Now What? LinkedIn & SFDC Post MSFT Purchase

Salesforce.com (SFDC) dropped the potential sale to Microsoft (MSFT) for $55M last year…and now, MSFT just checkmated. Now what? What is going to happen to the well-loved LinkedIn Navigator integration with SFDC?

If you look at the landscape of what LinkedIn can do for business applications like SFDC and Dynamics, it is clear that this acquisition was a power play to bolster Dynamics as a contender in this space. Dynamics has struggled for some time trying to gain traction as the go-to tool versus SFDC. With LinkedIn, Dynamics gains a lot of attention…you cannot build a business without have a strong amount of potential buyers to market and sell to. Buyers will need to weigh what it means to now purchase and.or expand SFDC with the perceived risk not having integration with LinkedIn and.or LinkedIn Navigator. There is not and easy, cost-effective way, particularly for SMD and MidMarket businesses, to get the quality and amount of data for business use elsewhere nor by down loading directly from LinkedIn. (Do you hear that? That is the sound of list purchase vendors celebrating!)

As a heavy SFDC user, there are obvious reasons why Dynamics is overlooked consistently. SFDC has the Apple-esque model, using developers to build out applications. SFDC’s user community blows away Dynamics like an exploding volcano. DreamForce is THE event of the year for business applications users AND developers, and has been for some time- think 150K people attending and shutting down SF big if you have not been. Dynamics gets zero points for being closed off to outside developers. Dynamics is not user-friendly either in comparison.

So now what? Here are my predictions:

  • SFDC will continue to talk about selling to Oracle, which is the latest rumors about SFDC selling given Oracle having just raised $10M. It’s a bad idea in my opinion, even thought SFDC is built on the Oracle platform. Historically, Oracle ruins business products for business users- take Eloqua and Siebel as prime examples. Oracle with small business and end users being able to use their tools do not all belong in the same sentence. Unless they have a major strategy and new team for SMB and MidMarket, the idea frightens me!
  • SFDC will continue to solidify both data  and eCommerce platform partnerships- Google, Amazon.com. Rumors have been swirling about SFDC being purchased by either of these as well.
  • LinkedIn Navigator and LinkedIn integrations with SFDC will continue without much addition R&D, and eventually be phased out over the next 1-2 years, if not sooner. Why would you give a competitor access to your purchase for very long after you figure out how it has leveraged your asset? I already am hearing very loud, worried cries from SFDC users, and potentially purchasers for LinkedIn tools with SFDC reconsidering moving forward.
  • We will see LinkedIn competitors start gaining major traction, winning significant investments… MSFT haters will work their very best to make sure that happens!

Let’s see if my crystal ball is accurate! Until then, I am downloading my contacts from LinkedIn, thank you very much!

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When Metrics Don’t Line Up- Top 5 Reasons: Part 1

If I had a dollar for each time someone runs a report and asks me why the numbers look off…well, I would be sitting on a beach right now enjoying a umbrella-decorated drink. There are common causes to metrics issues, some obvious, others not so much.

Reason 1: Your data is just in bad shape (obvious)

Yes, it’s the dirty data monster that creeps into every database that exists. Somehow, someway, someone, something has caused data to not be right. Addresses, company duplicates, missing data, stale data. You cannot pull regional data. There are too many ways someone can enter in company names like Bank of America/BofA/B of A, etc. Data never makes it way in by entry or automation. You have data that has not been touched in over 6 months- is it still relevant? All of these can wreak havoc on your metrics.

Reason 2: Process is Lacking

If you ask a person to build a house, there is a process. Databases are like houses. Plan, architect, resource planning and  approvals come first. There is process, otherwise you end up with problems. Process needs to be functional cross-functional, reviewed, measured, trained on, and repeatedly so. Without process, you end up with a metrics salad of nonsense.

