Archive for April, 2012

April 27, 2012

♪ Summer lovin’ happened so fast ♪

Yes, I know we are still several weeks out, but after reading through the Summer 12 release notes, I am super excited about some of the enhancements found in those 186 pages and I couldn’t wait to write about some of the stuff that’s upcoming.

Click for release notes!

There are so many things in this next release, that it is even hard to pick and choose which to write about. One of my favorite things about this release is that it doesn’t seem to be too heavy in one area, which has been the case in previous releases. Instead, Summer 12 has something for everyone – admins and end users. Here are just a few of the things that I’m most excited about.

  • Chatter Messenger – I’m super excited about this one (and not just because I suggested it over a year ago), but I believe this will dramatically help to increase productivity. Imagine if you are working on a deal & want to ask the inbound rep who booked it a question. Instead of an email or Chatter post where you have to wait for a reply, you can quickly ping them from the opportunity record and get an answer in seconds. Or imagine the impact on case resolution time if support reps can do all their communications within Salesforce. This will be 
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April 20, 2012

Enter -title- here

This week brings another “how to” post from yours truly. One hot topic that sales and marketing folks seem to always struggle with is lead and contact segmentation. Over the course of my Salesforce career, I’ve tried a couple different attempts as how to best segment contacts and leads based on title.  Neither are perfect, but I don’t think segmentation ever is. (People don’t like to be in buckets!) Hopefully they will give you some value, or at least provide insight into a different way of doing your segmentation.

More input

The first approach was to increase data collection by added two new picklist fields – one for department and a second for job level. The department field contained values for the typical departments we would sell to, as well as some more general catch-all categories to handle other titles. The job level field contained a range from C-Level to Staff. This allowed us to be able to target the c-suite executive for specific campaigns.

Calculated

In this instance, we weren’t concerned with department as much as job level, so I decided to use a formula field to help calculate the level value. This field remained a work-in-progress and we added values to it as we thought of more options. My original formula is shown below.

IF(ISBLANK(Title), “BLANK”,
IF(CONTAINS(“VP:AVP:Vice:V.P.”, Title), “VP”,
IF(CONTAINS(“CEO:CIO:CTO:COO:CMO”, Title), “C-level”,
IF(CONTAINS(“Manager:MGR:Mgr”, Title), “Manager”,
IF(CONTAINS(“Supervisor”, Title), “Supervisor”,
IF(CONTAINS(“Analyst”, Title), “Analyst”, “Staff”))))))

Now, these won’t be the magic bullet for most organizations. But perhaps you can think about your segmentation in a new way to help your sales and marketing teams target the right folks. What are some other segmentation methods you’ve tried?

April 13, 2012

Teeming with Force

(That was supposed to be a play on words – teaming/teeming – but not sure it came across that way.)

Most companies start out with one Salesforce.com resource (or maybe even half a resource). But as adoption of the platform grows, so does the need to have a larger team to support it. The question that a lot of organizations struggle with, is what does that team look like & how do I find the best resources to staff that team?

A team typically starts out with an administrator – someone who does end user support, new user set-up and all other standard functionality. This is that first Salesforce-specific employee, and it may not even be a full-time role. Once the demand grows beyond one person, the next position you may consider adding is a business analyst or two – someone who can understand & translate business processes to functionality within Salesforce.com. Somewhere along the line, you will probably want to hire a project manager or similar role who can act as a team leader. And if you are lucky enough to have the budget, and find someone who wants to work for you, the addition of a Force.com developer could bring huge impact to your organization.

Of course, all of this can vary based on your business, your maturity as a Salesforce customer, or what projects are on your Salesforce roadmap. I believe that the key is not the titles or who reports to who, but getting the right skills in the door to do the work that needs doing. And if you are lucky enough to have Salesforce skills, remember that you should always love your job.

April 6, 2012

Workflow-ing for the Weekend!

I admit, this post started out because I thought of a clever pun for the title. But the more I thought about it, it makes sense. Build some great workflows, and then the platform works for you. You can be enjoying a lazy Sunday, but your well-built workflow may send out a notification that makes you look on top of your game.

We’ve all heard Scrooge McDuck say it – “Work Smarter, Not Harder.” And you can get workflows to do exactly that.

So, in my opinion, here are the some of the key components that make up a really great workflow.

  • Specific firing criteria – This is key! There’s nothing worse than building a rule & firing off a notification or assigning a task, only to find out that your entry criteria was too broad and you’re the boy who cried wolf. Conversely, you don’t want to make your rules too strict & miss sounding the alarm when appropriate.
  • Proper alerts – Choosing the right action to pair with your workflow rule is also important. Maybe for a hot lead you will want to assign a task, but for a critical case an email alert is more appropriate. It’s important to assess each situation & use whatever action is best.
  • Regular assessment – New picklist value on the opportunity object? Change in SLAs for your support team? New products available for use? All of these may be a reason for you to re-evaluate your workflow rules to make sure they are still firing when you need them to.

What are you waiting for?!? These are some clicks, not code wins that are fairly simple to implement. Go build some awesome workflow rules that will make your co-workers think that you’re even more of a rockstar than they already do.

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