Document Generation in Salesforce | The Ultimate Guide
Document generation underpins almost every major business process you can think of, from proposals to invoices, contracts to reports, quotes to business correspondence, and much more! And no matter your industry, whether it be tech or law, education or logistics, media or finance, you need accurate and up-to-date documents to keep internal records, finalize negotiations with clients, and stay compliant.
Given that Salesforce is the planet’s leading CRM and has the ability to store and analyze large volumes of client and business data, it only makes sense to use it to generate business docs. You would be drawing on the gold standard of customer data enabling you to create up-to-date docs personalized to the needs of each business use case. Sounds great, so what’s the catch? Well, Salesforce’s own document generation abilities are relatively limited so to get a robust solution, we recommend that you choose a third-party provider on the AppExchange.
Are you ready to find out how to create Salesforce documents to supercharge your business processes? If so, you have come to the right place. Read on for top tips and more details on Document Generation Salesforce.
What is Salesforce Document Generation?
So what do we mean exactly when we talk about Salesforce Document Generation? Well, we are speaking about the ability to dynamically generate documents based on data from your Salesforce CRM. This process is completely automated resulting in super-accurate data and reliable documents. You can save hours of admin time while mitigating human error.
Can I generate Documents from Salesforce?
As mentioned a little earlier, Salesforce itself does not have highly developed document generation features of its own. Using Salesforce, you do have the ability to generate PDFs of your quotes but for the most part that’s where the story begins and ends. If you want to generate a wider range of documents in more formats, then we suggest looking to the AppExchange where there are tons of apps that can help you with document generation for Salesforce.
It’s important to remember that there is a big difference between document generation and document creation or document management. Document creation for Salesforce typically involves the process of manually creating and attaching documents to your records and then saving them in places like Quip. With doc creation, you can share documents with other users if you have synced sharing enabled. While document creation is a useful feature it is nowhere near as powerful as document generation and it does not have the power to automate and streamline your documentation systems. Similarly, Salesforce document management is all about organizing your docs and storing them as well as handling version control. There are several Salesforce tools for managing documents and while this is a useful function, it is another concept that does need to be differentiated from document generation: they are not the same thing!
How to Create Documents in Salesforce & Its Limitations
Creating documents in Salesforce is easy but remember this is very different to Salesforce doc gen. Document creation enables you to attach docs to records and share them with other users. You can add a range of content to your docs such as spreadsheets, folders, and mentions.
Note: This is one common method of document creation, if you want an alternative, consult your Salesforce admin.
Prerequisite for following these steps: Ensure that the Quip document component is added to your Lightning Page.
- From here, add your desired content. The doc is saved to your private Quip folder. From here you can link your document to a Salesforce record and/ or share it.
Salesforce Document Objects
When it comes to understanding Salesforce Document Objects, the main one is Content Document. This Salesforce Content Document object represents any document that has been uploaded to Salesforce. It’s important to bear in mind that this document object in Salesforce is available for Salesforce CRM Content (version 17.0 and beyond) and Salesforce Files (version 21.0 to the present). There are limitations to the number of documents you can publish and the limit for regular accounts is 30k. Other options are:
Salesforce Document Version Control
Can you control document versions in Salesforce? The short answer is yes! Via the Content Version object (this object is a child of the Content Document Object), you can upload a range of different file types to Salesforce such as JPEG, MP3, and document formats like PDF, DOCX, and XLS. This is a reliable document storage option in Salesforce and the great part is that if you want to upload a new version of the same file attached to your record, then you can do so.
