After configuring many salesforce.com Orgs, I’ve learned a lot about the best way to structure Activities. But first some background:
There are 3 basic situations in which activities should be entered in salesforce.com
- New Event – When you have set up a conference call or meeting, or an event with a specific time and date in the future, click “New Event” under “Open Activities” on the contact or lead, and enter the information in salesforce.com. Set up a reminder if you wish to get one. You will notice that your calendar on the Home page of salesforce.com will now show this.
- New Task- When you have a task to do, but it does not have a specific time and date associated with it (“I need to follow up with Suzy Smith by Friday”), click “New Task” under “Open Activities” on the contact or lead page, and enter the information. Set up a reminder if you wish to get one. You will notice that your Task is now visible on your Home Page under “My Tasks”.
- Log a Call – You already completed an activity. You called a prospect, made a sales call, sent an email, etc. It was done. You click on “Log a Call” under “Activity History” on the Contact or Lead page, and enter the information. Note that when open Tasks are changed to “complete” that they will automatically move from “Open Activities” to “Activity History”. This “Activity History” will show you at a glance everything that has ever happened.
So my suggestions to allow good analytics are these:
- Capture the ‘most typical’ “Subject” descriptions, such as “Phone Call – “, “email – “ and put the “-“ in there to promote them adding info that would allow them to be able to quickly differentiate them when they see them on an Activity History, instead of just seeing a bunch with “Call” in the subject field. But make sure the users add a SHORT DESCRIPTION. Note that both the Task and Event page layouts have their own “Subject” field.
- Use a custom “Activity Type” picklist field to list the types you want to track – email, phone call, etc. , and I make it a mandatory picklist field.Why a custom field when there is a perfectly good standard “Type” field? It’s not perfectly good. If you create custom reports, you will lose access to this field. Crazy but true.
Notice what this looks like. Look at the first 3 Activities. You cannot tell much unless you drill into each one. But look at the last 3 – you get some information at a glance. That’s big value for users. And, the analytics will be tight, because you are getting the data from your custom “Activity Type” field.
So follow these Activity procedures and you will get tight, meaningful Analytics, and your users will appreciate that you seem to know what you are doing.