Thursday, July 31, 2014

Salesforce.com becomes latest member of The Software Alliance.

Salesforce.com has announced it has joined The Software Alliance, otherwise known as the BSA. The BSA is a trade group comprised of software creators, and works to fight copyright infringement of members' intellectual properties.

business optimization, CRM, CRM consulting, crm miami, crm optimization, Lead management, marketing, net neutrality, salesforce, Salesforce consulting, Salesforce News, salesforce optimization,

According to a press release available on PR Newswire, Salesforce chose to join long-time BSA members like Microsoft and Oracle to "engage in global policy initiatives that ensure software innovation continues to flourish and drive transformative change throughout the digital economy".

Burke Norton, Chief Legal Officer of salesforce.com:
"As the world's fastest-growing top-ten software company, salesforce.com is very pleased to join BSA. BSA has a long track record of effectively advocating on behalf of the global software industry, and we look forward to collaborating with other industry leaders to advance policies that promote innovation and growth and that expand markets worldwide."
Norton will assume a position on BSA's Board of Directors as part of the move.

Victoria Espinel, BSA President and CEO:
"We are delighted to have salesforce.com as a member and look forward to adding their expertise to our policy programs. The software industry has always been an engine of innovation, and now it is rapidly adopting new business models and distribution platforms that create tremendous new opportunities. As the world's leading provider of enterprise cloud computing, salesforce.com will bring an important perspective to BSA. We look forward to partnering with them on initiatives to enable innovation and growth across the whole industry."
The BSA, founded in 1988, is headquarted in Washington D.C. but also operates in over 60 countries.

Sources:
1. "BSA | The Software Alliance." BSA | The Software Alliance. The Software Alliance, n.d. Web. 30 July 2014.
2. "Salesforce.com Joins BSA." MarketWatch. PR Newswire, 2014. Web. 31 July 2014.
2.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Net neutrality: what it means for your business.

At SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting and customization company, our business relies heavily on the speed with which crucial data can travel from the cloud to our customers. As such the issue of net neutrality is important and one we're monitoring closely. In the last part of our two-part series on net neutrality we provide arguments from both sides of the debate so you can decide where you'll stand. You can find the first part of our net neutrality series here.

In case you need a refresher net neutrality is the idea that all content is created equal and internet service providers should treat it as such. Regardless of where content originates it should be delivered with the same speed. Recently the idea of net neutrality has come under attack by some ISPs. They want to install a two-tier system where in companies essential pay tolls for different speeds.

Source: SkyPlanner
Net neutrality supporters cite the recent skirmish between Netflix and Comcast as proof positive of the dangers of the proposed system. During negotiations Comcast throttled Netflix's bandwidth. That in turn caused Netflix subscribers to complain to the company about long download times and low picture quality. After the two companies came to terms Netflix's download speeds returned to normal. The communications giant flexed its muscle and showed just how it could force content providers to submit to any payment plans. If ISPs can hold a company like Netflix hostage then much smaller companies stand little to no chance.

Conversely, those in favor of a tier-system see the issue as an extension of common practices in the realm of communications. They believe charging companies for differing internet speeds is comparable to the cable television business model. They also argue that net neutrality will also stymie innovation if companies foresee no reward for investing in research and development of new technologies. Finally, critics of net neutrality believe that the free market will control prices and any intervention by the U.S. government is price regulation. Arguments can be made that price regulation is an early step towards government control of the internet leading to eventual censorship, and history shows that that is never a good thing.

While both sides offer good talking-points it should be noted that some companies like Google and Netflix that would seem to benefit greatly from a tiered-system have actually expressed their support of net neutrality. Regardless of your stance we encourage you to stay on top of the issue. We will be doing so at SkyPlanner as we see how any changes will affect our Salesforce CRM customers in Miami and the rest of South Florida.