Salesforce Content Document Data Model
When it comes to understanding the Salesforce Content Document data model, the best way to do so is via a diagram, check it out below:
Salesforce Upload Document Guide
While there are many ways to upload documents in Salesforce (especially if you choose to use a third-party app for your document management system in Salesforce), one of the most common is to choose to upload a file. To do this, simply navigate to a record and choose to upload a file of your choosing and click on Add Files or drag the file you want into the Files related list. Many different file types are supported including PDF, XLX, and DOCX
Document Management for Salesforce
We have discussed document creation and document objects, but where does Salesforce document management fit into all this? Well, a document management system is all about storing, organizing, and managing documents in the number 1 CRM. For this, you can either go with a Salesforce native solution or with a document management system integrated with Salesforce. In terms of native Salesforce features you have the documents tab, attachments, Salesforce Knowledge, Salesforce CRM, and the Files home area. Using these tools you can handle Salesforce document storage and other aspects of document management. You also have Salesforce document management integrations, check them out below:
Salesforce Document Management Systems
There are several fantastic tools for document management in Salesforce. All these options help you to optimize your document storage in Salesforce and organize your files better. These include Box, Sharepoint, Google Drive, and Dropbox, to name just a few. Often it makes sense to choose the document management system you are already using and integrate it with Salesforce!
Export from Salesforce to Excel (XLS)
If you are working in Salesforce, you do have the ability to export a Salesforce report to Excel but this does require a degree of manual setup:
How to Export a Salesforce Report to Excel
Overall, the Salesforce integration with Excel is fairly limited though Salesforce does offer an Excel connector “Salesforce Connect”, that gives you access to real-time Salesforce data. We recommend custom development or a third-party app on the AppExchange to get the most out of the Salesforce/ Excel integration.
Salesforce PDF Generation
Standard Salesforce functionalities do not enable you to generate a PDF in Salesforce except if you want to generate a PDF from a Quote object. If you are after Salesforce PDF generation that is fast and reliable then we recommend browsing for a solution on the AppExchange or implementing custom development. Remember if you opt for development, then Apex code will give you the best results but be sure you have the technical know-how and resources to go in this direction.
Salesforce to Generate Word Documents
Salesforce native functionalities enable you to upload DOCX files and manage them but you do not have the ability to generate Word documents or edit them. So, if you want your Salesforce to generate a Word document, then you need to look into a third-party doc gen app.
Intelligent Document Automation Salesforce
But where does Salesforce Intelligent Document Automation fit into all this? Well, Intelligent Document Automation uses AI to provide Salesforce Document automation solutions. This technology has the ability to read data from your document to populate fields in Salesforce and convert data to digital files. It can also help automate workflows. The limitations of this document automation include a complicated setup that will take some time and require considerable technical expertise. In addition, Intelligent Document Automation is not easily customizable without development and it is a pricey feature. So, you do have to think twice before making this investment.
Note: If you want to make the most out of Intelligent Document Automation then you probably need a Salesforce Unlimited License whereas the Salesforce Essentials License and Salesforce Professional Licenses will make using this feature very limited.
Salesforce CPQ Quote Document Generation
Salesforce CPQ enables you to Configure, Price, and Quote smoothly and quickly so that you can efficiently provide customers with reliable pricing. You can generate quote docs for Salesforce CPQ in PDF format and you also have the option to generate these docs as Microsoft Word documents. For this you need to adjust the settings. If you want to generate a quote in another format though, you will need to implement custom development or get a third party app to help you with Salesforce CPQ document generation.
Salesforce OmniStudio Document Generation
Salesforce OmniStudio is a suite of tools that makes life simpler for developers by enabling them to build custom web apps and business processes using drag-and-drop tools. OmniStudio docgen also has document generation abilities. With OmniStudio, you can generate documents from templates in DOCX or PPTX formats and you can also generate docs by creating custom OmniScripts, Integration Procedures, and Apex Classes. Bear in mind, like most OmniStudio functionalities, the doc gen capabilities do not offer robust flexibility without using custom development or coding. Similarly, you need to make sure you have document generation included in your OmniStudio license and that this makes financial sense for your enterprise. Keep reading for more info on document generation in OmniStudio.
Salesforce CRM Document Generation Software: What to look for?
