Create a public prospectus request form with address verification using Salesforce Education Cloud

This blog will take you through the key aspects of Education Cloud to provide you with more knowledge on what you can do with Salesforce Education Cloud, Digital Experiences and our Address Verification Flow Component. The second half of this article will walk you through a use case step-by-step that brings together all of this knowledge: creating a screen flow on a digital experience for prospective students to request a prospectus to be sent to their address.

What is Salesforce Education Cloud?

Education Cloud is a platform built on Salesforce CRM aimed at the education sector, from schools through to higher education institutions like universities and colleges. This cloud is aimed at keeping students, alumni and staff connected. According to Salesforce, Education Cloud is intended to “deliver the personalised engagements, proactive advice, and connected experiences students expect”. Education Cloud has a tonne of benefits, specific to the education industry it serves. This purpose-built platform enables educational organisations to better connect students, staff, schools, districts and universities, as well as providing a 360-degree holistic view of the education journey. 💡 Check out our blogpost: ‘What is Salesforce Education Cloud and what can you do with it?’ to learn more about the benefits and use cases of Education Cloud!

Education Cloud meets Digital Experiences

A Digital Experience, also known as a DX, is a digital interaction between the organisation offering the digital experience and other users (students, families, employees, or partners). Salesforce offers Digital Experiences through Experience Cloud, which enables you to build beautifully-branded external-facing sites that are connected to your CRM. Digital Experiences can provide educational institutions with better digital interactions for students and their families:

  • Improving the student experience and retention
  • Nurturing academic health with student-centric digital experiences,
  • Increasing prospective student engagement rates at the top of funnel.

Digital Experiences can really drive success for everyone involved!

Capturing accurate data for your Education Cloud

At ProvenWorks, we believe good data is the basis of success. Data is at the heart of all institutes and it’s critical that data is accurate at point of entry. With this goal in mind, we’ve developed solutions like AddressTools. Whether you’re sending out a prospectus or tracking term-time accommodation, capturing an accurate address is critical for your operations. When addresses are inaccurate or incomplete, 41% of deliveries are delayed, and 39% simply fail. For students, receiving critical post in good time can be the difference between smoothly enrolling into education or anxiously losing grip of future plans. For colleges and universities, tracking student addresses is important for sending mail to the correct address – whether a student is at their home or term-time address. Capturing accurate addresses is essential for education institutions, and what better way than by capturing addresses at point of entry with typeahead address?

Implementing typeahead address entry into an Education Cloud’s Digital Experience

We’ve established the need for capturing accurate data when utilising Education Cloud, so how can we improve this experience for capturing addresses? Using the Address Verification Flow Component by ProvenWorks, you can:

  • reduce data entry abandonment,
  • mitigate undelivered and returned mail,
  • minimise missed opportunities,
  • and improve staff productivity by allowing them to focus on what’s important.

So, let’s explore the use case of prospective students requesting a physical prospectus. We want to make this process as easy as possible and ensure that the data we collect is verified.

The use case: a prospective student requesting a prospectus

Let’s explore how we can build a form using a screen flow for prospective students to request a prospectus which will be made public on a Digital Experience. in the following steps, we will:

  • Create a Salesforce Flow to create a new Lead and upcoming Activity to send a prospectus.
  • Utilise the Address Verification Flow Component by ProvenWorks to provide typeahead address entry to the Flow Screen.
  • Deploy the Flow to a Digital Experience.

*Note, this guide will not cover the creation of a Digital Experience but will show how to place your Flow into the DX builder. Salesforce has extensive documentation on how to configure a Digital Experience available here: Experience Cloud (

Before continuing

The following steps demonstrate the value of having both AddressTools Premium and the Address Verification Flow Component installed in your Education Cloud org. To follow along with the guide you will be required to install and complete the initial installation steps for both packages, including obtaining address verification credits from the ProvenWorks team. If you don’t yet have these packages installed, don’t fret! You can still read below to understand how to quickly implement typeahead address verification into your Flow Screen and then come back to explorw the managed packages after!

Steps: Flow Creation

  1. Salesforce Setup | navigate to your Salesforce Flow
  2. New Flow | Select Screen Flow | Click Create
  3. Add New Resource | Variable
  4. API Name we used ProspectiveLead
  5. Data Type | Record
  6. Object | Lead
  7. Select Save


Add element

  1. Click the Add element | Screen
  2. Drag the following fields onto the Screen:
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Email
  • Optionally add any additional fields that you need to capture i.e. Mobile Number, but leave out the Address fields for now.
  1. Navigate back to Components in the panel on the right of the Screen editor.
  2. Add Address Verification by ProvenWorks into the Screen.
  3. Click on the Address Verification by ProvenWorks component to open the component parameters on the right of the interface.
  4. Scroll down the parameters and tick Manually assign variables
  5. Assign the following Values:
  6. City Value > {!ProspectiveLead.City}
  7. Country Value > {!ProspectiveLead.Country}
  8. Postal Code Value > {!ProspectiveLead.PostalCode}
  9. State/Province Value > {!ProspectiveLead.MailingState}
  10. Status Value > {!ProspectiveLead.pw_ccpro__AddressStatus__c}
  11. Street Value > {!ProspectiveLead.Street}
  12. Click Done


Create the Lead Record

Now that we’ve created a Flow Screen to capture the Lead’s information, we need to insert it to a new Lead record in Salesforce.

  1. Add Element | Create records
  2. Label | Create Prospective Lead
  3. API Name will auto populate
  4. Create a Record from These Values | Record | ProspectiveLead
  5. Click Done


Create an Associated Task

Now that we’ve created a record for the Prospective Lead, we need to create an activity to send the prospectus to the lead.

