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Part 1: Salesforce Winter '21 Release Notes: Everything You Need to Know

Peter Chalmers September 10, 2020


There is A LOT in the Winter '21 Release Notes. A LOT. Every cloud gets something cool. So we're breaking it down into two parts to highlight everything you need to know. You can watch our recent SFDC Academy Livestream for more commentary from Dan & Peter. 

Here we go! 

Salesforce Anywhere is in Pilot. 

Remember Chatter Messenger? Well now we have Chat - it’s like it is 2010 all over again but better. Real time chat in the org with the ability to share the record at the same time. Collaboration is taken to the next level.

Use Salesforce Anywhere Chat and Alerts in Your Processes and Flows (Beta)

Wait…. What??? This is amazing. Now we can Set up logic that uses actions to create a chat, add members or send a message to an existing chat, and send alerts to users. Can you think about the number of use cases we can get from this? A flow that sends a chat to advise someone of a VIP customer lodging a case or that the SLA is about to be breached.. Simple but so powerful.

Get Customized Alerts About Changes to Salesforce Data (Beta)

Users can choose which records, list views, or reports they want alerts for, and what kinds of changes they care about. To keep teammates in the loop, users can share an individual alert in a chat. Or users can forward the alert subscription to others so they can get the same alerts

Einstein Personalised Searches 

Users will now be served up searches, on Accounts, Cases, Contacts, Leads, and Opportunities, based on their preferences as determined by Einstein. The results are listed in the order that are more relevant for the user (such as location or record ownership). Einstein is beavering away and understanding what is important to you whilst not losing any of the other information. That’s a smart CRM! 


There are quite a few changes for Surveys. One to look out for is the change in Org Email limits. Survey invitation emails sent to participants outside your Salesforce org now count toward the total daily emails sent from your org. A very important one to keep in mind if you are using this functionality.

Customer 360 Guides

There’s a lot of stuff here to digest and I’ve got to admit that when I saw this heading I thought it was a How-to Guide. 

It is not - rather it is your Salesforce instance providing a guided experience to your customers for things such as Abandoned Carts (via an integration between Commerce and Marketing Clouds) or Cross-Cloud Identity Solutions (Yes!) or scheduling appointments and one that is very timely - scheduling curbside pickups.

These are just examples of what is being rolled out. There is a lot more detail in the release notes so make sure you check them out.

The biggest and best thing about this is the emergence of Commerce Cloud as the backbone for Customer 360. 

Optimizer App Enhancements

Hands up who has used the Optimiser App? If you haven't then you should and the good thing is now you schedule the run of the app so it will happen without you thinking about it.

The app will also now give you a high-level overview of how actions have affected the limits on your org’s file storage, static resources, and data storage. All things that you should keep an eye on.

And security gets a bigger look-in with this release with 7 new metrics to be assessed. These include:

  • Profile Assignments
  • Critical Permission Assignments
  • Release Updates Pending Review
  • Insecure Community Sharing Settings
  • Insecure Default External Access Levels
  • Sharing Rules for All External Users
  • Public Groups and Queues with Guest Users
  • A clean org is a happy org and keeping a clean org has to be one of the ongoing tasks for all Admins.

And now for the really fun stuff… 




Einstein Bots

Have you set up an Einstein Bot yet? Weren’t sure what to do or where you can use it? Well, the good news is that the Guided Setup has been updated and it’s easy as to set up a Bot. When you have your sandbox updated jump in and play.

New builders can create a bot from a template that includes popular Salesforce actions such as create a case, create a lead, add a case comment, or look up an order.

Things to remember: 

Einstein Bots are available to Salesforce orgs with both Service Cloud and Chat user licenses, or to orgs with Digital Engagement user licenses. And each applicable org is provided with 25 Einstein Bots conversations per month for each Chat or Digital Engagement user with an active subscription.

Try Einstein with Faster Recommendations

The Try Einstein version of Einstein Case Classification now recommends field values just once to the agent, right after the case is created. That is a big improvement then being refreshed hourly on all open and updated cases.


Have you heard of Voice (and I am not talking about the TV show)? To use Salesforce own words it is “Salesforce intelligent native telephony solution”. Leveraging Amazon Connect it enables calls with customers directly from Salesforce natively. This is one to check out and play with for sure because then it opens up so many more cool solutions. Such as - Kick-Off Lightning Flows, Processes, and Workflows Based on Voice Call Records. 

You can create records based on Voice Call records, you can trigger workflow automation to update records, send emails etc all from the Voice action. If you are like me then you will be as excited about this functionality.


The biggest two updates for me are that we can now build automated templates on Leads and Ops to notify customers when conditions are met. This together with a change to use Omni-Channel Skills-Based Routing Rules for Messaging means we have more real-time actions based on the activity of the record.


We now have skills-based routing rules that can help you route a Chat session to the right agent with the right skills. This is huge and will deliver fantastic customer service from the initial interaction. We can all relate to the countless times we have been “transferred” to another person because they were in the right department etc. Skills-based routing in Chat sends you to the right person from the start!

Streamline Bot Responses for Screen Readers

This is a great update delivering more accessibility from Salesforce. A condensed summary of options in the chat window is now extended for screen reader users who interact with Einstein Bots. This update makes screen readers automatically responsive and provides a more accessible experience.

New Threading Behavior for Email-To-Case

Sometimes we get something in the updates which we think isn’t particularly exciting (or sexy) but it is vital. This is one of those times as it is an important security update and delivers a better customer experience at the same time.

The Email-to-Case threading behaviour has been updated and now matches incoming emails with their header information instead of through a Ref ID from the subject or body. New outbound emails don’t contain a Ref ID, and existing orgs get an upgrade path with an end-of-life notification for Ref ID.

Microsoft Teams Integration: Bring Salesforce and Microsoft Teams Together for Service Reps (Pilot)

Yep, the heading says it all. Microsoft Teams for Service Cloud is coming and is in Pilot. Pretty much don’t need to say more than that.


On The Next SFDC Academy Livestream ...

Grab your spot for the second installation of our Winter '21 Release Notes review. In the meantime, don't forget to check out the replay for a bit more commentary from our Salesforce experts. 


Peter Chalmers

Peter Chalmers