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Salesforce.com Innovation in the Spotlight

Salesforce.com has been front and center the past couple of weeks, revving up for its Dreamforce ’11 cloud computing industry event, running Aug. 30 to Sept. 2 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Dreamforce is expected to draw more than 40,000 registered attendees and showcase 1,000 solutions from 300 Salesforce.com cloud computing partners.

“This is going to be the largest Dreamforce ever,” Fergus Griffin, vice president of product marketing for Salesforce.com, told CRM Buyer. “This year it’s all about the social enterprise and using Salesforce.com’s social, mobile and open cloud technologies.”

All About Social Networking

Social networking is at the heart of much of the innovation that attendees will see.

“The social revolution taking place today has made customer relationships more important — and more public — than ever as the number of social networking users has surpassed email users,” noted Griffin. “Nearly a quarter of all time spent online is spent on social networks like Facebook. Mobile apps are used more than Web browsers. Dreamforce will demonstrate how companies can transform into social enterprises to bridge the current divide between them and their customers.”

To date, social media monitoring has primarily been tied to support, Adam Blitzer, COO and cofounder of Pardot, a B2B cloud marketing automation software provider, told CRM Buyer. Pardot will be making an announcement about new social media tools for B2B marketers at this year’s event.

“What we are seeing now is an increased willingness of sales and marketing teams to take social data and integrate it into their lead qualification processes,” Blitzer said. “Imagine not only knowing a prospect’s demographics (company size, title, etc.) and activity history (pages viewed, links clicked), but also their interests (via Twitter and Facebook) and connections to you (via LinkedIn). That paints a really complete picture of the prospect before you ever pick up the phone.”

On-Demand Marketing

TreeHouse Interactive is using Dreamforce to unveil the latest functionality for its Marketing View on-demand marketing automation solution. The new functionality is designed for companies who sell business-to-business, and rely on databases where tracking by individual behavior is limited to revealing only a partial profile of interest. Now marketers can gather behavioral information at a company level where there may be multiple contributors to a buying decision, rather than focusing on individual behavior for target marketing.

“What we have been seeing is automation without a lot of information,” Director of Marketing Chris Frank told CRM Buyer. “However, most interested companies are not on your database and a vast majority of online interest simply isn’t captured. So how do you identify them and market to them?

“What we’ve done is added way to nurture and engage visitors that have not ‘raised their hands’ so to speak,” Frank added. “For example, you might have had a number of people from a company visiting your site but have not made an active inquiry. Now you can score and target them based on activities such as landing page visits, content downloads, etc.”

Marketing View now includes the following behavioral tracking, scoring, targeting and nurturing features:

  • Email Opens
  • Email Link Clicks
  • Form Submissions (website forms, campaign landing pages, etc.)
  • Content Downloads
  • Purchase Events (e-commerce related)
  • Purchase Dollars (e-commerce related)
  • Website Page Visits

Cloud-Based File Management

Not on show at Dreamforce, but ready for Salesforce.com users is the latest integration functionality from Syncplicity, a cloud-based file management solution provider. Called “Syncplicity for Salesforce,” this enhancement to its Business Edition suite comes hot on the heels of its recent Syncplicity for iPhone announcement.

What this means is that Salesforce.com users can get universal access to files; synchronize, backup and share them; and collaborate with others — all from within Salesforce.com or anywhere else they choose to work inside or outside the corporate firewall, said Leonard Chung, chief product strategist and profiler.

Instant synchronization in the cloud allows sales teams to access or share files stored on laptops, file servers, and Google Docs across their PCs, Macs, Google, SharePoint and mobile devices without having to check out or download files.

“They don’t’ need to move, upload, attach or email files while working in Salesforce.com,” Chung told CRM Buyer. “There’s no box to upload into, no moving things to new folders. We take care of the synchronization and backup across all platforms. And they don’t have to incur additional storage fees.”

Files and transfers are fully encrypted during transmission and storage, and users can also apply business rules to limit sharing where applicable. Syncplicity Business Edition starts at US$14 per user per month with a minimum of three users. Syncplicity for Salesforce is included at no additional charge.

Denise J. Deveau is a seasoned freelance writer based in Toronto, Ontario. She has more than two decades of experience in business- and technology-related subjects.

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