  1. Add Element | Create records
  2. Object | Task
  3. Label | Create Associated Task
  4. API Name will autopolulate
  5. New Resource | Formula | API Name TomorrowsDate
  6. Data Type | Date/Time | Formula {!$Flow.CurrentDateTime+1} Done
  7. Set Field Values for the Task: • ActivityDate < TomorrowsDate • Description < Send a prospectus • Status < Not Started • Subject < Send a prospectus • Type < Action Item • WhoId < ProspectiveLead>LeadID


Add a screen to notify the Prospect

It’s good practice to show a completion message after the flow has completed its processes. We’ll do this by adding another screen element at the end of the Flow. Add element

  1. Click the Add element | Screen
  2. Label | Lead Created Message
  3. API Name will autopolulate
  4. Drag display Text and display the message you desire.
  5. Click Done


Save the Flow

The Flow now captures Lead information, saves it to a new Lead record, then creates a related task for your internal team to follow up on. Let’s save this Flow so we can use it in our Digital Experience.

  1. Select Save
  2. Provide a Flow Label to help you identify the Flow in the future, i.e. “Prospectus Request”
  3. The Flow API Name will be auto populated, change this if required.
  4. Click Save
  5. Activate the Flow.


How to expose the Flow in a digital experience

  1. Salesforce Setup | Open the Digital Experience where you want prospective students to request a prospectus from in the Experience Builder, then navigate to the page that you want to add the Flow to.
  2. From the Components panel, drag the Flow component onto the page.
  3. In the property editor, select the relevant Flow.
  4. When you’re happy with the Digital Experience, press Publish.



We have now created a way for prospective students to easily request a prospectus via a Digital Experience, and most importantly to gather accurate address data in a fast an efficient manner.



AddressTools is our award-winning package for Salesforce to help you standardise, validate and verify your address data.


Build vs. Buy: make the right decision


What is Build versus Buy?

The ‘build vs. buy’ debate has long been at the forefront of decision-making when it comes to implementing a software solution. Should your company invest in developing a custom solution, or purchase an existing commercial product? This discussion is particularly pertinent when considering Salesforce solutions. Salesforce, known for its flexible platform and extensive ‘AppExchange’ marketplace, offers both paths, adding unique dimensions to this decision. 

Build: developing a custom solution from scratch 

Buy: purchasing an ‘off-the-shelf’ solution from a third party 

It’s a complex decision, with numerous factors at play. This classic dilemma requires careful thought and consideration of several key factors. In this article, we’ll examine a framework of factors—implementation complexity, business requirements, budget, and solution scopeto help you understand, after weighing both sides, which approach suits your business the best. 

1. Implementation complexity 

The complexity of the project is an important consideration when deciding between building or buying a solution. Custom-built solutions are appealing because of the high level of tailoring they offer from the start, especially when non-standard processes need to be accommodated. In short, you can build a custom Salesforce solution for your unique needs. However, this comes with its own set of challenges. Creating a custom solution from scratch involves a certain level of complexity itself. Building a solution requires not only expertise in Salesforce, but also a clear understanding of your unique business processes and how any new solution can impact your wider Salesforce implementation. As you start developing your application, the complexity can easily multiply. Scope creep, unforeseen obstacles, additional testing requirements – these are all part of the building journey. And that only covers the additional build, let alone the ongoing maintenance of a solution, managing feature requests and Salesforce’s own upgrades! 

Conversely, the complexity of an implementation can be greatly reduced when you buy an existing solution. The application has already been refined over time, tested, and proven successful in real business environments, providing you with a tried-and-true solution that’s ready to deploy anytime. By buying, you can benefit from the pooled knowledge of othersthe solution’s team and other customers – and reduce the risks involved with a challenging build. 

2. Business requirements 

Every business has its own special requirements. Reading the previous paragraph, you might be thinking that buying an existing solution could never meet your specific, complex needs. In other words, if your business requirements are unique or intricate, building your own solution provides the flexibility to create precisely what you want. It enables you to manage and develop a solution that grows and evolves alongside your company. However, it’s crucial to differentiate between “unique” and “commonly unique.” Many businesses believe their processes are unique when, in reality, they share many similarities with other organisations in the industry. 

Pre-built solutions are created based on industry best practices and common requirements. They cater to a wide range of needs and are continuously improved based on user feedback, ensuring their relevance and effectiveness. Although building allows you to create a solution tailored to your exact specifications, it might not necessarily be the best approach. There’s a reason that ‘off-the-shelf’ solutions have been built the way they have been! Consider your requirement – perhaps buying could be a better option. 

3. Budget

Budget is one of the most crucial factors in any business decision, and the ‘build vs buy’ debate is no exception. While building might seem attractive since it offers financial control over a customised solution, it can easily turn into a money trap. Building a solution can end up being more costly due to the need for experienced developers, longer development cycles, and potential trial and error. Additionally, consider the long-term costs of maintaining, updating, and improving your custom solution, not to mention the time cost of writing and maintaining any onboarding and support documentation! If there’s one thing you remember, we hope you take home that the cost of building a solution always has an element of unpredictability. 

On the other hand, buying a solution can offer more financial predictability. Licensing, support, and updates are all built into the price. In addition, the speed of deployment is significantly faster with a ready-made solution, allowing you to start realising return on investment much sooner. In essence, buying offers financial predictability and reduces financial risk. 

4. Solution scope

Lastly, building a software offers a high level of customisation, but it comes with its fair share of risks. When the solution is live, it may solve short-term needs. However, what if the long-term needs for your business change over time and you are building a solution with the shortterm in mind? The time and resources used to develop the software could have been wasted! 

Buying a solution eliminates this uncertainty. Since purchasing an existing solution typically offers a quicker and simpler path to user satisfaction, time to value is significantly shortened with buying. You’re investing in a solution that’s been proven effective in real-world applications. You benefit from the learnings of the companies that used the solution before you and their feedback has driven continuous improvement of the product. You also benefit from ongoing updates and enhancements made based on feedback from a community of users, ensuring the solution remains effective, relevant and futureproof. 


