Salesforce Admin Tutorial – 9: Record Types

Salesforce Admin Tutorial – 9: Record Types

On April 26, 2023, Posted by , In Admin,Admin Tutorial, With Comments Off on Salesforce Admin Tutorial – 9: Record Types
record types in salesforce
record types in salesforce

Table of Contents

What are Record Types?

In Salesforce, record types serve as a means to categorize and organize data within an object. Consider an object as a repository, and each record type within it as a distinct category, tailored for specific types of records. For instance, within the “Contacts” object, you might have record types like “Customers,” “Partners,” and “Employees.” Each of these record types can possess its own set of fields, page layouts, and picklist values, customized to meet the unique requirements of each category.

The utility of record types extends to creating different variations of a record for the same object. This is particularly beneficial when various types of records demand distinct information. Take, for example, a “Customer” contact may require fields such as “Account Number” and “Customer Since,” whereas an “Employee” contact may necessitate fields like “Employee ID” and “Hire Date.” Utilizing record types ensures that users are presented with and fill out only the pertinent fields for each type of contact.

Moreover, record types play a crucial role in managing user access and visibility. By setting up distinct page layouts for each record type, it’s possible to show or hide specific fields based on the requirements of that record type. Consequently, users are exposed only to the information relevant to them, enhancing both the user-friendliness and security of the system. In essence, record types in Salesforce are a versatile tool for organizing data, tailoring user experiences, and ensuring that users interact with the appropriate information suited to their needs.

Previous article, Salesforce Admin tutorial – 8, explains about Custom page Layouts.

The Advantages

The Advantages of Utilizing Salesforce Record Types Record types in Salesforce can be highly beneficial in certain scenarios, while in others, they might not be the best fit.

Key benefits of using record types include:

  • Streamlining the page layout by reducing the number of visible fields.
  • Enhancing data quality by guiding users to complete relevant fields, which can prevent the entry of poor-quality data.

The primary motivation for employing record types is to simplify the user experience. They present only the necessary fields to the user, eliminating any irrelevant information. Record types clearly indicate which fields are essential for a specific record type, ensuring users are not overwhelmed with unnecessary data. However, it’s crucial to recognize situations where record types may not be suitable.

Let’s see how this works with an example. 

How to create Record Types?

To start creating types, go to the Record Types pane on the Employee object page and click the New button. 

It provides input fields to enter the Record Type Label (Teaching_Employee Record Type), Record Type Name (Teaching_Employee_Record_Type), and other necessary information. You should also check the Active option to activate the Record Type in the application. 

Then, when you scroll down, you can choose the profiles that this new record type should be available to. In this example, we make it available to only the System Administrator profile. 

On the next page, you get to assign the page layout that should be available for selected profiles under this record type. For this, first select the “Apply a different layout for each profile” option and change the System Administrator’s layout to Teaching Employee. You can save the new record type after this step.

Following a similar process, let’s create another record type called Non Teaching Employee Record Type. Make it available to System Administrator as before. But this time the layout assigned to this profile must be Non Teaching Employee. 

After these two new record types are created, select the Page Layout Assignment option on the Record Types page to complete the final steps. Here, select Edit Assignment and check if the layout assigned to a profile’s each record type meets your preference. If not, you can change the layouts using the dropdown at the top of the page. 

Now, if you go to the application and try to create a new Employee record, you’ll first be prompted to choose the required record type between teaching and non teaching types. 

After the selection is made, Salesforce offers you the layout assigned to that type to continue with the record creation.

Examples of Record Types:

Illustrations of Utilizing Salesforce Record Types Record Types are valuable for categorizing records that share a common theme but necessitate different approaches in their details.

For example, consider the concept of ‘Events’ in an organization. There could be various types of events such as:

  • Corporate Meetings
  • Training Sessions
  • Product Launches
  • Networking Events
  • Charity Fundraisers

While all these fall under the umbrella of ‘Events’, each type requires specific information and execution strategies. This is where record types come into play in Salesforce, allowing for the customization of fields and processes based on the event type.

