Simplifying Salesforce: Some Useful Terminology to know

Some of the organisations we work with nominate internal Salesforce superusers or champions who can support others with the Salesforce platform. That’s often effective, but there can be a lot for superusers to learn. We’re created a handy guide to some of the key terminology that Salesforce uses which we hope will be helpful for those in supporting roles.

Profiles, Users and Roles

Profile – A profile defines a user’s permissions, allowing them to perform specific functions within Salesforce. Profile permissions are usually defined by whether an individual should have Create, Read, Edit or Delete permissions for specific functions within a Salesforce org.

Role – Salesforce offers a user role hierarchy that an admin can use with sharing settings to determine the levels of access that users have to data. Roles within a hierarchy affect access on key components such as objects and reports.

User – A user is anyone who logs in to your Salesforce Org. Users are the employees at your organisation, for example the CEO, the Finance Manager, and the Marketing Manager. These would be individuals who need access to organisational records.

Objects, Fields and Types of Object

Object – An object allows you to store information in your Salesforce Organisation. The object is the overall structure of the type of information that you are storing. As an example, the Account object will allow you to store information about external organisations you are doing business with. For each object, multiple records may be created that can store the information about specific instances of that data type. For example, you might have an account record to store the information about each individual partner organisation you work with.

Field – A field is where data values are inputted and stored within objects. Fields can either be standard or custom. Salesforce Admins can create custom fields that are specific and relevant to their own individual organisation and the object they are working with.

Account – This a standard object within Salesforce. An Account record can be any organisation, company, or consumer that you do business with and want to track—for example, a customer, partner, or competitor.

Contact – Contacts are actual people that are associated with an Account record within your Salesforce Org. For example, this could be the CEO at the partner organisation you are working with.

Opportunity – Opportunities within Salesforce are traditionally used to track Sales or pending deals. For many Nonprofits using Salesforce, they are used to track revenue into the organisation.


Apex – Apex is the name of the programming language used on the Salesforce platform. Salesforce includes prebuilt applications that provide powerful functionality, however, your organisation may have complex processes that are not supported by existing functionality. Apex allows advanced administrators and developers to build custom functionality, when needed.

AppExchange – AppExchange is Salesforce’s Application store (think Apple’s App Store, but for all things Salesforce!) From here you can find applications to enhance your Salesforce Org. Customers provide reviews on products for a variety of different requirements.

Sandbox – A Sandbox is a copy of a Salesforce org in a separate environment. These can be used for development, testing, and training, without compromising data in your live “production” org.

Flow Builder – Flow builder allows an Admin to create declarative process automation for all Salesforce apps, experiences, and portals using clicks, rather than code. Flows are relatively easy to maintain because anyone who understands Flows can see the logic behind the automation that has been built.

Task – Tasks allow for users to keep on top of their “to-do” lists in Salesforce. Tasks can relate to records within multiple objects such as leads, contacts, campaigns etc.

To learn more about the Salesforce platform visit Salesforce’s Trailhead Learning Platform.