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What’s the Difference Between Workflows and Approval Processes in Salesforce?

What’s the Difference Between Workflows and Approval Processes in Salesforce?

What’s the Difference Between Workflows and Approval Processes in Salesforce?

Salesforce has proven itself to be a powerful platform for optimizing work processes and boosting sales. Luckily, it offers numerous useful automation tools for these purposes. In this piece, we’d like to dot the i’s regarding the distinctive features of Salesforce approval processes and workflows. We’ll cover how they differ from each other as well as when to use one over the other.

What is a Workflow and Approval Process in Salesforce?

Both the Salesforce workflow and approval process are used for automating tasks and standard daily work procedures, saving time, and helping to keep things more organized. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

Workflow Rules in Salesforce

Workflow rules are designed for eliminating a huge chunk of manual work from the everyday routine of the employees. These rules are especially helpful when it comes to keeping track of the data on many records and for triggering predefined automatic actions based on the specified criteria.

There are four types of actions that can be performed via workflows: creating tasks, updating fields, sending emails or outbound messages.

Importantly, the workflow will run the action if the indicated evaluation criteria, as well as the rule criteria conditions, are met on the object. This or that action can be either fired immediately or at a specific time.

When to Use Workflows

Workflows are used in numerous cases, including the mentioned above task creation. For instance, a task can be made by the system for a sales representative to contact a customer based on a status change on the Opportunity. Similarly, users may receive reminders via email alerts about an upcoming termination of a contract or a soon-to-be client’s birthday.

For a complete overview and a step-by-step explanation of how to set up workflows, don’t hesitate to browse our comprehensive Salesforce Workflow Rules Guide.

Salesforce Approval Processes

The major aim of an approval process is to establish the procedure of having certain user requests verified by a person with authority. It is somewhat like a driveway access gate that will or will not allow an employee to do something without the given green light.

As such, depending on the company policy and rules, employees should get their request approved in order to do something. More than one approver can be assigned to take care of such requests, plus, if needed, a request may go through several levels of approval based on hierarchy. Depending on whether the submitted request was approved or rejected, other specified actions will follow afterward.

An approval process is made up of the object on which the approval takes place, the fields that must be filled out on the record when creating the request, and the users who may submit requests alongside those who should approve them. Since there are various actions that can take place upon submitting/approving/rejecting the request, usually automatic email notifications and field updates are also set up on the approval.

When to Use Approval Processes

A thoroughly set up process of approval is suitable for many cases. For example, it is often used by sales specialists to receive approval from their managers for giving discounts or freebies to clients with the aim of closing a deal. Another example of when approval processes are applicable is for organizing the vacation time requests of a team.

For a more detailed explanation and instructions on how to set up an approval process one step at a time, feel free to read our extensive Guide on Approval Processes in Salesforce.

Approval Process vs Workflow in Salesforce

The major differences between workflow rules and approval processes in Salesforce lie not only in the purposes of their use but also in when and how they are triggered.

As such, when a user manually presses the “Submit for approval” button on their request, the approval process activates. On the contrary, the workflow rule will work when a record is created or when changes are saved on it to meet the indicated criteria (this is determined by the chosen evaluation criteria type during setup).

Also, it is worth mentioning that a workflow rule is tied to one action and one step; workflows work automatically on their own. In their turn, approvals are a multi-step process with various scenarios in which different actions will take place based on the request being approved or rejected by designated users themselves.

Final Words

To sum up, depending on the particular aims you have, these two Salesforce features can come in hand. If you’d like to eliminate unnecessary elements of work (such as manually making notifications and reminders) or would like to speed up the process by automatically updating fields and creating tasks, workflow rules are the way to go. In case there’s a necessity in having some actions or decisions of employees be approved by a manager or someone of senior work status, approval processes are an indispensable part of the platform not to miss out on.

Given these points, we hope that the difference between the two features is clear. And if you have any more questions or need a professional Salesforce consultation, have no hesitation to reach out to us, we’d be glad to assist!

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