Salesforce vocabulary tends to fall in one of two camps: Words that business leaders care about and words that admins care about. Examples of the former include “process efficiency,” “closed/won opportunities” and “boosting adoption,” while examples of the latter include things like “process builder,” “Apex” and “workflow rules.” It’s platform results vs. platform mechanics.
Today, however, I want to talk about an “admin term” that business leaders should also care about: Validation rules. Essentially, validation rules are Salesforce customizations that force users to meet certain conditions before they can save a record. While this might sound overly technical, it’s important from a business perspective because the right validation rules can literally prevent your employees from making the sorts of mistakes that could cause lasting repercussions for your organization.
Need examples? Here are three validation rules you should know about if your company is considering (or already using) Salesforce.
Validation Rule #1: Discount Percent Cannot Exceed Role-Based Limits
Let’s face it: Sales reps are competitive. They’re going to do whatever they can to close a sale — including offering a discount or two. Occasionally, however, that fighting spirit might get the better of them. When a discount is too great, the sale in question looks less like a win for the company and more like a teachable moment for the rep.
Given this, you probably place more trust in your senior reps. They’ve got the experience to know when a larger discount is worth it — and the confidence to walk away when it’s not. Newer reps, since they’re still learning, might need to earn greater leeway.
With this validation rule, you can determine the maximum discount percentage a user can enter on an opportunity record based on their specific role. Junior level reps might have a 5% cap, for instance, while more seasoned sellers can offer up to 15%. This is a simple but powerful tool, as it helps prevent new members of your sales team from making mistakes that could cost the company money and ding their own self-confidence.
Validation Rule #2: High-Value Opportunities Must Be Approved Before Closed
Discount or no, some opportunities are so high-value that you or someone else on your leadership team will want to keep an eye on them. Not because you don’t trust your sales reps, but simply because the status of large deals might play a role in the decisions you make for the company.
That’s why this validation rule is so useful. It allows you to create a custom “approved” checkbox for opportunities worth more than a certain threshold. In order for a rep to change the stage of such an opportunity to closed/won, this box must be checked via a “custom approval process” (not by hand). Meaning you — or someone you designate — will know about it before it’s finalized.
Validation Rule #3: Prevent Open Cases from Being Reset to “New”
Let’s move from sales to service. To keep customers happy, you want to make sure your team responds to any issues as quickly as possible. If you’re using Salesforce Service Cloud, these issues enter your system as cases. Ideally, each case would be immediately resolved by the person who opens it or escalated to a higher-up.
One thing you don’t want to have happen is for an open case to be reset to a status of “new.” Let’s say one such case is accidentally reset by the rep/agent who’s working on it. Somebody else might step in and start working it, leading to unnecessary duplicate efforts. Other times, an open case that’s reclassified as “new” might extend the time it takes to get resolved, possibly frustrating a customer. Another unwelcome outcome.
Thankfully, this validation rule makes it easy to prevent open cases from being reset. With it in place, you can feel more confident that your customers are getting the most efficient assistance possible.
Of course, these are just three examples of basic validation rules. You can find many more here, and even design custom ones. As you explore your options, you’ll come to realize how seemingly small changes in your Salesforce instance can lead to major business benefits. If you’re curious to learn more, let us know — we’ve got a team of validation experts who’d love to talk to you.