Deploying and maintaining a scalable, transformative digital platform like Salesforce.com requires significant time, money, and people power. You wouldn't buy a car or a boat without taking it for a test drive first. Why roll the dice on a Salesforce deployment?
Exercise the same caution with scheduled or continuous Salesforce testing with smart tools. Ensure successful deployments, upgrades, and performance of your CRM, analytics, and related services.
You likely know the benefits of Salesforce as a multi-tenant software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform. Here are but a few:
Intuitive interfaces for web and mobile
Vendor-delivered upgrades after successful testing
SaaS delivery model
No business platform should be pushed into a new release cycle without app testing. An explanation of the essentials of automated and manual testing follows.
Understanding Salesforce Testing
Health testing your CRM deployment requires a strategic blend of people, processes, and technology. Some "old school" development leads may initially find AI-powered testing to be unnatural. Developers should continue to do some manual testing with the help of proven test cases or scripts.
Acquiring proven tools and adopting documented processes make it easier to ensure your CRM platform meets your business and technical goals.
Planning Your Salesforce Testing Activities
Many factors can dictate the ways you should test your Salesforce deployment.
What modules have you deployed? Sales, customer service, marketing?
Have you implemented custom fields, workflows, or significant configurations?
What devices and interfaces (Lightning/Classic/Mobile) are users accustomed to?
Have you implemented Salesforce or third-party extensions like Configure Price Quote, AI, analytics, or commerce?
What release are you preparing for and moving from? Have you skipped any releases?
Each testing scenario has its unique processes and approaches. Purpose-built, automated testing suite tools in the Sauce Labs portfolio help Salesforce developers, administrators, and analysts leverage prewritten test cases and scripts. Ensure Salesforce can deliver the kind of intuitive, responsive, and agile user experiences companies have come to expect.
The Evolution to Automated Salesforce Testing
For many years, Salesforce product managers had to do all their testing themselves—or they ran similar tests on complex, on-premises software deployments. They lacked access to pre-written test cases, scripts, and proven frameworks. Hiring test consultants with Apex development and testing skills demanded time and money.
Automated testing takes the burden of application testing from your company's Salesforce experts. It runs your Salesforce apps through documented test cases with minimal human intervention. AI-enhanced testing engines report any issues or anomalies that need addressing before performing a new implementation, upgrade, or release to production.
Recent advancements in no-code or low-code testing frameworks like Selenium can save companies a great deal of time, money, and technical overhead on their testing processes.
Types of Salesforce Testing
Besides manual and automated testing categories, there are several unit and end-to-end testing subtypes.
Unit testing is the testing of specific, discrete Salesforce functionality. If your developers build out your Salesforce in small, incremental units - similar to microservices testing - this type of testing is your best approach.
These limited-scope tests produce results fast, enabling developers to debug their code or otherwise fix the issue. Since there aren't a bunch of dependencies or broad scope to worry about with unit testing, it tends to be an ideal way to test a system that has already been deployed for custom functionality or new release enhancements. Some unit tests make more sense to test manually.
The idea of end-to-end testing may seem time-consuming and complex, but automated testing can make quick work out of what used to be an exhaustive process. Administrators with minimal technical experience can run prebuilt test cases and scenarios. They can take advantage of natural language processing for evaluating critical processes like Quote to Cash or Procure to Pay. End-to-end testing can cover additional modules outside of the Salesforce ecosystem, allowing administrators to run tests across connected tools.
End-to-end testing often includes visual testing (see below). Salesforce professionals can track any user experience changes between an upgrade, regression, or major releases.
Regression testing is the way software developers and testing professionals determine whether new or existing code changes have made an impact on the application. It could be a small functional change or a large-scale change. Regression testing is generally completed after any code-level change to the platform.
A small change in a customer or user experience may cause frustration or a spike in support calls. Communicating user interface (UI) changes or rolling back to a previous UI version can prevent user frustration. Visual testing tasks application testers with reviewing UI screenshots. They highlight any unwanted or unexpected changes that may degrade user experience or adoption.
Load and Performance Testing
In this type of test, testers can leverage automation tools in their sandbox environment to confirm how Salesforce will perform in production when serving a benchmark number of users. Performance may suffer based on the volume of concurrent queries, inputs, and workflows on the system. Salesforce is a highly scalable, reliable, and secure CRM platform. Yet it pays to test regularly to ensure the best possible user experience.
User Acceptance Testing
Following deployments or new releases, most businesses nominate or assign a select set of business users for user acceptance testing (UAT). This may be to assess their experience with a certain device like their mobile phone or laptop. Or it may be to emulate "day in the life" activities to ensure Salesforce digital workflows align with how users work in the real world.
Regulated companies in industries such as medical device manufacturing must do acceptance testing for all users. Businesses in these industries and others like high tech and government may adopt a continuous testing methodology.
Salesforce.com is famous for its powerful integration capabilities and its standards-based application programming interface (API). Ensuring digital workflows pass from the CRM platform, especially in large, highly transactional deployments, is critical.
APIs often need round-the-clock monitoring, post-deployment functional testing, and regular load testing. Businesses should ensure data is flowing properly to and from applications like ERP, messaging, or patient records management systems.
Salesforce Testing Processes
Your company's testing process will differ somewhat from the standard based on whether you have adopted DevOps methodologies in your business or practices like continuous deployment, integration, and testing. Companies that mostly test manually tend to adopt waterfall management methodologies. Those that automate their testing often adopt agile practices.
Application testing should be an ongoing practice in any company preparing to deploy (or has deployed) a customized environment, leveraging multiple modules and any number of extensions from the AppExchange marketplace. Don't just run an end-to-end test for deployments or to prepare for new seasonal releases.
Salesforce testing is critical to the success of any business that is deploying or managing the world's leading CRM platform. Automated testing, with the added value of prebuilt test cases and scripts, is an ideal way to surface any code-level or configuration bugs that may create technical issues with CRM performance and to remediate them.
Self-healing application functionality is ideal. That said, discovering where problems lurk is a good place to start. There are still instances where manual testing is mandatory, such as visual regression testing. It ensures that your Salesforce application is technically sound and provides a consistent, intuitive customer experience.