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by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Executives + Technology + You = Results

In the B2B world, Executives and teams that master the art of technology in the revenue acquisition process fare 5x better than those that do not according to research from SiriusDecisions – this post is to help executives better communicate and understand what your teams face with their new technology investments in Salesforce.com, databases, and marketing automation.  It also helps those doing the technology work in these areas on how to better communicate with their executive team. Based on an informal poll of 6 B2B global companies, executives want and demand ‘more’ faster and cheaper yet they have no fundamental understanding of the complexity of their own data and lack an understanding of technology.  On the working side of salesforce automation, database management, and marketing automation, the workers that are knee deep in the technology process often say how out of touch their executive leadership is with ‘data reality’.  Those that bridge the gap will recognize more revenue quicker and cheaper than those that are unable to recognize and effectively bridge this gap.

To best avoid this grand canyon gap between executive knowledge and the workers involved in this technology, here are a few approaches that could work:

  • Roadmap with achievable technological milestones – set realistic expectations BEFORE investing in technology because the tendency of executives is that if you buy something shiny and new, it should pay off immediately which is an incredibly incorrect assumption yet it is how they operate.  Often times there is a significant lag between purchase time of a new revenue generating technology and actual results.  Technology is never a silver bullet.  People are the silver bullet. People make the technology work.  People drive process.   It’s best to have the people set the executive expectation as to what to expect and when
  • Benchmarks – workers and leaders should actively seek outside benchmarks (ala SiriusDecisions) or actual ‘live people’ testimonials from other companies who have experienced similar implementation challenges so it’s not just your own viewpoint when explaining to an executive why a technology integration is taking as long as it is against the ‘more’ quicker/cheaper executive standard.  Often times when executives hear from other data points outside their own company, it’s additional validation for them.  Outside 3rd parties can take the heat off you yet effectively bridge to an executive in communicating this gap.
  • Metricswhat does your Executive know about your prospect database, which is the lifeline to future revenue for the company? Does she/he understand it’s relevance is to the target market, what old names are vs. new names are, what a stale database is, what opt in or opt out is?  Executives understand metrics and KPIs.  Workers – you need to translate the health of your database into consistent, understandable executive metrics – the risk of poor data is like a bad sight on a rifle – if your rifle sight is off by an inch, you’ll miss your target by a mile.  If your data is bad, it won’t matter how many people you have on your sales and marketing team, it won’t matter what technology you have to nurture contacts – you have to have a discipline around an area that likely never sees sunlight in your organization.

I see this process as a journey, not a destination as technology is always changing, thus giving people new opportunities to learn and apply their learnings to their company and to their prospect’s buying cycle.  What experiences have you found helpful?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Mobility Enterprise Trends via Gartner

Today I attended Gartner Group’s Mobility/Security seminar at the Harvard Business Club in NYC by @mobilephillip and others – I attended because as  a marketer, it’s important to understand where the puck is going and mobility is where it is headed (plus I have a mobility background).  There were about 100 people representing a variety of enterprises struggling with how to best address the needs of the mobile user.  When one thinks back even 5 years ago, iPads, iPhones, Droids and other technologies were either pre-birth or at their very infancy.  With the adoptions of these new platforms so rapidly, users are struggling with corporate IT policies that are non-mobile friendly as well as enterprises are struggling with strategies to securely lock down the information on these mobile devices.  The mobile devices are marketers dreams in that they now have a way to target very specifically what a user needs or does.

Beyond new technology areas that are expanding for companies like Sybase, McAfee, and others, here were my key take aways from today’s discussion:

  • There are over 2B phones and mobile devices today;  over 80% of new phones sold globally are Smartphones
  • US refresh cycles (ie replacing mobile phones) are on a two year rhythm, whereas in Asia they either have multiple phones or replacing every 6 months to a year
  • In 5 years, Android will be THE operating system with 50% market share;  of the 6 operating systems today, it’s the FASTEST growing operating system.  This is worthy of marketing/sales attention.
  • iPhone (iOS) will have a difficult time penetrating above 25% market share due to manufacturing capacity issues (chipsets among others).  Meaning, this technology may be better B2C suited than B2B.  What’s new news is the capacity constraints of manufacturing.
  • iPhone (iOS) will be challenged to successfully penetrate the enterprise as their updates to software typically involve iTunes, not over the air updates
  • Blackberry Enterprise Services are most deeply penetrated in the enterprise.  (BES as commonly referred).  Recently, Blackberrrry announced it will support other devices other than Blackberry’s on the server, however, it looks like the press release is more vapor than reality
  • Android is the least secure mobile device with high risk of data loss should a device get misplaced or lost;  3rd party applications are almost always needed with Android
  • Apple iOS yesterday announced a free instant messaging service (MobileMe – what is new is the ‘free’ element), which hits at the heart of carriers who make millions off SMS/MMS platform services.  The enterprise opportunity will be class of services in messaging.
  • Younger generations expect enterprises to be ‘mobile ready’ yet they are not;  ironically, my feeling is colleges are not ‘mobile ready’ and do not cater to the mobile generation.

What are you seeing with mobile devices in your enterprise?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Cloudforce by Salesforce.com – Listen, Engage, Act

Along with 1000 others, I attended yesterday’s #Cloudforce in Washington DC sponsored by Salesforce.com where the emphasis was a convergence of social, CRM, and mobility in the enterprise – this content was brand new in preparation for the uber Dreamforce in August.  Mark Benioff is a terrific visionary and is lucky enough to meet with executives around the globe to pick their brains about future challenges.  His keynote is well worth watching and absorbing (although lengthy at 40 minutes so I’ve summarized the key take aways under the video!)  He talks about the scale and elasticity of the Cloud we now live in…

  • Salesforce.com is so much more than CRMThe chatter application in particular, when a process is outlined on how to use, can cut down on meeting time and email flow intracompany by allowing groups of people in and out of the company to collaborate more effectively.  How valuable is that!?  From companies I’ve talked to that have deployed Chatter, one needs to be very disciplined around process.  Sales teams tend to use it for global proposals, cross functional projects can be managed;  also, some of the privacy settings allow exec or management oversight into the workflow process.   I see a lot of upside here in this application in terms of global coordination and effectiveness (assuming everyone speaks the same English language).  I had implemented a ‘Chatter’ like functionality with my global sales organization 8 years ago and found tremendous benefits with its capabilities around competition, positioning, and pricing.
  • The buying process is now more ‘social’ than ever before.  With their acquisition of Radian6 and its capabilities to broadly listen to blogs, tweets, and many other types of media, you’ll now get a more complete vision of what your customer is really wrestling with after they become a customer or even as a prospect.  Support centers that have customers call in will have intelligence about their customer issue prior to the actual contact – a huge savings for customer service operations where your conversations are threaded – salesforce service cloud.  While not new, the social element is also starting to hit a full stride in the buying department.  Companies that are smart are engaging, not ignoring.
  • Mobility – so much of what we do now will be on iPads, Droids, iPhones that organizations once banned but are now embracing – so all applications of SFDC are rendered and tightened down security wise for mobility;  beyond the rendering, a futuristic geolocation capability gives marketers new ways to think about their offers that never existed before.  I have a deep background in mobility and can concur with some of the observations Benioff made with the overall direction of the market particularly around the geolocation and advertising.  He also used a very interesting example of having products talking to us – get a car on a social network – maintenance notification, location sharing, in a private portal environment.

Of course the event had the ecosystem in full force in the gallery – a company named Birst caught my attention as they are solving a real difficult challenge of dashboard creation across multiple databases built into a single data warehouse.  For a marketer, this is a company and segment of space worth watching.

Terrific event and well worth attending!