I’m looking at implementing an add-on solution to Salesforce.com that would set up some automated processes and do some more powerful stuff, such as lead scoring. More to follow on that, and Marketing Over Coffee tomorrow!
Today is officially BlogDay, you can get the story and original recommendations in my previous post.
Just a few other things I read that are always great:
I’m a salesforce.com insider by reading SalesforceWatch.
On the small business tech font, and for Tales of Chicago check out Chicago Mike.
Most readers know I’m still going through Sex and the City withdrawal, The Pink Shoe Diaries help me cope.
As a comic fan (aka – Fanboy, aka – dork) Title Undetermined makes me laugh.
Home inspection tomorrow so things are still moving. Some quick things you may be interested in:
I was unable to hit the WebInno event yesterday so I’m looking for a good writeup on what I missed.
Some rumors about Google acquiring Salesforce.com but I think those are just rumors.
A new Marketing Over Coffee will be out tonight.
Tomorrow night some of the greatest minds in business and technology (and yours truly) will be talking about widgets. David Beisel (who just announced a move to Venrock) will preside. I have to admit that I’m old school and have been loathe to use widgets. I’m even not really comfortable with snippets, but do use them because the benefit is too great.
For those who don’t think web page structure is “wicked dope”: Widgets are little boxes on a web page that do things – calculators, Flickr photo slideshows, audio players, etc.
Snippets are chunks of web page code that you can’t see but they do things behind the scenes. Most common is a few lines of code that many add to their pages so that Google can give them site analytics.
I still fear the dark side, an both snippets and widgets are passing your site traffic data on to the party that provides the widget or snippet. Being raised in the age of dial-up there was also the issue of having to wait for a page to load until someone else’s snippet or whatever downloads. Broadband has made this no longer an serious counter argument for any but the curmudgeonly (ie – again, yours truly).
On the other side are widgets that can make you money, such as playing Revver videos or running Google Adsense. I’m all for making money.
More on this as I get it. Any favorite widgets or snippets out there? I currently nominate the Salesforce.com / Google Snippet as the greatest of all time (GOAT).
Some may recall my whining about a month back about all the work it took to get Salesforce.com and Google Adwords integration up and running. The endgame was that there were some problems on my side with a PERL script we use, but it went farther than that – I was editing the script correctly but the FTP tool I was using would corrupt it on the upload… Enough with the propeller head stuff – how does it work?
It rocks much harder than I thought it would. Not only can I now track keywords directly back to the individual leads that they generate there’s another unintended benefit: the SF code tracks ALL referrals. Most visitors to your site will leave a record in your log files about where they came from – the referrer. For example if you followed a click from my blog to Amazon, my homey JB would see that you came from the Ronin’s dojo.
So the killer bonus is that this salesforce code is appending ALL of the referring links. Let’s say one of my execs gets an article placed in an online publication, if someone reads that pub and then comes to my site and requests a white paper, when that lead is added to salesforce there’s a record in the history that shows the link from the publication where it came from. I’ve gone from knowing from where around 40% of the leads came from with a questionable degree of certainty up to 90% with the actual referring URL. Not bad for slapping a few lines of code into the site template.
Now if I could only upgrade to enterprise so I could get the API to play with that data…
After literally months of struggling we finally managed to get the SalesForce.com / Google integration going. I’m definitely geeking out, but how cool is it to look at a closed deal and say “one year ago you searched for this specific term, we paid $2.75 for that click and it turned into a 6-figure deal”. Lots of cool stuff, now all we need is for some data to pile up.
In other Google news I was invited to take part in a beta for cost per click (CPC) ads in the content network. Up until now you could only pay cost per click for Google search results, not their affiliate sites. There’s also supposed to be some way to choose which sites in the content network you want to be featured on. I couldn’t find these features, but it’s not the first time I’ve been unable to find stuff in Adwords (and I’m not alone).
And finally, I’ll be rolling some site upgrades out in the next 24 hours…
So today was a boatload of fun. Winter has decided to make a last stand with single digit weather and 30 mph winds to drop the wind chill below zero.
The good news is that I’ve found the source of one of the problems so perhaps I can show some progress tomorrow…
It seems that this week I am destined to shovel. We’ve had about 6 inches of sleet (frozen rain) fall throughout the day so I spent about an hour chipping my car out of the ice.
I’m also shoveling at work though. I still can’t get the Saleforce.com Google AdWords integration to work. We may have to trash our last round of videos. Of course maybe that’s not such a big deal since the price of adwords continues to spin up so fast that we probably won’t bother with campaigns by the end of the next 6 months. I’m busy trying to pull together our next two webinars and that’s nothing but logistics, as are the two upcoming trade shows.
I dedicate today to Winston Churchill – “If you are going through hell – keep going.”
So I went to the Hyatt Harborside (right next to the airport with a nice view back on the Boston skyline, small place though) for the Salesforce event today. It was time well spent, even if just for getting to hear from a product manager directly. He was able to explain Apex in about 5 sentences better than anything I’ve read anywhere.
Apex is a language that you can query and script Salesforce with. It’s a new language that looks alot like a mashup of SQL and Java. They key is it runs on Salesforce servers. The product manager was a hardcore admin in a prior life and was talking about how they would set up a linux box out in the dmz to query SF and do cool stuff – for example hit the database once a day and round up all the contacts that sent in POs and send them the thank you message and kick the accounting system to send them an invoice. Sort of like Automated Procedures for Goldmine folk, but on steroids.
My hopes for finding a SF/Adwords ninja were dashed when I was one of the few (maybe only?) guy to raise his hand when they asked who was using it out of the probably 200+ people in the room. Either I really do have superpowers, or I was the one-eyed man in a room full of blind people.
Some other interesting stuff – ConVoq has webinars integrated into SF including VOIP, Dreamfactory has some project management and even SCM stuff that I need to check out. SalesGenius can tell you when your contacts are visiting your site (and also did a cool lead gen that got me a $5 Starbucks card). iNeo had some interesting stuff that automated the creation of landing pages. And one of these days I’ll get a chance to become an ExactTarget customer again, their integration is very cool and would take some labor out of the cycle and standardize outgoing messages.
Overall it’s time well spent to see what the next round of features will be. Also a major brainbuster – I gave Salesforce kudos for their ideaExchange – basically a Digg site for features for the product managers. I didn’t realize that this fit into a master plan for them of having startups create apps in apex – using ideaExchange as the perfect customer survey tool. They even have office space in the valley for these people to use, and of course VC will be trolling weekly. Brilliant! I’m buying shares this week.
Even though I am insanely busy I am going to make time to go to this event since I’ve missed the past two. I really want to see the latest stuff they’ve rolled out with the 7 release this month (and maybe find somebody that can help me with my Google AdWords integration… Hello? Bueller? McFly?).
If you are in the area you can probably still register, I’ll report back after the meeting.