'How I Solved It' host Jennifer Lee with guest Brandon Walton.

How I Solved It | We Turned Salesforce Into a Puppy Adoption Platform!


Welcome to another How I Solved It. In this series, we do a deep dive into a specific business problem and share how one Awesome Admin chose to solve it. Once you learn how they solved their specific problem, you’ll be inspired to try their solution yourself! Watch how Brandon Walton helped Family Bred Puppies use Salesforce to create a Puppy Adoption Platform using out-of-the-box Salesforce functionality, without using any lines of code!

Key business problem

Family Bred Puppies (FBP) is made up of a team that LOVES dogs! Based in Goshen, Indiana, the FBP team has built their business around working with properly vetted breeders to provide families (and puppies) the highest quality of care and support throughout the adoption process. As animal lovers, it’s important to the team that the puppies are cared for from birth and that they find good homes for each puppy.

In order to successfully match families with puppies for adoption, the FBP team needed to implement a structured process for interviewing and qualifying potential adopters and breeders.

The solution needed to allow the team to track and manage applicants through the qualifying interview and adoption process, as well as track litters of puppies by breeders, birthdates, vaccinations, health checks, and transportation to their new homes.

After analyzing multiple systems, the FBP team decided Salesforce had the best service available for security, uptime, integrations, customization, and community support to provide a solution for their business.

Here’s how I solved it

It was most important to FBP to use as much of the standard Salesforce architecture in their process as possible. As a small business, they needed to implement Salesforce in order to grow with the platform without relying on heavy customization or development.

We decided to take a ‘crawl, walk, run’ approach and start by implementing Sales Cloud first, with plans to roll out Service Cloud and Experience Cloud in future phases.

Integrate website with Web-to-Lead

The first step was to take in new applications from the company website. Since the team was already using Squarespace, we leveraged Web-to-Lead forms with their puppy application.

The application-specific questions are mapped to standard and custom fields within the Lead object in Salesforce, and mapped to the application directly through the Web-to-Lead form setup.

Adding custom Lead fields to our Web-to-Lead form setup in Salesforce.

By using Web-to-Lead and the Lead object in Salesforce, the FBP team is able to leverage out-of-the-box functionality to manage new applications. As a result, the team can use standard reporting to run analysis on how many new applications are being generated monthly, use list views to manage incoming applicants, and track new applicants through the interview process.

Drive guided user success with Salesforce Path

To assist FBP users with getting through the applicant qualification process, we leveraged Path! We used the lead Status field to drive the path, which provides an easy-to-use interface for the team to manage the applicant qualification process, tracks important details, and provides qualification tips for each step.Using Path to simplify lead qualification management in Salesforce.Once the applicant has been interviewed and qualified, the FBP team uses the Salesforce lead conversion process to create a contact, account, and opportunity.

We customized opportunity stages to map Salesforce to the FBP adoption process and leveraged Path to provide user guidance through each opportunity stage.

Implementing Path for opportunity stages, using key fields and guidelines for success to simplify opportunity management.

Create custom objects and build automation

In addition to the Standard Lead Qualification and Opportunity objects, we created some custom objects and relationships to track puppies, litters, and breeders.

The Puppy__c custom object represents an individual puppy and is related to the Opportunity. This object stores key information about each puppy, including their availability, age, breeder, parents, and health notes. Because this information is stored on the puppy object, puppies can be tracked independently from an opportunity and assigned or re-assigned appropriately. It’s critical that only available puppies can be added to a new opportunity for adoption.

 The custom Puppy__c object stores information about individual puppies, including name, birthdate, status, and other details.

Once the objects and architecture were in place, we created flows to automate processes. We started simple by sending out notifications to the different vendors alerting them when a family is ready to adopt a puppy.

We created two critical record-triggered flows to accomplish the automation of these alerts, starting with automating the puppy status based on changes to the opportunity.

Flow #1: Record-triggered flow (Opportunity)

The first flow is a record-triggered flow, for each time an opportunity is created or updated.