Reason 3: People are not entering in data correct and could use some training

Ahh, the really obvious case of user adoption causing data issues. This one is overlooked all too often. Training on systems needs to be managed like a product lifecycle where with each new release of changes, new hires, and product enhancements, your people need to be trained. New hire playbooks for tools are critical to metrics quality. Ongoing training is critical to keep people using the tools properly.

Reason 4: Data collection is inconsistent, changes

John Smith enters in his leads without the industry. Mary Jones doesn’t use activities to track her work. Marketing adds new forms with questions that Sales does not know about. Customer support adds fields onto Accounts that everyone sees, but is unsure what it is. Lists are loaded by Sales reps incorrectly. A list purchase answers questions never asked before. Your partner portal deal registration requirements are different since your partners can now sell your new product. Change is good, but with metrics, it’s about controlling the chaos. Your process for data input is as critical as your business process for metrics reliability.

Reason 5: Today is different from yesterday

This is the one that drives me the craziest. Sales, yes you, Sales, decides to change regional assignment and thinks systems just magically resets themselves with the click of a button. Not so! Systems are intricate works of art, ok, maybe not art, but process that is very deliberate. It is VERY difficult to make room for “exceptions” to rules and processes in systems. Of course doing business right to have happy customers is critical to success. But if what you are doing today does not have metrics behind to prove the change is necessary, then expect those who manage these tools to push back on making changes. Those of us on this side of the fence know you will ask a week later, if that, to change something again and again. And too, when in the midst of changes, reporting is basically broken until the changes are completed, tested, and signed off on.

Quick recap- 1- Data is bad, 2- process is lack, 3- end user training is needed, 4- data input needs to follow rules, and 5- keep change controlled.

As you took a look under the hood a little closer with me at these 5 things, it is a must that you come back and part 2 this month that will enlighten you with tips and tricks for maneuvering your way through the data labyrinth!!!!

See you next time!

– Melissa

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Big News for Salesforce!

Navigate Consulting Group's Best Practices Blog

Big things are happening at Salesforce: Salesforce on Thursday said it has 1.5 million developers and launched a site to aggregate resources and community features across platforms such as Force.com, Heroku, and ExactTarget.

Check out more here.

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Valuable Education on Marketing Operations

Navigate loves to promote what is best practice and educational to get you all to the next level and beyond. We love helping communities of folks in Marketing Automation (Marketo/Eloqua/Pardot/HubSpot, etc), Marketing Operations, Sales Operations, SFDC Admins, CRM owners…anyone that has to answer questions about revenue generating and revenue acceleration performance. It is our mission to keep the momentum going in these areas as we know the incredible success companies and our clients have realized from the work and focus. We drive to be trusted advisors, mentors, thought leaders to make sure the future leaders can continue to build upon the work we are doing today.

With that we are excited to share with you all about our colleague, Gary Katz, an amazing Marketing Operations guru, will be teaching a highly valuable class covering hot topics for Marketing Operations at UC Santa Cruz, Santa Clara Extension, Tuesdays @ 6:30pm April 8th to May 6th with Gary Katz @garymkatz . For information: lnkd.in/bu3teKn

Marketing Automation to Help your Sales Cycle

Customer Relationship Management is crucial to running a successful business.  These relationships can affect a sales cycle.  Marketing is just as responsible for the health of the sales cycle as the sales team.  This wonderful article gives you ten ways that marketing automation can help you shorten the length of your sales cycle – without the additional investment in time and resources.

 

Here are a couple great ones:

  1.      Take advantage of detailed prospect tracking.
  2.      Nurture leads who are actively participating in the research process.
  3.      Have your sales team automate follow-ups.

 

For the complete list of way marketing automation can help, download this article here.  

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Content Marketing to Revolutionize your Business

If you need a little boost to start your week, here are some great tips for content marketing that will revolutionize your business.  This list from Marketo gives a total of 31 wonderful ideas, but here are a few of our favorites:

 

  1.      Find one or multiple partners and launch a content marketing project together.
  2.      Define your most valuable audience and consider a targeted print publication.
  3.      Update your social media influencer list before the end of the year.
  4.      Develop a list of the top 100 questions coming from your customer base.
  5.      Commit to smarter usage of images in your content.