Sources:
1. Leung, Stuart. "What Is Net Neutrality? What Businesses Need to Know." Blog. Salesforce.com, 22 July 2014. Web. 22 July 2014.
2. Litan, Robert E., and Hal J. Singer. "Why Business Should Oppose Net Neutrality." Harvard Business Review. Harvard Business Review, 13 Aug. 2010. Web. 22 July 2014.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Starting off another week of productivity and success the only way we know how...with a new SkyPlanner Parachute!

business crm, cloud computing, CRM, inbound marketing, Lead management, Leads, outbound marketing, sales tracking, salesforce, salesforce automation, Salesforce CRM,

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 during the past week. Click on each link to view our curated content.
  • Salesforce took another step into the future when it announced the imminent release of its new Sales Reach service. Last week on the SkyPlanner Blog we let readers in on how the service will allow salespeople to keep up with shortening b2b purchase cycles. 
  • Salesforce will soon take over the San Francisco skyline when the company moves into the aptly named Salesforce Tower in 2017. Here are some fun facts about the future "House that Benioff Built". 
  • This past week saw the 45th anniversary of the first American moon landing. After all this time the moon landing stands as a perfect example of American ingenuity, bravery, strength and many other qualities. And those qualities can be applied to business as well
  • The ability to influence people isn't limited to just the people you sell to; it's also important in the workplace. The infographic below, based on the teachings of influencer-extraordinaire Guy Kawasaki, shows how you can influence your co-workers (ethically, of course).
    business optimization, CRM, CRM consulting, crm miami, crm optimization, Lead management, marketing, net neutrality, salesforce, Salesforce consulting, Salesforce News, salesforce optimization,
    Source: Inc.com
     
  • Evolution is how animals stay out of the extinct column so why do so many businesses, like those featured in this article from Forbes, refuse to adapt. Learn from their mistakes to avoid going the same route. 
  • Net neutrality is gaining a lot of traction in the news world these days but many people still have no idea what it is. As a cloud-based business SkyPlanner has been keeping up on the issue and we decided to share our research in a two-part series of blog posts. The first one, published last week, outlines exactly what net neutrality is and why some internet providers are trying to end it.
At SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting company, we love to hear from ours clients and supporters so please feel free to comment or email us with any opinions or suggestions for future content.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Salesforce announces impending launch of B2B super-tool Salesforce1 Sales Reach.

Salesforce.com has just announced it intends to launch Salesforce1 Sales Reach, a new service that integrates the functionalities of Pardot into existing Salesforce communites. Pardot was part of the ExactTarget acquisition completed by Salesforce in 2013. B2B selling is quickly catching up to where B2C selling has been for a few years now: catering to the 24-hour mobile customer.
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Source: www.pardot.com
The goal of the new service is to allow salespeople to stay heavily engaged with B2B customers during the purchase cycle, which these days can be a fast as a few hours. The new service will give users the ability create one-on-one campaigns aimed at individual decision makers right on their mobile devices.

According to Linda Crawford, EVP and GM of Sales Cloud for Salesforce, the new app will empower salespeople like never before :
"In this new connected era, sales reps must be empowered to cultivate long-term, meaningful relationships with customers in order to be successful—transactional touch points won't drive impactful results. With Salesforce1 Sales Reach, sales reps can engage with the customer at just the right moment with instant marketing and selling to build better relationships with customers at scale and ultimately accelerate sales."
Meanwhile Michael Fauscette, Group VP of Software Business Solutions for IDC, sees potential in the release:
"Companies must evolve to meet the new demands of today's buyer in order to succeed in this mobile, connected world. Solutions that empower sales reps with the tools and data they need to market and sell in the moment help advance buyers through the sales process more quickly and grow business as a result."
The solutions promised include:
  • A micro-campaigns capability that will give sales reps the ability to devise quick individualized marketing campaigns directed to individual prospects.  
  • Real-time notifications that will give users freedom to take deal-closing actions as soon as events are registered in the app. 
  • Lead tracking will provide users a record of a prospect's activity through a 36-hour window. This will give users the ability to whittle down what is and what isn't working in their campaigns.  
  • Mobile nurture campaigns will enable users to add prospects to  campaigns will be geared towards those potential buyers who are still in the earlier phases of the purchase cycle. 
All the above mentioned capabilities will live on users' mobile devices. The screencaps below show the look and feel of the app. 

