This weekend I poured through the sessions for Dreamforce, the annual Salesforce.com event starting November 18 in San Francisco. Between the website and the iPhone App I was able to put together this schedule that takes into mind all the topics I think will be hot, what sessions are already full, and some value judgments when there were conflicts. If marketing is your thing, this list might save you a ton of time on your first view of the schedule. Of the 314 marketing sessions I reviewed…
Cloud2Car – Force.com and the Internet of things 1:00pm
The Magic of Force.com + Heroku – Mon 2:30 (Full)
Unifying SF & Physical Devices: An Internet of Things Customer Study – Mon 3:00
Marc Benioff on Dropbox 3:30
Integrate Salesforce and Google Apps with Cirrus Insight – Mon 4:30
Marketing Alliance Party 5:30
Hands-on Training: Build a Website using Site.com – Tue 7:30am
Opening Keynote 8:30
Parker Harris 11:00
Marketing Cloud – Cross-Channel Strategy – The ET 4D Framework Tue 2:00
BCA Podcast 2:00
Benioff Press Q&A 3:00
3 Insider Tricks of How the Best Marketers Use Salesforce – Tue 3:30
Sales Cloud for Marketing? Get Out of Here! – Tues. 4:30
Benioff and Mayer 5:00
Blogger Event 5:30
SalesCloud or Chatter Keynote 9:00
Driving the Internet of Things – Wed 9:45
Developer Social Apps Keynote 10:30
Learn How GoodData Analytics Can Make You Into a Customer Company – Wed 11:30
Marketing Cloud Keynote – Noon
BCA Podcast 1pm
Press w Scott Dorsey 1:30
SMB Keynote – 2:00
Press wine tasting 3:00
Data.com Keynote 3:30
Benioff and Sandberg 5:00
Fastest Path to Pipeline – Best Practices for Inside Sales Teams – Thur 8:30
Marketing nerd summer camp is now only 2 weeks away. I have my flight and room ready for Dreamforce (Nov. 18-22 at the Moscone in San Francisco).
Last year we did Marketing Over Coffee live from the Expo Floor (following up after Tony Robbins!), and this year I’ll be doing even more coverage for MarketingCloud. For anyone that’s going to be at the show feel free to tell me what you are up to on twitter @johnjwall as I’ll be looking for all the coolest products and biggest stories.
On my to-do list so far:
Stop by to visit Todd at InsideSales.com they do over 1,000 demos, if you are looking for best practices, talk to him (and be sure to tell him I sent you).
Vocus is on my list since they’ve added email to their product mix for full marketing automation, and of course Marketo always has a huge presence.
InsightSquared has been doing a lot of interesting stuff. If you are into Marketing Dashboards you have to check them out.
The reporting suite in Salesforce.com is sort of like the $100 tool kit you get at Home Depot. It has all the standard stuff (screwdrivers, sockets, wrenches, pliers in a stylish red box of some kind), and if you know what you’re doing it will work for most everything, and for more advanced stuff you could make it work, although if you are a pro you’ll want more power tools.
As part of a webinar I did with Salesforce we started to discuss one of the big problems with campaign measurement – the fact that your data is only as relevant as the number of closed deals you have. I had done a presentation on this a few years back and had some requests for it and found that it was the classic “Consultant’s Powerpoint” – lots of pictures, and useless unless you know the story.
So here’s the story. In a perfect world you’d measure how many closed deals came from your campaigns, have a simple dashboard showing the dollars generated and go home a hero. In reality, odds are you’re going to start tracking and measuring, right to the point of reallocating budget prior to the first deals closing – a classic “Fire, Aim, Fire.”
The first thing to confirm is that you are getting a primary campaign source for every opportunity. This is one of the more recent adds to marketing tracking and it’s the closest thing you’ll get to a silver bullet. Doing an initial pass and confirming that every opportunity has a primary campaign (even if it’s “Unknown”) allows you to run some interesting reports and start to get a picture of where the deals and inbound leads are coming from. For most cleanup like this I’ve found that the Salesforce Excel Connector is your cordless electric drill – a killer power tool. It’s kind of a hassle to set up, between finding a copy of Excel 97 and learning how the macros work, it takes some elbow grease, but it pays for itself quickly – imagine being able to find all opportunities from the past month, be able to match them to all the contacts and leads from a specific company and update these fields in Excel directly rather than pulling them up in SF or having to use the bulk loader. I’m also a bit surprised there’s nothing better out there, if you know of anything else like it, please share.
