Friday, February 28, 2014

Software IS the future. Get on board or get left behind.

If you’re a business owner and you've always considered your company exempt from the movement towards software then you’re mistaken. Every passing day means more and more companies are becoming “software companies.”

According to a report by Forrester Research, the value of a company’s software equity will be as valuable, if not more, than that same company’s financial assets. Whether it’s a steel mill automating how it tracks orders so customers can stay up-to-date, or an automaker’s app that allows syncing between a car’s electronics and drivers’ phones for real-time diagnostics, companies that use software are developing another level of worth beyond their core products and services. On the other hand, the lack of software will increasingly cause customers to look elsewhere if their traditional vendors don’t keep up with the times.

The report also states that a company’s commitment to software will help separate itself from competitors who either aren’t as committed or lack any software at all. Software allows companies, regardless of industry, to build intimate relationships with their customers…and customers like that. This change in the business landscape has caused traditional enterprises to acquire software companies that live outside their traditional IT departments.


That type of reasoning is why the Salesforce 1 platform looks to become such a force in the future of software. While salesforce.com has been the gold standard in software as a service for more than a decade, the newest innovations of the Salesforce 1 platform are geared towards making companies more in tune with the Internet of things. And SkyPlanner, South Florida’s premier Salesforce consulting and customization company, can facilitate your journey into becoming a “software company”, so reach out to us today and let's get started!.

Monday, February 24, 2014

It's SkyPlanner Parachute Monday! Building a social community for your business, better networking, and much more!


It's SkyPlanner Parachute Monday! Find out what we at SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting company, have been reading, watching, listening to, and learning from in the past week. Click on each link to view our curated content. 


Social networks may somewhat help in building awareness of your business but they can't compare to the effectiveness of having a community that revolves solely around your own enterprise. Follow these steps to create a community around your business

Networking is so important to success in the business world. But it's also terrifying and stressful, and many times, especially when aimed towards those in positions of power, a fruitless effort. But while networking is in itself hardwork it doesn't have to be a deadend if done correctly.  

Working smart in sales is just as important, if not more, than working hard. In the business of sales that rings truer because, as the adage goes, "time is money." Luckily, Salesforce not only makes sales easier with cutting-edge technology but also through tips on how to improve your face-to-face sales tactics.  

1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes. That's one zettabyte and it's about how much information has been created world-wide and stored in the last two years. If you're having trouble picturing that, refer to the graphic below. It's how many 16 GB iPhones you'd need in order to equal just ONE zettabyte. That's a lot of data. And it's why Big Data, and being able to process it, is becoming so important for modern companies


The world has known about the health benefits of walking for years but little known is the ability of a long walk to potentially ease communication between people. Former HHS Secretary Louis Sullivan explains how taking walks with his employees helped him learn how to lead them better.  

At SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting company, we love to hear from ours clients and supporters so please feel free to comment with any opinions or suggestions for future content.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A pretty smile and slick words? SkyPlanner learns there's much more to the art of selling than looking good.

At SkyPlanner, the premier Salesforce consulting company and largest collection of certified Salesforce professionals in South Florida, our goal is to build the best working relationships possible with the customers we provide services for. But we have to find those customers first. That means having to put on the hat of salespeople from time to time, and we’re constantly looking at how to improve in that aspect of our business. Our research led us to learn that less than 50% of salespeople report closing on more than half of their qualified opportunities, with more than 65% of salespeople missing their sales quotas entirely. Luckily the web is a nearly unlimited source of tips on how to avoid finding ourselves on the wrong end of those percentages. And we’d like to pass what we’ve learned onto you in a series of SkyPlanner blog posts revolving around the world of sales.

Our first installment concerns how salespeople can benefit from forming good habits. The first habit is discipline. “Time is money,” and the ability to manage one’s time is of the utmost importance in a realm where you’re so dependent on others' schedules. Getting things done in a timely manner not only gives your prospective customers a reason to trust you but it also keeps you ready to adapt should an opportunity or threat arise without warning.

The second trait is the ability and desire to learn. In sales, knowledge is power. That includes knowing everything about your company and its services, as well as your potential customers and their products and services. A good salesperson must also know how to take any and all information, and use it as needed. Assessing a situation and being able to plot a course of action before acting is a trait of all great salespeople.

Last but not least (and the trait becoming more and more important as societal values evolve) is developing empathy for your customers. Knowing the tribulations your potential clients are going through and then providing a personalized solution just for them in extremely important. This can be achieved by listening instead of telling. Though a good salesperson has the qualities of a leader, he or she must also know how to serve.



Monday, February 17, 2014

It's SkyPlanner Parachute Monday! Sales tips from the Winter Olympics, phone calls over emails, and how to woo your next potential client.


It's SkyPlanner Parachute Monday! Find out what we at SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting company, have been reading, watching, listening to, and learning from in the past week. Click on each link to view our curated content. 


The 2014 Winter Olympics are in full-force. This colorful infographic shows you how to apply tips from the Olympics to your sales staff.  

