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How Do Salesforce Record Types Work?

In Salesforce, the record types are one of the “overlooked gems.” Many users fail to grasp their full potential – mainly because they don’t use them correctly in the first place. As a result, they don’t realize how powerful this feature is in improving data quality, reducing errors, streamlining workflows, and more!

In short, Salesforce record types make it so much easier for teams to manage their Salesforce data with unmatched precision. In this article, we’ll explore the concept of Salesforce record types, when and how to use them effectively, and the best practices.

Ready? Let’s take a look!

What Are Salesforce Record Types?

Salesforce record types offer a versatile way to customize your data. They let you group records of the same object based on specific criteria, such as departmental needs, user profiles, or unique record attributes. It’s convenient when you have records that share a common theme but need different handling.

For example, suppose you’re managing sales leads from different marketing campaigns or dealing with support cases of varying priority. In that case, Salesforce record types can adjust the fields, page layouts, and processes to fit each situation perfectly!

This ensures your data management processes are constantly optimized, no matter the scenario.

Your Customization Toolkit

Record types act like a toolkit for customization. They help you organize data, making your workflows more focused and user interactions more personalized. That, and several other benefits, such as:

  • Reducing the number of fields on a page. Your users only see the relevant information they need to complete a specific type of record. (This will decrease the chance of human error or omissions, keeping your data razor-sharp.)
  • Define different sales or support processes for the same object using record types. For instance, have distinct procedures for handling product sales versus service support cases that execute and guide your team whenever they need to take specific action.
  • Associate unique page layouts with each record type. Display specific fields and sections on a record page based on the record type. For example, show different sets of fields for a “High-Value Customer” record type compared to a “Standard Customer” record type.
  • Assign different default record types for a particular object based on user profiles. Also, assign specific page layouts based on profiles and record types. For example, sales reps might default to a “Sales Opportunity” record type with a corresponding page layout. In contrast, support agents default to a “Service Case” record type with a different page layout. None waste time trying to find the right template for their use case!
  • Use Salesforce record types to picklist values and capture different sets of information based on the record type. For instance, have different options for the “Status” field in a sales record type versus a support record type.
  • Use record types in workflow rules and approval processes to automate various actions or approval processes based on the record type. For example, trigger different follow-up actions for a closed-won opportunity versus a closed-lost opportunity.

Say goodbye to clutter and welcome a much better user experience!

At the core of all these practical benefits, you’ll find segmentation. It’s vital in delivering personalized results. And when you categorize your data more effectively, you get accurate reports and insights – all within a comprehensive view of your organization’s performance.

And, by the way, as your organization grows, your record types grow with it. You can add new data (such as picklist values) or change any pages you may have already set up.

how to use salesforce record types

How to Use Salesforce Record Types in Practice

For example, suppose you’re managing a university’s admissions process. You might have different record types for undergraduate, graduate, and international student applications.

Each category of applications can have its own unique set of fields. This makes the admission process smooth for all applicants, whether new undergraduates, Ph.D. candidates, or international transfers.

Another common use case for Salesforce record types is managing leads. You might have different categories for customer leads, partner leads, or specific lead sources (such as trade shows or email campaigns). By customizing the layouts and picklist values for each category, you can gather the info you need while maintaining an organized data entry process.

You can also use it to track different types of marketing campaigns, manage diverse customer support cases, and create custom objects.

And if you want to get really ambitious, you can automate everything.

For example, suppose you’re a software vendor. When there’s a new sales opportunity, the sales team needs to follow different processes based on whether the opportunity is for a product sale or a service contract. To help them, you set up two record types: “Product Opportunity” and “Service Opportunity.” Each record type has its own set of sales stages, reflecting the unique steps involved in closing a product deal versus securing a service contract.

The information teams need to close a product deal is different from what they need for a service contract. You create two distinct page layouts – one for “Product Opportunity” and another for “Service Opportunity.” The “Product Opportunity” layout might emphasize product specifications and delivery timelines, while the “Service Opportunity” layout highlights service-level agreements and project milestones.

Finally, each deal type requires a specific approval and follow-up process. With Salesforce record types, you can set up workflow rules to automate particular actions when an opportunity reaches a certain stage. For example, a “Contract Review” approval process might be triggered for Service Opportunities, while a “Product Configuration” workflow handles the necessary steps for Product Opportunities.

The list could go on because, no matter the use case, Salesforce record types can help free up your team’s schedule!

How to Create Salesforce Record Types

Now, it’s time for some hands-on work. Here’s how to create your Salesforce record types, step-by-step:

Step 1: Spot the Differences

First, look for what makes each record type unique – as in fields, layouts, and workflows. This helps you figure out the details you should focus on for your customization.

Step 2: Create Custom Fields and Choices

If you need them, create unique fields with the correct picklist values. Make sure they fit each Type.

Step 3: Plan the Way You Work

For different workflows, outline the steps for each record type. Make sure you know your workflows inside and out, and consult all the relevant stakeholders so you don’t miss a beat. When done, make sure you thoroughly test and QA the implementation!

Step 4: Design Pages

Create separate layouts for each type. Organize the fields, buttons, and related lists based on individual requirements. The goal is to make it easy for the end user (e.g., someone in the sales team, a support representative, etc.) to use the implementation without needing technical help.

Step 5: Create Your Salesforce Record Types

Now, let’s build your record types! Specify their names, descriptions, and other relevant details. When done, choose the right processes and page layout, and assign each record type to the right user profile.

Step 6: Test and Adjust

Test the records for each type. Check if the fields, picklist values, and page layouts work as expected. We also recommend getting the end users to test it according to their standard workflows and any edge cases.

Best Practices

The only way to have Salesforce record types do the work for you is to do a chunk of the work yourself. Don’t worry; it’s easier than it sounds – all you have to do is follow some best practices.

Let’s start with two words: fresh data. Regularly check and update your types to match your current needs. If they can’t meet the requirements, scrap them. And don’t create too many duplicates! This will only contribute to data clutter.

Think ahead and design your record types to be flexible. That way, you can easily adapt to future changes in your data, processes, and whatever your users need at a given moment.

Always, always, always keep your team on the same page. Train them about the different Salesforce record types, use cases, and selection processes. If you can, go the extra mile: document what each record type does and who it’s for. Then, share this info with your team so everyone knows exactly what to do. The Trailhead platform is by far the best place to get access to in-depth Salesforce tutorials.

Finally, keep up with the data. Use Salesforce’s reporting and dashboard features to create simple reports and see how the record types are performing.

Final Thoughts

We get it. You’re in Salesforce. There are hundreds of tools and integrations you could be using to get the most out of your instance. But you won’t regret making record types one of them.

As long as you carefully plan and design your record types (while considering how your organization’s needs might change), you’ll be golden. When implemented (and managed) properly, record types can do the heavy lifting for your team’s efficiency!

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