Similar to the ‘Events’ analogy, here are some Salesforce scenarios where record types are beneficial:

  • Opportunities: Categorized by Revenue Type, such as New Business, Existing Business, or Renewal.
  • Quote Types: Examples include Direct, Distributor, or Reseller quotes.
  • Leads: Types like Customer Lead or Partner Lead.
  • Campaigns: Different campaign types like Hosted Event, Email Campaign, or Tradeshow require unique sets of information. For instance, a Hosted Event might need details about venue and budget, while an Email Campaign might focus more on content and target audience.
  • For Pardot (Account Engagement) integration, selecting the appropriate record type is crucial to ensure correct campaign synchronization from Salesforce to Pardot.
  • Cases: Variants such as ‘Bug’ or ‘Product Question’ have distinct information requirements. While a ‘Bug’ case might need technical details like reproduction steps or screenshots, a ‘Product Question’ case might only need to identify the product and the query. Despite their differences, both types of cases can be reported together for SLA tracking.
  • Custom Object Example: In a recruiting context, a custom object called ‘Open Positions’ might have different fields for entry-level positions compared to executive-level positions, reflecting the distinct requirements for each role.”

Guidelines and Points:

Guidelines and Points to Consider for Salesforce Record Types Keep the following points in mind when implementing and managing record types in Salesforce:

  • Future additions of picklist values require updates to the corresponding record types and any associated processes. This ensures consistency and accuracy in your data.
  • Inline editing in list views is restricted when record types are in use, except in cases where the list view is filtered to show only one specific record type.
  • Encourage your users to utilize record type filters when generating reports to ensure the relevance and precision of the data.
  • Record types are not meant for controlling visibility. Assigning a record type to a profile merely provides the capability to create records of that type, rather than restricting access.
  • Incorporate descriptive text wherever possible, especially in communities where users are prompted to create records with specific record types. Clear descriptions can enhance user understanding and experience.
  • When setting a default record type for a profile, remember that this merely sets the initial value in the picklist, similar to the default value for any picklist field.

Guidelines for Determining the Necessity of Record Types:

There are instances when the use of record types in Salesforce may not be the most appropriate approach. Consider the following scenario:

A new client had an extensive number of record types within their Salesforce organization, a result of not having a dedicated administrator to maintain order. Upon review, it was discovered that four different record types existed for a particular object, with no discernible differences between them. Since the primary goal of record types is to simplify user experience and enhance data quality, it was clear that streamlining these record types could provide immediate benefits.

The process involved spending time with the team responsible for using the object, engaging in discussions, and observing their workflows. Additionally, field history tracking was enabled to gather accurate data on their usage patterns. Ultimately, it was possible to reduce the number of record types from four to three, while also setting default picklist values and configuring distinct page layouts. This led to increased satisfaction among end users, improved data quality, and a reduction in manual tasks.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Engage with users who interact with the specific object to understand their needs and challenges.
  2. Observe user workflows to identify potential areas for optimization.
  3. Utilize field history tracking to gather concrete data on object usage.
  4. Assess the necessity of existing record types and consider consolidating them if they do not add value.

By following these steps, organizations can ensure that record types are used effectively and contribute positively to the overall Salesforce experience.

Strategizing Salesforce Record Types: Essential Queries to Consider:

Before implementing record types in Salesforce, it’s crucial to conduct a thorough analysis to determine their necessity and structure. Here are six pivotal questions to guide this evaluation:

  1. Identifying the Object: What is the specific object under consideration for record types?
  2. Differentiating Types: What are the various categories within this object that may warrant distinct record types?
  3. Understanding Variations: How does each category differ from the others in terms of functionality or requirements?
  4. Assessing Field Requirements: For each record type, what are the essential fields that need to be included on the page layout?
  5. Evaluating Picklist Variations: Are there picklists that require different values for each record type, while still utilizing the same underlying picklist?
  6. Reporting Considerations: Is it necessary to generate combined reports for these objects frequently?

By meticulously addressing these questions, you can ensure a strategic approach to implementing record types in Salesforce, tailored to the specific needs of your organization.

Streamlining Salesforce Record Types for Efficiency:

Managing Salesforce record types can sometimes lead to complexities, especially if they’ve been created without a clear purpose. It’s essential for administrators to regularly evaluate and clean up record types to ensure a streamlined user experience.

Imagine stepping into a Salesforce organization as a new admin or hire. You discover that the sales team is facing challenges with the Opportunity object due to unnecessary complexities and confusion stemming from the presence of five different record types. This situation calls for a thorough investigation to determine the necessity and efficiency of each record type.