While the ‘build vs buy’ decision ultimately depends on your organisation’s unique circumstances, considering these four factors presents a compelling case for buying. In the Salesforce ecosystem, buying a solution offers reduced implementation complexity, a solution tailored to common industry needs, predictable costs, and the long-term confidence of a proven solution. 

In many cases, purchasing a Salesforce solution isn’t just the easier path, it’s the smarter one.  

Check out more from our Build versus Buy series

When does a developer recommend a managed package?

5 tips for choosing a solution on the Salesforce AppExchange

How to succeed with a Salesforce ISV partner

Cencal Dreamin’ 2022 | Build Versus Buy: Deciding What’s Right For You 

What is Salesforce Commerce Cloud and what can you do with it?

Welcome back to another dive into the Salesforce Clouds! If you’re new to our Head in the Clouds series, you can take a look at the full list of Clouds we’ve covered.

Communication with customers is important for every business. Effective communication comes from understanding your customers well (listening to their needs) and building a good relationship with them (meeting their needs). As a customer relationship management (CRM) system, Salesforce allows businesses to communicate with customers, and vice versa, at any time over any channel and device, through its digital commerce solutions.

In this blog you will learn what Commerce Cloud offers and what exactly you can do with it.

What is Salesforce Commerce Cloud?

Commerce Cloud is a key part of the Salesforce Customer Success Platform which provides world-leading B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to consumer) ecommerce solutions. Created in July 2016, Commerce Cloud enables users to create intelligent and customised unified purchasing experiences across different channels, including mobile, social, web and store, helping brands launch sooner, grow faster, and reach more customers.

After that brief introduction to Commerce Cloud, let’s take a quick pause to define some terminology.

Quick glossary

Salesforce Commerce Cloud: Created in July 2016, when Salesforce acquired Demandware. The Demandware technology has grown and evolved to become foundational to Salesforce’s B2C Commerce offering.

Demandware: The old name of Salesforce Commerce Cloud – a software company aquired by Salesforce.

CloudCraze: Acquired by Salesforce in 2018, which is now the Salesforce B2B Commerce product.

Customer 360 Platform: Salesforce’s integrated CRM platform, allowing every team of the company to manage and develop its role in the customer journey.

Genie: Also known as Salesforce Data Cloud. A customer data platform that works with Customer 360, bringing real-time data power to Customer 360.

B2B2C commerce: Business-to-business-to-consumer, is an ecommerce model where businesses access customers through a third party e.g., Amazon, The App Store. Learn more with this Trailhead Module.

D2C commerce: Direct-to-consumer commerce, when a brand sells their product directly to the end user via digital channels without third party involvement. Salesforce Commerce Cloud offers ecommerce solutions to quickly create D2C sites.

Salesforce storefront: the user-facing website where your buyers can browse products, place orders, and manage their accounts. These sites are built using Salesforce Experience Cloud – learn more about Experience Cloud and digital experiences in this blog.

Headless commerce – you might have seen this term being used in Salesforce blogs: “In its simplest form, headless commerce is a type of ecommerce architecture involving a separation of the front end and back end of an ecommerce application.” Headless commerce was a response to reports that ecommerce vendors were falling behind user experience and design trends since vendors were beholden to ecommerce platforms updating their back-end systems.

With these terms in mind, Salesforce’s online learning platform, Trailhead describes the power of Commerce Cloud:

“Design and execute your own commerce strategy at your own pace, according to your particular needs.”

From Get Started with Commerce Cloud

Now we are clear about some key terms and their definitions, let’s examine what they mean in real business environments!

What can you do using Salesforce Commerce Cloud?

Salesforce Commerce Cloud is built on the Salesforce Customer Success Platform. You can use Commerce Cloud to offer the best ecommerce experience to your customers with native online shopping sites!

Here are some real-life applications of Commerce Cloud:

  • Create B2B and B2C stores using best-in-class templates to get you started
  • Specify profiles and permissions for who can access your store, this can include self-registration
  • Use Commerce Einstein AI to automate tasks and personalise the experience
  • Build customisable reports to examine your data on the #1 CRM software – Salesforce 
  • Link your commerce operations with other Salesforce products, like Experience Cloud and Health Cloud to have a 360 view of your customers and business

💡 Top tip: Watch the free demo to learn more about Commerce Cloud!

Why should you use Salesforce Commerce Cloud?

Salesforce Commerce Cloud’s value proposition is that you can grow your business faster. Not only does it promise a fast time to value but it highlights the agility that the platform offers in response to the fast-paced ecommerce climate. Commerce Cloud also promises to increase sales and reduce the cost of order placement by up to 26%, which ultimately maximises your profit! Thanks to Salesforce Genie, you are getting real-time data that allows you to deliver personalised experiences to each customer throughout their journey, which helps you to deliver success!

Some benefits of using Commerce Cloud summarised:

  • Unify your commerce operations by leveraging Salesforce CRM as your single source of truth for your commerce site, order management, partnership ecosystem, service offering and more
  • Quickly launch best-in-class stores with no-code needed
  • Provide the very best customer experience using Commerce Einstein’s AI and Salesforce Genie’s real-time data insights
  • Leverage all of the above benefits to ultimately maximise your profit and reduce your lost sales

Salesforce Commerce Cloud and ProvenWorks in action

Import B2B line items easily with SimpleImport

Working with online orders manually can be challenging, especially when faced with complex orders that include rows and rows of products. These longer manual jobs are not only time consuming but also increase the chance of human error. Empower users to upload these large orders via a spreadsheet, importing these line items directly into Salesforce quickly and easily.

Reduce cart abandonment with fast address verification

When it comes to ecommerce, one of the biggest challenges is cart abandonment at checkout. Create a powerful user experience with our Address Verification Flow Component that verifies address data at the point of entry in 5 keystrokes or less.

5 tips for choosing a solution on the Salesforce AppExchange

Here are our 5 top tips to help you choose a solution on the Salesforce AppExchange.

