Salesforce Native Document Generation [In-Depth Review]

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S-Docs is a document generation tool that allows users to create, manage and generate templates in multiple formats to meet all their document generation needs. S-Docs prides themselves on being the only document generation tool that is 100% native to Salesforce.

The more data you capture in Salesforce, the bigger the impact will be to move to having a document generation tool, rather than a user having to manually locate the data and insert it into a document.

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S-Docs’ highly customizable template options allows you to create professional & personalized documents and email templates in a matter of seconds, rather than hours. By adding S-Docs E-Signature capabilities to your Salesforce environment, your document generation and signature process can be a seamless experience for both your users and customers.

Features

S-Docs Quick Actions

S-Docs enables your users to generate documents from anywhere in your org – that means standard & custom objects, and any that were installed as part of a managed package (for example, from the AppExchange).

Users can access the document templates available to them using the S-Docs Quick Action.

From there, they can select and deselect which documents they need to generate.

S-Doc documents are generated completely within the Salesforce platform, which means data is not transferred to an external merge service such as Amazon Web Services, something other vendors may utilise to merge their documents together.

Users can download the generated document to check for accuracy, or if the document is in an editable format, they can now make changes to the document. Editable documents are useful for use cases like large solution proposal documents – users can take advantage of generating directly from Salesforce and adding in basic information from records, but they can still customise the document for their specific solution.

The final document will be available to send to the customer via email directly from Salesforce, or the user can download and send from their chosen email client. You can also use S-Docs E-Signature to make the transaction truly paperless!

S-Docs Relationships

S-Docs works out of the box with Accounts, Opportunities, Cases, Leads, Contracts and others, but there is no limit to the relationships you can create to work with S-Docs.

The SDoc Relationship object serves as a junction object between S-Docs templates and the other objects in your Salesforce org. Simply create a new lookup field on the SDoc Relationship object which looks up to the object you wish to reference in your generated document.

This gives admins the flexibility to offer S-Docs templates to multiple areas of an organisation, which means customers of S-Docs can get a lot of value from a single tool.

WYSIWYG Editor

With S-Docs WYSIWYG editor, users can easily create their templates from scratch, directly within Salesforce.

Users not only have all the standard word processor functions for formatting and text in the body of the document, but they also have the options to edit the Header & Footer separately from the rest of the document, and the functions to Insert Fields & Related Lists.

The font options in the template editor are limited, so if you need specific fonts, there is the option to import DOCX templates as well, which I’ll cover in more detail later on. Custom colours can be handled in the WYSIWYG editor, but the HEX code will need to be populated each time you would like to use the custom colour in the document, so if you have a document with a lot of custom colours, using the DOCX import is probably the best option.

Inserting Salesforce Merge Fields

Inserting fields is quick and easy and you can reference related fields, provided your object relationships are 1:1 and not 1:N. One to many relationships need to be added to a template as a related list table and to filter this table you can use a SOQL query.

Once the field is located through the easy to use popup menu, insert the merge field into your template. For templates that you wish to import, you would need to copy & paste this value into your local document (more on that later).

Inserting Related Lists

Adding information from Related Lists is simple as well. All you need to do is click “Insert Related List” from the template editor screen and a popup menu will appear. Here you will select the object related to your main object.

For example, Opportunity is your main object and you wish to display Opportunity Products in your proposal document. Locate this object from the drop-down and the appropriate fields will display.

You can, of course, use field references here as well, such as pulling the quantity unit of measure from the Product2 object to your table, as shown above. This means you do not have to create unnecessary formula fields on the Opportunity Product object to be able to display this information.

Import Templates

If you have templates that are already built out, you can insert your Salesforce merge fields directly using Word, PDF or wherever you have authored your document, and upload them on S-Docs for use (note: this is also necessary if you wish to use any of the fonts outside of what S-Docs supports in the WYSIWYG editor, which is relatively limited). This is especially helpful for companies with strict branding guidelines which the WYSIWYG editor may not be able to accommodate with the limited font range.

Plus, if you already have standard documents in use that only require automating, using this upload method, you simply need to get the merge field information from Salesforce and insert it into your template. You can also get information from related objects, for example, if you have a document being generated from an Opportunity or Quote, you can pull in the data from Opportunity Products or Quote Lines into your document (see example below).

In this example, you will notice how the existing table has merge fields inserted and some HTML code around the table. This code is generated for you by S-Docs in the template editor when you add a related list.

Simply add the code around your table in your existing document. When you pull the document into Salesforce and generate it, the specified fields will be pulled into the document and your formatting will be as defined in your document.

As you can see below, the document has rendered as expected, with all the information coming from Salesforce.

This can take some getting used to and after just a few tries the document generating process will work perfectly.

Once it’s set up, the ongoing maintenance is minimal unless the template is significantly changed and needs to be replaced.

S-Docs Support Resources

S-Docs has an extensive library of user guides and training available to all those visiting their website, for free! Guides range from general setup through to more bespoke scenarios that may crop up during an implementation.

S-Docs also offer a large range of templates available to get you started on their website, again, for free! This is really useful for companies who may be just starting to build up their standardised documents and the templates can be personalised to each company’s preferences. However, having some on hand is really useful to get up and running quickly.

There are templates available for multiple areas such as Sales, HR, Finance, & Legal.

Use Cases

Proposal Documents

S-Docs allows you to automate long proposal documents which would normally need to be created bespoke by a Sales Rep for each customer. With a few key fields pulled in from Salesforce, reps can have a standard proposal document generated, which they can then either send out as is, or add a few customizations to if they wish.

