Friday, August 30, 2013

Leadership is like a business: it's not born out of nothing.

At SkyPlanner, Miami’s premier Salesforce consulting company, we are always striving to become industry leaders when it comes to helping client get the most out of their Salesforce implementations. The following post reflects on insights about becoming better leaders that we’ve come across as we continually strive for improvement.

“What makes a great leader,” with the keyword in that question being “makes.” That’s right. This post from SkyPlanner, Miami’s premier Salesforce consulting company, deals with leaders when they’re created by choice of the person because he or she wants to be a leader.

Hollywood would have us believe that becoming a leader requires a special person facing a great struggle such as Harry Potter staring down the tip of Voldemort’s wand. But the truth is anyone can become a great leader and they don’t need to be facing impending doom to do so. They just need to know what makes a great leader in the first place. According to Deepak Chopra, renowned physician and founder of the Chopra Foundation, great leaders can make people feel compelled to follow them by being sensitive to what those people need. According to Chopra, what people need usually falls within these categories:
Security – a leader must make his or her followers feel safe or at least optimistic that security is possible.
Success – People desire a sense of achievement but most aren’t able to do so on their own. A leader has to be able to motivate people to strive for success.

Cooperation – A leader must bring people together even in times where there is dissension in the ranks.

Nurturing – Not everyone in a group is going to feel at their best at all times. Leadership means making people feel good even when they’re at their worst.

Creativity – Since leaders are generally viewed as the strategists of a group, he or she must exhibit a sense of creativity or innovation.

Morality – Bottom line: a leader’s values greatly influences the values of everyone that follows him or her.
Dave Kerpen, best-selling author and CEO of Likeable Local, created the pyramid below to show how the above traits lead to a business that is well received by the masses.

While the prospect of being a leader can be daunting, SkyPlanner has determined that it is very do-able with work, and it is necessary if some wishes to be an entrepreneur. And we're here to help whoever wishes to take that step towards becoming a leader by providing our services to making his or her business as successful as possible.

Monday, August 26, 2013

SkyPlanner, Miami's premier Salesforce consultants, presents this week's SkyPlanner Parachute

It's SkyPlanner Parachute Monday! Find out what we at SkyPlanner, Miami'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. 

If your business is like SkyPlanner you probably don't have much time during the day to read or watch many educational materials to improve your business and yourself. That's why just like SkyPlanner can customize your Salesforce applications to make your business run better, podcasts can help you pack that little extra bit of improvement into your day. Here's a list of ten podcasts that will get you motivated whether you're an entrepreneur just starting out or a seasoned business owner.

When you do have a couple of minutes to spare here is a video by entrepreneur and author Seth Godin about how failures should not be looked as disasters but instead as opportunities to get better. (bonus: you can also treat the video as a "podcast" if you start it and leave it on in the background while you work). 

What makes a great business? Great leadership. This LinkedIn post by Shane Snow, CCO of Contently, offers insight into how the most effective leaders are the ones who aren't afraid to go against the traditional idea of what a leader should be. 

Everything today has to be mobile and that's why SkyPlanner is as comfortable in the mobile space as we are customizing Salesforce applications. Salesforce's Laura Fagan whipped up a quick checklist that every business should make sure to fill before letting its apps go live. 

We end this week's SkyPlanner Parachute with a very informative infographic that lays out the evolution of sales from soapbox salesmen to how today's salesperson has to deal with a much more informed public that is a quick Google search away from knowing whether they're being told the truth.

At SkyPlanner, Miami'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, August 22, 2013

Is it possible to get too much information? SkyPlanner found a good deal of information that proves that it is.

You’re reading an article on a website and you get distracted by an image in the sidebar that’s accompanied by a catchy headline, and you end up clicking on it even though you’re not finished reading the article. Before you know it, you’re six articles or photo galleries removed from what you were originally interested in reading with no idea how you got there. That is a common example of the dreaded notion of “information overload.”

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While the ability to gain new information easily has gradually increased since Johannes Gutenburg created the West's version of the printing press, the notion that a person can actually overload on information has only really become an epidemic in the past few decades. While the human brain can handle millions of subconscious sensory stimulations at the same time, the rapid evolution of modern information technology has greatly outpaced the ability of the human body to evolve to be able to process simultaneous written and verbal information. Things such as widespread access to lightning fast internet connections, the low cost of duplicating information (through emails, social media, etc.) which means information gets to everyone instead of those who will benefit from it.

All of this has caused the modern person to believe they NEED to have all the information they can get, even if it means they really don’t retain nearly as much as they think they do.
The solutions to counter information overload are simple. Learning to differentiate between information you need to know versus that which you would like to know is a good start; as is concentrating on a few reliable sources of information on the subject instead of every source available. And while “multi-tasking” and “being connected” are common buzzwords thrown around these days it is important to be able to single-task and become disconnected (that is, shut off your phone and stop checking emails) until what needs to be done is done.

