System of Engagement

In order to engage and support people at the center of whatever service, product, or program you are offering, it’s important to create and maintain a connected and consistent view of them in order to deliver a successful experience.

People engage with people

Throughout my career, conversations around an organizations CRM (aka Customer Relationship Management system) have referred to it as the system of record (SOR) or source of truth (SOT). These terms are not always interchangeable. For the purpose of this post, I will consider them one in the same, SOR/T for short. Next, I will define what is a system of engagement and how it relates to CRM.

For all intents and purposes, The Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a communication and engagement platform used to share information through various channels to engage with your audience (customers, constituents, students, patients, donors, and . . . you get the picture that this list can go on for a while). What it is NOT, is the single source of truth for any one individual. It can, however, be the single source of digital engagement. It can even support traditional offline communications, but that is conversation for another day.

Regardless of the channel of communication, people expect a consistent experience and at minimum for you to get their name right, should you choose to personalize your messages. Email, mobile, or any communication channel for that matter, should leverage the same view of the person to whom they are delivering messages.

Your system of engagement isn’t just for marketing. For more on this topic, refer to my post titled End the Marketing Cloud. Just like channels shouldn’t matter, the stage that each person chooses to engage with you should not prevent you from delivering consistent communications where, different parts of your organization are aware of what has happen so far and should be able to make informed decisions when responding to or initiating a conversation. For example, if a person has requested support with a product/service, it would make sense not cross/up-sell something else before you have resolved their concern. Similarly, if I just bought something, I hope I’m not immediately bombarded with ads everywhere I go to buy the thing I just bought! In cases where I just donated to a cause, does it really makes sense to hit me up immediately after with another a request for more money?

The point is your CRM and SOE should be connected with each other, and connected with other systems, as needed, to ensure the best possible view of the people who have chosen your organization. They are not obligated to choose you and you should not assume they always will. Do what you can to connect the fragments of their profile so that you can thoughtfully utilize it to deliver and respond with timely messages for any and all relevant occasions.

Even if you have all your systems mapped and documented with respect to how your systems are connected, have you mapped out the various touch points between you and those who have engaged with you? Are these reflected in your overall architecture? Are there any gaps or areas of opportunity to improve profile accuracy? As automated as society has become, people still expect people to be on the other end. That is why it’s important to put as much care and thought into your system of engagement as your system of record or source truth.

Virtual Dreamin 2020

undefined Customer Service is Social

On May 16 at 10 am EST, I am co-presenting Customer Service is Social with my friend, Karisa Booth during Virtual Dreamin‘s inaugural, completely virtual, 24-hour marathon event taking place May 16-17. Karisa and I worked together for more than 2 years and have both spoken on this topic in the past. For the first time, we’ll share the stage to cover this topic and how you can leverage it for your organization’s benefit.

You will learn how and why combining the power of Social Studio’s listening capabilities with Service Cloud’s case management capabilities to create a unified and consistent customer experience. Social compliments service, it doesn’t replace it. Learn how you can optimize and efficiently automate your social customer service.

Virtual Dreamin is Accessible

Why you should attend Virtual Dreamin per Jill Hourani

My DF14 Sessions

At the time of this post, Dreamforce is only 9 days away! If you haven’t filled in your agenda already, you should stop reading and immediately go and do that. Do not delay, do not pass Go, etc. However, if you’re still with me and you have some slots to fill in your DF14 schedule, then take a look at the followings sessions I am participating in when Dreamforce rolls around. This is my third Dreamforce in as many as years and coincidentally I have 3 sessions. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I hit the easy button and copied the session details below with links if your interested.

Building Culture: It’s Bigger than Salesforce

Speakers: Kyla Longe, Christopher Fuller, Mark Kovacevich, Pauline Mulvey and Chris Zullo

Join us to learn how to use Work.com and Chatter to improve and manage the culture of your organization. It’s not all about flipping a switch and watching the magic happen by itself. In order to make the undesirable desirable, harness peer pressure positively, design rewards, and demand accountability, you must have a plan if you hope to change the culture in your Salesforce environment. We’ll describe practical use-cases, even in regulated industries, that will help you drive change and engage your employees and colleagues. Discover how to get more traction in your Salesforce instance while shifting the culture.

