Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we bring on Tim Dubois, the Product Manager for In-App Guidance at Salesforce. We learn how admins can take advantage of this cool feature and some best practices for creating these cool prompts.

Join us as we talk about best processes for floating prompts versus docked prompts, how to add the information your users need, and the metrics you need to look at for user engagement.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Tim Dubois.

New In-App Guidance features for Summer 2020.

“In-App Guidance is the ability for an admin to create in-app learning where it makes the most sense for the users,” Tim says, “where they’re going to get the best context and be able to do that little bit of learning right in place.” It’s built into the platform itself with no coding via Lightning and lets you be right there with users to draw their attention to the right thing at the right time.

If you’re making a change with App Builder, In-App Guidance lets you show your users what’s changed and where there are new fields. At the same time, when you’re onboarding new users, you can use this feature to help show them around. In Summer 2020, we’re adding multi-step prompts to create a Walkthrough for more complicated processes to traverse multiple pages or even guide users across multiple apps.

Pacing your prompts.

While In-App Guidance is a powerful tool at your disposal, it’s definitely possible to overuse the feature. “You have to think about it from the user’s perspective,” Tim says, “you definitely want to make sure you tease these out at a rate that’s not going to overwhelm them because the last thing we want is burnout.” If you think about popups on the web, it’s definitely easy to understand what overstimulation looks like.

There are controls in In-App Guidance that makes everything a lot easier, letting you decide how many times you show prompts to your users. There are also a few different types of prompts that can help you display information in the best way for people to take it in, so choose wisely.

Metrics to help you make an impact.

When you’re trying to get buy-in from your stakeholders, you can rely on In-App Guidance’s built-in user engagement metrics to give you an idea of how you’re doing. You can better understand how many people saw your prompt versus how many people clicked on the action, which gives you the ability to tweak things and make sure you’ve got it right.

One customer used permissions for country to have different prompts show up in different languages, and the design allows for a lot of flexibility and creativity in terms of how you employ it. These days, In-App Guidance uses the Translation Workbench to make sure prompts show up in whichever language the user has set up, including the URLs for any videos you’ve included. We’re super excited to hear about you get up to when you get your hands on these exciting new features, so reach out and let us know.


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Full Show Transcript

Mike Gerholdt: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you become an awesome admin. I’m Mike Gerholdt. And joining me today is Tim Dubois, the product manager for In-App Guidance. Man, is this thing cool, let me tell you. So we’re going to talk about how admins can utilize In-App Guidance, some of the best practices for creating those cool prompts, and a whole bunch more. I promise you is such fun episode. I wish I had In-App Guidance for the episode, but we don’t. We have Tim, so let’s get Tim on the pod.
Tim is the PM for In-App Guidance. And we’re going to talk about how admins can utilize In-App Guidance, some best practices. I don’t know where the conversation’s going to take us. But Tim, welcome to the podcast.

Tim Dubois: Thank you, Mike.

Mike Gerholdt: Let’s get started with how you got started at Salesforce. So where did you come from? And now you’re building this amazing In-App Guidance in Salesforce?

Tim Dubois: Yeah, thanks. I’ve been at Salesforce for what? About a year and three quarters, I guess, at this point. I’ve been a product manager in the software industry for a really long time in the area, coming from another big company. And I was looking for a company that was doing exciting things, doing some things that were getting back to the community, and also very importantly, company that was making products that people like to use, people were excited about. And Salesforce certainly fit that bill, and I was very lucky and excited to get an offer here. And I have been happy ever since. I’ve been working on some really, really cool things since I’ve been here and it just gets more exciting every day

Mike Gerholdt: I would agree 100%. So I’m a huge fan of In-App Guidance. I got to talk about in the Admin Keynote at Dreamforce last year. But let’s kick off conversation there with In-App Guidance. If some admin has never heard of it before, what’s your elevator pitch on In-App Guidance?

Tim Dubois: Oh gosh, yes, the elevator pitch. So In-App Guidance it’s really… Think about it as the ability for an admin, especially, to create in-app learning where it makes the most sense for the users, where they’re going to get the best context and be able to do that little bit of learning very quickly, right in place. And that really is what makes the most impact, and it’s easier to digest that bit of guidance very quickly and help those users get on the way.
And what I love about In-App Guidance is that it’s built into the platform itself as part of the Lightning Platform. So it’s extremely easy to use. There’s no coding, is all done with clicks, so anybody can do it. It literally takes a matter of minutes to create a prompt door through the summer, a walkthrough. Anybody can do it and it’s fun to use actually.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, absolutely. I like to think of it as if you could just be there with your users and be adding a little sticky note or a little nudge to them being like, “I really need you to look over here, or could you really look at this? I just added this. Please just pay attention here. Real quick, kind of a popup.”

Tim Dubois: That’s so true. Yeah. It’s good to look at it.

