Posted on: 23 04 2024.

Best Practices for Salesforce Customization & Configuration

Salesforce is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) platform that helps businesses manage their marketing campaigns, customer service, sales, and more. It offers a range of applications and functionalities out of the box. By configuring and customizing the platform, Salesforce can reach its full potential, offering scalability, flexibility, and access to a wide range of third-party applications.

Salesforce Customization versus Configuration

Salesforce Customization

Salesforce customization refers to adding new functionalities or features that are not available in the default Salesforce system. Its purpose is to develop new functions that meet your business needs by including custom development and external tools. Here are some examples of Salesforce customization: creating Lightning components, adding Apex code, and adding triggers on objects.

Salesforce Configuration

Salesforce configuration refers to adding or modifying existing objects, processes, or functions within the current Salesforce system. It focuses on using built-in tools, components, and features to fit your specific business requirements. Here are some examples of Salesforce configuration: creating record types, creating templates, and changing the user interface.

Salesforce Customization and Configuration Comparison

The main difference between Salesforce customization and configuration lies in how the platform is being used. If it is used for performing a process of a function within the current system then this is called configuration, in case of adding new features or functionalities it is called customization. Another key difference is that customization is used when addressing a specific set of requirements whereas configuration usually addresses requirements that are common across multiple different domains.

Tailoring Salesforce Solutions: Process Overview

Following the below steps ensures that Salesforce meets your business requirements as best as possible:

  • 1. Assessment and planning: The goal of this step is to gather the end users’ input to be able to understand the pain points of the current setup, to understand the scope of needed customization and configuration, to prepare a specification of the desired outcome and to determine a timeline.
  • 2. Implementation and testing: This step includes customizing and/or configuring Salesforce to meet the specifications defined in the previous step and verification of the changes. This step can span several iterations. You can get a more detailed description of the implementation process in our Salesforce implementation guide article.
  • 3. Deployment: Once the testing confirms the implementation meets the specifications it is time to deploy it.
  • 4. User training: It is vital to provide training to the users for them to be able to use the tailored Salesforce solution effectively. Alongside workshops, it is also necessary to provide detailed documentation.
  • 5. Maintenance: It is important to keep monitoring the solution after it has been deployed to ensure it keeps performing as planned. It is also recommended to have a support channel for tackling any questions or issues.
  • 6. Improvement: Since business strategies and needs are constantly evolving it is recommended to regularly reevaluate the current solution and start the tailoring process again if a discrepancy between the current solution and the current business requirements is noticed.

Best Practices for Salesforce Customization

Let us look at some of the best practices for Salesforce customization:

  • 1. Planning: It is important to assess the business requirements, evaluate the current solution, and prepare a change strategy accordingly. The result of planning should be a clearly defined set of objectives and a roadmap for implementing changes to achieve said objectives.
  • 2. Avoid excessive customization: It is recommended to try to use standard Salesforce features and use customization only if necessary. The over-use of custom features can poorly affect the overall functionality and increase complexity making the solution difficult to maintain.
  • 3. Prioritize the features: This goes hand in hand with the previous point. By prioritizing the features by importance and taking into consideration their benefits you can keep the solution complexity low while maximizing the benefits at the same time.
  • 4. Documentation: It is crucial to maintain up-to-date, extensive, and comprehensive documentation for any Salesforce customization. This helps keep future maintenance costs and troubleshooting times down.

Best Practices for Salesforce Configuration

Some of the best practices for Salesforce configuration include:

  • 1. Planning: As for Salesforce customization, planning is a vital step before delving into Salesforce configuration. The same implications as described above also apply here.
  • 2. Use declarative programming: Developing by using drag-and-drop platforms such as Lightning Platform simplifies the process as most of the code is already prewritten. This means that the implementation phase can be sped up considerably.
  • 3. Optimize data architecture: Keeping design complexity low can have big benefits in the future. By using standard objects and fields you can ensure forward compatibility regardless of updates. Designing scalable data models accommodates the option for future growth.
  • 4. Automate processes: Using automation tools like Process Builder, Workflow Rules, and similar can eliminate monotonous and repetitive tasks and increase workflow efficiency.
  • 5. Ensure security: As with any other application security should be a top priority. One important security aspect is the principle of least privilege. For example, it can be configured by enforcing role-based access control and fine-tuned even more by setting up field-level security and thus allowing certain users access to an object but limiting it only to individual fields inside that object.

How to Decide What Your Business Needs

We have looked at best practices for both Salesforce customization and Salesforce configuration but how to decide which one to pick for your business. The following list can help you more clearly define your current needs and decide whether Salesforce customization or Salesforce configuration is your best option or even a combination.

  • 1. Understand your business requirements: Start by clearly defining your business requirements and your end goal. Identify specific areas you need to implement or improve your current Salesforce instance like pain points or inefficiencies in your process.
  • 2. Evaluate your current solution: Once you understand your business requirements you need to evaluate how well your current solution covers them. With that, you will get a clearer picture of which approach would be the best. There is a wide range of outcomes here. For example, if you are new to Salesforce or are only a small business it is best to stick to Salesforce configuration at the beginning and reevaluate customization as you get used to Salesforce and start to see potential improvement areas. On the other hand, a business with years of experience using Salesforce and a big user base will benefit more from additional custom features that can be implemented by Salesforce customization.
  • 3. Evaluate your in-house Salesforce experience: Taking your in-house Salesforce experience into consideration is important as the decision whether you want to proceed with in-house development or need the help of a Salesforce expert team. Keep in mind that even if you have some experience in Salesforce configuration tackling Salesforce customization can be a lot tougher challenge and it might be wise to seek outside help.
  • 4. Start simple and evolve: It is best to start by using the standard features to build an initial solution that meets your basic needs. Get a solid understanding of Salesforce first and then incrementally add new configuration changes or customizations if standard features do not cover new requirements.


Salesforce is a leading CRM provider and applying any number of the suggestions in this article can have a great positive effect on your Salesforce return on investment by automating your processes and therefore cutting your costs.

Salesforce has a high potential for customization and configuration, but it is important to once more point out that if your in-house Salesforce expertise is not on an expert level, it is not advisable to start a self-managed Salesforce customization or configuration. In that case, you should contact a team of Salesforce experts.

Our Salesforce expert team can help you with any Salesforce customization and configuration-related questions as well as Salesforce implementation.