Time & Location

Monday, 1:30 PM – 2:10 PM
Hilton San Francisco Union Square
Golden Gate 6,7,8

Building a Successful Social Strategy with #5W1H

Speakers: Nicholas Zinser and Chris Zullo

You’re an admin and you are expected to be all things to all people…right? Don’t just “do” social, “be” social. Join us as we leverage the familiar concept of Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How…aka #5W1H, to help your organization be more social and measure it. Walk away with the framework and tips for each section that can be customized to your organization’s needs to be social and add value to the bottom line.

Time & Location

Tuesday, 9:00 AM – 9:40 AM
Century Theaters
Theater 4

Building Culture: It’s Bigger than Salesforce

Speakers: Kyla Longe, Pauline Mulvey and Chris Zullo

Use Work.com and Chatter to improve and manage the culture of your organization. It’s not all about flipping a switch and watching the magic happen by itself. In order to make the undesirable desirable, harness peer pressure positively, design rewards and demand accountability you must have a plan if you hope to change the culture in your Salesforce environment. We’ll describe practical use-cases, even in regulated industries that will help you drive change, and engage your employees and colleagues. Join us and discover how to get more traction in your Salesforce instance while shifting the culture.

Time & Location

Thursday, 10:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Moscone Center West
Admin Theater Zone

Road Trip

Photo Credit: Jennifer SpannerIf you use Salesforce and haven’t joined the Salesforce Success Community or been to a user group before, you should. In a nutshell, it’s a support network for the community, by the community. The community is more than just a simple forum with questions and answers. It’s absolutely a fantastic resource for your Salesforce education, but it goes way beyond that.

This community cares and genuinely looks after each other. Don’t believe me? Read Cheryl Feldman’s first user group experience. Listen to  Sarah Deutsch on the power of Community podcast on the ButtonClick Admin™. Or check out the magical journey of our resident Wizard, Brian Kwong who will point you to yet more inspiration.

I also owe my thanks to many many people in the community. That’s a key word – community. The majority of my self-education came from the community. – Brian Kwong, aka Salesforce Wizard

No matter your role, level or location, if you work with Salesforce the community is available. The Success Community is the epicenter in the cloud. This is where you will find Answers your questions, a platform for your Ideas or a place for Collaboration. It’s also the home for most User Groups (for Developer Groups head here).

This week  I had the pleasure taking road trip to Wilmington, NC to present at the local user group with my friend and fellow community member Phillip Southern, author of the blog philthecloud.com. We had a great conversation with those in attendance about the Salesforce Community at large and the MVP Program which is an subset of the community. We were invited to speak to the community about the community…AWESOME! We had a great group who were interactive and eager learn more about the benefits of participating in the community.

As we wrapped our session, an unexpected and thoughtful question was asked by the crowd, had we as presenters saw value in the conversation even though it was a requirement of the program? The answer to the first part of the question is we definitely enjoyed our time and easily saw the value. Any chance we have to encourage others to participate in the community is welcome. The fact that we had more of a conversation than a straight up push presentation where we did all the talking was all I needed to know the topic resonated. As for the second part of the question, it is actually not a requirement of the program. It’s an honor to collaborate with others in the community at events like this. For those who are remote employees like Phil and myself, it’s an opportunity to meet new people, learn and share. We do it because we love the community, both online and in person.

Community – without it, I wouldn’t be who I am today, and to all of you in my Community, thanks for everything you do. It is greatly appreciated! – Eric Dreshfield

The following is a excerpt taken from the online community. It sums up the best of the community:

Image from public page on Salesforce Answers

At a minimum, the community is a resource you can learn from, free of charge. At it’s best, the community is will improve your life as much personally as it does professionally.

Ready to join the fun? Go to https://success.salesforce.com/ to learn more and start your own road trip!

 

Radian6’s Twitter Firehose gets Super Sized

This week Salesforce announced it is expanding its relationship with Twitter, giving Radian6 customers greater access to Twitter content through its API. This is great news for those looking to do more with all the data captured through Radian6. In short, if you build it, they (the tweets) will come with more than a just the URL. Now you can analyze the data in ways not available through the previous agreement. This is an exciting opportunity for developers to get creative and build smarter apps to make sense of all the data coming through. No longer restricted to the declarative options out of the box, things are about to get interesting with custom app development as it relates to making smarter decisions with data received from Twitter. I am looking forward to hearing how others take advantage of this expanded access to better serve their customers. In the meantime, you can guess what I’ll be working on!

