Introduction to Orders in Salesforce

In this episode of ShellBlack Whiteboard we dive into Orders – what are they, how are they created, when are they used, and what makes them different from Opportunities? Shell discusses how using Orders can help you preserve what’s been sold (for forecasting and commissions), versus what’s been delivered to your customers. As you’ll see, if you are familiar with using Opportunities and Products, the concepts of working with Orders and Order Products are very similar. Shell highlights some key fields you should know as well as the need to configure security around Orders.

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Hello, everyone. Welcome to ShellBlack Whiteboard. I’m your host Shell Black, President of and Salesforce MVP. This episode is about Orders, so let’s jump into it. So, Orders is a standard object just like Accounts, Contacts, and Opportunities. And being a standard object, we can have custom fields, page layouts, record types, validation rules. So why even bother with Orders? We’ve got Opportunities, right? Well, you may not want to have a return hit or ding your salesperson. So if you had a return, you would have to reduce the quantities of your Products against an Opportunity. And what happens is you’re not preserving what has been sold versus what has been shipped or returned.

Orders are essentially another table in the Salesforce database that we can split what was sold in an Opportunity, maybe for commissions or forecasting, versus what has actually been delivered or returned by the client in the Orders table. So really, we’re preserving data in the database by using the Orders table.

Creating Orders is manual, so just like you were creating Quotes manually or adding Products or an Opportunity manually, creating an Order and adding Products to an Order is manual, unless you’ve got some custom code that maybe replicates the Opportunity and Products down to your Order, or maybe you’ve got an integration. Maybe an integration is bringing in your Order from an e-commerce site.

Opportunities, Quotes, Orders, Reduction Orders, are all very similar. The concepts are very, very similar. So if you know how to add Products to an Opportunity, or if you know how to put Quote Line Items against a Quote, you already know how to add Products to an Order and even create a Reduction Order, which is really a negative Order, negative quantities or a return. You’ve already got those concepts down. It’s essentially the same type of page layout, the same data structure. When you go to a Order, for example, and you want to add a Product, just like an Opportunity or just like Quote, it’s going to ask you to pick a Price Book, and then you’re going to search for a Product just like you would in Quotes in the Quote module or the Opportunity module.

So the concepts, you have an Opportunity, which has a header and Product Line Items. Again, the Quotes has a header and Product Line Items. Order, same thing. What’s our tracking numbers, whatever, product line items. And if you have a Reduction Order, you have a header, which is the Reduction Order Order and the Order products… all very similar processes, which gets into a couple things that you need to know.

So, you may not see Orders "out-of-the-box" unless you’ve enabled it. Enabling it is just simply a checkbox in Setup, and then you’ll get two other checkboxes – which is going to ask you, "Do you also want to have Reduction Orders," which is negative quantities? And another checkbox, "Do you want to have negative quantities in your Products?" Most people do.

Since we’ve already discussed that if you’ve used Opportunities and Products and Quotes and Quote Line Items, a lot of the fields and concepts are very similar. There are over 40 standard fields. I didn’t want to list them all and kind of bore you to death. But let me hit a couple things that are a little bit unique about Orders. One is there’s an Order Number. It auto-numbers just like when you have a Quote and you create a Quote record, it auto-numbers in sequence. There’s the same concept of that when you create an Order record. Next is activation, and this is really up to you. It’s kind of a business process feature… who activated it, those types of things. So you might not want to activate until it’s shipped, or maybe you don’t want to activate the Order until accounting has invoiced it.

Again, it’s really dependent on your business process. There’s no hard, fast rule of when you use activation. And then Status. Again, it’s a picklist. We know from our other discussions that any time you see a Status pick list, it’s usually a lifecycle field. So it could be in the warehouse, being pulled, ready to ship, shipped, invoice…whatever that Status, returned, those types of things. And there’s also some security that you can put in place, which is around who authorized that Order. And that leads into the last topic of setting up security around Orders.

You may not want salespeople to process returns. So again, think about who in your organization is going to manage Orders and manage Reduction Orders, which are returns. You may need to put some security around who can see it, who can activate it, who can delete an Order record. So as a best practice, also think about setting up security. So who can see those Orders and Reduction Orders is a best practice.

So that’s it. The main takeaway is Orders – don’t be scared of it. The data model and the structure of it is very, very similar to Opportunities and Quotes. It’s just, another layer deep in the business process of selling.

I hope you enjoyed that little episode on Orders. If you have any questions or comments, you can hit me on Twitter, @Shell_Black, or you can email me at Thanks so much for watching.

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