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  • Joe Wichowski 12:39 pm on January 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Salesforce.com,   

    Twitter, Facebook, Intellectual Property – Who Owns YOUR Data? 

    Recently in The New York Times, it was reported that Noah Kravitz was being sued for taking his 17,000 Twitter contacts “with him” once he left his employer.  This raises an interesting question – if a company has a signed non-compete and an intellectual property privacy clause, is it possible that they could still “lose” their IP on Facebook and Twitter because they don’t personally “own” the account?

    Certainly, PhoneDog will have its hand full. It appears they let this go on for some 8 months. Unless they have some “cease and desist” emails they can dig up, they will have to explain why it took them so long to actually care about it.

    On the other hand, this leads to the more important issue – as companies leverage free Cloud tools to reach out to customers in new ways, are they selling their IP claims short? In the end, will this only come back to bite them when their employees leave for a competitor?

    It is our belief that companies should keep all Twitter and Facebook accounts of the company as “house accounts”, only giving access those marketing people who need to connect in that manner. Also, the email addresses linked to these accounts should be reachable by IT. This way, as an employee leaves, IT can simply “request a new password”, with the request able to be fetched within the companies email system directly.

    Going further, specifically stating Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and so on in your non-complete can help eliminate the “gray area” that currently surrounds these types of lists. What do we do when a sales guy “connects” via LinedIn to all of his sales contacts? What happens when a salesforce leverages Google+ Hangouts for monthly video conferences with customers? Who owns that data?

    Leveraging these new social connections can definately help you market and sell more.  In fact, if you are not doing it, then you are already way behind the curve.  But this doesn’t mean we should lose our IP.  Until the courts rule in July, we just don’t know who truly “owns” the information.  Stay tuned…

    (If you are looking for alternatives – we use WordPress for our own private blogging/twitter-like stuff.  We own it, we control it, and if someone leaves the company, we retain it.  For social/facebook type features, have a look at Salesfore.com Chatter.  Its easy to set up, its free, and it allows you to make “private” groups to engage and discuss issues and services with clients.)

  • Joe Wichowski 9:10 am on January 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Salesforce.com,   

    TCG – The year ahead… 

    Happy New Year!  On behalf of all of us here at Traction Consulting Group, we hope your holiday was awesome, and you are ready to get-after-it in the new year!  As a primer to some of the innovations we have set for our customers in 2012, here are some of the exciting things we are working on:

    1. BizBoard – Our streamlined web-enabled metrics system is ready to engage your management team. With it, teams will be able to combine metrics from ERP, CRM, Spreadsheets, and other database applications – all into a single dashboarding solution. In addition, each metric will have an associated “Action List”. So not only will the metrics help you better understand your company, but they will also prove as a central hub of activity to improve where there is work to be done. This solution works from any web browser, including iPads and other tablets.
    2. BizBoard Mobile – We don’t want your iPhone or Android to be left out.  To that, we have created BizBoard Mobile, specifically formatted for phones with web browsers, to better react to just-in-time information while on-the-go.  Alerts are set up to push to users on a daily or hourly basis.  For example: customers and orders requiring follow-up, salesmen not performing to goals, opportunity not closing, and more.  Users can then interact with these alerts, and track them over time, giving them mobile tools to quickly react to changing business data.
    3. Traction LMS– As part of our ongoing focus of Mentoring & Training as an extension of the Development & Support services we perform for our customers, Traction has created a Learning Management System (LMS) to help customers gain traction within their educational initiatives.  No longer will your employees struggle to find policies, procedures, instruction, and expectations.  With our LMS, teams will find a one-stop-shop for everything – Instructions and procedures, policies, how-to’s, tips and tricks, videos, and more.
    4. Traction Alerts – Don’t hunt for information – have the information find you.  Our alerts/reporting system for Salesforce.com, Microsoft CRM, and SugarCRM delivers just-in-time information directly to a user’s inbox.  So instead of salesmen “searching” CRM for information, the information is pro-actively delivered to them.  We have many generic reports, like:  This week’s customers & activities, Customers you haven’t visited in a while, This week’s birthdays, and Opportunity Follow-up; but we can also customize these or add any additional as needs arise.  We also include these services free-of-charge with our Managed CRM Service Agreement.
    5. Traction Intelligence – For Microsoft CRM Online and Salesforce.com customers, it is often best to have a “local copy” of the information in order to do extended reporting, analysis, and data integration.  Traction Intelligence provides you with exactly that – a copy of your Online information, directly in a local database your resources can quickly reach.  You can choose your database – our data pumping system does the rest.

    Thanks again for all your support in 2011, and we look forward to continuing our rock-solid quality, service, and value for you in 2012.

  • Joe Wichowski 12:16 pm on October 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Salesforce.com,   

    What exactly did I do last month? 

    In this month’s Wired magazine, Clive Thompson talks about how Daniel Giovanni utilizes 4SquareAnd7YearsAgo to mine his 4-square check-ins.  He then gets a daily summary of where he was last year.

    What a simple idea, and a great concept.  Sales teams often forget about the repetitive nature of sales – they end up focusing on “This Month’s Deal” instead of also making progress and touch-points on ideas and connections in the past.

    This offers a great opportunity for our daily alert streams that we create for our customers.  By sending Sales teams a summary of where they were, who they talked to, and what they talked about – 1 month, 1 quarter ago, or 1 year ago “today” – we can help remind them of the conversations and activities of the past, to continually “work” the opportunities of the future.  (The Daily Alert streamer is one of the custom tools we’ve created for our customers – if you need additional details, please email me)

    If you don’t have our daily alert streaming system (or some other alert-type system), you could also facilitate this via a simple report or view in Microsoft CRM, Salesforce.com, or SugarCRM.  It won’t “push” to the user, but you could add it to your “Monday Morning Process” and train sales teams on how best to utilize it.

  • Joe Wichowski 12:43 pm on September 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Salesforce.com   

    Salesforce.com is working on a new browser interface for touch devices… 

    It will be interesting once touch.salesforce.com has a good working demo. Many clients like the value in having a mobile platform in tandem with a desktop platform, but managing and provisioning iPhones and iPads with a physical application (like the current Salesforce.com app) is cumbersome for larger organizations. Have a separate web site that is touch-enabled makes it much easier to manage. Kudos to Salesforce for recognizing that even though iPhones and Tablets have web browsers, the way users interact with web sites is way-different than with a desktop and a mouse.

  • Joe Wichowski 4:55 pm on September 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Salesforce.com,   

    Social CRM – Avoid the traps of non-structured data 

    All the rage at Salesforce.com these days is about “social“.   It should be – Chatter is a great tool, that can take tech-savy sales and operations teams to the next level.  But be careful before Social takes control of your day-to-day structured data.  In the end, users are smart, lazy, and are always looking for the easy-button.

    For example, a recent customer of ours didn’t catch that most salesmen started using the Chatter “What are you working on” status change to post visit reports with their customers.  To them, it was far easier adding the details inside the comment box, instead of making  a traditional appointment.

    30 days later, and the reporting dashboard was not telling the complete story.  The sales manager “read” all the appointments within the Chatter activity feeds and assumed they were making appointments inside Salesforce.com.  The report, however, didn’t reflect that.  Instead, they lost a month’s worth of metrics and accountability.  And salesmen had to go back and re-update their appointments from the previous month – quite a waste.

    I think there are great reasons to roll out tools like Chatter.  Just make sure you have a strategy to train them on “when” they should be using Chatter, or more importantly, when they “shouldn’t”. And have an auditing plan to ensure users aren’t replacing structured tools with unstructured ones, especially if reporting and metrics are important to you.

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