An Intro to the Salesforce Lightning Experience

At 18 years young, Salesforce is just getting started in revolutionizing how organizations optimize internal processes and empower team members.

The platform has undergone many evolutions to deliver the functionality its users need and meet the growing demand for multifunctional technology.

Salesforce Lightning is one of those next steps in the platform’s evolution. Unfortunately, the more my team and I talk with clients, the more we realize how little many understand about Lightning’s capabilities and implementation needs. If you’re puzzled as well, hopefully we can clear some confusion up for you today.

What is Salesforce Lightning Experience?

Lightning provides users with more flexibility on the platform through a modern interface, custom functionality, branded user experiences, and tailored processes fitting the specific user needs. The upgraded desktop application makes Salesforce data more useful, powerful, and easier to access.

Using Lightning, users can customize layouts, tools, dashboards, applications, widgets, and more to see the information most important to them immediately. No more digging around for the information they need.

Cloud with lightning bold inside

Modern User Experience

Lightning’s big play is its modern, dynamic interface. Salesforce Classic leaves many users craving a liberation from 2002, and the platform has delivered an escape route. Salesforce touts Lighting’s dynamic and more intuitive UI, which empowers users by presenting the most important data first. This allows users to scan, not search, for insights right on their homepage.

Dynamic Data Capabilities

Lightning also boosts data responsiveness for users. Instead of updating information within the platform, clicking save, and waiting for the data to populate across the system, you can watch a change’s effect in real-time. You can add multiple data points without having to refresh your page and see the impact of your decisions immediately. Forecasting makes the biggest leap with this functionality — you can toggle your data back and forth for on-the-fly forecasting as one change will update all other graphs on your current layout.

Increases in Adoption

Lightning delivers a more intuitive experience, which we’ve seen driving an increase in user adoption. The more users you have using the platform correctly, the better data you have on the platform. In our experience with clients, Lightning puts all employees on the same page, increasing efficiency and productivity. After a switch, our clients often increase their return on their Salesforce investment.

Access to New Features

Switching to the Salesforce Lightning experience may be an option for now, but it won’t be forever. The platform continues to roll out new features, and many of them are completely unavailable in Classic. If you see new functionality that you’d like, most likely, you‘re going to have to migrate to Lightning. Salesforce continues to evolve with every release, so the longer you put it off, the more features you’re putting out of reach. Waiting just makes expensive software less useful. This is especially crucial if you want to take advantage of Einstein features (and trust us, you do!)

Mobile Readiness

Another big feature of Lightning is its mobile capabilities. Organizations can now truly operate business processes on the go, right from their phones or tablets. You can build apps directly in Salesforce for your mobile workforces.

Sales Cloud Benefits

Using the Salesforce Lightning experience, sales teams, specifically, see a major improvement in their pipeline dashboard and its visuals. They can move opportunities around to see the effects on their greater goals if the deals land or die. This makes it easier to understand their pipeline with a simple glance every day and spend the bulk of their time with prospects and customers, not wrangling Salesforce.

The Assistant feature helps sales reps understand their most important tasks for the day and includes information around new opportunities, languishing accounts, or due tasks.

Lightning also infuses intelligence into the sales process. Users can opt to receive relevant news related to accounts’ businesses and their industries, empowering them to personalize their sales messaging and offerings and increase close rates as a result.

Of course, this is all mobile, because some sales reps are rarely at their desks.

Sales leaders can leverage a comprehensive dashboard to review successes of their sales reps as well as the challenges they face. A better understanding of their team inevitably drives better leadership. And this delivers more success in sales.

Service Cloud Benefits

Those using the Service Cloud aren’t left out from the Salesforce Lightning experience either; The platform make it easier than ever to connect with customers. With an engaging UI and improved analytics, users can track customers and optimize their experiences.

But here’s where Service Cloud really benefits from Lightning — the introduction of Einstein. Lightning makes it easier to implement Einstein in your org, which delivers insights and intelligence on many of your customer service processes. The platform delivers insights by bridging marketing, sales, and customer service data to driving an understanding of the big picture.

If customers interact with your brand directly through the platform, even better. Enhance their experience by enhancing the UI, all by launching Lightning. This empowers your team to resolve customer issues faster and drive brand loyalty as a result.

Migrating to Salesforce Lightning Experience Best Practices

First, you’ve got to determine if Lightning is right for your org right now. For some organizations, it’s just not possible. They have too many users, too many crucial workflows, and too few resources to pull off a successful migration. Others must wait until “slow season,” or find a good resource to help them. My team and I recommend discussing the benefits with all key stakeholders and power users. Put the why and how questions on the table to determine if a migration is feasible for your team.

Just remember, you’ve got to do it eventually.

If you decide to move forward with an adoption of the Salesforce Lightning experience, then build a detailed plan and schedule, and stick to it.

Migration Assistant Tool

A great place to start is with the Salesforce Lightning Experience Migration Assistant Tool. This runs a check on your organization and sends you an email with insights on your Lightning migration “readiness.” This report is updated with every release and allows you to preview their org in Lightning to see how your processes would work. You can even see how new features would look and operate for your organization.

From here, organizations can fine-tune their migration plans and add a list of new features they’d like to add to their org in the process.

Transition Slowly

A transition to the Salesforce Lightning experience is massive. This fact creates fear for many organizations. It’s a big change, involving cooperation for many moving parts. A lot can go wrong.

Fortunately, you don’t need to migrate your entire org. You can manage the process in chunks for a smooth transition.  My team and I recommend starting with power users on the teams that would benefit most from a switch to Lightning. Once they learn how to use Lightning, they can train other users on their teams. This methodical approach reduces confusion across the entire org and isolates problems areas. It also drives a stronger feedback loop for a stronger migration overall.

Of course, you can revert to Salesforce Classic at any time with two clicks of a button. We don’t recommend depending on this too much or too often — one day the option will be obsolete. It makes more sense to learn how to do things in Lightning. In a pinch, though, it can reduce frustration for users who just want to accomplish a quick task.

Other Salesforce Lightning Experience Benefits

The Salesforce Lightning Experience delivers a slew of even more powerful tools for your organization, all without leaving the platform.

Lightning App Builder

The Lightning App Builder delivers the ability to build custom pages on Salesforce1 and Lightning Experience to deliver one-page applications, dashboards, and more. These capabilities land in the sweet spot of too small for a full application but too complicated for on-page custom functionality.

Admins can build custom pages comprising specific components that certain users use most. In other words, you can essentially build custom areas for user groups using the Salesforce Lightning experience. You can make the platform cater to everyone.

Lighting Design System

The Lighting Design System empowers admins to build enterprise-level business applications directly on the platform. The tool leverages recyclable utilities and easily-customized components. It cuts out complex code with design tokens, making branding and engaging design even easier. The Lighting Design System includes a library of icons, allowing you to focus on optimal user navigation and worry less about design. You can even leverage animation to drive user engagement and adoption.

Partner with a Salesforce Lightning Experience Expert

Migrating to Lightning is equal parts exciting and nerve-wracking. If you’re seeking new functionality but need help determining how to put all of the pieces together for a successful migration, we can help. Contact our team of Lightning consultants and developers today.

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