Another benefit to using a document generation tool with Salesforce is brand consistency. If users are employing individual templates each time they send a proposal to a customer, there chances of errors such as outdated information or outdated branding. By bringing document generation to the Salesforce platform, users can be confident they are utilising the most up to date template and ensuring consistency with customers.

Contracts

S-Docs can also be used to merge simple or complex contracts. A lot of companies have a standard Master Services Agreement, which requires a few key fields to be populated before customers can receive it to begin negotiations. Legal users can save time by enabling Sales reps to generate these documents themselves, rather than having to request the standard document from Legal each time. This in turn leaves Legal users more time to do the complex contract negotiations, ensuring a more efficient sales cycle.

Product Info Sheets

Another use case I can see working well with S-Docs is adding product info sheets to a quote or proposal document. For example, a company sells all types of gym equipment and when a customer requests a quote for their business, the company wants to include the latest info sheet on each product the customer has enquired about. Doing this manually can be extremely tedious, with users having to locate each product info sheet from an internal shared drive.

It’s more than likely that users will also store documents like this locally, meaning they risk sending an outdated version of the document to a customer or a prospect, which would seem unprofessional.

With S-Docs conditional formatting in templates, admins can add each and every product info sheet into a template and add a condition for it to be rendered only when X product is added.

Users who generate in a DOC or PPT format would still have the ability to move these items around, to their personal specification. However, by having them in the template, there is little risk of a customer receiving outdated information.

Client Business Reviews

It is common business practice to review a client’s business regularly, whether monthly, quarterly or yearly. Gathering the necessary information can be time consuming and tedious for users. Many times they will be getting the information from Salesforce already.

Admins can automate this process by setting up a standard client business review and pulling information from Salesforce directly into the template. By generating the document in an editable format, users can add further information specific to each client, but the large amount of heavy lifting is done by the system. This saves the users’ time that they can then spend on more valuable tasks.

Email Templates

S-Docs can also be used to create complex email templates which would otherwise need to be built using Visualforce. Users can send branded emails directly from Salesforce, which means there is no need to download the generated document from Salesforce to a local machine and then attach to an email using Outlook or Gmail.

Email Template setup is similar to any other S-Docs template, the only difference being the Type that will be HTML vs DOC, PPT, etc.

Admins will use the WYSIWYG editor to create the email template and insert any desired merge fields, such as Account and Contact name for example, and any images, such as a company logo and a general body of text. Both, the subject line and body text can remain editable, so that users may personalise the email or they can be locked if the email is being sent out automatically using process builder or flow.

This could be especially handy for automatic generation and sending of invoices on a scheduled date, for example. The customer will receive a branded email and their invoice in a timely manner, all without the need for human intervention.

Further Inspiration

On the S-Docs website, the team has even put together a blog which has content such as use cases for S-Docs and customer testimonials so that other users can experience the actual impact of having a document generation tool that can be used all across their Salesforce org.

Impact

Time Saved

As previously mentioned in the article, the time saved on generating documents is one of the biggest impacts you will see when you purchase a document generation tool. Documents that may normally take half an hour to multiple hours to be put together can take seconds using S-Docs.

An upfront investment of time is required to get the templates created and having them perform as desired. Nevertheless, for a relatively small investment compared to a large productivity gain, automatic document generation is a tool that can impact organisations of all sizes. Small organisations can spend less time on administrative work and focus their efforts on more valuable tasks, whilst large organisations will benefit from the same on a much larger scale.

The customisation options with S-Docs also means users will not be limited to just a few types of documents they can generate. Thus all sorts of teams can benefit from S-Docs.

Professional Documents & Emails

Brand consistency is a crucial factor in the market. Ensuring users always have the most updated templates is a valuable benefit of using a document generation tool. As S-Docs gives admins the ability to create not only documents but also email templates, your company will never again have to worry about rogue users possibly damaging your brand’s reputation by sending out unprofessional, substandard, or outdated communications.

Salesforce Native: for Compliance and Productivity

S-Docs is 100% native to the Salesforce platform, which means when generating documents, none of the sensitive information is passed to a third party web service for merging. This is vital for industries such as healthcare and financial services, which prioritize the security of large amounts of private client data.

S-Docs prides itself on being the only document generation tool that is 100% native to Salesforce.

It goes without saying that by removing the number of systems users are required to use to get their jobs done in turn removes friction which could waste time and money for companies. By having all the tools within Salesforce, users are less likely to resort to using locally stored documents when communicating with customers.

With everything being stored in Salesforce against records as well, there is always an audit trail to refer back to, if needed.

Setup

Once you have your license keys, setup is fairly straightforward. S-Docs provides an extensive online library of resources on their website to help you get started.

Pricing

Pricing for S-Docs is straightforward and can be found on their website here. For more information, get in touch with their sales team.

Next Steps

To see how S-Docs can automate your document generation in Salesforce, schedule a demo here.

3 thoughts on “Salesforce Native Document Generation [In-Depth Review]

  1. Avatar

    Good article. But the statement that S-docs is the only native tool is not accurate. PDF Generator from GoCloudz is native too. And much cheaper than any other tool with similar capabilities and support.

  2. Avatar

    After this amaizing review I didn’t understand if while using S-Docs editor, it possible to write in any language, meaning left to right or right to left like Arabic or Hebrew as well other language.

  3. Avatar

    Thank you for this article! A new tool reviewed by a trusted source is VERY helpful! I investigated & installed this, and now may save my NFP org hundreds in the future! Thanks for this!

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