This flow automates the updating of the Puppy record when the opportunity is updated. This prevents a Puppy from being associated with multiple opportunities and helps the team track the status of each puppy.

Record-triggered flow that automatically updates information about a puppy when changes are made to a related opportunity.

Here are the steps for this flow.

  1. START: An opportunity is updated and the Puppy or stage is changed.
  2. DECISION: If the Puppy record was changed, we update the Puppy Status field to ‘Available’ on the record.
  3. DECISION: If there is no Puppy associated with the opportunity record, the flow will finish.
  4. DECISION: If the opportunity stage is ‘Taken Home’ (that is, Closed Won - Puppy Adopted), we update the Puppy Status field to ‘Taken Home’.

DECISION: If the opportunity has a new Puppy assigned, and that Puppy Status is not already ‘Pending’, the flow will update the Puppy Status to ‘Pending’. Depending on certain changes to the opportunity, the Puppy associated with the record (current and/or previous) will receive a status update. We use the ‘Is Changed’ operator on the Opportunity Puppy__c lookup field to determine whether additional updates should be made on the associated Puppy__c record.

Flow #2: Record-triggered flow (Puppy Update)

The second record-triggered flow is based on Status field updates to a Puppy__c record and sends an email alert to vendors when the status of a puppy is updated. This email alert includes information about the puppy, like breeder and health information, so that parties are notified when a puppy is scheduled for adoption.

A flow that sends an email alert to the appropriate vendors when the Puppy Status field is updated to ‘Pending’, ‘Adopted’, or ‘Available’.

As puppies are adopted, their status will be updated on the Puppy object. The correct parties are notified to report the adoption and initiate the appropriate next steps for supporting families and their newly adopted puppies!

Next Steps: Taking Puppy Adoption to the next level with AI

Family Bred Puppies is centered around providing great experiences for puppies, family breeders and adopters. It’s also important that their business systems are easy to use, save the team time and make smart business decisions. In order to support this vision, we are exploring power of Einstein AI to improve processes!

  • Einstein Email Insights has been enabled to provide insights on communications between the FBP team and applicants.
  • Einstein Recommendation Builder is currently being configured to leverage AI for recommending Puppies to approved applicants.
  • Einstein Prediction Builder is being explored for leveraging AI to pre-qualify applicants and predict timelines for approved applicants to take their puppies home

We are excited to explore future opportunities to streamline FBP business processes with Einstein AI features!

Business results

The FBP team has been able to instantly recognize several benefits of making the digital transformation to manage their CRM with Salesforce, including:

  • An organized and clearly-defined qualification-through-adoption process for candidates looking to adopt puppies
  • Streamlined management of puppies by identifying expected birthdates, vaccinations, ages, and availability of puppies within the CRM
  • A centralized repository of adoption dates, pet adopters, and adopted puppies
  • Reporting and analytics on adoption trends, lead sources, and adoption timelines

Most importantly, FBP is able to provide an organized experience for their customers, vendors, and partners by using core Salesforce functionality. The best part—this was all done without writing any code!

Do try this at home

It’s time to get comfortable with Path! One of the biggest enablers for digital transformation is making Salesforce easy to navigate for sales users.

Paths allow admins to bring the most relevant fields to the top of a page layout, and provide users with help as they maneuver through business processes with Salesforce.

When paths are implemented correctly, this also saves admins time by making users more self-sufficient in managing processes in Salesforce.

Here are a few tips for implementing paths.

  • Work with leaders and stakeholders to identify key stages in a process, and map these to a multi-select picklist to work with paths.
  • Get feedback from users regarding bottlenecks and confusing parts of a business process. Use this feedback to create the ‘guidance for success’ within your paths.
  • Use paths with more than just lead statuses and opportunity stages! If you have other objects where guidance would be useful to your users, you can implement paths there as well.
  • Utilize images and links to videos in your guidance for success, to help your users navigate processes within Salesforce.


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