With over 5,000 solutions and growing, the Salesforce AppExchange has definitely earned the title of the world’s leading business app marketplace. There are solutions that enhance Salesforce’s existing functionality, there are apps designed specifically for certain industries and Salesforce Clouds, and there are nifty components that you can drop into Lightning pages with little customisation or configuration required.  

It’s safe to say that the Salesforce AppExchange is the place to look when you’re shopping around for a solution. But with so much choice available at your fingertips, how do you know what you should be looking for? What are the steps you can take to make sure you choose an AppExchange solution that’s right for you.

So without more preamble, here are our five top tips to help you choose an AppExchange solution!

1. Read the reviews

Whether you’re heading to the cinema, buying a new phone or picking a restaurant for dinner, your first instinct is probably to read some reviews. It’s the same with the AppExchange. 

The AppExchange gives customers the opportunity to rate a solution 1-5 stars and leave a written review. When you’re choosing between solutions on the AppExchange, take time to read each solution’s reviews. Does one have significantly better reviews? What are the recurring messages in the reviews? If there are any negative comments, do these suggest a one-off experience or do they point to a more concerning trend? 

If a solution has no reviews, that’s not necessarily a reason NOT to investigate it further. It might be brand new to the AppExchange, or built by a tiny ISV who don’t have resource capacity to dedicate time to asking for reviews because they’re too busy delivering a great product! 

Whether the reviews are great, worrying or non-existent, there are more steps you can take to help you correctly choose an AppExchange solution… so let’s take a look at them! 

💡 The AppExchange is as good as we make it. We really encourage you to leave reviews on the AppExchange as they really help the Ohana understand first-hand experience with a product. It only takes a couple of minutes and you’ll be helping so many people in the future!

2. Check the releases

Each AppExchange listing will show the date of the solution’s most recent release under the More Details tab. How recent the latest release is or is not can be a great way to understand how well the developers are keeping the product updated with the Salesforce platform. Salesforce operates triannual releases and is often introducing new, exciting functionality. Often these changes need to be reflected in AppExchange products, so check how recent the most recent release is.  

Don’t just stop on the listing if its last release was way in the past. You may be able to check the product’s release notes directly with the vendor; there can often be supporting services that can be updated without the need to issue a new package to the AppExchange. New version information may be published on the vendor’s website so keep your eyes peeled! 

Overall, there is no clear-cut answer to ‘how long is too long’ between releases, but this is definitely another important data point to consider when evaluating different solutions and ultimately choose an AppExchange solution. 

3. Try the documentation 

Most solutions on the AppExchange will come with some amount of documentation. As a minimum, solutions generally provide installation and configuration guidance. At the other end, some solutions by bigger vendors give consultancies and end users demo kits with use case-specific documentation and orgs configured ready for testing. 

Is the documentation provided sufficient for your needs? Can the team in charge of implementing a solution understand it? Is the documentation up to date for the most recent release of the solution? 

If you find yourself trying to install a solution and getting lost in the documentation, it might be a sign that a certain level of knowledge is expected to use the solution (e.g. the target audience may be developers not admins). This is something you need to consider when you’re reviewing who will need to configure and/or use the solution and therefore possibly its documentation too. 

But there’s always the support team on hand to help… 

4. Test the support team 

This is one of my favourite quick tests you can run whilst you’re evaluating any sort of purchase. Send an email query over to the support team and see how quickly they respond to you. Is it hours? Is it days? Is it ever?! 

As one esteemed contact said on LinkedIn recently, “if you reach out as a prospective customer and don’t love the response/timeliness/etc, don’t expect it to get better after you buy.” 

5. Run a trial 

If you’ve gone through steps 1-4 and you’re still considering purchasing the solution, it’s a good sign!  

At this point, it’s time to try out the solution for yourself. Install the solution in a sandbox, try to build out a small Proof of Concept (PoC) to help establish how easy it is to use and to see if it can meet your requirements. Reviews, releases and documentation are important, but nothing beats getting your hands on a solution. Your org will have its own nuances and your business will run things in a certain way. You need to be confident that whatever solution you purchase can work seamlessly for you. 

It’s time to choose an AppExchange solution  

We can’t make the choice for you, but there are our five tips for making sure you’re choosing the right AppExchange solution. None of these steps in isolation should form the basis of your purchasing decision. However, as you work through them, you’ll find yourself building an impression of the solution and the team behind it. 

Remember, if something doesn’t feel right, ask!

  • Ask if you can extend your trial of the solution.
  • Ask the question that’s been bugging you.
  • Ask around the community to see if anyone who uses it is happy to share their experience. 

Good luck and enjoy the process of finding your latest favourite solution! 

Enjoyed this blog post? 

Check out our 4 easy steps to upgrade an AppExchange app

About ProvenWorks

Founded in 2008, we’re one of the longest-established British Salesforce ISV partners. We build solutions exclusively for Salesforce CRM that empower you and your users to be data heroes.

What is Salesforce Government Cloud and what can you do with it?

Welcome back to another dive into the Salesforce Clouds! If you’re new to our Head in the Clouds series, you can take a look at the full list of Clouds we’ve covered.

This time, we’re looking at Salesforce Government Cloud so stick around to learn more!

What is Salesforce Government Cloud?

Salesforce Government Cloud is a bespoke, securely partitioned instance of the Salesforce 360 platform which offers an integrated customer relationship management (CRM) platform. It’s aimed at:

  • US federal government
  • Local government customers
  • US government contractors
  • Public sector
  • Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs)

Why does Salesforce Government Cloud exist? 

Salesforce explains the challenges facing government authorities and public offices in a Trailhead module:

“In the modern digital landscape of online applications, customer self-service, and automated workflows, government authorities and public offices must rethink and reinvent their task flows. The ultimate goal for any public sector authority is to increase constituent engagement and streamline internal workflows. Public Sector Solutions from Salesforce do just that.”

Government Cloud’s main objective is to provide government entities with an industry-leading, security-compliant platform on which to scale and secure resources in order to complete their mission effectively. We’ll dive into the specifics of how it does this later.

