Advanced Training: Admin

ELF - The Electronic Labor Force

The Electronic Labor Force, affectionately known as ELF, is a trigger-based action tool that works in conjunction with users' workflow. In other words, a user performs a certain action, such as marking a Lead to a particular status, and the ELF reacts by doing something else.

ELF campaigns, or "sequences," run over a period of timed intervals—Minute, Day, Week, Month—with actions scheduled at particular intervals as you see fit.

(ELF Editor Screen)
Click to view larger image.

When an ELF triggers, it will continue running until the last timed interval is reached, or a termination trigger, programmed by the user or Sysadmin, stops it from running.

The triggers are referred to as initiators and terminators. Both initiator and terminator triggers are linked to a specific field, or fields, contained in an object record.

Triggers could be based on Status, Lead Source, Rating, Campaign, number of Dial Attempts, or anything else measurable contained within the record object. ELFs must be based on Lead, Deal, and Case objects.

As always, the trick to using the ELF effectively is planning—each ELF campaign may have a unique set of triggers and the actions. Most Sysadmins find it very helpful to create flow charts of each ELF campaign, designating the actions that need to take place and the intervals at which they should happen. We highly recommend that you take the time to do this before building your first ELF.

Finally, setting up an ELF will be much easier if you have any and all needed content entered into your system beforehand—emails, voice messages, and fax templates.

Setting Up an ELF

The physical setup of an ELF is fairly straightforward.

  1. Start by giving your ELF campaign a good, easy-to-reference name (this makes a difference when you need to manage blocks of ELFs together).
  2. Next, set the interval type to the most appropriate time range. A daily interval is by far the most common option for a long-term campaign, though for short-term response campaigns, Minutes can be effective. Week and month intervals are obviously for longer-term campaigns. The most important thing to remember is that the interval always increments from the time the ELF initiates. Meaning if you set the interval type to Daily, and your first interval is 1, it means that the ELF is going to perform Interval 1's actions 1 day after the ELF triggers.
  3. Next, set the Applies To based on which user’s leads you would like the ELF to act on. This is based on two things:

    • Which user is the owner of the records, and
    • If the owner of the record has an ELF license.
    One common mistake administrators make is they assume that if they set an ELF to apply to “My Company’s Leads” that the it will automatically work company-wide. However, if some of your users don’t have an ELF license assigned in the Billing Information, the ELF will pass over those users. Refer to the Billing Information section if you need to add or assign additional ELF licenses.

Initiation and Termination Criteria

Now that our ELF has taken its basic shape, the next step is to set up our triggers.

The trick to doing this properly is to remember our old friends the Boolean operators.

Both your initiation and termination triggers will be based on an Enter/Exit format. Meaning that an ELF will trigger when the record Enters/Exits one particular set of criteria, and will terminate when the record Enters/Exits a another set of criteria.

Here's an example:

Let's say we set up an ELF to trigger when Lead records are set to "Contacted" in the Lead Status field. This would be our enter trigger. In Boolean terms, it would be:

Status = Contacted = Initiate ELF

Now let's say we want this Lead record to remain enrolled in our ELF campaign until the Lead Status changes. The question is, how specific do we want to be?

A broad termination trigger might be to simply say, "Let's leave Leads enrolled until they leave Contacted status. Don't care what status they go to; if they leave Contacted status, the ELF will stop."

In this instance, we'd set the termination to "Exit Lead Status Contacted." The ELF initiates when a Lead enters Contacted status, and terminates when it exits the Contacted status, regardless of which status it actually changes to.

(Initiate and Terminate Fields)
Click to view larger image.

Now, however, let's suppose we want to be a little more specific. Let's say we want the ELF to terminate if it leaves Contacted status—but only if it enters one of two specific statuses.

In this case, we don't want to do just a general "Exit Contacted Status" termination, we want to be more specific. Instead, we might want to tell the ELF to terminate only if the Lead enters "Qualified Prospect" status, or "Not Interested - Do Not Contact" status. To make this change, we'd switch the termination type to "Enter," and set the criteria to those two Lead Statuses.

For simplicity's sake, setting your initiation trigger to Enter, and your termination to Exit is the easiest way to manage your ELFs, but depending on the type of campaign and how much flexibility you need, it may not be the best.

Once all of your initial settings are entered, click save to unlock the queries, and the interval actions.

ELF Database Queries

Once you've set up the basic parameters, and the Initiate/Terminate criteria, the next step is to set up the actual ELF database queries—yep, just like our old friend the Dialer Initiative, ELFs use database queries to do their work.

Like Dialer Initiatives, our ELF triggers are linked to specific object fields. The only difference is that for ELFs, the field options are limited to dropdowns, checkbox, and number fields. Text, date, address, phone, email, or other types of custom fields are invalid triggers.

To edit the initiate or terminate options, click Edit Criteria the right of the Enter/Exit dropdown that correlates to the trigger. This will pop up the criteria selection window.

(Initiation and Termination Criteria Selection Windows)
Click to view larger image.

If you've used Dialer Initiatives before, the ELF criteria selection window should feel eminently familiar (once again, it's time to get our Boolean logic hats on). Select the field on which you want to base your criteria, and choose your Boolean operator criteria from the options shown in the chart below.

Criteria Action is Triggered...
equal to ...when field enters the specified value.
one of ...when a field enters one of a specified group of values, and was not set to one of those values previously.
set to any value ...only the first time the field is assigned to a value.
changed ...whenever the specified field changes values in any way.

Once all of your initiation criteria are set, save the query, and repeat the process for the termination.

Intervals and Actions

After saving the campaign, notice that the system now unlocks the "Actions" panel at the bottom, which includes the interval trees. This gives us the ability to specify the actions and the time frame in which we want them to take place.