Step 1: Investigation (Engage with Users)

Begin by gathering information to understand the current setup:

  • Record Distribution: Determine the number of records associated with each record type.
  • Page Layout Association: Identify if each record type is linked to a specific page layout.
  • Page Layout Count: Count the total number of page layouts in use.
  • User Feedback: Ask multiple users about the purpose and usefulness of each record type. Inquire about any differences they notice in picklist values or page layout organization and required fields.

Through these conversations, you’ll gain insights into whether the record types are serving their intended purpose. Positive indicators include users noting distinct differences between record types, such as different required fields for ‘Renewal’ versus ‘New Business’ or variations in the ‘Product’ dropdown menu. On the other hand, if users express confusion or see no clear distinction between record types, it’s a sign that the current setup may not be effective.

Key Considerations:

  • Engage with a diverse group of users to get a well-rounded understanding of how record types are perceived and used.
  • Look for patterns in user feedback to identify areas for improvement or consolidation of record types.
  • Consider the impact of any changes on user workflows and data integrity.

Step 2: Data Analysis (Generate Salesforce Reports)

To gain a deeper understanding of the usage of record types, consider running several reports:

  • Record Type Usage Report: Create a report to track the number of record types created annually. This will help identify any record types that are underutilized or not used at all.
  • Picklist Analysis Report: Generate a report that groups data by record type and examines picklist values. Assess whether the picklists are customized for each record type and if such customization is necessary.

Step 3: Strategic Planning and Decision Making

With the insights gained from your investigation, it’s time to outline an optimal strategy for record types:

  • Develop a Record Type Map: Create a clear map that highlights the differences between each record type.
  • Decide on Record Types to Retain or Remove: Based on your analysis, determine which record types are essential and which can be eliminated. For instance, you might decide to consolidate record types to focus on ‘New Business’ and ‘Renewals’ and plan to remove the others.

Step 4: Implementing Changes to Record Types

Before making any modifications, ensure you take the following precautions:

  • Enable Field History Tracking: Activate field history for any fields you plan to modify during the cleanup process.
  • Backup Data: Use Data Loader to perform an “Export All” operation as a precautionary measure. This allows you to have a backup and track changes in case of any unintended deletions.

Proceed with the following steps:

  • Update Page Layouts: Ensure that each remaining record type has an associated page layout and update them as necessary.
  • Revise Picklist Values and Default Fields: Adjust these elements for each retained record type. If you have multiple sales processes, consider updating them accordingly.
  • Mass Update Records: For the record types you plan to eliminate, run a report filtered by the record type to be removed. Include the record ID as a column and perform a mass update to align field values with the new record type map. Ensure that each record is migrated to its new corresponding record type.

Step 5: Removing Salesforce Record Types: Key Considerations

The final phase in optimizing your Salesforce record types involves deleting the unnecessary record types. However, it’s crucial to consider several factors before proceeding with the deletion:

Adjust Default Record Types on Profiles: Check and modify the default record type settings on your profiles. You can either select a new default record type or revert to the “Master” record type. Modifying the default record type for standard profiles requires careful attention, and guidance can be found through various Salesforce community resources.

Review Automation Dependencies: Examine any automation processes, such as Flows or Apex code, that might reference the record type you plan to delete. Update these references to either the appropriate new record type or remove the record type reference altogether. This step may require a thorough review of your Salesforce setup, and you might consider using specialized tools that can search through Salesforce metadata for references.

Update Reports, Filters, and List Views: Ensure that any reports, filters, list views, or roll-up summary fields that reference the record type are updated accordingly. In larger organizations, it might be beneficial to provide a general update and a brief demonstration on how users can update their report or list view filters.

Test in Sandbox: Before implementing any changes in your production environment, thoroughly test and review them in a Salesforce sandbox. This allows you to identify and address any potential issues, ensuring a smooth transition for end users.

Deleting the Record Type: Navigate to the record type settings and select the option to delete. While the deletion process is straightforward, the most critical aspect is ensuring that you have a comprehensive backup of your data. Utilize the “Export All” and “Field History” features for a quick and free backup solution. If you have access to a full copy sandbox, consider refreshing it before starting the deletion process. Additionally, there are various paid services available on the AppExchange for data backup.

Next article, Salesforce Admin tutorial – 10, explains about Validation Rules.

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