March 14, 2014

Happy Birthday Salesforce!

Happy Birthday, Salesforce.com.  It’s been 15 years since salesforce.com was founded in 1999.  Salesforce.com, with its tagline of “No Software” and the high energy, philanthropy-focused Marc Benioff, nearly single-handedly started the entire cloud computing industry.  Since then, Salesforce has diversified into a provider of software for managing customer service, automating the marketing process, and monitoring social media. It also offers clean data on companies that salespeople can hit up and a Platform as a Service for building and deploying applications.

Today, we have a hyper-connected world.  There is an increased demand on companies to respond and adapt in real-time to customers.  In order to meet this demand companies need to provide customers with a better experience.  Salesforce allows companies of all size become more agile and customer focused through the use of cloud, mobile, and social technologies.  The “customer first” focus is at the center of the growth of Salesforce.com.


So, happy birthday, Salesforce.com.  Here is to many more years.  By the way, Salesforce.com celebrated across the world.  Employees in 30+ cities celebrated with an day of giving back and having fun.  To see pictures, click here.

March 6, 2014

Salesforce Chatter

Chatter is the social center of Salesforce1, making any Salesforce app social – it integrates social sharing directly into everyday sales, service and marketing processes. The Salesforce1 Mobile App enables employees to contribute and take action from any mobile device, anytime, anywhere.
Chatter is a great way to collaborate within your organization. With Chatter, information about people and important projects is automatically updated, so it is easy to connect with people and information. Chatter operates a lot like Facebook in that you can follow the people and records that are interesting or important to you.  You can choose how often you receive updates and can “Like” items.  The best part is that you control what updates you see.  Here are some ways to use Chatter:
1. Ask a Question – Next time you have a question for another team, instead of sending an email that everyone must ‘reply all’ to, just post the question to Chatter and get answers immediately, and everyone else can see too.
2. Collaborate – Use Chatter as a way to brainstorm with your co-workers.  Ask a question, start a discussion and watch the ideas flow.
3. Share large files – Big files can fill your inbox, and keeping track of the latest revision is almost impossible.  It is very easy to share files with Chatter – just drag and drop and everyone sees the updates instantly.  In addition, they can make comments right on the file.
4. Share websites, articles, etc. – Chatter is a great place to share relevant industry information.  When you read something of note, simply post a link to your Chatter account.  In addition, you can bookmark other people’s suggestions.
5. Manage projects – Projects often involve a lot of people.  Chatter allows you to create groups so that the whole project team can stay informed all along the way.
6. Solve Problems for Customers – When your customer has an issue, it often involves other departments in your company.  Chatter allows open communication between teams so that you can solve the problem quickly and easily.
7. Protect Information – Much information is sensitive and confidential.  Chatter has private groups that allow communication with the assurance that the conversation is confidential.
8. Spend Less Time in Meetings – Instead of spending hours and hours in meetings, use Chatter to communicate and collaborate.  Chatter users report that they significantly reduce the time they spend in meetings.
Chatter is a social tool that can help you work more efficiently.  Where’s the best place to find out more information about Chatter?

A good place to start with a brief product overview is the Chatter product page at Salesforce.com.  If you would like to learn more about how to promote the use of Chatter in your company, call NexGen Consultants.

February 27, 2014

Salesforce1

The mobile revolution is here.  According to a recent Salesforce.com study, 85% of survey respondents said mobile devices are a central part of everyday life. 90% of those age 18-24 agreed.  How is your company responding to this? 

Salesforce1 is a next-generation CRM platform from Salesforce that aims to improve the company’s footing in the mobile devices space.  The Salesforce1 Platform accelerates mobile app development for companies. It powers millions of mobile enterprise applications including the Salesforce1 Mobile App. So now anything you’ve built on Salesforce can be mobile, instantly, no code required. The 100% cloud platform and powerful APIs help you:

·         Develop customer facing apps
·         Build employee facing apps
·         Connect any product, device, and platform

Here are five ways the Salesforce1 Platform sets itself apart: 
1. Developers - Developers are more important than ever and the Salesforce1 Platform gives them more APIs to build next generation apps.
2. ISVs - Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) can use the Salesforce1 Platform to publish next generation apps.
3. Employees - The Salesforce1 Platform allows employees to be productive immediately. 
4. Admins - Admins can use a dedicated app to manage Salesforce from anywhere.
5. Customers - Users can experience all of the above innovation through custom apps on any device.

With the release of Salesforce1, Salesforce.com has made a major step in cementing its position as one of the top public cloud development platforms.  Click here to find out more about how the Salesforce1 Platform could help you connect to every customer and the next generation of apps and devices.

February 21, 2014

Spring ’14 is Coming!

Salesforce is constantly changing and improving, which is what makes it the leader in CRM.  The next major upgrade is right around the corner with Spring ’14, which will be rolled out in early March.  The amount of information can be overwhelming, and it can be very helpful to get a pre-release org org to see what the new features and functionality feels like for the upcoming release. This org won’t have your data in it, or your customizations, but it gives you an environment to try out the features in a clutter free org.  To sign up for a pre-release org, click here: https://www.salesforce.com/form/signup/prerelease-spring14.jsp

Spring '14 centers on helping you connect to your customers in new ways with the Salesforce1 Customer Platform. Now you can build and publish next-generation apps, and manage Salesforce from anywhere, on any device.

Find all the release resources you need below.



If you would like to speak to a consultant about how Spring ’14 will impact you and your Salesforce environment, click here to contact NexGen Consultants

February 14, 2014

6 Great Reasons to Switch to the Cloud

Cloud computing is growing exponentially, but what are the true benefits?  Will the investment pay off?  Here are six key benefits to operating in the cloud.