Mike Gerholdt: So I’m looking at In-App Guidance and thinking to myself, maybe I’ve been admin for a while, should I only add In-App Guidance to the new apps or some of the new pages that I’m rolling out?

Tim Dubois: It really it depends. It depends on the use case. So In-App Guidance fits so many different use cases and we keep coming up with more. I keep hearing different ones from customers that I add to the list. But there’s that typical scenario of, “I just made a change with that builder on the page. I added a new field, and I want to let people know about it. So, hey, let’s add a prompt that highlight that, ‘Hey, check out the new field. It needs this, or there’s a new business process. It means that.'”
So there’s certainly those use cases, or maybe you want to have a walkthrough for a brand new app that you just put out there. So that’s a great use case as well.
So it makes sense for those UIs that have been around or apps that have been around for a long time. But also, it makes a lot of sense for onboarding new users. So for those places where you’ve got a new user that maybe it’s your standard applications, but they don’t understand, or there’s been changes to the business process. So there’s just so many different use cases.

Mike Gerholdt: You’re teasing it out for me, so I have to ask. Let’s talk about walkthroughs because I saw it in the release notes. I think it’s amazing, but let’s help bring our admins in and show them the amazing cake of walkthroughs that we have.

Tim Dubois: And I guess I let the cat out of the bag. Yes, this summer’s release, we are really happy and excited to announce that walkthroughs or the multi-step prompts are coming along in the release. And we’re taking the single prompts that we’ve already had for the last few releases, and we’re allowing you to string those together to create a walkthrough. So these are great scenarios for more complicated processes that you want to highlight, or just if you want to onboard users to many places throughout the UI, you can create a walkthrough that traverses anywhere within a page, but also across pages or even across the apps.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. And especially thinking now when Salesforce admins are working from their home and they’re having to have more video calls, these walkthroughs are essentially how you can be there for all of your users when they need your help, because you’re not when they’re going to update an account or log a call based on a sales call. You can’t be there all the time, but the walkthrough can be there to help guide them, especially if there’s a sales process or a major change, right?

Tim Dubois: Oh, absolutely. That’s a great way to just handhold those users to get them through the process.

Mike Gerholdt: So is it possible for me as an admin to maybe create too much In-App Guidance?

Tim Dubois: Yes.

Mike Gerholdt: Can I put too much frosting on the cake? That’s the question I have.

Tim Dubois: You absolutely can put too much frosting on the cake. You have to think about it from the user’s perspective. And it might get interesting sometimes when you have to think about where all these walkthroughs or prompts are going to end up, what’s the set of users. But you definitely want to make sure you tease these out at a rate that’s not going to overwhelm the users because the last thing that we want is burnout from the users. Because suddenly, we’re all going to do that and get plenty of those popups that happen on the web all the time. And it quickly becomes to the point where you just close it before we even read it and we don’t want that to happen. So I think it makes a lot of sense to put a lot of thought into the guidance that you create and make sure you don’t overdo it.
And also we even have controls of course, in In-App guidance for how often you should show these prompts to users. So you can decide to show those prompts every single day for 30 times. Probably not a good idea. If you really want to get the point across, highlight, don’t do that. But maybe you want to show it once a week for up to three weeks, that kind of thing.
So definitely put some thought into how you do that and definitely don’t overdo it. And the same holds true for when you’re offering the prompts themselves. We’ve tried to help you with some guard rails in that there’s a couple of different types of prompts and there’s the floating prompt, which is the prompt that you can place within the different quadrants of the UI. And they’re meant to be very short and succinct. You only have up to 240 characters. And that’s our purpose, to try to give you small little tidbits of information that you pop up on the screen.
It’s so easy for the user to quickly grasp that information without having to spend time reading a lot. But if you have more information that you want to convey, or maybe even a video, you could use the other prompt, the duct box, and that’s where you can put in a lot more information, but they can also minimize that and they can come back to it later.
So I’m trying to give you some different options and we’re going to be adding more options in the future, but there’s one different ways already to try to help get that information out there without overdoing it.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah, absolutely. I love that you bring that up because the floating prompt can be somewhere right in there, their line of sight, as opposed to that docked prompt, I’ve seen it with videos in it, which was actually the question I had for you. We also, now I saw this in the release notes too. We have In-App Guidance builder.

Tim Dubois: Well, yeah. The In-App guidance builder is our new… This summer, we have the new offering UI. We had to redo things to create walkthroughs. And so we’re using the new builder framework, which is really exciting. And the way the new builder works is, the builder is sort of around the outside of our UI and the UI is on the canvas on the middle part running. So you simply just navigate around to the UI you want and choose where you want to offer the prompts. So again, we make it very simple, all done with clicks. You don’t have to worry about which page you’re on, because whenever you say, if that’s what the prompt is going to show up. So it’s really, really easy to use.