Quick glossary

Let’s take a minute to dive into some helpful terms and definitions:

Government Cloud: a bespoke-for-government and public sector suite of tools built on the Salesforce CRM platform. Government Cloud is designed for agencies around the world including central government, local government, police and healthcare. Salesforce Government Cloud maintains a FedRAMP Agency Authority to Operate (ATO) at the Moderate Security Impact Level.

Government Cloud Plus: runs on AWS GovCloud (US), a dedicated instance of Salesforce’s Government Cloud designed to support the security needs of U.S. government agencies and contractors. It has achieved a FedRAMP Provisional Authority to Operate (P-ATO) at the High Security Impact Level.

Check out this comparison chart of the differences between Government Cloud and Government Cloud Plus.

FedRAMP at High / Moderate Security Impact Level: a differentiator between Government Cloud and Government Cloud Plus. Government Cloud Plus is compliant to the highest level whereas Government Cloud is compliant to the Moderate level. This means FedRAMP has evaluated these cloud services via a significant, thorough security and compliance review that is annually reassessed. In short, having authority to operate at this highest security level allows Salesforce Government Cloud Plus customers to use Salesforce for the most sensitive, unclassified data.

What can you do with Salesforce Government Cloud?

Since Government Cloud is already built on Salesforce and its 360 CRM, it casts a wide net in what it can provide for the public and government sector. Salesforce offers out-of-the-box security-compliant applications designed for government service.

Here are some of the applications and functionality available with Government Cloud:

  • Emergency response management
  • License and permit approvals processes
  • Inspections management applications
  • Grants management applications
  • Contact Centre functionality
  • Scalable call, web, chat and text response systems
  • Centralised communication with stakeholders across email, SMS and social platforms
  • The power to give public servants a 360-degree view of citizens, stakeholders and partners in a single source of truth – Salesforce CRM!

💡 Did you know: The UK Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Salesforce to enable the UK public sector to benefit from access to Salesforce products and citizens.

Why should you use Salesforce Government Cloud?

Overall, there’s clearly a lot that you can do with Salesforce Government Cloud and Government Cloud Plus. Since governments are vast, multifaceted, and public-facing institutions, Salesforce provides a single source of truth digitally with Government Cloud to empower governmental and public sector employees to accelerate their mission impact. There are other benefits too:

  • Low code / no code Saas platform that integrates with legacy systems
  • Gain access to a broad range of solutions from contact centres to case management to citizen engagement and many more
  • Security-first infrastructure compliant with the demands of government
  • See time to value in days not years

Learn more from these Salesforce demo videos.

Salesforce Government Cloud and ProvenWorks in action

ProvenWorks is a Salesforce Partner offering a number of solutions that enhance out-of-the-box Salesforce functionality. We have customers around the world who are government entities with interesting use cases around importing.

Empower external stakeholders, business entities and programmes to import data to your Salesforce org quickly and securely.

Whether you are reporting on local outreach programmes, analysing state-wide employment data or outsourcing contracts for efficiency, you need to collect all that data into your single source of truth – Salesforce CRM.

Our spreadsheet data importing solution, SimpleImport, empowers government entities who want to streamline data input by removing manual workload and empowering users to import themselves. Unlike security-compromising solutions access via third-party website or inefficient admin-only tools, use SimpleImport directly from your Salesforce org or a digital experience.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your mission impact!

Reach out to the ProvenWorks team and find out more about our solutions and how we can help meet your Salesforce needs.

So what’s next? The choice is yours.

You can either go back to the first blog in our Head in the Clouds series: What is Experience Cloud and what can you do with it? Or… you can access all the blogs in the Head in the Clouds series.

ZIP+4 Codes for Salesforce: why you need them and how to get them 

This is the second part of our deep dive into ZIP+4 Codes for Salesforce. If you’re not sure what ZIP+4 Codes are and why you should care, here’s where you can read the first blog post.

A recap in 3 sentences

Want to get up to speed quicker than that? Here’s the 3-sentence version.

ZIP+4 Codes were created by the USPS to provide even more precise address matching to a more granular level, since they represent only a handful of houses or even a single building.

So, ZIP+4 Codes are incredibly useful because they help the USPS more effectively sort and distribute mail.

For you and your business, this means faster deliveries, reduced misdeliveries, granularity even down to a specific PO box, and all of this translates to saving money and time!

Salesforce CRM and ZIP+4 Codes

Salesforce as an organisation is quick to highlight the importance of ZIP Code data

“Without geographic data to structure and enhance existing CRM data, and no market data to track against current market share, it’s impossible to effectively manage sales territories for growth.”

What does bad geographical data look like in practice?

  • Allocating sales resource to geographic areas with little potential
  • Spending time marketing to places where ROI is unlikely
  • Struggling to report on market share across regions, leaving your organisation without a clear forward-looking strategy

All of this boils down to an alarming amount of time and money wasted.

You’re probably thinking that we’ve spent enough time preaching about the perils of inaccurate or missing ZIP Code data for your organisation. So, let’s take it one step further; let’s look at why you need Zip+4 Codes for your Salesforce CRM. 

We’re going to use Salesforce CRM as our case study here, but you can easily swap out Salesforce for your CRM of choice. The information remains completely relevant.

Why you need ZIP+4 Codes for your Salesforce CRM

1. Give yourself the competitive advantage

“Poor quality data costs businesses around $700 billion a year, or 30 percent of the average company’s revenue” according to Salesforce.

If you’re working in a competitive industry (and aren’t we all these days?), have you considered how cleaner, more precise datapoints like ZIP+4 can give you an advantage over your competitors?

As we work through the points below, we’ll see how more granular data sets you up for a better understanding of your market, clearer reporting and business analysis, and greater opportunity to succeed in your niche.

