Monday, 18 June 2018

What can you learn from the success of Salesforce CRM?

Simply put, to me it is like the twitter for diplomacy (read twiplomacy). Why this metaphor? Just as world leaders are utilizing Twitter for making a public announcement, engaging with their people, so do most businesses (small, mid or large) make use of highly customized offerings of Salesforce to manage and automate their CRM processes. That said, in my active job search mode, I happen to connect with a range of recruiters, employers, marketing professionals. One requirement that always pop-up is Salesforce experience.

What Twitter is to twiplomacy is what Salesforce is to New Age CRM

Sooner than later, I started looking up on YouTube - tutorials on Salesforce App Development, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Salesforce Sales Cloud, etc. While I trained myself on Salesforce and got acquainted to various functions, I also tried to gather information on what is it about Salesforce that makes it a big requirement success?

Salesforce was launched in 1999, and within a span of five years Salesforce listed an IPO in NYSE and raised US$110 million. The platform is now a client base of 150,000+ businesses. It is not #1 CRM platform that brings artificial intelligence to business establishments. It offers solutions to manage sales, marketing, customer service, and more in one central location. It is interesting to see that Salesforce's primarily a B2B product company has an appeal to various structures including not-for-profit. A powerful statement placed on the Salesforce website reads as - (RED) is using Salesforce to achieve their goal of an AIDS-free generation by 2020 in Africa.

It appears all inclusive, however Salesforce has had its share of struggle. Some thoughts on what new age businesses can learn from the success of Salesforce are:
  1. Study the market and find inspiration. This is a common denominator of all successful businesses, they get to the root of problem their product solves. Salesforce’s first prototype was modeled on Amazon.com’s easy to use function. It started with an understanding that Amazon’s website creation offering can be extended to business application setup. CRM was particularly looked at because sales teams used to maintain their data in discreet files and this practice did not facilitate collaboration.
  2. Set a clear vision. Salesforce was founded in software as a service (SaaS) space in a one bedroom apartment next to Marc Benioff’s rented San Francisco house. The team of four including Parker Harris, Dave Moellenhoff and Frank Dominguez had vision of creating business software applications that eliminates the need for multi-million dollar up-front set up, implementation and maintenance costs.
  3. Focus on clients’ requirements. Customize your offering, your clientele is not likely to scrap their existing systems and make way for your product/offering. Salesforce’s Marc coined the term "platform as a service" and allowed application building on the company's architecture or on Salesforce cloud. Focus on specific problem/pain points and pitch your product. The goal for is to set a foot in the market by enabling your product making sense to the client. Furthermore, security and data rights are not retained by Salesforce giving no room of conflict to clients.
  4. Stay a step ahead and make proactive adjustments as per market trends. In March 1999, Salesforce outlined its mission in a controversial marketing statement as "The End of Software”, as an answer to 2K crisis. Created and nurtured human connections through events like Dreamforce, Ohana. Came out with revolutionary products such as AppExchange, On-demand programing language Apex and Visualforce. It expanded the scope of offering through Salesforce Marketing cloud in 2012, launched its app on 2013 to attend to on-the-go requirement, adopted a new look in 2015 and has been nurturing its AI capabilities from 2016. One constant in these developments is that Salesforce has been proactive towards the demands of the time. 
  5. Allow a healthy conversation and make way for skepticism. Salesforce allows its developers community to be skeptical and the skepticism paves way to push the limits of the product. The Salesforce platform development is continuously moving to new capabilities. This also allows various clients' use cases to be accommodated in the functions offered by Salesforce platform.
The points listed above are more appropriate in business-to-business (B2B) setting, while I feel similar points can be befitting for most leading technology companies, they tuned their offerings as per the market demand. Should you wish to add your feedback, please do so in the comment section below, or write to me on shinekapoor@gmail.com

Insight and Point of View: Authored by Shine Kapoor

Disclaimer: I am not associated with the companies mentioned in this post and I track them out of personal interest.