Sometimes selling a client on why your company should place a huge order with you isn't actually the hardest part of landing a big deal that will launch your company to the next level. Finding the capital to fulfill that order might end up being much harder. Here's a way to make it work if that happens to you

Sales is about relationships. And like all relationships, a salesperson/customer relationship can get dull if everything stays the same throughout the process. And a dull relationship can lead to a lull in sales. Use these tips from Salesforce and keep the spice in your customer relationships.  

You may look at a successful person and say "they seem to have been bred for greatness but I don't have what it takes." But even Michael Jordan had to overcome being cut from his high school team to become the greatest of all time. It takes hard work but you can train yourself to be successful

Emails are so much easier than phone calls, right? You can take your time making sure they're just right, you don't fumble over your words, etc. But as the graphic below shows, the average person is bombarded with so many emails they probably won't notice yours unless they're looking for it. That's why, while email will always have a place in sales prospecting, a personal phone call can make a world of difference

Phone Calls vs Emails Business


Finally, at SkyPlanner we're always looking out for the best interests of our clients. That's why we felt the need to share the story of how Naoki Hiroshima lost his twitter handle, and how to avoid a similar fate. You can read all about it in last week's post

At SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting company, we love to hear from ours clients and supporters so please feel free to comment with any opinions or suggestions for future content.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Learning from the mistakes of others: The teachings of the @N case.

Today's post from SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting company, covers a curious case of poor customer management and the lessons that can be learned from others' mistakes.

A couple of weeks ago the social media world, as well as the entire internet universe, was thrown for a loop when it came to light that a man was extorted out of his Twitter username. Now that might not seen so tragic but it is when the man had already refused to part with his handle despite being offered up to $50,000 and twas forced to give it up due to serious breaches in customer service protocols by not one, but TWO companies. Naoki Hiroshima lost control of his @N handle through a type of extortion known as social engineering. According to Wikipedia, social engineering is "Social engineering, in the context of information security, refers to psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information." The "hacker" was able to force Hiroshima to voluntarily relinquish control of @N simply by tricking customer service reps at PayPal and GoDaddy into turning over critical information of Hiroshima's accounts to gain access to domains registered through GoDaddy. The hacker then threatened to take them over if Hiroshima did not give him control of the username. A more detailed outline of the case can be found here.

While this may seem scary to many, it is actually a great opportunity for other companies to look at their own customer service practices and provide better security for their customers. While it is easy to say that a company should just train their customer service reps to handle situations better but the truth is that, while training reps to better handle random claims is necessary, the responsibility of proper customer service falls on the people in charge. After a researching ways to provide better security in customer service, SkyPlanner came to the conclusion that these steps should be followed to achieve that goal:
  1. Implement two-factor authentication, or TFA, in order for customers to log-in to their accounts. TFA usually requires a username, password, and a third method of verification. Usually this verification is a code sent through text to the phone number currently on file for the account. SkyPlanner gathered from our research that using common methods of verification such as mother's maiden name or last four digits a customer's social security number are not recommended. This also protects users from themselves when they choose easily decipherable passwords. 
  2. Sever the chain of information as it currently stands. Much like banks, SkyPlanner found that using systems where the user inputs data into automated systems versus giving them directly to a customer service rep is most secure. This not only curtails the risk of having a rogue customer service rep stealing log-in information but also protects your company from any blame should the customer's information be stolen.  
  3. Finally, after receiving all the log-in information go one step further and make sure that information is encrypted wherever its stored. This keeps anyone with access to the servers where the information is stored from stealing it without much of a struggle. 


Customer security is always important and that is also true at South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting company. We at SkyPlanner hope the tips above can help you make your customers feel more secure. And if you're ever in need of help with your voyage onto the cloud remember that we are always ready to provide our expertise to help you grow. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

It's SkyPlanner Parachute Monday! What your business can learn from the Beatles, avoiding burn-out and killing your success, and a recap of two amazing SkyPlanner events.


It's SkyPlanner Parachute Monday! Find out what we at SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting company, have been reading, watching, listening to, and learning from in the past week. Click on each link to view our curated content. 


Fifty years ago, "Beatlemania" took over the U.S. But was it also..."Businessmania". This article from Fast Company analyzes why the Beatles were so successful in the U.S. and how those advantages could be used to help your own business take the world by storm

Innovation can only go as far as a company's culture can carry it. Here's how to get that innovation-friendly culture started-up!

Modern selling isn't about telling the customers what they want. It's about listening to what they need and crafting your pitch to show them how your product or service can fulfill those needs

We all want to work hard and be successful. But are you working so hard that it becomes counter-productive? Read these tips and apply them to your life to make sure your success isn't hampered by your desire to succeed

The last few weeks were very exciting for SkyPlanner. First, the leadership trio of Jorge Fernandez, Rene Garcia, and Rene Rodriguez put on the inaugural SkyPlanner Kick-off corporate event. The event included an overview of SkyPlanner 's successes in 2013, a look into the plans for an even more successful 2014, and an office basketball tournament. 