💡 Bear in mind that here we’re discussing the ‘big picture’ wins. We’re not even going to cover how a cleaner, more accurate CRM database empowers your users to to do their daily tasks more efficiently, increases CRM adoption and allows for faster, simple business processes – all things that can give your business the advantage over your competitors.

2. Many integrations require a ZIP+4 Code

It’s worth considering that, along with the list of benefits we’ll be investigating, for many integrations and delivery services that you use alongside Salesforce CRM, ZIP+4 Codes are not just recommended but required. So why not make your integrations smoother by retrieving ZIP+4 Codes within your CRM?

3. Combine ZIP+4 Codes with market data

We’re completely aware that a ZIP+4 Code alone is not going to provide you with useful market insight. However, when you think about that ZIP+4 Code as the data backbone of your market analysis and white space strategy, you begin to see its potential. Let’s imagine the power of having every CRM record associated with a specific ZIP+4 Code.

Taking a B2B example, imagine displaying the number of companies within a region by NAICS industry code*, connecting this data with a ZIP+4 Code directly on a record in your CRM. As a B2C example, imagine combining a dataset related to age, income and spending habits with the granularity of a ZIP+4 Code to have the most accurate consumer targeting available.

Hopefully you can see that by combining a ZIP+4 Code with market data, you’re creating micro-markets that are giving you the best available information about your white space for growth. A more exact idea of the number of businesses in a ZIP+4 area, a truer picture of the demographic breakdown of an even smaller region… Sales territories, targeted marketing and allocation of resource just got more intentional.

*We’ve got a Salesforce-native tool for looking up industry codes! Check out IndustryComplete.

4. Dig deeper into your analytics

We’ve seen how ZIP+4 Codes can underpin other market datapoints for detailed planning and allocation of resource in your market. Now let’s look at how ZIP+4 Codes can improve your analytics and reporting.

With a ZIP+4 Code associated with each Salesforce record, whether it’s an account, lead, opportunity or something else, you can track sales performance and identify with even more geo-specificity your areas of success. With that information, you know more definitively where to focus your time, resource and efforts to maximise your success.

💡 Once you take into account the possibility that two cities may share the same five-digit ZIP Code, you can see how ZIP+4 Codes empower you to drill down more than your competitors to identify your high yield regions.

5. Succeed in your industry niche

It’s always helpful when talking about niches to avoid generalisations. So, let’s dive straight into a case study for this one.

We have a client who supplies parts in the aerospace industry. They need to ship parts to aircraft hangars that are often situated in the middle of nowhere. Providing a ZIP+4 Code for these airport hangars is the best possible way they can ensure their parts will reach their destinations quickly and efficiently.

Whether you work in a niche aerospace sector or something completely different, getting ZIP+4 data into your Salesforce CRM means you’re setting yourself up with the best possible data for success in your (extremely specific!) business processes.

6. Avoid paying excess tax

No one likes talking about taxes, thinking about taxes or doing taxes. Yet it’s what Benjamin Franklin famously called one of the two certainties of life. It’s worth considering that ZIP+4 Codes can take some of the sting out of your tax process.

Did you know that if your address isn’t accurate enough, you could end up paying more due to local boundary lines? Having a ZIP+4, from which you can establish an exact County, is a sure-fire way to ensure you provide the most accurate address data possible.

How to get ZIP+4 Codes for Salesforce

Now that you can see why ZIP+4 Codes are incredibly powerful in Salesforce CRM, it’s time to start using them!

You can easily retrieve ZIP+4 Codes for your addresses in Salesforce using AddressTools, our award-winning package for address validation, standardisation and verification.

Book a free demo

In case you can’t tell(!), we love talking about all things related to address data in Salesforce. Why not schedule a call with one of our team to chat about your ZIP+4 and wider address data requirements for your Salesforce org.

When does a developer recommend a managed package? 

Here at ProvenWorks you’re going to find some of the biggest advocates for buying a solution off the shelf, or what we call a ‘managed package’. We’re fully aware that when it comes to the Build versus Buy debate, we’re pretty biased. We’re a Salesforce ISV (Independent Software Vendor) so we make a living off creating managed packages that businesses using Salesforce CRM can find on the AppExchange.

This is why we look to get other people into the debate too. We’ve done a number of sessions working with developers to raise awareness over the debate around Build Versus Buy – just watch this session we ran with Bitwise Industries at CenCal Dreamin’ 2022.

You will find an endless amount of content from Salesforce ISVs advocating the choice to buy a managed package. You will also find the same number of developers in favour of developing a custom solution. 

What takes us by surprise is when developers speak out in favour of managed packages. And this happened to us recently. 

helpfulbits, a German Salesforce consultancy who implements custom software and delivers training, recently wrote an in-depth review of our data import solution SimpleImport. 

As a system integrator that writes custom software, but also offers a prebuilt standard solution, helpfulbits are the perfect case study for understanding better the choice between build versus buy.

An interview with a developer on managed packages

We sat down with David Felkel, Salesforce Developer / Architect at helpfulbits to ask for his perspective on build versus buy.

As software developers (who typically fall into the “build” side of the build versus buy argument), what’s your 1-minute elevator pitch for choosing custom development?

Well, if your business has very complex processes that are unique to your segment or industry, it can be difficult to find a software that fits your company off the shelf. The larger your company is, the more likely this will be. Moreover, the larger your userbase is, the higher the return of investment of custom software. For example, it does make a lot of sense to develop a custom software for support agents if you can shave off 1 minute of processing time for hundreds or even thousands of agents – that’s a huge ROI.

Using data imports as an example, we typically choose custom development when there is business logic or any kind of data transformation involved. For example, a customer might have an excel layout that does not directly translate to records in Salesforce. Other clients might need to join data from multiple sheets into single records.

That said, a lot of the time, service providers and their clients internally simply shy away from the process and the bureaucracy involved in procurement, even if there is a good standard solution, because the developers have already been hired.

On the flip side of that, can you share the story of what led you to develop your own out-of-the-box solution, helpful sync?