So what are the top features you need to look out for when looking for Document Generation software for your CRM? Getting a third-party app for Salesforce CRM document generation needs is a great idea given the gaps in Salesforce’s native functionalities. We think you need to look for these things when choosing a tool:
Salesforce Document Generation Tools
Now that we have taken a closer look at Salesforce document generation software and also examined the pros of automating this process, let’s examine some top Salesforce Document generation apps. Remember, Salesforce does not have robust document generation of its own, but the good news is that there are several document generation tool salesforce alternatives in the AppExchange.
DocuSign is a reliable name in the world of document generation and signatures. DocuSign Doc Gen enables you to generate a range of different documents for Salesforce, so what are the pros and cons of using DocuSign in Salesforce to generate documents?
All in all, DocuSign is a viable solution but given the price you should look further than DocuSign’s integration for Salesforce.
PandaDoc has been around for over a decade and directly integrates with Salesforce. What began as a Startup has ended up being a global brand. But how good is the PandaDoc? And does its Salesforce Integration live up to the hype? Let’s check out the pros and cons below:
In summary, PandaDoc for Salesforce is a great option for basic doc generation but is not robust or customizable enough for more complex use cases.
Zoho Docs does not have the greatest Salesforce integration and you won’t find this tool on the AppExchange. If you want to get Zoho Salesforce integration then you will probably have to use a third-party integration platform (Zapier is the most well-known) or you can go the hard route and try out custom development. So what are Zoho’s pros and cons:
This one’s a simple verdict: look for a tool that connects directly with Salesforce.
Conga is a household name in terms of Doc Gen and is well known for helping you create and track documents for Salesforce. So what’s the hitch? Well, recent reviews suggest problems with usability and lack of responsiveness from the support team. Below we check out the top pros and cons of Conga for Salesforce:
Conga’s Salesforce integration has some impressive features but overall this solution is difficult to use and time-consuming to set up. The fact that recent AppExchange reviews suggest below-standard customer support doesn’t help matters.
Docomotion is designed to help you generate and automate your documents. The good news is that it has a relatively fast and reliable integration with Salesforce. This is not a bad tool though word on the street is that it is less than ideal if you are after custom implementations. Here are its pros and cons:
Docomotion is definitely a contender and if you read its latest AppExchange reviews, they are definitely better than Conga’s! Still, it’s on the pricey side and not always easy to use, so it is worth examining all your options.
Nintex is a Document Generation tool that you have more than likely heard of and it likes to market itself as a solution that requires little to no technical ability to use. Sounds good, but what are its biggest strengths and weaknesses? We break it down:
Nintex doesn’t quite live up to its hype because the reality is that this tool isn’t in fact that easy to use and is not super simple to implement if you are a non-dev. Thank you, next!
Formstack, as the name suggests, is usually better known for its form-building functionalities than it is for Document Generation but its direct integration with Salesforce earns it a spot on this list. So where does Formstack win big and where can it improve?
Formstack for Salesforce has the benefit of direct integration but there have been too many complaints about lack of documentation, poor support, and glitchy interface to fully trust this option.
S-Docs Salesforce integration is right up there with the best. And arguably this is the best option on the list so far. Claiming to be the only native document generation tool for Salesforce, this tool talks a big game and has a good reputation. So should you choose it?
S-Docs is a worthy contender but its biggest problem is that if you want to customize your docs, you will probably have to resort to some level of development and coding. So if you are not particularly technical and don’t have time to spare, this is not for you.
Last on this list is Salesforce’s secret weapon: Titan Docs. Titan is an all-in-one codeless solution for Salesforce designed to help you generate docs, build forms, sign fast, send surveys, streamline contract management, and build beautiful portals. The beauty of Titan is that you can implement any kind of project you want using no code. This is a breath of fresh air in a market where usually your options are:
With Titan, you don’t have to make difficult choices and you never have to compromise. Using our powerful point and click document generation tool you can generate quotes, proposals, invoices, contracts, and so much more in just a few easy clicks. So what are our biggest pros and cons?