1.     Improve IT efficiency
Cloud computing removes the need to install software on all your workstations. All users simply log onto a web-based service that hosts all the applications they would need to carry out their work. Along with the reduction in software requirements, the hardware requirements for the workstations are reduced as well, since the processing shifts from the local computer to the cloud network.

2.     Reliable Data Storage
Storing, maintaining and processing information on web-based software and applications is done by the vendor.  No need to worry that a computer will ‘crash’ and you will lose all of your stored information.

3.     Improved Communication and Collaboration
Cloud computing allows you to communicate and collaborate in real time, regardless of your physical location. For instance, if you make some changes to a shared document, your team can see those changes immediately.  You don’t need to send an email with the document attached.  This not only reduces the chance for miscommunication but also allows teams to save time.

4.     Improved Customer Service
All customer data is accessible to everyone.  Your clients don’t have to wait for you to find the required information. This is especially helpful for larger organizations that have many locations.

5.     Sales Evaluation and Forecasting
When every process is recorded in real time, you don’t have to wait for business reports to find out where you stand. You can see on one screen exactly how many calls are being made, what sales are in the pipeline, etc.  Forecasts are more reliable as they are based on real time production, not reports that come after the fact.

6.     Working from Home
Many employees want the option to be able to work from home.  Cloud computing can make this possible.  Employees simply need to log in to the application and they can get to work – whenever and wherever they are. 


Salesforce can help your business improve productivity and ultimately lower your costs.  It will allow your employees to spend less time sharing, sending emails, etc and more time focusing on their jobs.  If you think you might be ready to invest in a CRM, click here to download a free eBook from Salesforce. If you would like to see how Salesforce can impact your business today, contact NexGen.

February 6, 2014

Using Gamification with Salesforce

gam·i·fi·ca·tion
ˌɡāmifəˈkāSHən/
noun

1.     the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g., point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service.

Gamification in business aims to engage your sales team to motivate them through the use of competition with the ultimate goal of producing better results.  For a sales manager, motivating your sales team can be a constant challenge. Salespeople operate under a lot of pressure and often it can become overwhelming.  It is not uncommon for them to lose motivation.  When these situations occur, a sales contest can reignite the spirit of competition among sales team members.  Sales professionals tend to be competitive by nature so the drive to win against colleagues can be a powerful motivator.  When done well, sales competitions can support sales goals, inspire individual performance improvements and encourage collaboration.

Salesforce has many apps that create competitions & games around your users completing records and recording data in Salesforce.  Using these apps allows the sales manager to not only motivate the employees, but also analyze the results of the contest.

Some tips for contests:

Focus on a goal – such as expanding into a new market or introducing a new product
Keep it short – have a distinct start and end. One month is an ideal length of time
Raise Energy Levels - sales contests can raise the morale of the entire team

Use a Salesforce App -.  You can find apps on the AppExchange that manage the entire contest for you.   Instead of managing the contest on spreadsheets and whiteboards, you can use basic Salesforce reports and leverage your current Salesforce environment to get real-time metrics of how your team is performing. 

Have Prizes - While money is useful, it is usually used for practical reasons, which is not very exciting. Non-cash prizes like vacations or restaurant gift certificates have no alternative, which means that employees can enjoy them without guilt and are more likely to talk about it with others.


Motivation plays a key role in producing results.  Many managers don’t like sales competitions, thinking they are too much trouble. Traditional sales contests are cumbersome and the administrator often ends up spending a great deal of time tracking progress, updating the results and sharing the results with the team. Although the contest may motivate a sales team, managers may not have the time to run the contest while handling their normal workload.  If you leverage gamification with Salesforce.com, then all of those issues are solved.  To learn which Gamification app is best for you, contact NexGen Consultants.

January 30, 2014

Cincinnati Salesforce.com User Group meeting - February 4

If you live in the Cincinnati area, the next Salesforce.com User Group meeting will be held on February 4, 2014 from 3:30 - 5:30.  Details are below:

February 4, 2014 from 3:30-5:30
Vantiv Corporate Headquarters
8500 Governors Hill Drive
Cincinnati, OH 45249
(First floor multi-purpose room)

The sponsor will be CorvisaCloud to present and demo their Salesforce CTI Phone Integration including contact suite options for different business types.

A local User Group is a great way to connect with other Salesforce users.  Salesforce User Groups are organized and run by actual Salesforce users and are designed for networking, sharing ideas and getting tips.  There are many reasons to become involved with your local User Group.  User Groups are organized by actual Salesforce users on a volunteer basis, so they are very responsive if you would like to help or add your own ideas to the mix. It is a good way to get updates on seasonal releases and the newest features of Salesforce, as well as honest feedback about the changes.  It’s also an excellent resource to find out about career opportunities in other organizations that use Salesforce.com.  Users are not the only people who attend the meetings.  Salesforce AppExchange vendors often demonstrate their products at User Groups, whether via a virtual presentation or in person.  This is a great way to learn about all the great new apps.  In addition, Salesforce.com Partner Consultants also often attend meetings. There are rules against using the group as a selling opportunity, so it is a great time to speak with the experts about ideas, best practices and any specific issues you are having.

User Groups are an excellent free way to develop your Salesforce.com knowledge and skills in an engaging, structured, and social environment.  If you live in the Cincinnati area, please consider attending the meeting on February 4.  If you live outside of the Cincinnati area, you can find a user group near you – just click here.