Below is a great TED Talk (we love those here at SkyPlanner) by Barry Schwartz. While Schwartz speaks on freedom of choice, SkyPlanner believes the same principles can be applied to having access to more information than we know what to do with. Just make sure to close your email and throw your mouse in the corner before you start watching.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

You've worked hard to build your brand's image. These are some things that can kill it.

As Miami’s premier Salesforce consulting company, SkyPlanner's focus is on helping businesses improve how they conduct business. The third and final part of SkyPlanner’s three-part series on branding deals with incidents that could negatively affect a brand’s image. 

Before the advent of all-day news networks and social media it would take a monumental disaster such as the Exxon Valdez to make people wonder about how they previously perceived a brand. These days a single word uttered in privacy or a private donation can cause an uproar that can tarnish years of positive brand equity. This post from SkyPlanner, Miami’s premier Salesforce consulting company, outlines different ways a brand can damage itself.

branding, brand image, skyplanner, salesforceThe fist common threat to a company’s brand image is instituting a drastic change in business practices. These large-scale changes tend to trigger a huge backlash from both customers and
business experts. A prime example of this was Netflix’s decision to alter its business model in 2011 when the company announced that it would split off its DVD-rental service into a separate entity called Qwikster and, at the same time, raise prices. Netflix had built its loyal customer base on a sole brand and cheap subscription prices so when it seemed like the company was trying to gouge subscribers it was immediately attacked. Then customers threatened to leave the company in droves. Almost as quickly as it announced the new plans, the company had to reverse course and announce it would keep its service in its original form.

The second threat is when a brand’s image is heavily dependent on an individual, be it the
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company’s founder or a celebrity sponsor, and that person’s personal problems affect the brand. Paula Deen, who created a cooking empire with her Southern charm, and her well-publicized fall from grace caused by a derogatory comment is the latest example of personal problems affecting a brand. Almost as soon as news of the incident broke she lost her television show, her book deals, and many of her endorsement deals. While a scandal may not necessarily result in lost brand equity- most of Tiger Wood’s sponsors continued their association with the golfer despite his infidelity- Deen is somber reminder of how fragile a brand’s image can be.

The final issue we will touch upon concerns what happens when a company publicly aligns itself with
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one side of a divisive issue, which can result in a PR nightmare because those who favor the opposite side will usually bring attention to it. Chick-fil-A, known for its Christian leanings, became the center of a national debate when it came to light that the company donated money to organizations that were pro-traditional marriage. While it is, of course, the right of a company to do what it pleases with its earnings and will get support from like-minded people, it must be aware that there will be a vocal segment of the opposing view that will make it into a scandal. And it is up to the company’s leadership to determine whether their stance is worth the potential scandal.

SkyPlanner hopes you have enjoyed our three part series on what brand image means to your company, how to develop a brand strategy, and threats that can kill brand equity. SkyPlanner knows that as a young company our image is everything. And that’s why take care to give every client a professional yet personal touch in everything that we do for them.

Monday, August 19, 2013

SkyPlanner, Miami's premier Salesforce consulting company, presents the SkyPlanner Parachute.

It's SkyPlanner Parachute Monday! Find out what we at SkyPlanner, Miami'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. 

A little tip from the guys at Five Guys about how the perception of added benefits is just as effective as actually adding benefits. 

Networking is the lifeblood of a small business. This set of infographics is ripe with networking ideas, including some you might never have thought of. 

It's not uncommon for people to brag about how little sleep they get because of work. Arianna Huffington challenges the notion that lack of sleep signals success in this Ted Talk at the 2010 TED Women conference. 

Knowing the modern customer is a key to success. Salesforce lays out five characteristics that a business needs to know about who they're selling to.  

Knowing your customer is key but so is knowing who you have selling to them. This whimsical infographic plans out how to tell your best salespeople from the lowest tier salespeople, and how to motivate them all. 

At SkyPlanner, Miami'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.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The inaugural SkyPlanner Parachute: a weekly collection of curated content from Miami's premier Salesforce consulting company.

Every week, we at SkyPlanner will post a collection of useful web content - articles, videos, tutorials, tweets, infographics, etc.- we've come across while browsing the web that we feel have helped us become better at helping our clients conduct better business. 

In this interesting Ted Talk, Angela Lee Duckworth uses experiences from her time as a NYC public school teacher to explain how "grit", or determination, may be a better indicator of potential success than just being "smart".

This beautiful infographic from Salesforce teaches you seven ways CRM can turn a small business into a sales machine.

In today's world, business is as much about building individual relationships as it is about putting out a good product (that's why the SkyPlanner team always gives each of our clients a personal touch).

This is just a sample of the kind of curated content SkyPlanner, Miami's premier Salesforce consulting company, will share every week. And at SkyPlanner we love to hear from ours clients and supporters so please feel free to comment with any opinions or suggestions for future content.