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At SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting company, we love to hear from ours clients and supporters so please feel free to comment with any opinions or suggestions for future content.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Running for a cause: SkyPlanner takes on the Miami Marathon as part of Debbie's Dream Team.

Accomplishing anything for yourself is always a great feeling...but accomplishing something in the name of something greater than yourself is always a feeling beyond words. On February 2nd various members of the SkyPlanner team took on the Miami Marathon and 1/2 Marathon in support of the Debbie's Dream Foundation. For the second straight year, SkyPlanner was also a sponsor of the entire Debbie's Dream Team group of runners and its goal of raising awareness of the fight to cure stomach cancer. And Much like we do when completing projects for our clients, every runner put his all into overcoming the long miles of his respective race to finish strong. We can't wait to test ourselves and run for a good cause again next year!

The SkyPlanner team with some members of the LifeConEx team, and Debbie Zelman herself (fourth from right), at the Debbie's Dream Team pre-marathon dinner
SkyPlanner's Daymel Marrero crosses the 1/2 Marathon finish line exhausted but excited  for his accomplishment. 

Three of the 1/2 Marathon finishers: Ernesto Rodriguez, Rene Garcia, and Daymel. Ernesto finished in 2:09:34, Rene in 2:24:17, and Daymel in 2:32:46.


The medal: a symbol of not holding back, leaving everything out on the course, and succeeding in the face of difficult circumstances. 

The 1/2 Marathon course. Scenic views and sore feet for miles and miles!

The Debbie's Dream Team runners! SkyPlanner is honored to have been a part of such a motivated group. 

The team celebrating an overall great experience (and replenishing all those lost carbs) with some well-deserved beers. Here's to doing it again in 2015!

And for a special treat, here's SkyPlanner Co-Founder and Managing Partner Rene Rodriguez crossing the finish line of Miami Marathon. 26.2 miles in 4:29:09. Quite a feat!


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The 2014 SkyPlanner Kickoff: Blasting our way into the future!

SkyPlanner officially launched our new year with the inaugural SkyPlanner Kickoff corporate event. The company-wide event was a success as founders Jorge Fernandez, Rene Garcia, and Rene Rodriguez recapped all the successes of 2013 and gave the SkyPlanner team a glimpse of what the future holds for all of us. 

The 2014 SkyPlanner Kickoff is all set and ready to go!
Co-founder/Managing Partner Rene Rodriguez recaps our successes in 2013.

The Miami team takes in project manager Daymel Marrero's talk on day-to-day operations. 

The team from Colombia was also on hand for the presentation. 

Even all the way from Toronto, Romesh kept a watchful eye on Jorge the entire time...just in case. 

Our presence in Spain is was also well-represented. 

Each member of the team took the stage to share his own professional and personal accomplishments, and aspirations for the future. 
Under Romesh's watchful eye Co-founder/Managing Partner Jorge Fernandez explains how SkyPlanner has grown from a team of close friends to South Florida's largest collection of certified Salesforce developers. 


Just a few of the clients we've helped to become better customer companies through our expertise as South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting and customization company. 
Co-founder/Managing Partner Rene Garcia outlines the plans for 2014. So how does the future look for SkyPlanner? Hint: Very Bright.

The day wasn't all business. After a great lunch at The Knife the team came back to the office for a competitive, yet friendly, office basketball tournament. 

SkyPlanner's resident Salesforce administrator Ernesto puts the dagger in the heart of his opponents as Los Averages take the tournament and the prize of Starbucks giftcards. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

It's SkyPlanner Parachute Monday! Building sales relationships, mastering productivity, sticking to resolutions, and more!


It's SkyPlanner Parachute Monday! Find out what we at SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting company, have been reading, watching, listening to, and learning from in the past week. Click on each link to view our curated content. 


It's no mystery that many, if not most, potential customers just don't trust salespeople when initially meeting them. This was mainly because salespeople had to be detached from who were they selling to. Sympathy and empathy were, for the most part, taboo. Now the reverse is true and building deeper relationships with customers is the key to successful selling

Speaking of building relationships, nothing is worse than being so close to finalizing a B2B deal only to have it fall apart because a key role player in the other company voices a dissenting opinion. That's why it's imperative to build consensus among all departments in organizations you're selling to.  

Simplicity, Awareness, and Fluidity. Those are some of the skills that made Bruce Lee one of the most respected martial artists of all time. And those same traits can make you a productive business person (and overall better one, too)

What if your different departments within your enterprise worked better together? Would it make your business better? More than likely...yes.  

Being a " creative genius" is not something you're born with. There are ways of cultivating the skills to make yourself into one

Even companies as well respected and successful as Salesforce have humble beginnings. Below is a old-school (i.e. not the best quality) image of salesforce.com's first server room. Cozy, huh?


The world now finds itself more than a month into 2014 and New Year's resolutions are dropping like flies. Read our blog post from last week to see what SkyPlanner learned about not letting resolutions go down in flames


At SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting company, we love to hear from ours clients and supporters so please feel free to comment with any opinions or suggestions for future content.