Community Love

Thank you community. That is the best way I could start this post. A little over three years ago, I had my first introduction to Salesforce as a user. Since that time, my experience with it and my involvement with the community has increase exponentially. Just over three months ago I was named to MVP program and co-founded a developer user group with a friend I made through this community. Now I have just finished my third highly enjoyable week at my #dreamjob with Acumen Solutions. All this is was possible because this amazing community exists and the friends I have made.

What I’m trying to say is, just be yourself, embrace the awesomeness that is all everywhere in this great community. Join your local user group or start one if one isn’t nearby. Plug in and get to know the community! You’ll be glad you did. I am extremely grateful and happy today to be a part of such an amazing community. Many people in this community have been a part of my journey, have helped shape who I am today and will continue to do so for years to come. THANK YOU!

Countdown to Dreamforce

MVP Dreamforce Discount D13MVPREFThere are only 139 days until Dreamforce (4 months, 16 days), but who’s counting? You can save up to $700 combining the current rate and this discount code: D13MVPREF when you register by July 18th. There are so many reasons to go to Dreamforce. I’ve been once and it was amazing! I learned so much and can’t wait to go back and continue to feed my need for knowledge. Whatever your motivation to attend, I’d love to save you a little bit of money.

Salesforce Certification – Where do I start?

So you use Salesforce and you want to “cert up” aka get certified, but where do you start? For starters, it doesn’t hurt to bookmark the Salesforce Certification page. Once there you will notice there are four tracks to follow.

Since the purpose of this post is to help those starting their journey towards certification, I will focus on the first two options only. The Administrator and Developer tracks are both starting points while the last two are for advanced users. Certifying as an Administrator requires you to understand the idealistic way to leverage the the core functionality of this powerful CRM application. The ADM 201 exam is the gateway and prerequisite to obtaining additional certifications that fall under the Implementation Experts track that specialize in two different areas, Sales & Service Clouds respectively (see Implementation Experts for more details). There are many community resources out there to help you study in addition to official offerings. Here are a few of them to help you prepare for ADM201

In my opinion, the Developers exam is more practical. If you’re a hands-on type of learner, then take advantage of the practice resources available to you. In the bullets below, are two main Developer workbooks that I used to prepare for the Developer exam. I was wisely told prior to starting down this path that if you “know the book, know the exam”. I started with Fundamentals and quickly followed that up with the skinnier Workbook. I strongly recommend you create an account on Developer Force and practice using these guides:

Here are a few community-based resources for DEV401

Choosing the best track for you will come down to your role and responsibilities. Another consideration is your learning style. For me, I learn best through hands-on experience. If this you and/or you don’t have much practical experience with Salesforce, then the Developer track is the way to go. As I mentioned above, there are two practice guides you can follow in your developer org. I felt great before, during and after passing developer exam because I completed both developer workbooks. If you need additional incentive, Salesforce has some swag for you just for building a simple app (details supplied at registration). A happy coincidence is that you get hands-on experience that is also relevant to Administrator track. Something that I benefited from as I recently added the Admin certification to my collection. Win-win situation! Here are more Salesforce resources to help you prepare for and maintain your skills:

Good luck with whichever certification you choose to tackle first!  Let me know in the comments if I missed a helpful resource the community would benefit from.

Top 2 Reasons to be excited about Dreamforce: Dream Team in the Cloud

Dream Team…Assemble in the Cloud!

