What We Sell

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain what Salesforce is and what we sell.
  • Describe the cloud and multitenancy.
  • Build a simple app.

So What Exactly Do We Sell?

By now, you’re probably thinking, so what do you actually sell? We’ll take a moment to explain it, and we’ll use an analogy.

Pretend You Just Got a New Phone

Congratulations! You just bought a brand new smartphone, and that means you also just purchased a plan for your minutes and data usage.

Cartoon of student on a chunk of rock

When you sign up for the plan, you provide your name, address, and payment information.

After you buy your phone, if you need help, you might go to the phone company’s website to look up FAQs or articles. You might live chat with an agent for help or call the company’s support center if you need to talk with someone. Whenever you chat or call in, the person on the other end seems to know who you are and what you’ve bought.

Over time, the phone company also starts to send you personalized emails and messages, offering you upgrades to newer phones or plans with more minutes.

Did you ever wonder how they do that stuff? They must have some big magical system where they store all this information about you, right?

The Thing Is, They’re Probably Using Salesforce

This is the core of what Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications do. They store information and allow companies to engage with you in ways that make you feel like they know you. They can send personalized email campaigns, recommend relevant products, publish helpful FAQs, and so much more.

And because the information is all in one place, they can measure their results, which means they can improve. When companies improve, they grow.

'What gets measured gets improved.' -Peter Drucker

So, Salesforce is CRM, and it’s more than that. It’s also a platform. We won’t go into too much detail on that here, but “platform” essentially means you can customize anything in Salesforce, including building custom apps right on our platform. If you want to learn more about this, check out the Salesforce Platform Basics module.

One of the most important things about Salesforce is that it’s cloud-based. Let’s explain that next.

What’s the Cloud?

Accessing an app in the cloud means you don’t install an app on your computer. All you need is an internet connection and any device. Let’s do another analogy with your smartphone. If you’re like most people, you’ve got apps on your smartphone.

Close up of phone screen

You have apps where you can access photos, files, music, messages with friends, and more. You also have a built-in camera.

When you take a photo with your phone, that photo file is stored on your phone. But when you upload it using a photo sharing application (like Instagram or Twitter), it’s now available to you no matter where you are or what device you’re using. It’s now in the cloud.

When something is stored in the cloud, you can share it with others and access it anywhere. And you don’t have to maintain any applications yourself. We do that for you, with something called multitenancy, which probably sounds scary. Let’s break it down for you.

You can think about multitenancy like checking into a hotel. When you check into a hotel, you get your own dedicated space, with a door and a lock to keep you secure. But all the guests share services, like power and water. However, if you have a problem with the water or power, the hotel takes care of it for you. They maintain everything for you.

Cartoon of taxi driving up to large 'Salesforce Hotel'

That’s like multitenancy. No applications to upgrade. No servers to maintain. Salesforce takes care of all those details for you.

Build Your First App

So now you get the basics. Why don’t we have some fun and get hands-on? The easiest way to understand our product is to try it out. To do that, first you need a free Trailhead Playground.

Launch Your Trailhead Playground

A Trailhead Playground is a free environment we give you for testing out features and learning Salesforce. When you sign up for Trailhead, we give you one automatically. You can find it at the bottom of this page. Click Launch to open the Trailhead Playground in a new browser tab (login required).

Note: Your Trailhead Playground takes a few minutes to get itself ready.

Build the Music App

Let’s create a simple app that can be used to track the concerts we attend.

When you complete this tutorial, you’ll have a working app with its own menu, a tab, and a custom object that tracks your music events. You’ll also have screens that let you view and edit all of this information. And we’ll get it done faster than you expect!

Create a Custom Object

  1. Click Gear Icon for entering setup. and select Setup.
  2. Enter Object Manager in Quick Find, and select Object Manager.
  3. Click Create and select Custom Object.
  4. Create an object as follows:
    • Label: Concert
    • Plural Label: Concerts
    • Record Name: Concert Name
    • Data Type: Text
    • Under Object Creation Options (available only when custom object is first created), select Launch New Custom Tab Wizard after saving this custom object
  5. Click Save.

This directs you to the New Custom Object Tab screen. Next, let’s make the tab.

Create a Custom Tab

Note: If the tab wizard didn’t automatically launch, that’s OK. Enter Tabs in Quick Find, and select Tabs. In the Custom Object Tabs section, click New.

Follow these steps to create a tab for your custom object.

  1. Select Concert for Object.
  2. Click Tab Style and choose any image (we chose the microphone).
  3. Click Next, Next, and Save.

Great work! You have your custom object and a tab.

Pull It All Together with an App

  1. From Setup, enter App Manager in Quick Find and select App Manager.
  2. Click New Lightning App.
  3. Complete the New Lightning App wizard as follows:
    1. App Details & Branding:
      • App Name: Music
      • Click into the Developer Name field to auto-populate a value
      • Click Next
    2. Click Next on the next two screens (App Options and Utility Bar).
    3. Select Items:
      • Select the Concerts item and move it to Selected Items box
      • Click Next
    4. Assign to User Profiles:
      • Select the System Administrator profile and move it to Selected Items box
      • Click Save & Finish

Go to your new Music app by clicking the App Launcher App launcher Icon and selecting Music.

Try out your new app by clicking New and entering a concert name. If you want to add additional fields, say to track concert dates and locations, learn how to customize your app in the Data Modeling module.