What Is Workflow in Salesforce?

How would you feel if tomorrow you step into your office and you are informed that some of your daily routine tasks are no more? That they have been automated and you don’t need to keep doing the same boring, time-wasting, repetitive takes anymore.  I don’t know about you but I would be extremely delighted. That is what Salesforce workflow automation can do to you and your organization. It has come to perform routine tasks so that you can use your precious time to perform more productive tasks. This is the most lifesaving and efficient feature that you need to get hold of and optimize to your business advantage.  Some of the key automation tools you can exploit to smoothen your day-to-day business operations include; Approval Process, Visual Workflow Cloud Flow Designer), Process Builder, Flow Builder, and Workflow Rules. In this article we will look at what is workflow in salesforce, Salesforce Workflow Rules, giving examples of the application cases, and the elements the rule consists of.  Keep reading to find out more. 

What Is Workflow in Salesforce?

Workflow is a business logic engine in Salesforce that allows you to automate the different internal processes of an organization and optimize various procedures leading to time-saving solutions across the organization.  Workflow rules determine specific criteria to be met to trigger automated actions. If such criteria are met, the actions become executed. On the other hand, if they are not met, records are saved but no action will be performed. Properly functioning Workflow eliminates the human factor from the routine work equation, reduces the wastage of resources, and limits the stress of constantly memorizing things.

Components of Workflow in Salesforce.

There are two main components of Workflow in Salesforce, namely Criteria and Actions


Criteria are conditions you create to test a record. When these conditions are found true then the actions should take place. 


Actions result after a record meets the criteria.  Every workflow rule must be based on a single object since when a rule is defined this object influences the fields that will be available to set the criteria. 

Types of Evaluation Criteria for Workflows in Salesforce

There are 3 types namely;


Under this criteria, the action gets executed whenever a record is created and the criteria match the record.

Created and Every time it is edited

The action will be executed whenever a record is created or updated.

Created and Every time it is edited to subsequently meet the criteria

Anytime a record is created and it stands true to the criteria, the action will be executed. However, if the record is edited and fails to meet the criteria, the action will not be performed.  In circumstances where the record doesn’t meet the criteria, it is edited or updated to meet the criteria. Thereafter it is evaluated again to ensure it meets the criteria so that the action can be executed. Otherwise, no action will occur. This criterion is selected by default.

Types of Actions Present in A Workflow in Salesforce

Immediate actions

These are actions that get excited immediately when a record is created or edited or rather when the criteria for a rule are met.

Time-dependent Actions

These actions are executed at a specific time which is specified when they are being created. In this scenario, when the date or time on which the action needs to be executed reaches, the workflow rules in Salesforce will re-evaluate if the record is still within the criteria. If yes, then it executes the respective action otherwise no action will be performed. 

Salesforce Workflow Rule Use Cases.

Having looked at what is workflow in salesforce and its various components, we must establish some of the areas in that workflows can be applied.  There are numerous ways to utilize workflow to perform specific actions. Some of the workflow actions in Salesforce you can automate include;

Creating Tasks

Manual task creation is tiresome and time-consuming. Workflow allows to automatically create assignments for individual users based on a change in the object. Let’s take a scenario that a customer has completed the purchase of a large order that has different product types. As the status of the order shifts to PAID, the expert who is in in-charge of assembling and thereafter mailing out the package to the client can automatically get assigned a task to start organizing the order for shipping.

Updating Fields

Here the most common use case of workflow rules is the overwrite field with new data. While it is the most frequently used action, you should note that it will not work in the cross-object case. An example of a situation where an auto field update could be used would be on an order page. Where if payment from the client is overdue, the payment status field should automatically change to delayed based on the date. You will definitely like this time-dependent action as it will assist you in monitoring the orders and taking further action. 

Email Alerts

Workflows allow to set up of email alerts (through email templates) that would be sent to individual receivers or lists. You will actually like this considering the different ways you depend on email communication in your organization. For example, imagine you can create a workflow rule that would track the end dates of all contracts in your organization and then send out notifications to the responsible persons to take suitable actions.  Such kind of automation will help your organization avoid missing deadlines and unfortunate consequences accompanying such ignorance. The notifications are in real time and are sent in good time which provides a good allowance for the responsible personnel to take appropriate actions. If you are still wondering what is workflow in salesforce, well, it goes beyond contract situation reminders. You can set numerous records such as different anniversaries, employees’ special dates, and other important events in the organization.

Outbound Messages

The final workflow action is used for sending SOAP messages to external systems using notifications. A perfect instance of this action’s use is when you have another external system where you have stored data apart from Salesforce, for marketing purposes.  Assuming the systems have common client data, and if a change is made in a field in Salesforce (let’s say in the last name of a customer) a workflow rule can send an outbound message to your external marketing system, depicting an analogous field update in client name.  All these actions can be performed using immediate actions as we as time-triggered actions. However, time-triggered actions that are already triggered are visible in Time-based Workflow Ques.  Administrators can also set default workflow users. These are users that will become visible when the user that triggered the rule is inactive. 

Become Salesforce Expert Today

Having established what is workflow in salesforce, it is evident that Salesforce Workflow rules are a wonderful solution that will boost the productivity of your team by making their daily routine and business operations run in a quicker and more organized manner. From sending email alerts, to task creation, or automatic field updates, workflows are the real deal for optimization.  PlumLogix can help you with your Salesforce subscription. We help businesses just like yours to optimize their Salesforce subscription. Get in touch and let us help you maximize on your Salesforce subscription!