Now that you have an idea of what programs are working here are some common factors to examine:
Any specific type of program better than others (Webinars vs. Whitepapers, Live Events)
Region and/or Account Manager – this can get into management of the sales team
If PPC is productive
Does training drive adoption and increase retention?
Isolate and report on telemarketing or other lead qualification
One topic that would require a post of its own (or maybe even a whole book, which might be the most boring book ever) is what to do with deals that close from multiple campaigns. Campaign weighting is not trivial (saying the white paper is 20% responsible for the win, 80% of it goes to the demo). Although it gets complicated quickly there are two reasons to do it: one is to try multivariable testing – do any combinations of campaigns do considerably better than others? The other is to give your reporting credibility. By default most reports that show a closed deal that went through multiple campaigns will assign all the dollars to each campaign. In other words, a $40,000 deal that went through 4 campaigns makes it look like your 4 programs generated $160,000 in sales. These kind of reports are just the kind of thing the CEO is looking for so you can take his place picking up trash in an orange jumpsuit when the tax auditors come calling.
Depending on your market you’ll probably also want to add fields at the opportunity level to track both competitors, and incumbents. It’s very common to find that you will be more effective against certain competitors. You may also find that certain incumbents may indicate that you’ll never get budget for the project. I’ve found a bubble chart like the one in this post can give you an interesting view of your forecast, showing both aging, percentage to close, and competitors.
Another area that requires a lot of planning is both lead status and campaign member status. You’ll want anything showing movement in the funnel as lead status, anything showing progression through a program as campaign member status and these have to be mapped. You may have to do some automation to have the lead status updated as campaign status changes. These also make great triggers for marketing automation efforts…
For more complicated graphs you can go across multiple objects (contacts and opportunities for example), which limits some of your graphing options if you were to use Excel, but I’ve always found that being able to schedule reports and show them in dashboards is the only real route to adoption. People only get into the excel graphs when the quarterly board of directors meeting is coming together, which may be all you need it for.
If you’ve run any interesting reports or have found other tools you like, please share, there are a lot of new solutions as this space is evolving quickly.
As a presenter at the SalesForce.com annual conference (DreamForce ’09) I was given a $100 gift card for DonorsChoose.org , an organization that uses the web to match donors with projects in schools that require funding. From the project that I chose:
“Help me teach the language to my preschoolers! I teach public preschool in an inner city. I have 30 students ranging in age from 3 to 5 years old, 33% are special education students. Eighty percent of my students are Non-English speaking and come from low income families.”
“In order for my students to enjoy and discover a variety of music and literature, it is important to have a listening center. The listening center will allow a group of children to put on head phones and hear the phonetics of the language while at the same time listen to wonderful stories. Audio books provide students an alternative way to acquire knowledge and allow interactive learning to take place.”
I thought this project was a good fit considering that I make my living in communications. A few weeks later I got a full size 8.5 x 11 envelope came in the mail. It had been a long day and I grumbled about being asked for more money (as I tend to get 2 or 3 DM solicitations a week – thanks for all the return addresses guys, I’ll never use them all), but when I opened the envelope it was a wonderful surprise – a thank you letter from the teacher, letters from the students and some photographs of the kids using the listening station.
I was really impressed with the service and the program, if you are looking for a place to make a charitable donation, DonorsChoose is worth checking out. I have to thank Brian from Salesforce and the guys at Manticore for their help with DreamForce.
Here’s one of the thank you letters from the kids:
Focus philanthrophy, showing what the Salesforce.com foundation is using around the word. Shout out to Witness.org (Peter Gabriel has done some work with them). Salesforce has a 1% program (learn about it at ShareTheModel.org) employees get 6 days a year to work with charitable organizations.
