Customize How Records Get Approved with Approvals

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you'll be able to:
  • Define an approval process, and list its key components.
  • Describe a business process that can be automated using an approval process.
  • Set up an approval process to automatically manage when an account changes from a prospect to a new customer.

Get Started with Approvals

An approval process automates how Salesforce records are approved in your org. In an approval process, you specify:

  • The steps necessary for a record to be approved and who approves it at each step. For example, when an employee creates a time-off request, have Salesforce automatically send an approval request to the employee’s manager.
  • The actions to take based on what happens during the approval process. For example, if a time-off request is approved, update fields on the employee’s record. But if the request is rejected, send a notification to the employee.

Let’s look at an example approval process to see how a record moves through various steps of the process. In this example, a user submits a request for a new position in a company.

Chart that shows an example approval process

When a user first requests approval for a new position, initial submission actions occur. The default initial submission action locks the record. This action ensures that other users (except for approvers and admins) can’t change the record while it's pending approval. Other possible submission actions include sending an email alert, updating a field on a record, creating a task, and sending an outbound message.

Approval steps assign approval requests to various users and define the chain of approval for a particular approval process. In this example, the first step assigns the approval request to the submitter's direct manager.

If the direct manager rejects the request, the final rejection actions are executed, setting the position’s approval status to Rejected.

If the direct manager approves the request, the record moves to the next step—approval from the CEO. If the CEO rejects the position, the same final rejection actions occur.

If the CEO approves the position, final approval actions are executed. They set the approval status to Approved, unlock the record for future updates, and notify the employee who requested the new position.

Final approval actions occur only when a record is approved and there are no further approval steps.

Build an Approval Process

Now that you’ve seen the basic outline of an approval process, let’s get your hands dirty. You need to make sure that a manager approves opportunities that are discounted more than 40%. The opportunity should reflect its approval status: Approved or Not Approved.

Plan out your business process before you try to automate it. Doing so makes it much easier to configure when using one of our automation tools.


Before we dive in, let’s come up with a plan.

In Order to... We Need...
Track each opportunity’s discount percent Custom field (Opportunity)
Track each opportunity’s approval status Custom field (Opportunity)
Request approval from managers when an opportunity discount is more than 40% Approval process (Opportunity)
Notify managers when an opportunity discount needs approval Email template
When managers respond, update the opportunity’s approval status Approval actions (Field Update)
We're simplifying this scenario for the purposes of this challenge. In the real world, one can use the standard discount field on an opportunity product and then use a roll-up summary field to add that value to the opportunity record.

Create an Email Template

First create your email template to notify the record owner’s manager that an opportunity has been discounted more than 40%.

  1. From Setup, enter Templates in the Quick Find box, and then select Classic Email Templates.
  2. Click New Template.
  3. Select Text as the template type, and click Next.
  4. Configure the email template.
    Field Value
    Folder Unfiled Public Classic Email Templates
    Available for Use Selected
    Email Template Name Approve Opportunity Discount
    Encoding General US & Western Europe
    Subject Please approve this discounted opportunity
    Email Body {!User.Manager}, The {!Opportunity.Name} has been discounted. Please approve this discount. Thank you.
    Including the merge field {!Opportunity.Name} helps the approver by providing a link to the opportunity record. This allows them to review the record before responding to the request.
  5. Click Save.

Add Custom Fields

Now let’s create custom fields so that we can track the discount percentage and approval status for each opportunity.

  1. From Setup, enter Object Manager in the Quick Find box, and then select Object Manager.
  2. Click Opportunity.
  3. Select Fields & Relationships and click New.
  4. In the Data Type column, select Percent and then click Next.
  5. Add a Percent field with these values.
    Field Value
    Field Label Discount Percent
    Length Leave default
    Decimal Places Leave default
    Required Selected
  6. Click Next.
  7. Click Next.
  8. Click Save & New.
  9. In the Data Type column, select Picklist and then click Next.
  10. Add a Picklist field with these values.
    Field Value
    Field Label Discount Percent Status
    Values Enter values, with each separated by a new line
    Picklist Values Approved
    Not Approved
  11. Click Next.
  12. Click Next.
  13. Click Save.

Great! You’ve created an email template to notify approvers and you’ve set up an object with the required fields to support your approval process.

Create an Approval Process

Now that our org is ready, let’s create the approval process.
  1. From Setup, enter Approval in the Quick Find box, and then select Approval Processes.
  2. In Manage Approval Processes For, select Opportunity.
  3. Click Create New Approval Process | Use Jump Start Wizard. The Jump Start Wizard helps you create a simple approval process by making some decisions for you.
  4. Configure the approval process.
    Field Value
    Name Approve Opportunity Discount
    Approval Assignment Email Template Approve Opportunity Discount
    Specify Entry Criteria Opportunity: Discount Percent greater than 0.4
    Select Approver Let the submitter choose the approver manually
  5. Save the approval process.
  6. Click View Approval Process Detail Page.
  7. Under Final Approval Actions, click Add New | Field Update, and configure it with these values.
    Field Value
    Name Approved
    Field to Update Discount Percent Status
    A Specific value Approved
  8. Click Save.
  9. Under Final Rejection Actions, click Add New | Field Update, and configure it with these values.
    Field Value
    Name Not Approved
    Field to Update Discount Percent Status
    A Specific value Not Approved
  10. Click Save.

Great job! To start evaluating discounted opportunities, simply activate the approval process.

Make Sure That Records Are Submitted

You've done a bunch of work to automate what happens when a record gets submitted for approval. Now, when users click Submit for Approval on an opportunity, it goes through your approval process. But what if—the horror—users forget to click the button?

Enter Flow Builder. One of the available actions in the Action element is Submit for Approval, which means you can build a flow that automatically submits a record for approval. And that means your users don’t have to remember to submit opportunities for approval. For example, in a flow that runs when an opportunity is created or edited:

  1. Add a Decision element that checks whether Discount Percent is greater than 0.4.
  2. Add an Action element, set to Submit for Approval, that submits the opportunity for approval.

Tell Me More...

Help your users view open approval requests by adding the Items to Approve component to their Home page. Also, let users respond to approval requests directly from email or Chatter. For more details, see Prepare Your Org for Approvals.

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