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Source: zdnet.com

The pricing model for Salesforce1 Sales Reach will be released when the app is made available to the general public in 2015, though the Salesforce offering needed to use the service, Sales Cloud and Pardot, are $65 per user per month for the Professional Edition and starting at $1,000 per month for 10,000 contacts, respectively.

Source:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Net Neutrality: What is it and why is it such a big deal?

business optimization, CRM, CRM consulting, crm miami, crm optimization, Lead management, marketing, net neutrality, salesforce, Salesforce consulting, Salesforce News, salesforce optimization,
Source: huffingtonpost.com
At SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting and customization company, our business relies strongly on the speed with which crucial data can travel from the cloud to our customers. As such the issue of net neutrality is very important and one we're monitoring closely. Over the course of this week we will be presenting two blog posts on the issue that will cover what net neutrality is, why it's actually a pretty big deal, and finally, how it will affect businesses both big and small.

Net neutrality is quite the hot button issue these days. For many the internet is considered the last bastion of the free economy so many attribute to the U.S., and for many it is an important componet of what people call the "open internet", or an internet where third parties do not interfere with how business is conducted. The FCC's own definition of the open internet is as follows:
"The "Open Internet" is the Internet as we know it. It's open because it uses free, publicly available standards that anyone can access and build to, and it treats all traffic that flows across the network in roughly the same way. The principle of the Open Internet is sometimes referred to as "net neutrality." Under this principle, consumers can make their own choices about what applications and services to use and are free to decide what lawful content they want to access, create, or share with others. This openness promotes competition and enables investment and innovation.
The Open Internet also makes it possible for anyone, anywhere to easily launch innovative applications and services, revolutionizing the way people communicate, participate, create, and do business—think of email, blogs, voice and video conferencing, streaming video, and online shopping. Once you're online, you don't have to ask permission or pay tolls to broadband providers to reach others on the network. If you develop an innovative new website, you don't have to get permission to share it with the world."
In summation, net neutrality means that everything that is put up on the World Wide Web gets the same treatment from service providers no matter its origin. Online content from a small start-up gets from point A to point B with the same speed as content from giant corporations like Google or Yahoo!. Net neutrality lays out a level playing field that is not necessarily present in the physical business world and lets fledgling companies challenge established ones for customers. But big internet service providers are trying to change that following the huge increase in popularity of streaming services like Netflix.

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Credit: innlink.com

Some service providers like Verizon and Comcast have spent millions lobbying Congress for the right to create a tier-system in which they charge companies for higher bandwidth speeds while non-payers are possibly subjected to throttling. That would become a huge roadblock for small companies to get their content to current or potential customers as the costs to be on the faster tier will likely range in the tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars.

business optimization, CRM, CRM consulting, crm miami, crm optimization, Lead management, marketing, net neutrality, salesforce, Salesforce consulting, Salesforce News, salesforce optimization,
Source: Mother Jones

business optimization, CRM, CRM consulting, crm miami, crm optimization, Lead management, marketing, net neutrality, salesforce, Salesforce consulting, Salesforce News, salesforce optimization,
Source: Mother Jones

Below is a great video from comedian John Oliver's HBO show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. While it is a political satire segment it provides a very succinct explanation of the issue.


Come back next week for the second installment of SkyPlanner's series on net neutrality. Friday's post will cover how the possible tier-system may affect your business, and whether businesses should favor or oppose net neutrality. And remember to share your thoughts on this issue, or any other issue, in the comments!

Sources:
1. Leung, Stuart. "What Is Net Neutrality? What Businesses Need to Know." Blog. Salesforce.com, 22 July 2014. Web. 22 July 2014.
2. "Open Internet | FCC.gov." Open Internet | FCC.gov. Federal Communications Commission, n.d. Web. 20 July 2014.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

How do you know it's going to be a great week? Because you're starting it off with a fresh SkyPlanner Parachute from South Florida's premier Salesforce consultants!

business crm, cloud computing, CRM, inbound marketing, Lead management, Leads, outbound marketing, sales tracking, salesforce, salesforce automation, Salesforce CRM,

