation with 5P today.

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