Validation Rules that Save You from Yourself

Q: What’s a Validation Rule within Salesforce? What are they good for?

Have you ever heard the expression “garbage in, garbage out?” In the software industry, this generally refers to the reality that poor quality inputs result in poor quality, unpredictable outputs. The same is true from a business perspective: if employees people don’t have quality information to work with, they won’t deliver the best results. And the very same is true for businesses utilizing CRM software: poor quality data will yield poor decisions and poor outcomes.

Enter the humble validation rule. Validation rules are easy to set up and a powerful tool to enforce data quality within Salesforce. They can range from simple to complex, allowing you to make sure you have a properly formatted email or telephone number on a lead, making sure a contact’s salutation matches their gender, or confirming that an opportunity’s close date can’t be changed after it’s marked “Closed Won.”

An administrator can set up validation rules on a per-object basis, without having to delve too deeply into code – though they may be required to write some Excel-esque formulas to check field values.

As always, if overused they can ultimately be very annoying. But used where necessary to enforce good behavior and in tandem with field history tracking, validation rules can save an administrator (and the rest of an organization) many headaches.

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