All About Salesforce Experience Cloud (Part 2 of 3)

author Shannon J. Gregg
Written by Shannon J. Gregg November 19, 2020

Let’s Recap

If you haven’t had a chance to read Part 1 of our Experience Cloud explainer series, be sure to check that out here. Parts 2 & 3 will be offering more insight into the world of Salesforce Experience Cloud (formerly Salesforce Communities). 

Part 1 discussed why you should take the leap of faith into a community. Part 2 (this post) will break down the steps to moving seamlessly into a community. Stay tuned for Part 3 of our series, which will discuss our top seven favorite features about existing in the universe of Salesforce Experience Cloud. We hope you’ll continue to follow along for the rest of our installments.

Welcome to Part 2!

After reading Part 1 of our three-part series focused on Experience Cloud (or the artist formerly known as Community Cloud), you should have an inspirational idea on how to really deepen your business with internal or external use cases for a community approach. Yeehaw!

But, now what?  Where do you go from here? Well buckle in, cowboy, because we’re going to help you figure out exactly what to do from here.

Discovery: It’s Not the Island That Disney Shut Down

You’ll want to do a deep discovery session to make sure that you have a solid user story before you begin designing, building, or testing your community. If you’re working with a team, be sure to be clear about the goals of your discovery meeting. Have a place to keep track of “parking lot” items that are useful, but not part of the scope of this community project.

As you make your way out of this stage, you should be able to answer with clarity the strategy for your Experience Cloud community:

  • Who is the community for—internal or external customers?
  • What type of engagement do we expect them to have within the community?
  • Will community members log in frequently with the same licensed email address, or will logins be infrequent and by member?
  • What type of data do we expect to share in the community?
  • Will the community members access knowledge in the community?
  • Will there be interaction with other community members?

Once you have a good, solid understanding of what the community will represent and what unmet needs it remedies for your organization, you can write a solid user story for that need. And you’re ready to start designing!

Design Your Community

Although this Salesforce Business Requirements Worksheet is not specifically designed for Experience Cloud, it’s a great place to start the design for your community. 

Experience Cloud communities are challenging to conceptualize, since there is a lot of emphasis on the data-sharing model. Focus on using the principles of human-centered design: In the “people” part of people, process, and technology, how will the human interact with the technology?  Based on your discovery user story, you can design a community that meets and exceeds the needs of your community users. 

It’s important to continually collect participatory action research, which is an academic-sounding way to say: Ask the stakeholders–the users–what they think! Gather their feedback on your design framework and see if the problem that you are trying to solve with the community aligns with the pains felt by your users. This feedback can be collected informally, formally, individually, or in groups—but it’s important that it is collected. With your implementation team, review the feedback that you get to see if your design is impacted by what you have learned.

Build Your Community

Trailhead has what you need, partner! Now that you’ve got a beautiful Experience Cloud designed for your community, it’s time to build.

Of course, there are many more steps than what we have listed here to build out your community. Since it’s so customizable, your community build will be very personal to your organization. It’s important that you use the good, solid design document and your user story to make sure that you are building the community to meet those needs.

The Experience Cloud community is one of the most fun things you can build on the Salesforce platform! You get to choose all manner of things from colors and displays, to fonts and how tall your cowboy hat is (well, you DO get to upload photos for sure). The build step is critical, as the freedom of choice in the community can get intoxicating, so be sure to be clear about what is in scope and what should move into the next-phase parking lot.

Test Your Community

Time for a test; get out your pencil, partner! Well, not that kind of test at least. This one involves users and acceptance. Your User Acceptance Testing, or UAT, can be informal to formal.  Basically, you’re evaluating your design and build against the performance of the software, and recording whether it delivered the expected behavior. You’ll list the steps that you want your users to take, and have them record (or you can record for them if you work through UAT together) the results. Here’s a great, simple UAT example sheet.

It’s critical that you involve users here. While you can certainly put on your user hat and try to think like that persona, your actual users will have actionable feedback that may be in your blind spots. They’ll notice things and ask questions that will help you see where you need to go back to the old build-out drawing board, or let you know where additional training may be needed before going live.

Salesforce has a great article about the power of UAT and why it’s a killer principle to follow.

Happy Trails, Partner!

Here are some resource links to help you in your journey.

Expand Your Reach with Communities

https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/content/learn/trails/communities

Customize Your Community

https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/content/learn/trails/customize-your-community

Yeehaw, y’all!  You’re ready to go build yourself a community in Experience Cloud! Stay tuned for the last installment of our Experience Cloud Series about our Top Seven Features in Experience Cloud.

Sometimes Building a Community Needs Builders

At Shift3 Technologies, we use a consultative approach to help you determine the best strategy to identify your challenges, implement appropriate solutions and enhance your systems. Need to rekindle your users’ love for Salesforce? Check out this 5-minute read. For a free consultation, click here.

This post was written by Shannon J. Gregg, President of Cloud Adoption Solutions. Shannon is an aficionado of sales technology to increase efficiency in the sales process and an early adopter and adoption influencer for sales technology systems, particularly Salesforce and technology that integrates with the Salesforce platform.

Shannon is known as a change agent, particularly in M&A environments (VC/PE), with a successful track record of integrating process, product/service pricing, pricing methodologies—and notably—global teams with cultural sensitivity.

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