I’ll gladly do that! Basically, my buddy and me were having a beer and thinking hard about a product that would solve a real-world problem. We figured that we’d need an easy way to push complex data around Salesforce Orgs and Sandboxes, to debug errors in production for example. The situation escalated quickly and we built a sandbox seeder and anonymizer that we and our clients like to use. Back when we started, we didn’t even know such tools already existed and that there was competition. Had we known, we probably wouldn’t have done it. However, we tried some of the existing software and most solutions were not to our liking, as they were either too complicated and cumbersome or too narrow in their scope.

In your review of our solution SimpleImport, you mention that “custom code is not always economical”. What do you mean by that? When do you find that custom development is not the right decision?

Custom software basically has two price tags. One for the solution itself and the other one for maintenance. Custom development is expensive. For the price of a custom solution, you can probably pay the license fees of something like SimpleImport for a few years. Moreover, it is likely that the custom solution will have to be modified and maintained every now and then, for example, when a new Salesforce release is published. Those costs can be comparable to license fees.

Personally I think custom development can only be justified when your business logic is really special and complex and, in the case of importing, the data has to be transformed before it is imported into Salesforce. The latter can often simply be done with an additional excel sheet, though.

Is there anything you think customers don’t give enough consideration to during the build versus buy argument?

I think most customers are already working with their development teams and rely on their opinions and counsel. However, developers in general often don’t like to look for existing solutions. There’s even a name for it, the so called “Not invented here” syndrome. I am guilty of that myself! Most of the time, when it comes to standard tasks, there are off-the-shelf solutions that simply are better and less expensive.

Looking towards ISVs like ProvenWorks, what do you want managed package providers to know? What do you want to tell them?

Pitch your products more to consultants and developers! They are the ones who implement the solution for the customer and who will receive the user story requesting the “Excel Import” for implementation. If they know about your product and like it, they will recommend it during backlog refinements and the like.

About helpfulbits

helpful bits has been pioneering software development in Salesforce since its inception. They are specialized in making large and complex Salesforce orgs easy to maintain, extend and administer.

About SimpleImport

SimpleImport is our spreadsheet data import solution for Salesforce. It’s designed to empower your Salesforce users to import so your business can scale. Learn more about our managed package and get a free trial.

5 reasons why you should use Salesforce CRM

If you are looking for a way to manage the relationship between your company and your customers across their lifecycle, Salesforce CRM could be the solution for you. 

But first, do you know exactly what Salesforce CRM is? Perhaps it’s worth defining a few key terms. 

What is Salesforce CRM?

CRM stands for ‘Customer Relationship Management‘ system, a tool that helps businesses manage and nurture all relationships, both with existing and potential customers. 

A CRM replaces the obsolete ways to track client data, for example, using spreadsheets and databases, resulting in better efficiency, minimised error and centralised data. 

Salesforce is one of the world-leading providers of CRM technology. Apart from Salesforce, there are many other CRM solutions like Zoho and HubSpot, but why use Salesforce instead of others? 

Several points come to mind so let’s take a look! 

Why should you use Salesforce CRM?

1. Security

Data security is always one of the most crucial considerations of businesses purchasing new software. Salesforce treats data security as one of its key areas, stating that “Trust is our #1 value”. Having a comprehensive and world-class security system to protect your data and applications is vital. Salesforce Security offers a lot of features to enable users to work securely and privately, including multi-factor authentication (MFA), Trusted IP ranges and Salesforce Shield, making Salesforce CRM a reliable and secure CRM.

2. The Salesforce ecosystem

One of the reasons that Salesforce is so popular is that the Salesforce ecosystem is unique compared to other software. It has its own partner community to develop different apps (ISV partners) and help businesses implement Salesforce successfully (SI partners). ISV partners create solutions that expand the functionality of Salesforce, making them available to search on the Salesforce AppExchange (app store for Salesforce). 

Also, Salesforce itself offers add-on functions, for example, contact management tools and customer engagement tools. With the apps established by ISV partners and Salesforce’s own add-on features, you can build a CRM tailored specifically for your industry, your business and your way of working. 

💡 We’re a Salesforce ISV which means we create apps for Salesforce CRM and sell them on the Salesforce AppExchange. Take a look at our products!

3. Intelligent data reporting

Every business works with a lot of data from different sources, from accounting software to LinkedIn and Google Analytics. However, data is not useful until it is cleaned and analysed. With Salesforce’s Einstein Platform services, you can create customised AI-powered apps to generate intelligent reports to help you to grow your business and automate your processes. 

4. Customer-centric industry solutions

Salesforce provides you with a CRM where you can build a quality relationship with your stakeholders and track every moment of their journey from start to end. This is thanks to Salesforce’s Industry CRM solutions, known as “Clouds”. There are plenty of Clouds on Salesforce to meet different business objectives.

💡 Check out our ‘Head in the Clouds: What are the Salesforce Clouds?’ series to know more about which Cloud suits you the best. 

From government and manufacturing through to healthcare and education, Salesforce offers purpose-built industry-specific Clouds (versions of its CRM) to help you offer the best experience to your constituents, customers, patients, students or whoever you work with!

5. Educational resources

Salesforce CRM is suitable for any company of any size and industry. As long as you have a computer, you can use Salesforce! Even if your organisation is relatively small and has limited in-house IT expertise, you can use Salesforce “out of the box” or make adjustments on the administrative side to better suit your business.

💡 Salesforce offers a completely free learning platform called Trailhead, providing free modules and industry-recognised certifications to train you to be more familiar with the Salesforce ecosystem and to be capable of managing your CRM system.  

Why use Salesforce?

We have examined what a CRM is as well as what Salesforce CRM is specifically. We’ve also learned about the benefits of using Salesforce for managing your relationship with your clients and pointed you towards resources where you can find out more.

Learn more

Learn more about Salesforce CRM and its industry-specific solutions (“Clouds”) with our blog series: Heads in the Clouds: What are the Salesforce Clouds?

