Salesforce Flows 101

What is a Flow?

A flow allows an admin to take complex business processes and applies automation. In other words, data is collected and responsive action is created with that data. They are even poised to replace/supersede process builders as we know them.

Why use Salesforce Flow?

Salesforce Flow is considered by some industry leaders as the most powerful tool that an admin could have at their disposal. Allowing administrators to build and customize detailed and complex business solutions that are capable of being scalable is just the beginning of its strength. Automating business rules to update opportunity stages or updating unrelated records through a mass update can now be performed through clicks, not code. Building out these sets of complex logic can be reused and applied across multiple flows without the need to be rebuilt each and every time. Simply put, Flows allow you to work smarter, not harder. Users will save time and the tasks that need to be completed including the data that needs to be collected can be performed quickly and correctly the first time.

Previously known as “Visual Flow”, the latest updates of a more user-friendly interface have allowed for ease of use from even a Salesforce novice. As this “end-all-be-all” tool takes on the abilities that were previously thought of as an Apex exclusive, admins and users of all levels of involvement with salesforce can actively engage and participate with confidence.

5 Categories of Flows

Screen Flows:

Requiring input from users, these types of flows are launched as an action or embedded as an element on a Lightning page.

Schedule-Trigger Flows:
These flows run in the background and are automated to begin at specified times with unique frequencies for each record in a batch.

Auto launched Flows:

Tasks can be automated with Auto launched Flows. They can be activated from Process Builder. within an Apex Class, or when a record is changed or from a platform event.

Record-Triggered Flows:
While running in the background, this flow can be triggered when a record is created, updated, or deleted.

Platform Event-Triggered Flows:
Upon receiving an event message, these flows are auto launched in the background. 

Prolocity’s Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices:

  • Plan ahead and a document before you begin to build out your flows each step of the way.
  • Use Conditional Requirements to begin thinking through your flow. 
  • Remember, you don’t need to use variables each and every time.
  • You must understand if the order of execution within your flow is relevant to the process at hand.
  • You should be extremely specific when defining and naming your “Loops” This will help if you run into trouble and need to find your way back. (A loop uses a loop variable to store the values for the current item in the collection. When the loop finishes examining an item, it copies the field values for the next item into the loop variable. To reference each collection item in elements along the loop path, use the loop variable. To keep changes made along the loop path, add the loop variable as an item in a new collection variable) 
  • No one wants to be stuck in a situation where you find an error at the end and not know where it originated from. Make sure to stop and evaluate your work as you go. 
  • Add up your collections and create all records at one time at the end of your process.

Three things to know before you begin:

1) Flows provide you with the power of Apex, a program that some may consider too challenging to use on their own. While Apex code needs constant attention to maintain, Flows are easier to keep up-to-date and require less work -- not needing a developer to step in when a mishap occurs saves time and money.

2) Flows allow for a more user-friendly and streamlined experience. Whether your sales team is processing complicated data or a partner of your nonprofit organization is engaging with your content, the user experience is of a higher quality acting with accuracy, agility, and ease.

3) If you process work in a large batch instead of one record at a time, your personal experience will be better, ranging from speed to performance.

If you are an admin, you will want to keep Salesforce Flows in your back pocket for when a complex business project comes your way. You will be prepared with the resources necessary to act independently on performing your tasks and data collections. Having the fundamentals and general understanding of how flows function is key in maintaining and building off previously constructed flows. Once you’re there, the opportunities are endless!  Not to mention the capabilities are increasing with every new Salesforce update release!

Some technological trends come and go. However certain foundational elements of technology will remain with us for years to come. Salesforce Flows are one of those fundamental advancements that will continue to only improve with time. Serving as an invaluable resource allowing for all types of businesses and organizations to perform at their full potential; this program will immediately prove its value and continue to lead the way in the realm of all CRM platforms. To learn more in-depth about Salesforce Flows, visit Trailheads by clicking here.


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