Dr. Larry Brilliant (co-founder of the Well if you are hardcore enough to remember it, and worked with the World Health Organization (WHO) that eradicated smallpox) is talking about the Google.org charitable foundation that is copied after SF’s. They monitor emerging diseases to prevent pandemics, Lyme disease is on the graphic he’s showing.
Brain melt: this initiative goes on the offensive stoping disease and can work against intentionally launched biological threats.
Working on renewalable energy, but only at a price cheaper than coal.
Africa consumed millions of pounds of bushmeat over the past year, this meat contains diseases not yet charted.
Brain Melt 2: The new rich are getting involved with philanthrophy while they are still alive, not after they have died and there’s a foundation named after them.
The good doctor can really speak, great presentation.
The Appy Awards are being given out. The Appy trophy is very cool, my words can’t do it justice. Google yields nothing, so I’ll post one when I empty out the camera. The Certified admin award gets a suit jacket with a flaming SF logo on the back. That’s sweet.
Malcolm Gladwell talks about capitalizaton – how much of human capacity is being used. His new book Outliers will be out in a couple of weeks. Talking about sports – an example talks about pro Czech hockey players being born in the first quarter of the year. Same distribution for Soccer (and in fact, all sports).
Message: Our own policies and rules can constrain human potential.
Throwing your heart and mind into what you do gets results. Story about young Bill Gates getting up at 2am for computer access at U of W for access from 2-6am. Kenyan runners dominate because their capitalization is strong – over 1 million teen Kenyan boys run 10-12 miles per day.
That’s the wrap for today, I’m off to the Manticore party at Azie.
The notes from day two (pictures to follow when I get everything posted over on Flickr). One other thing I didn’t mention in the last post – Neil Young took the stage showing off his new hybrid car project LincVolt. It has both an electric and a compressed natural gas (CNG) engine. The CNG engine is a generator that can rechange the battery on the fly. The engine is so powerful that a construction team could use it as a generator on site. It’s a modified rotary engine that apparently is much more efficient with CNG than regular gasoline. The motor can generate over 500 horsepower allowing the ’59 Lincoln to go up to 160 mph (I don’t know if that’s actually been tested though).
The car is RSS enabled. Mileage and other statistics are sent out allowing this data to be integrated with the car’s website.
Ok, now for notes from Day 2:
We’re 15 minutes past the start and they are still asking people to sit, this is a packed house with over 9,000 attending the show. They started with a cool animation with some blues guitar behind it. The Safe Harbor statement rolls and followed by a video from fake George Bush. Showing his approval dashboard going down the drain is classic.
Going over the full product suite: Manage (Sales, Marketing, Website, Service, Knowledge, App Exchange), Share (Partners, Content, Ideas, Google Apps, Salesforce-to-Salesforce), Bulid (Infrastructure, Database, Application, Operations, Business – all on the multi-tenant kernel). Winter ’09 is the 27th release in 9 years.
EVP George Hu is talking about the using Salesforce Ideas to listen to customers – over half of 200 new features came from the Ideas platform. If you are familiar with Digg, think Digg for customer service (if you don’t know Digg, check it out). It’s very cool, if you’ve ever suffered through gathering product marketing requirements through surveys and interviews, this is a game-changer.
Salesforce-to-Salesforce connections are now free. Could be very interesting if you have a partner that’s also on the system – a benefit of the tentant model.
A lot of product tour stuff, Google AdWords integration, split opportunities, hosted landing pages. Interesting – contact images in SF, have a picture of your customer. Whoa, click and drag the picture to the calendar to set up an appointment. Showing live collaboration with Google Docs spreadsheets.
10MM+ Google Apps Business Users, 5,000+ shared Salesforce.com customers. New funnel application for Google Apps. Users can subscribe to documents in Content to get updates. Saved Powerpoint decks are available and can be edited inside a SF.com editor (I believe he said this will not be out until the spring release).
Michael Dell talks about cloud computing, now being the time to upgrade infrastructure. Some interesting tips:
Focus on Hard Returns (they are forecasting 50MM in savings on virtualization)
Consolidate where you can – vendors are in deal making mode, time to consolidate purchasing
McKinsey says turning off technology investments in a downturn is counterproductive, when a rebound comes, you may be under-capacity
That marks the time for me, I have to go prep for my next session…
Here are my notes from the 1st Keynote at Dreamforce, the annual Salesforce.com user convention.