Head in the Clouds: What are the Salesforce Clouds?

Salesforce has a huge variety of clouds (platforms built on Salesforce CRM) available to use, designed to serve different industries and business goals.

We know that knowledge is key when it comes to Salesforce, so with that in mind, here are the clouds we’ve explored and explained so far. In each post, we take a look at key terminology, business values of using that cloud and specifically what you can do with the functionality available to you!

Happy learning!

The Salesforce Clouds!

What cloud do you want to learn more about?

Want us to explore any more clouds? Why not send us a message or come join the conversation on LinkedIn!

About ProvenWorks

We mean it when we say we’re Salesforce experts. We work exclusively in the Salesforce ecosystem and our solutions are built 100% for Salesforce.

What is Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud and what can you do with it?

Nonprofits are by no means left out of the Salesforce ecosystem. As the title of this article says, we’ll be looking into Salesforce’s very own Nonprofit Cloud, a cloud designed and dedicated to optimising nonprofits’ internal and external operations.  

Stick around as we delve into the facts and functions of Nonprofit Cloud – you may just discover a new cloud to use or recommend!

What is Nonprofit Cloud? 

Nonprofit Cloud is one of Salesforce’s constituent management solutions, tailored for charity and nonprofit organisations. Nonprofit Cloud enables users to connect every function of their nonprofit organisation (including but not limited to fundraising, marketing, operations, grants and donations), and holds all this information in one central place – Salesforce!  

Within Nonprofit Cloud is the Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP). This is a set of managed packages that sits on top of your Salesforce org and is preconfigured for the types of use cases that nonprofits organisations need. NPSP provides users with custom objects like ‘Donations, Households, Organization*, etc, everything specifically designed for nonprofits! 

How does Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud fit into the wider Salesforce ecosystem?

Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud was built with nonprofits in mind. However, this isn’t to suggest that nonprofits are in any way sidelined or prevented from scaling up with the full power of Salesforce. Since it’s built on the same world-leading platform, Nonprofit Cloud can work together with other clouds. For example, Marketing Cloud and Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (Pardot) can be added to Nonprofit Cloud to enhance its overall performance for effective donor engagement. 

So Nonprofit Cloud integrates with other Salesforce Clouds and provides access to other powerful resources too. Here are some of our favourite Cloud combos, functionality and resources that work well with Nonprofit Cloud: 

  • – The social impact centre of, focused on “partnering with the global community of nonprofits and schools to tackle the world’s biggest problems.”
  • Sales and Marketing Cloud– Nonprofit-compatible Salesforce Clouds that work to provide personalised marketing content and help you manage sales data.
  • The Power of Us Hub – the portal for product documentation, how-to videos, webinars, and community groups of all kinds… and the place to get 10 free nonprofit licenses! 
  • Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (Pardot)– is a marketing software as a service (SaaS) marketing automation platform for Salesforce to empower marketing teams.  
  • Digital Experiences– an external, interactive platform that sits on top of your Salesforce CRM to enhance external user experience. Check out our blog on Experience Cloud for more information!

💡 Top tip: Using Nonprofit Cloud can increase Total Online Giving by 130% through its donor centricity!  

Why should you use Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud?

With Nonprofit Cloud, nonprofit organisations get a centralised constituent management hub for all their internal and external communication, interaction and monitoring. Onboarding and administration can also be centralised so donors receive a more personalised experience, plus, users can get a better overview of personnel management, such as volunteer data. Nonprofit Cloud is scalable, which means that you can grow your Salesforce implementation as your nonprofit organisation grows.  

For clarity, here are the main benefits of using Nonprofits Cloud: 

  • Scalable, customisable and centralised;  
  • Sustainable and secure;  
  • Global access for users; 
  • Easily adoptable and user friendly; 
  • Free licence opportunities from Salesforce; 
  • The Power of Us Hub, a support hub that is Nonprofit Cloud specific with communities and how-to videos.

Salesforce Nonprofit Cloud and ProvenWorks in action

How can ProvenWorks, a Salesforce ISV, work with Nonprofit Cloud? First off, we’d like to highlight that nonprofit organisations get a discounted price for any of our paid solutions that take their fancy! Secondly, we love (we really mean it!) working with nonprofits. We won the Salesforce Partner Innovation Award 2021 in the Nonprofit category for our work with Malala Fund

Our solutions work seamlessly with Nonprofit Cloud and empower you to: 

  • Import donor and recurring donations data easily; 
  • Verify address data from the point of entry;  
  • Ensure compliance for marketing calls to UK donors and partners.  

Manage and organise donor data with SimpleImport 

SimpleImport does what it says: it makes importing into Salesforce simple. Do you have volumes of donor data or recurring donations from external platforms that need centralising in Salesforce? SimpleImport and its intuitive Lightning component, ManagedImport, empowers you and your team to import this data quickly with a simple drag & drop. It’s quick to adopt and fast to use, so no vital time is lost from your nonprofit goals.  

Verify and authenticate address data at the point of entry with AddressTools   

AddressTools verifies your constituent address data to ensure only clean data lives in your org. Need a postal address format for donors, volunteers and partners? We’ve got you covered! Working with the UK Gift Aid process? AddressTools helps keep any manual updates within this process to an absolute minimum (<0.05%*) enabling efficient and timely processing of Gift Aid claims. 

Ensure compliance for marketing calls to UK donors with PhoneTools 

Cold calling donors or potential donors for your nonprofit? The UK has strict data privacy laws against cold calling, allowing UK residents to register to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and UK businesses to the Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS). PhoneTools is a native Salesforce solution that screens your donor numbers against the TPS and CTPS lists to tell you directly if you can call that phone number. 

So what’s next? The choice is yours.

You can either go back to the first blog in our Head in the Clouds series: What is Experience Cloud and what can you do with it? Or… you can access all the blogs in the Head in the Clouds series.

The world is your oyster!