Group of business people discussing at sunset reflected onto tab

For the rest of the tips, here is the full list.

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Content Marketing to Revolutionize your Business

If you need a little boost to start your week, here are some great tips for content marketing that will revolutionize your business.  This list from Marketo gives a total of 31 wonderful ideas, but here are a few of our favorites:

 

  1.      Find one or multiple partners and launch a content marketing project together.
  2.      Define your most valuable audience and consider a targeted print publication.
  3.      Update your social media influencer list before the end of the year.
  4.      Develop a list of the top 100 questions coming from your customer base.
  5.      Commit to smarter usage of images in your content.

 

For the rest of the tips, here is the full list.

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How to Fix “Oopsie” Emails

We are only human.  As Big Bird said, “everybody makes mistakes.”  While sometimes that is easier say than live by, it is alright to mess up!  When working in email marketing or on a blog, you are very prone to typos, misspelling, and many other mistakes.  This great article from Marketo breaks down how to fix these mistakes and send an “oopsie” email.  Check out how one company saved themselves with humor and an animal picture (which helps almost any situation).

http://blog.marketo.com/2013/12/whoops-how-to-write-the-perfect-oopsie-email.html

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4 Critical Factors to a Successful Marketing Automation Implementation

Today, I start off with observations I’ve made during my travels in Marketing Automation consulting.

These are the things I find to be the most critical to success when implementing a Marketing Automation tool:

1- Treat it like and implementation. Apply project management methodologies to the process. Include an actual plan that includes a team with designated roles and responsibilities. Create milestones and due dates. Do requirements gathering, process flow documentation across both sales and marketing, understand the metrics as-is and goals for performance, design, testing, design, testing, user testing/red light green light. Have a formal launch plan. Designate the go-to’s for roll out, stabilization, management (this means at least 1 head count!). Have a feedback loop.

2- Have a Marketing calendar in place. Know what the plans are for marketing activities so you can plan out a phased-approach implementation. Understand the priorities and tradeoffs for using versus not using the Marketing Automation tool of choice.

3- Back to the Basics. People, process, technology. Keep those in order when approaching each issue. People have to be able to use the tool, so training cannot be overlooked or taken out of the implementation plan. You will need different levels of training based on what you choose to use the marketing Automation tool for. Sales may need to understand how to use templates when the tools is integrated with their selling tools- i.e. Marketo Sales Insight in Salesforce.com. Document the process so you have a visual. Believe me when I tell you how much is missed when you do not look at the process and analyze it properly…ouch! Technology should map to the process taking people into account. This is all the basics, but I see this get missed more than it should!

3- Move Cautiously, Slowly, and Steadily. In the case that you have marketing database and/or tools already in place today and are adopting a new tools, a big bang approach is NOT the way to go!!!! Phase out the data move. Map out the business priorities i.e. do I move my web forms first, then move the auto emails sent to new customers? Be sure to check EVERYTHING. That means both the Marketing Automation tool and the integrated tools to be sure data is being passed and assigned correctly and one system is not trumping the other incorrectly.

4- Involve the Right People. I often wonder why there is such lack of understanding about how sales and marketing need to work together. Clearly, it is imperative that it is a two-way relationship. Sales needs to understand the value of the tool. They need to know how to translate what marketing is doing. Passing a lead score to Sales means very little when Sales does not understand lead scoring models. Better to translate for Sales- i.e. Visited the Pricing Page in the Last 7 days means more than a lead score increase of 50 points any day of the week! These areas are highlighted when there is a solid bridge built at the planning stage for Marketing Automation. And too, remember that involvement is not just during the project, but also after! Make sure you have amour power users, trainers, administrators in place no matter what size company you are.

Have a compass, know who is impacted, and proceed with caution! No two Marketing Automation implementations are alike (think snowflakes)!

Best of luck!

Melissa

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