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 during the past week. Click on each link to view our curated content.
At SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting company, we love to hear from ours clients and supporters so please feel free to comment or email us with any opinions or suggestions for future content.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Are you the cause of your own stress? 4 reasons why you might be your own worst enemy in the workplace.

source: www.stress.org
There's no doubt that we live in a world where there's a lot that can stress us out and the office is no different. There are surprise deadlines, tedious commutes, tough bosses, and many other factors that can lead to stress in the workplace. But when you ask people what they feel their biggest stressors are at many times you may find that they're internal, meaning they create them themselves. Trying to gain more knowledge on the subject SkyPlanner took to the internet to find out more about workplace stress. Below are some causes we at SkyPlanner, South Florida's best choice for Salesforce consulting and customization, have found to raise stress levels:

The irrational need to be perfect 
While criticism, bad reviews, or even termination are always possibilities if something doesn't go according to plan, the belief that no matter how hard you work you're never good enough and everything will end in tragedy can wreck havoc on your mind. And that will almost always lead to deteriorating production (which will, in turn, lead to even more stress).

The belief that you need to know everything
Usually the most successful people tend to be those that are good at ironing out the details. That's a great trait to have. The problem lies when a person believes that they should know every little detail about everything at all times. The world is fluid and there will always be surprises yet that fact is lost on some, and it unnecessarily adds to real stressors. Let's face it: if you knew everything that can and will happen, you'd win the lottery every week until you die and you wouldn't need to worry about work anyway.  

The "catastrophizing" of every mistake
No matter how experienced or prepared you are mistakes are inevitable. It's a universal truth and no matter how hard you refuse to accept it, it's not going to change. Yet people allow themselves to dwell on every little error that occurs in the workplace. Truth be told, catastrophic mistakes are usually the result of many smaller wrongs that have added up, so if you're doing everything as it should be no one mistake will be too big to overcome.

Plain old paranoia
The culmination of the three previous points will eventually lead to what can only be described as workplace paranoia, or the added pressure you heap on yourself when you think everybody thinks you're horrible at your job. While it's true you will be judged on your performance very rarely (in a good work environment) will people think badly of you or your work.

The worst thing about stress is that it doesn't just affect your work performance, it affects all aspects of your life. Here is a just a quick list of ways stress can affect your health and social interactions in everyday life.

Common effects of stress ...
... On your body... On your mood... On your behavior
  • Headache
  • Muscle tension or pain
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Change in sex drive
  • Stomach upset
  • Sleep problems
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of motivation or focus
  • Irritability or anger
  • Sadness or depression
  • Overeating or undereating
  • Angry outbursts
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Tobacco use
  • Social withdrawal
There's no need to emphasize how serious all the above factors can be to quality of life. It's essential to take some time to reflect what we've uncovered, and to make the changes necessary to eliminate your own self-induced stressors.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Salesforce continues to push the boundaries of CRM software with the acquisition of RelateIQ

skyplanner, salesforce consulting miami, salesforce miami, salesforce customization miami, salesforce implementation miamiSalesforce.com added to it's already extensive and impressive line-up of CRM capabilities when it acquired RelateIQ for a total of around $390 million last week. Founded in 2011, RelateIQ's specialization is business-relationship data intelligence and produces software that automatically captures data from emails, calendars, and smartphone interactions in order to provide users with data-driven insights about potential customers.

In a blog post that served as a letter to customers RelateIQ CEO Steve Loughlin wrote that he and his fellow RelateIQ co-founder are excited to join salesforce.com because it allows people them to take their philosophy on CRM to another level:
We believe this offers our customers the best of both worlds. Salesforce.com pioneered the shift to enterprise cloud computing, redefining modern CRM as we know it. As you know, RelateIQ is pioneering the next generation of intelligent computing through data science and machine learning. Looking ahead, salesforce.com’s acquisition of RelateIQ will extend the value of salesforce.com’s #1 CRM apps and platform with a new level of intelligence across sales, service, and marketing.
skyplanner, salesforce consulting miami, salesforce miami, salesforce customization miami, salesforce implementation miami

The deal is seen by some as salesforce.com's move to develop it's own innovative R+D department akin to Google's Google[x] lab. But while Google[x] spends resources on driver-less cars and eyeglasses that show ads, Salesforce will probably use RelateIQ to make its own software smarter and more intuitive. In the meantime RelateIQ will continue to be run as an independent company as Salesforce figures out how RelateIQ innovative technologies and best practices can be used to bolster the Salesforce platform's own offerings.