Mike Gerholdt: I love that. I just remember thinking back to the days when I would customize the homepage and use like an HTML widget as “Please, please do this,” when you first look.
One of the things, and you touched on it, floating prompts short, quick. I almost think of those as like when you’re watching the news or something like a fun fact, did you know about this? And the docked prompts have videos that could also be where an admin puts a demo as well. As users are progressing through and prompts are being displayed, I know that you can view, there’s lifetime views and completes that the admin can also view. And I think that’s important. I would love to understand, so if I’m going to show this to my boss, or I’m going to say, “Hey, I created this and this prompt or this walkthrough is getting this much use.” I’d love to let them know, what should I be looking for in that as an admin?

Tim Dubois: What we’re trying to do is give you some user engagement metrics right up front on the side of page where you see the prompts that walkthrough is listed. And again, it gives you an idea at a high level, how am I doing? Does anybody care? Because if both the single prompts or the walkthroughs have an action button or action link that we’re measuring to see if the user actually clicked on it. So the very last step of the walkthrough or the prompt itself will have that action button. And the completes gives you an idea of all the users that saw that particular bit of guidance, did they actually click on that action? Or how successful are you of getting them to go check out that link, whether it’s a Trailhead or whatever it might be.
And so we give you that right upfront and it gives you an idea, like maybe I need to change how i role this out, because I saw that, X number of users saw this prompt, but very few actually clicked on the action. So I need to do something different. And so it gives you a chance to go back and maybe change some things and roll it out again. And it’s also very easy for the role level actions to completely reset those metrics and start over if you want.

Mike Gerholdt: Yeah. I would love to go back in time and see what metrics some of those prompts would be. And I think it would be very insightful to let you know, like if people are taking action on something, if you just need to re author that prompt, if it’s maybe a picture or a video that would help really drive that home to them, I’d be curious, our community is very creative. Have they shared with you any of interesting prompts or In-App Guidance that they’ve created, that really caught your eye?

Tim Dubois: Yes. I’ve seen a fair number of different ones. I’ve seen everything from just having a simple prompt that shows one time to give an announcement, “Hey, get ready for tax season,” et cetera, et cetera, to rolling out brand new custom apps and having multiple prompts. Really, before this was very first version we had, we did not have translation available yet. And the customer actually used permissions per country to have different prompts show up in different languages and so on. So it was some really unique ways around using our system. But yeah, that’s why as I talk to customers, I get new use cases almost every day. It’s fun.

Mike Gerholdt: That does make me think of something that hadn’t really come across my radar is a multinational org. If you’re say, a US based company, but you also have offices in Germany and France. Do you have to author prompts in each language? Or is it set to the org’s translation?

Tim Dubois: No, it’s actually the latter. So we’re fully utilizing the translation workbench now. You create your prompt in English, for example, you go to translation workbench, you can translate to all the different languages, then Salesforce supports, and that’s it. You’re good to go. So user sets their language to say German, then those prompts should show up in German and it actually includes even the URL to the video. So if you have different videos for different languages, which of course you’d want to, if there’s audio, then you can also update that as well, so you can have the different videos of the different languages play.

Mike Gerholdt: Holy cow. Okay. Well, this is exciting stuff. I love it when we have In-App Guidance and when we rolled out toolbar, I just thought that was just like next level stuff. Things that I’ve always wanted, that I always felt like everybody that knew how to write code was getting and the rest of us weren’t. I want this cool stuff too. And now it’s available. So thanks for doing that. And I can’t wait to see what’s new in Winter 21 for In-App Guidance. It’s going to be right around the corner.

Tim Dubois: Oh yeah. It’s fun for us because we’re living in that right now. We’re in the middle of building that. So it’s some fun stuff coming.

Mike Gerholdt: Cognitive dissonance being warm while you’re building stuff for the winter. I always think of it like the marketers that have to get the holiday catalog ready. At some point somebody’s probably decorating a tree or a wreath or a holiday scene in June and flip flops, like, “Okay, I need everybody in the scene to act cold.”
It was great to chat with Tim. I’m so glad he had time to be on the podcast and talk with us, give us some best practices about floating prompts versus docked prompts, how to add great information in those docked prompts so that your users can consume it. And of course also looking at your views and completions so that you know which prompts are performing. That was phenomenal, and I think you’re going to find it super, super useful.
If you want to learn more about all things Salesforce admin, go to to find more resources. And as a reminder, if you love what you hear, or if you have some constructive feedback, let us know. Be sure to pop on over to iTunes and give us a review. I promise I read them all. And of course you can stay up to date with us on social for all things admin. We are at Salesforceadmns on Twitter. You can find me on Twitter. I am at Mike Gerholdt, and be sure to stay tuned for our next episode, and we’ll see you in the cloud.

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