In particular, the "Interval" drop-menu now displays a selection range starting with "0" all the way up to "2190." It's a long list. This means that you can select a time interval and define what specific actions will trigger then, such as sending an email on the 3rd day.

Still wondering what all those numbers mean? The first numeric choice "0" means the "zero-th time interval" or just "right away." The last selection is on the menu is "2190" and if you're handy with a calculator you'll find that the intervals can defined pretty far into the future. Of course it depends on what "Interval Type" you selected for the ELF.

Here's a break down of how far you can map out the intervals for each type:

  • 2190 Minutes = 36.5 Hours
  • 2190 Days = 73 Months
  • 2190 Weeks = 42.1 Years
  • 2190 Month = 182.5 Years

The trick is to remember that the interval is the time frame after the trigger. Sometimes it's easier to actually say each interval out loud, using the interval type and number—"This interval is Day 0, this one is Day 3, this one is Day 7."

Another trick is to remember that the ELF can change the data contained in certain fields if you instruct it to. If your current ELF (or other ELFs) are based on those fields, this can cause ELFs to initiate or terminate unexpectedly.

Using Date Fields and Custom Date Fields

Not only can the ELF track intervals based on trigger criteria, and how much time had elapsed from the time the ELF triggered - It can also respond in a timely fashion to dates specified by fields on the record. For example, you could send an email to a prospect the day before their birthday wishing them well, or send an email the day after a missed appointment to remind them to reschedule. The examples are possible using built-in date fields in the LMP or custom date fields that you've added to your record layouts.

When used, the Date Field option will create a custom interval, listed in the interval dropdown and also in the interval summary table.

(Date Field Example)
Click to view larger image.

In the example pictured above, the ELF will send an email to the person on the record 1 day before their birthday. Since the Repeat Annually checkbox is checked, it will also repeat this action every year.

Note: This feature does not work with event objects attached to a record; it requires the date information to be entered into an actual record field.

Interval View

Once you’ve selected an interval's associated actions, you will need to click Save Campaign and Selected Interval to update the changes. As you create new intervals and actions, you'll need to save each one as you add them.

(ELF Interval and Actions)
Click to view larger image.

Notice at the bottom that as you add your intervals, the ELF shows you a running history for visual reference. Use this to help you gauge the overall strategy and flow that your ELF will follow.

Here is a breakdown of the available actions:

Action Description
Change Field Value Changes the value of any field on the record to a new value. This can be configured to change any field on the record howeve ryou like, including the Campaign, Lead Status, Owner, and other fields.
Create a Note Attaches a note sub-object to the lead. Text for the note is specified when you create the interval.
Create a Task Attaches a Task sub-object to the record. Keep in mind that the due date offset runs asynchronously from the ELF interval. For example, if you have the ELF create a task on a Day 3 interval, and set the due date offset to 4 days, the task's due date will be 7 days from the time the ELF triggered.
Create an Event Attaches an Event sub-object to the record. Same principle of the due date offset applies as for Create a Task.
Create a Deal Creates a new Deal object in the system. Be aware that for Lead ELF campaigns, the system doesn't naturally assume that you want to attach the Deal to the current record. If you want the Deal attached to the record that triggered it, and not to a separate Account, check the box to "Attach Deal to Enrolled Lead."
Create a Case Attaches a new Case object to the current record.
Send Email

This is by far the most common action selected for an ELF. This allows you to automatically send any email template currently saved in your system.

Many Sysadmins use this for doing both short-term, and extended Lead Nurturing to generate opportunities. The trick to doing this effectively is to have a pre-set timing and content strategy. How many times in the first week, second week, and first month do you want an email to go out?

As you set up the email action, notice the Email Address Field. This specifies where the email is sent. When sending an email, you'll usually want to send it to the Standard Field, which sends the email to address in the usual Email field on the record. You can also select the names of any custom "email" type fields you may have added to your layout.

As another alternative, the name of any custom "contact" type fields you have created on your record layout will also appear in the dropdown list. This will send the email to the address specified on the Email of the record entered on that contact field.

Send Fax Identical to Send Email, only we're using your templates to send as faxes, not emails. Not actually an available action if you don't have faxing enabled on your system.
XML Push This is an advanced data management feature that instructs your site to send an XML data call out to any site(s) you have designated. This is designed to automatically send, receive, and synchronize data between any two WSDL-compliant Web databases using's WSDL spec.
Routing Rule This option works in conjunction with the Lead Routing tools in your Admin tab. This option applies a routing rule of your choice to the current record. The goal is typically to move the record from one agent to another for a prescribed strategic purpose.
Convert Lead This option converts the Lead object into an Account and related Contact objects. If you are not using Account objects for your database, this option shouldn't be used.
ResponsePop This instructs the ELF to send the record out to an ACD as a ResponsePop immediate response action. ResponsePop acts just like a normal ACD, with the screen pop to an available agent. The difference is that ResponsePop actually initiates an outbound call to the record, rather than the caller initiating the screen pop via inbound.

This option is typically used as part of a lead response strategy, contacting leads immediately as they come into the database.
Call Now This option sends the record to the top of a particular outbound Dialer Initiative queue. Be aware that depending on how your Initiative's Call Now permissions are structured, the Lead may not get called immediately.
User Notification This option sends an email template to a designated user when the ELF triggers, typically, as the action's name implies, to notify them that a specific action happened in the system.
JabberDog This option instructs the ELF to send the record a JabberDog pre-recorded voice message call. Be aware that there can only be one JabberDog configuration for a single ELF campaign. If you need to send different JabberDog messages at different intervals, you'll need to create two separate ELF campaigns that follow the right logical sequence.

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