This past spring, the Doextra team worked with a group of students at Callanan Middle School as part of the Technology Association of Iowa's HyperStream Program. The goal was to get them interested in technology and further pursuing STEM interests and a tech-industry educational path. For the spring semester, we focused on building a club website that the students could post their photos, blog posts, videos and creations.
The group was made up of a diverse mix of students, predominantly in the 6th grade. After spending four months at Callanan Middle School, I realized that there are a lot of similarities between working with students and working on CRM projects in an office environment.
Here are 10 lessons I learned from the students that can help build an effective CRM project team:
- Food is a great incentive. Have an early morning or middle-afternoon meeting? Little treats, such as cookies or tootsie pops are a great way to build rapport, appreciation and attendance.
- Without leadership buy-in, you have a group with no structure. There needs to be top-level support and assistance from leaders. This helps build awareness, sustainability and group buy-in.
- Segment interest groups within project team for maximum productivity. Not everyone has the same priorities or interests. Split into sub-committees or smaller groups to get more accomplished.
- Use networks and contacts to bring in outside experts. Sometimes you don't have all the answers in-house. An outside perspective will help you see new possibilities, work-arounds and solutions. Don't be afraid to leverage your Rolodex.
- Adoption and recruitment is heavily contingent on peer-to-peer communications. Once you roll out the new CRM updates, how are you going to build user adoption? Peer recommendations and endorsements are a powerful way to get people actively interested in new technology.
- Sometimes you have to ditch the agenda in order to achieve real progress. There are days when you will just hit a wall. Or the team members are chatty and unfocused. Adjust to the momentum and take baby steps.
- Set goals but maintain a flexible view of success. Goals are a great way to stay on track, but should not be used as the end-all-be-all for measuring success. Find the positive performance metrics and understand that many projects are long-term; therefore, all may not be clear right away.
- Begin each meeting with a quick update on progress and next steps. People like to feel motivated by accomplishment and progress. Make sure to give high-5's to the well-deserving and outline next steps for continued productivity.
- Build a close knit communication network outside of the project meetings. Collaboration doesn't stop once the meeting adjourns. Create a secure environment for co-workers and leadership to share ideas and ask questions. This will build relevancy for the next meeting.
- Don't underestimate the quiet folks. Give everyone a chance to share and contribute. Just because the guy in the back of the room isn't jumping all over the conversation, doesn't mean he is lacking in valuable perspective. Take time to check in with each member of your group. They may have observed something you missed.
Image by Nalini Prasanna.
After an opportunity has been assigned to Lead in Salesforce Sales Cloud, you are ready to convert it into an Account (for more information on this qualification stage, please see Salesforce CRM Objects: Lead vs. Opportunity). Once you reach the conversion screen you will be presented with two options for transferring the Lead information.
- Create a new Account. The Lead name, title and other contact information becomes a Contact record associated with the Account. This works well for a customer you have not done business with before, or for divisions of an enterprise-size company that have their own information silos and budget.
- Add on to an existing Account. Add the Lead name, title and other contact information as a Contact record to an existing Account. If an Account has already been created for a company, simply add the Lead as a new contact. The owner of the Lead will remain the owner of the new Contact.
Note: that a Lead record cannot be converted into multiple Accounts.
CRM customer service contact centers has become a hot buzzphrase for industries, such as financial services, travel and healthcare. One such Healthcare industry company that has recently leveraged CRM capabilities is Stroke Detection Plus, a mobile vascular screening company. Stroke Detection Plus is featured at on-site visits to make stroke and cardiovascular disease screenings convenient to identify at-risk patients.
Stroke Detection Plus uses Salesforce CRM Enterprise Edition for advanced event planning, accounting and mobile call center activity. Staff members are able to increase work capacity with cloud-based tools and a central data repository.
Since implementing the new system, Stroke Detection Plus has improved staff efficiency and productivity, as well as improving management of staffing, marketing activities, and costs and margins.
For more information about their custom system and what apps they used from the AppExchange, click here.
Image by IYLIAAA.
For Salesforce CRM users, the Summer '12 Release brings a crop of highly anticipated changes and updates, including Chatter Messenger, the introduction of Rypple, and Salesforce Touch (Beta version) for iPad, just to name a few.
Summer '12 is scheduled to roll-out between June 1 - 9.
Here are a few of our favorite highlights from the Summer '12
- Sales Cloud handles more advanced details. The Sales Cloud has ramped up Forecast and Analytics screens. Now users can check out quotas and attainments on the Forecast screen for better task management and focus. Analytics also gets a boost with the functionality to add custom charts to reports.
- Service Cloud gets more customer-friendly. Chatter Answers makes a big play in the Service Cloud, by allowing customers to login to ask questions or search a knowledgebase of FAQs and answers. Customers can also access Chatter Answers with their personal Facebook login if they do not have a Chatter Answers login.
- Chatter goes real-time. Chatter Messenger will provide real-time instant messaging. Chatter Messenger provides private, direct messaging to other users you follow. Another new feature: multi-file uploading capabilities to Chatter conversations.
