How do you manage expiration dates?

There are many reasons you may be managing or monitoring expiration dates relating to your customers. Your customers may have payment plans, licenses, or even recurring donations and you want to reach out to them before the expiration date. There are a few ways to manage expiration dates by using views, reports and/or workflows on the Salesforce.com platform.

Nobody likes expired milk.

Nobody likes milk that has gone bad.

The first step, before using any of the following methods, is to create a field for your expiration date. If you already have one, then you can begin. If not, then ask your administrator to add it and start adding the data.

Expired
Creating a New View for a contact or account record is the quickest and easiest way for a user to manage expiration dates in Salesforce.com. First click on the Create New View button and give your new view a title like Expiring Accounts or Expiring Licenses. Make it descriptive for your situation. Next, add any filters to remove irrelevant contacts or accounts. You can even add a filter based on a date. For example, if you want to see expiration dates occurring in the current month, you can create a filter to see only expiration dates for THIS MONTH. Lastly, add the field with the expiration date to the view. Now you can view all the expiration dates. The View list also allows you to toggle from earliest to latest, alphabetically, or numerically.

Steps to Create New View to Manage Expiration Dates:

1) Click on the Tab that holds the records with the expiration date: Contacts, Accounts, Leads, etc.
2) Click Create New View
3) Name New View
4) Choose Filters
5) Add Field with expiration date to View


Reports are another way to monitor expiration dates. Click on reports and select the object with the expiration date. You can then drag and drop the fields you want to see along with the expiration date. You can also easily remove any fields you do not want to see. And, similar to creating a New View, you can be very specific with filters and filter logic. Since reports are based on time, Salesforce.com has convenient built-in time frames, like fiscal year, this month, next month, and current fiscal quarter. There is even a built-in date range for the next 120 days. Reports can also be viewed on your personal dashboard alongside other data or information that you monitor daily. Filtering data from related objects and viewing the report on your dashboard are both benefits of the report method. Once a report is created it is easily accessible and customizable.

Steps to build an Expiration Date Report for the Dashboard:

1) Click on Reports
2) Select the Report Type or the Object or Objects with the Expiration Date
3) Add Filters
4) Choose between your records or all
5) Choose a Date Range
6) Save and Name the Report
7) Run the Report

The final way to manage expiration dates is automatically with a time-dependent workflow. This method alerts the user with an email or task when a license, support plan or recurring donation is going to expire or has expired. The workflow method is very different from Views and Reports because the task and email is relevant to one record, contact or account. If you have very few expiration dates to monitor and it is unlikely that you need to look at a view or report daily or weekly, then a workflow is a good alternative. However, if you manage hundreds of expiration dates per month, then a workflow that creates a task or email may be overwhelming.

Steps to build a Time-Dependent Workflow:

1) Ask your administrator

Each method is different and has unique benefits. We recommend using a combination of two or all three. The views are helpful for planning. The reports are helpful when measuring. And, the workflows are a great back up plan for bringing attention to an expiration date. It is much easier to hold on to what you got, than go after what you lost.

Special Note: In the Service Cloud, offered by Salesforce.com, there is Entitlement Management. With it, a business can manage service contracts with varying support levels for its customers; add time-dependent processes, like sending out an automatic notice for renewal of the service; create reports; and, even add it to their customer portal where customers can make their own changes.

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