Salesforce Winter '21 Release Overview

December 3, 2020

By Dan Williams

Would you believe we're here talking about the Salesforce Winter '21 Release, already!

If you're not already aware, three times a year Salesforce introduce new releases to most of the various Salesforce platforms. As a Salesforce user, you're able to take advantage of the very latest innovations and enhancements automatically. You'll see these in your Org either now, or very shortly.

We've reviewed the Salesforce release notes, and we've broken down some of our favourite new features for you below. This covers new features in Sales Cloud, Pardot, and Einstein Analytics. So let's begin!

Sales Cloud CRM


Salesforce are focussing a lot of resources at developing Flows, which is one of the best ways we can automate actions in Salesforce alongside workflow rules and process builder. We recommend considering using Flows for any future automation.

In the Winter '21 release, Flows also include the ability to trigger an automation when a record is deleted. For example, if a record is deleted we could trigger notifications to be sent to select users to ensure the end of relationships are managed effectively and efficiently.

Suggested action: You might benefit from taking full advantage of Flows by completing some Flow Trailhead modules.

Salesforce Anywhere and Microsoft Teams

Collaboration as a whole has become a little scattered with Chatter, but also with other tools available like Quip, Salesforce Mobile, and Einstein Voice Assistant. Salesforce Anywhere aims to unify all of these and then add some new enhancements of its own. The big new features within Salesforce Anywhere is Zoom and Teams integration and real time chat. With the Zoom integration, you can start a Zoom session right from within Salesforce.

Microsoft Teams integration is currently available also. The Teams integration provides context about Salesforce records from Teams channels and one-on-one chat conversations, eliminating switching between applications. Salesforce users can mention Salesforce records in Teams to facilitate collaboration. They can preview details of records that others post, pin records to channel tabs for easy access, and keep records up to date with inline editing. Users can also post important moments to Salesforce record Chatter feeds, all directly from Teams.

The above is currently in beta. If you would like to use, please ask us to register your Org on the Beta programmes.

Personalise Survey Questions Within Email

We can now include surveys within emails sent from Salesforce and also personalise the questions depending on how much we know about who we are sending the survey to.

When you email a survey question using an automated process such as Support Settings or Process Builder, the merge fields appear in the email.

Dynamic Survey Logic

Salesforce Surveys lacked the option to create dynamic branching based on pervious answers. In the Winter '21 release, this has now been added. This means you could send out a survey using Salesforce Surveys and the survey experience could change for the user depending on answers to previous questions. For example, if a customer states they've had a positive interaction with Support, you could guide the customer to compliment field and vice-versa.

Lightning Sync Authentication Changes

Microsoft has decided to retire Basic Authentication for Microsoft Office 365 and Exchange Online in the second half of 2021. If you're an Office 365 customer using a service account as your connection method, events will stop syncing at that time.

To avoid a sync interruption, work with your Microsoft admin or IT professional to update your Lightning Sync connection method.

More details are outlined in the release notes here.

Visualise Opportunity Changes

Opportunity deal change highlights will allow users to see if opportunity amounts or close dates have been changed.

Red text and arrows indicate amounts that decreased and close dates that were pushed out (1). Green text and arrows indicate amounts that increased and close dates that were pulled in (2). Hover over an arrow to see what changed, who changed it, and when (3).

Suggested action: When the Winter '21 release is available in your Org, notify users of this new functionality.

Einstein Analytics

Einstein Analytics for iOS and Android

New features are being released in the Analytics mobile app Beta version.

You can subscribe to the Einstein Analytics for iOS and Android Beta Programme here.

Subscribe to Lenses and Dashboard Widgets

You can now subscribe to lenses as well as dashboard widgets for timely email updates. A lens subscription is also dynamic - This means any change saved to a subscribed lens is automatically reflected in the subscription email and preview.

To subscribe to a lens, you first need to save it in explorer. Then click the Show Subscriptions icon to open the subscription panel and click Subscribe.

Suggested action: Notify users when this is available to ensure they know it can be used.

Protect Data in Embedded Dashboards with Locked or Hidden Filters

When filters on embedded dashboards aren’t locked or hidden, users can modify or delete both external and global filters, exposing more data. The new lock and hide options for filters are an easy way to configure embedded dashboards so users see only the data that you want them to see. And, with the updated dashboard reset action, you can now return an embedded dashboard to its initial embedded state.

Simply set the Locked or Hidden option in the Filter Builder in the Lightning App Builder.

Save Time Creating and Managing Dashboards with Reusable Dashboard Components (Pilot)

Meet dashboard components. They’re a new type of dashboard widget that can contain other widgets and pages. Best of all, they’re a great way to fast-track how you create and manage dashboards with clicks instead of code.

This new functionality allows you to reuse the same charts, tables, filters, text and manage everything in one place. This is currently in Pilot. If you would like to request access, please let us know.

Suggested action: Get in touch if you want to use this feature and we will register you for the pilot.


There is currently a focus on integrating Pardot with Sales Cloud CRM. This means, over the coming releases, more and more Pardot functionality will be available in Sales Cloud, instead of having to switch between Pardot and Sales Cloud interfaces to complete different tasks.

From 2021, all Pardot users will need to login to Pardot using Salesforce. For any new Pardot users added, they will also need to be linked with a Salesforce username.

Add to Prospect List from Contact Related List on Accounts

We can now add “Add to Pardot list” and “Add to Engagement Studio list” buttons at both contact and account level in Sales Cloud CRM. This would be useful, because if you were running an event and wanted to add an individual onto an engagement studio, this could be completed in Salesforce very easily.

Suggested action: Add these buttons when available and notify relevant users. Consider running an Engagement Studio training session with Comnexa where use-case for this will be included.

Lightning Email Builder for Pardot

Pardot are adding a new email content builder. This is the same builder as is used in Sales Cloud CRM, so it means the technology is unified across Pardot and CRM. The benefits of this are:

  • New email builder (drag-and-drop interface),
  • Preview and test capabilities within Sales Cloud.
  • New send experience: send and resend it from the email content record to different segments (more info later),
  • Report on individual email sends, multiple email sends from the same email, and email templates (more info later).

This allows is to unify email templates and experience in Pardot and Salesforce.

New Lightning Email Builder Features

  • Drag-and-drop interface to resize and move blocks (up, down, left, right).
  • Reusable components, eg. buttons, images, HTML.
  • Store and fetch images from Salesforce by clicking Select from CMS.

Suggested action: Comnexa can provide training to users on how to complete all Pardot work within Salesforce Sales Cloud CRM.

Lightning Email Content Builder

Email Content can be shown as an object in Sales Cloud CRM, allowing you to access it from the Salesforce. Each email will exist as a Salesforce record, the Edit in Builder button will take you to the builder.

You will find popular email reporting KPIs in the ‘Engagement Metrics’, such as click through rate, opt out rate etc. These fields will aggregate (add up or average depending on the metric) the results of all email sends for an email template.

New Pardot Email Test and Send Experience

The new Preview as and Test actions are an improvement from email render test, especially in terms of speed.

  • The send experience does have a similar layout to Pardot’s classic email builder, with the addition of the Campaignsearch bar where you’ll define which campaign this email send should relate to.
  • When using the Lightning Email Content Builder, you will be able to send and resend the email content faster, and in a more effective way. This is particularly useful to test send to different segments.

This should give you an overview of some of the new features and enhancements available to you in the latest Winter '21 release. If you're looking to make the most of these features, get in touch with us today and we can help guide you in the right direction.

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