I’m at the first keynote for Dreamforce, I just saw Robert Scobel hanging out in the blogger section. Fred from the Chronicle is in front of me sporting about 10k worth of camera gear. I’m not looking that cool with my Canon Rebel XT…
As the rock fades down the light show comes up. Projection screens on the ceiling.
Native apps for SalesForce being shown of, the major push for this show has been cloud computing. With their massive infrastructure this is a great transition for them.
Covers evolution of computing – mainframe, client/server, cloud, platform as a cloud. Windows Azure (he makes the vaporware call). Marc is a changed man, he doesn’t just shake down enterprise companies (he wants every size organization as a customer). The idea of customers as tenants is a new one to me – literally showing the chunk of the cloud as a database cylinder with cubes cut out for each of the tenants.
Force.com Sites: Many corporate websites are “teetering infrastructures”. Hosting now included with your SF.com subscription. Useful for both corporate sites or Intranets (other instances of “buying software” creeping in). Very cool – make updates in your Force application – it immediately propagates out to your website. 500k page views per month included free with Enterprise Edition of SF.com
Brain Melter: Using this functionality so that each sales rep gets a microsite, they make a change to their profile in SF.com and the website is automatically updated. Webinar registrations come right in to SF.com
Brain Melt #2: Write Facebooks apps in force.com – data objects are in Force.com and you use VisualForce to serve up code on Facebook. Showing off a recruiting app that updates Facebook automatically.
Starbucks using Ideas (Digg funtctionality from within SF- showing off Ideas app running on one enterprise, data fed to SF.com – results and closed loop over in Facebook. Arrrghhhh – brain melting again (#3).
Brian Melt #4: Force.com for Amazon Web Services – showing Card Lasso. Take a picture of a business card and it shows up in Salesforce.com very cool…
I’m speaking today at the 11:30 session on campaigns, right after the second keynote with Michael Dell (and supposedly an election day surprise). I’m also really excited by the 3rd keynote this afternoon with Malcolm Gladwell talking about his new book.
For anyone in the SF Area, and attendees of the Salesforce.com Event (Dreamforce), I’ll be buying a round (although rumor has it Manticore will be providing a round too). Feel free to stop by: Tues. Nov.4 6:30 pm â€“ 8:30 pm Restaurant Azie,
826 Folsom Street – about a block from Moscone Center.
Campaign Management for Experts
Ready to take your campaign management skills to the next level? Join us to hear from customers and our internal experts on how to leverage the Campaigns module to the fullest. This session will cover best practices on using campaign hierarchies, campaign member status values, and our latest Winter ’09 feature, Campaign Influence. Speaker: Scott Harris, Omniture, Inc. Speaker: John Wall, Accurev Inc Date: Tuesday, November 4 Time: 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Lately I’ve been thinking more outside of the box. Not because I’ve taken any consultant or analyst pills, but rather because the world just decided to kick me out of the cardboard container I’m used to.
First was a few weeks ago when I installed VMware Fusion on my wife’s Mac. The sight of windows booting up (and running better than it does on most PC’s was something I never expected to see firsthand (nor even ever own a Mac for that matter, now there are 3 in the family so far).
Second was getting to check out some Solid State Disk Drives (or SSDs as you’d call them if you were in the know, and now you are). Having a hard drive with no moving parts changes the game in a lot of ways, as soon as a media player and a laptop hit my price point with an SSD, I’m in. Things like reducing the boot time from a minute 40, to 35 seconds is right where I want to be.
This week I’ve been doing some data analysis. The labor has changed now that I have access to the SalesForce.com API. I’m starting to move beyond CRM – the idea that the best you could do is a database that contains all the information about your customers and prospects. I’m now thinking about exploring how the database changes as time passes. Questions like “Is the sales process improving?”, “What data am I missing, and is it important to fill in the blanks”, “What does the normal suspect to prospect to customer lifecycle look like?”
The crazy part is that these questions have been discussed for years, but we’re finally reaching the point where almost any business can get access to the tools to answer them.