Sources:

Monday, July 14, 2014

What's going on in the world of cloud computing and technology? Read on to find out in this week's SkyPlanner Parachute.


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 during the past week. Click on each link to view our curated content.
At SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting company, we love to hear from ours clients and supporters so please feel free to comment or email us with any opinions or suggestions for future content.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Ten things you and your sales team should avoid when trying to build foundations of trust with customers

“To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.”
                                                                                                              ― George MacDonald

Few things are important than trust. Even more so when you're trying to get people to buy something from you. A company can spend decades building trust within customers. We at SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting and customization company, have done just that and it pays dividends when our customers recommend us to others without hesitation. 

But trust is fleeting as one false step and all that hard work goes up in smoke. And once that trust is gone it can be a steep, difficult climb to regain it (and sometimes it will never happen). Just look at Target. You'd be hard-pressed to find an informed consumer (one who has actually heard of the security breach that allowed huge amounts of Target customer data to be stolen) who can shop at the retail giant and be 100% confident that his or her private information is safe. 

The same principle of trust applies to salespeople as well. The experts at Salesforce have compiled a list of ten things every salesperson should take into account when building trust with customers.

  1. Don't push solutions onto a customers that you know won't fulfill their needs. 
  2. Don't overembelish features of your product or service if the claims are simply not true, and instead be completely honest about what you can actually deliver.
  3. Don't overpromise on a solution if there is even a small chance of underdelivering on that promise.
  4. Don't get involved in under-the-table incentives, either on the giving or receiving end. 
  5. Don't fluctuate in your pricing because if the client finds out you offered them a higher price than another customer they will be livid...and it'll be worse if your bosses find out. 
  6. Don’t place blame on other and instead work to fix any problems that arise.
  7. Don't try to put lipstick on a pig and fill your customers in on all news, even if it's bad. 
  8. Don't badmouth your competition as it only serve to give customers the impression you're not confident in your own products and services.
  9. Don't steal customers from your own co-workers.
  10. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.
Bottom line is a culture of honesty and transparency goes a long way in building trusting relationships between companies and their customers. If you want to keep your customers coming back for more then you have to show them you're not just after their SSS. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The World Cup might be ending soon but your week is just getting started with a healthy dose of news from SkyPlanner!


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 during the past week. Click on each link to view our curated content.
At SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting company, we love to hear from ours clients and supporters so please feel free to comment or email us with any opinions or suggestions for future content.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

When it comes to helping your customers, self-service may be the best form of service.


For all the good that technological advancements have given the world one of the possibly detrimental effects, at least from a customer service view, has to be the expectation for 24/7 satisfaction. With 24/7 news and entertainment, among others, it's understandable that people would become (for lack of a better term) spoiled when it comes to getting customer service immediately.

While it's always been a necessity for businesses like credit card companies to offer 24-hour customer service it has become imperative that all businesses big and small now provide some sort of the same. And that's where self-service options can become the most effective tools, and the best part is many require little effort on behalf of the customer which is very important in keeping their experiences stress-free.

According to Salesforce.com, the world's #1 CRM platform, a good way of handling "customer self-service" is to develop customer communities. Successful customer communities can be accessed from anywhere through any kind of device, feature forums where questions can be answered by experts and fellow customers alike, and allow for unanswered queries to be funneled to company service reps who can directly assist customers.

There's also a financial benefit for companies that invest in customer communities: decreased costs due to the need for fewer service reps, increased customer satisfaction due to simplicity in finding quick solutions to problems, increased evangelist involvement with regular customers, and the ability for reps to concentrate their efforts on assisting customers with bigger problems.


Source: Salesforce.com. "Why Self-Service Options Are a Must For Today's Customers." Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 July 2014.