It’s finally come and gone! After months and weeks of buildup, including my own running buildup to the event, Dreamforce was wonderous week! This is an exciting time! I got to hang with almost twenty of my colleagues as a team. No small feat considering we’re coming from all over North America, spanning multiple time zones. We came together to learn, share and socialize with over 70,000 85,000 people who have similar ambitions…to get better. This is the biggest cloud computing event in the industry. At no other time in the previous or coming 365 days will we have best of the best in the same room like this. This was an opportunity to engage with like-minded people to share our challenges and successes with one another, to learn from each other. The reason I have combined my top two reasons together is because they are unmistakably linked together. We all live and breathe in the cloud and wouldn’t be the team we are without it. I am lucky because of the advances in technology allow me to access not only data, but people from around the globe. Thanks to the cloud, I can telecommute to work, build and maintain relationships with my team as well as serve my clients from any place that has power and an internet connection. Communication is crucial to team success and cloud computing makes this all possible. It’s great to be able to connect through technology, but nothing can replace the benefits of sharing an experience together. My first Dreamforce was even more amazing with my team than it would have been without them. As great as it is to connect over great distances, you can’t replace a handshake with an email. I have met a handful of my team in person and it will be great to reconnect with familiar faces and equally exciting to meet the others in person for the first time. I love the fact that I got to spend this week with the best in the business, including my team!

The power of the cloud is not to be understated, especially when you consider that over 750 education sessions are dedicated to enhancing my cloud prowess, including multiple #HOT (hands-on training) sessions. Add in the sneak peeks of next generation apps and you have yourself one amazing looking week! It went by in a flash. Probably because I was so busy stuffing as much as I could into my agenda. I loved every minute of my first adventure at the almost flawless event. I learned a ton. I met a lot of cool people (some new, some only previously familiar thanks to Twitter). The Red Hot Chili Peppers lit up city hall and I got a quick treat at my favorite West Coast burger joint In-N-Out! To sum it up, my first Dreamforce was AMAZING and I cannot wait for the next one! I’m crossing off the days on my calendar until #DF13. In the meantime I will apply everything I learned at #DF12 to better myself. If I’m fortunate enough, next year I would love to help others make the most of their Dreamforce experience.

Reasons 3 & 4 to be excited about Dreamforce: Radian6 & being Social

Sharing is Caring

It’s almost time to kickoff Dreamforce. In my last post, I talked about how much I am looking forward to spending a week in San Francisco. So much of that excitement focused on all things social, which has permeated almost every area of our lives. Personally and professionally, social is just normal part of my everyday life. Earlier this  year Brian Solis shared an intriguing post on the impact social has had ‘business as usual’.

No matter what it’s called in the future, social enterprise is here to stay. It’s the journey, not the destination. So much has changed in the last year since Salesforce coined the phrase as we know it today. As the start of Dreamforce approaches, the more I hear about the Marketing Cloud, which now includes Radian6 and Buddy Media, I can’t wait to hear what’s next as this cloud continues to evolve. I want to hear more success stories like Burberry and HP and the exciting things they are doing to improve the way they do business. I need to hear about other organizations like NBC who leverage tools like Chatter to encourage cool-laboration and improve its business practices.

Sharing is caring, but that is not limited to sharing content. It’s also about sharing your ear. Being social is two-way street that must have balance between listening and speaking. Otherwise, it isn’t a conversation. I am fortunate to have access to best of breed tools like Radian6’s engagement platform that allows me the ability to first and foremost, listen. There are a great many things I can do with this tool including listening, measuring and engaging. However, keep in mind that the tool itself is not the silver bullet. In order for tools like Radian6 to be effective, you must plan accordingly. For additional resources on starting or refining your social strategy, check out these resources:

My strategy at Dreamforce is to listen and learn as much as I can. There over 300 social-focused sessions. That’s over 25% of the available sessions! Clearly, social has rapidly infiltrated so much of what we do, it’s just expected. Which is to say, it’s just how we do business now. If you still have room in your agenda, check out this top 10 list of social media for marketing session at #DF12.

No matter where you are in your journey, you will find it much easier to engage if you have something to add to the conversation. I know that I need to plan and listen before engaging. There’s an old saying, “think before you speak”. With that in mind, I have adopted “listen before you engage”. The days of pure broadcast marketing à la the popular TV show “Mad Men” are gone. Today, it is vital that businesses hear what people are saying to or about them and engage each person as an individual. Of course, it will help if you understand something about them before “solving the problem” you think they have. That’s where listening first, understanding second, and speaking third will come in handy. If they feel valued, then they will reciprocate.

At the end of the day, we’re all in the same boat. Businesses are operated by people and people make decisions based on the information they have at the time. In the last decade, information has become widely available faster than ever before. The best relationships are have one common trait…communication. When the conversation is valued on both sides, it tends to last longer, as does the relationship.

Just a few hours to go. I’m ready to engage! Are you?