- Rypple makes a big entrance. Salesforce's newest member of the product family helps companies with internal feedback, coaching and recognition. Rypple users can create "Social Goals" that co-workers and managers can contribute information to. In addition, Rypple helps build collaboration by giving visibility to other users' published projects, capturing notes and actions, gifting custom badges, and providing feedback loops. For a full demo, check out www.rypple.com. Pricing ranges from free to $9 per user/month depending on the functionality level.
Image by jeeheon.
According to Forrester's US Tech Market Outlook For 2012 report, the Manufacturing sector will be one of the top three industries that dominate software purchases this year. Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms offer a valuable opportunity for one of the United States' major economic pillars to expand sales and influence through accurate data tracking, management, forecasting and accessibility.
Since publishing our last EBook, "Top 10 Ways Financial Services Companies Leverage CRM", we have seen a spike in interest and downloads. Which made our team think that since the Manufacturing industry is growing in software purchases, there may be a lot of admins and sales managers looking for the best ways to approach implementation and ongoing CRM success. Therefore, we give you the new edition Top 10 EBook, written especially for Manufacturing companies!
Free to download and now available. Simply click the EBook picture to download.
Please feel free to share with your friends and colleagues or re-post!
Leads and Opportunities are two very important objects to track within your Salesforce CRM system. However, often times the terminology can be a hang-up because what is the real difference between a Lead and an Opportunity, when they both sound like ways to earn new business?
Defining the Difference
A potential new account that has not done business with your company.
This includes a contact name, company name and other information (a Lead record may include partial or complete data).
A deal that is going to close.
According to CRMVERSE, "Leads are your big list of strangers you met at trade shows and deserve to be somewhat organized. Opportunities, on the other hand, are your narrowed list of prospective deals that deserve to be well organized and are no longer strangers."
How Leads and Opportunities Work Together
After a Lead is qualified - meaning your company's process or checklist for acknowledging a solid business deal and an immediate time frame - you then convert it to an Opportunity. If the Lead's Company Name is already in your CRM system, you will be prompted to either add it as a contact to an existing Account or create a new Account.
Image by Michael Fawcett.
Headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, Orion Advisor Services, LLC is a Portfolio Accounting Service Bureau that assists financial advisors with a comprehensive back-office system that combines service bureau with portfolio management.
Last Monday (April 16, 2012), Orion Advisor Services launched a new app on the Salesforce AppExchange that integrates their proprietary Orion Advisor Service Portfolio Management data and features into the Salesforce CRM platform. It is called, "Orion Connect".
With Orion Connect, users are able to access imporant billing and trading information from a custom tab within Salesforce CRM. Custom dashboards and reports are also available, such as asset class snapshots, activity summaries, benchmark comparisons, and performance charts.
For more information, check out the official AppExchange listing.
Image by 401K.
In technology world terms, Doextra has been around for eons (13.5 years to be exact). During that time we have worked with operations, sales and IT teams at a number of Midwest Financial Services companies ranging from small brokerage groups to large insurance providers.
The bottom line?
We've heard a lot of good ideas about how different companies use their CRM system and find success. But there are 10 that really stand out. 10 that might be worth considering when you sit down with your in-house teams to discuss optimizing your own system.
Introducing: the "10 Ways Financial Services Companies Can Leverage CRM" Ebook!
Free to download and now available. Simply click on the EBook picture to download.
Please feel free to share with your friends and colleagues or re-post!
Last night over 625 people descended on Vet's Memorial Auditorium, downtown Des Moines, for the 7th annual Prometheus Awards. Hosted by the Technology Association of Iowa, the awards celebration feted a year of accomplishments and growth in Iowa's tech industry. The Doextra team sponsored a table and enjoyed an evening of catching up with old friends and colleagues. We are so happy that Salesforce Consultant, Terry Miller, as well as Travis Rychnovsky and Josh Van Heukelom from Orchestrate, LLC, could join us for the big night.
Here are a few photos we took at the awards dinner:
The podium and 7 foot-tall trophy decorations that flanked either side of the stage. Click here to see who won big.
The Doextra guys enjoying good company and good conversation. (Left) Sr. Systems Developer, Tim Byrnes; (Right) President/Owner, Brad Williams.
Our friends and business partners from Orchestrate, LLC. (Left) CTO, Josh Van Heukelom; (Right) President/CEO, Travis Rychnovsky.
To see more pictures, click here to check out our Facebook album.
Thank you to the Technology Association of Iowa for the biggest and brightest awards presentation yet!
Here at the office, we're big fans of Dropbox. As a perinially useful cloud service/application, you can share and automatically sync files across multiple devices. Therefore, you never have to email yourself documents or slog through correspondances to try to locate a file in a timely manner.
Recently, an application called, "File It," was developed by Wickedbit and released on the AppExchange for Salesforce CRM users. The File It application integrates Dropbox accounts with Salesforce and provides a native app within the system, so that users are able to upload files within Salesforce into Dropbox folders. In addition, File It can link documents to any Salesforce object, such as Lead, Account, Contact and Opportunity records.
Pricing is a super palatable $5 per user per month with discounts available for non-profits. For more information, go to File It's AppExchange page.