So, if you liked the sound of Titan for Salesforce and are keen for a cost-effective, zero code tool that does it all for docs, why not get in touch?
Use Cases and Document Generation for Salesforce Industries
If you have stayed with us and enjoyed this article so far, you might be wondering: how does all this apply to my business? And how will I use Salesforce Document Generation in my everyday life? Great question! Here, we break down the top use cases, which are applicable across a range of different Salesforce industries.
Pre-populate templates based on Salesforce data on customers and leads to automate every step of the Sales proposal process. This way, your Sales people can focus on networking with leads and customers and skip manual admin. With Salesforce, the Salesforce process can be completely streamlined. You can even track the level of engagement with your proposal. Proposals can be used across every industry from Legal to Finance, and much more.
Salesforce quotes can save you hours every week and give you the ability to close deals with customers faster and more efficiently. Using document generation, you can create quotes for Salesforce based on accurate data, pre-populate them, review your docs, and get them signed. Salesforce CPQ can also complement this process! Of course quotes are relevant to a wide variety of industries including technology, eCommerce, and insurance.
Ensure complete accuracy with Salesforce contracts and track them every step of the way. When you use document generation for contracts in Salesforce, you are able to quickly create docs based on up-to-the-minute data and bring together multiple parties to review and sign your contract efficiently. Contracts help seal the deal in most industries you can think of including Education, Manufacturing, Media, and so much more.
When you use document generation for Salesforce invoices, you can ensure all customer information is automatically pulled into your document and that the invoice is sent out efficiently. This means no delays for invoices and completely accurate records for more efficient business processes.
Salesforce reports can be an essential part of analyzing your business and getting data-driven insights. Using document generation, you can gather relevant data and create a report your stakeholders will love. Afterwards, you can store your reports in Salesforce to re-examine in the future. You can even create Salesforce joined reports to combine different report types.
Never settle for sub-standard agreements again and ensure that every detail is based on data coming from the #1 CRM. With document generation for Salesforce agreements, you can automate every step of the agreement process from template creation to pre-population, and from reviewing to signing the agreement. Agreements are crucial to most business processes, no matter your Salesforce industry!
Salesforce presentations are another type of document you can generate with Salesforce. Whether this be for an important board meeting or as part of an annual review of your company’s performance, getting the power of Salesforce data, analytics, and insights in your presentations is a game-changer.
Letters & Correspondence
Virtually stamp the Salesforce letterhead on all your letters and correspondence! Never miss a letter or forget to reach out to a valued client or partner again. With Salesforce you can get personalized insights on each and every single one of your correspondents to generate tailored letters. No more generic emails or correspondence again!
Certificates & Diplomas
Another use case is that you can automatically generate certificates and diplomas using Salesforce data. This is a great use case if you care in Education and need to generate these documents in bulk while still recognizing individual names and achievements.
With document generation, you can ensure that every new employee has absolutely every tool they need to succeed. Compliance docs, orientation guides, legal documentation, training materials, benefits details, and much more can be created based on Salesforce records and sent to new recruits in the format of your choosing. How’s that for smooth Salesforce onboarding.
QR and BarCodes
With the right doc gen tool, you can map barcodes and QR codes from your docs to Salesforce for digital payments, invoices, order processing, and transactions. The best tools will allow you to do this statically or dynamically depending on your preferences and the needs of your use case. This is especially useful in manufacturing where you can scan purchase orders and much more at the touch of a button.
Final Thoughts on Document Generation for Salesforce
We hope you enjoyed this article on document generation for Salesforce and learned something new! The benefits of document generation are clear and from our perspective best enjoyed with a third-party app!
We hope to see you soon!
Disclaimer: The comparisons listed in this article are based on information provided by the companies online and online reviews from users. If you found a mistake, please contact us.