References: Salesforce.com | Why Salesforce Is Winning The Cloud Platform War | Forbes.com | What Is So Hot about Salesforce? (CRM) | 5 lessons to be learned from salesforce.com for any subscription business | A Brief History Of Salesforce.com

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Creating Social Media Ads that Work

An ad on social media is simple to set, social platforms offer adaptive functionality to allow focused targetting. Each platform - Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn is similar, yet distinct in their approach and appeal. The UI for running ads on social platforms is created for an expert, as well as a novice to run an ad, study its performance and gain benefit from it.

For a long term value creation, strategic flow and process orientation for ads on social media is crucial.

There is no sure shot approach to social media ads, the social media tools empower marketers with a capability to source, target and communicate with the ideal audience. Manual insight has to come in when answering the 5Ws and 1H of a social ad campaign. Furthermore, in addition to getting a solid hang of the tool, there is a needs to execute, test, and refine social media ad; marketers need to unlearn and repeatedly ask uncomfortable questions, such as:


  • Why did a specific campaign work?
  • What led to poor performance of a campaign?
  • We get clicks on the ad but no leads, why?
  • Is the message clear and just?


For starters, an ad must capture the interest of the target group. A dedicated effort has to go in planning, execution and monitoring of an ad on social media. Here is a cheat-sheet to help in creating a solid plan for a social media ad:


  1. Clearly define the purpose of running an ad. Bring together the marketing, product, technology, sales teams and brainstorm - Is it lead generation, brand goodwill & recognition, or generate interest in your product. This is the base of your campaign and needs to be defined with clarity. 
  2. Align the content with the purpose of your ad. Content for the ad banner, content for the landing page, content acknowledging those who engaged with the ad... Lay out a detailed content bank with variations in language and appeal. It is also important to know what to convey on digital space to make a point. 
  3. Simple words and simple language work best. Fancy language resonates with poets, try to be as simple as possible in your communication!
  4. Do not get tempted to sell your story, just sell your key points/takeaways through the ad. Create an information grid and rank your talk-points based on what your target group would want to know. Plan a set of information for the first touch and the pipeline for second/successive touch. This needs to be planned with caution in B2B space as the lead nurturing cycles are elaborate. Make sure that a structured information grid supports lead nurturing process. 
  5. Aesthetics, look and functionality are important! Make best looking, legible and properly functioning pages and designs. What looks good commands attention! What flows well commands respect!
  6. Yes, you worked hard - now detach yourself and test the process! Study the flow as a third person and question each process. Fix any conflicts. Let's say functionality works well when correct information is placed but what happens when incorrect information is fed into the system? Ensure prompts are placed to allow a visitor to smoothly navigate through your ad.

That's all for today! I have more ideas in the pipeline and will be sharing them with you. Should you have an idea or need strategic insights for marketing, communication and branding, feel free to drop me a line in the comment section or inbox me, shinekapoor@gmail.com.

Insight and Point of View: Authored by Shine Kapoor

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Marketing in B2B post-GDPR fiasco

The May 25 deadline has passed - General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is gaining notoriety not just from IT Security teams by also from the sales and marketing fraternity. It has compelled marketing, sales and data driven departments to take a close look at their strategy! For instance, GDPR compliant processes need marketing teams to ensure 'Explicit Consent’ from a recipient to opt-in, rather than widely followed practice of opt-out! A survey by PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) revealed just 6% of US-based companies affected by the GDPR considered they are compliant. 92%, however, consider reaching full compliance a top priority.

With GDPR marketing, sales and senior management are compelled to think that their prospecting funnels are structurally flawed and intrusive. 


While assessments about why GDPR are doing rounds it is crucial to look at the problem area – taking down intrusive marketing processes and ensuring effective marketing activities to drive revenue in the current day digitally cluttered world.

Gathering attention of audience B2B space is a struggle, GDPR has further narrowed the lead generation funnel. Or another way to look at it is GDPR has forced marketing, sales and senior management to think – and accept that their prospecting funnels are structurally flawed. Corrective measures are required to refine the lead generation processes.

Let’s look at a few lead generation mechanisms, post GDPR:

1. You need to use search engine / social campaigning - prompt interested visitors to engage and encourage them to opt-in. Eg. Want to read more? Fill in this form and consent to our terms. This could be a lead, competitor or a student finding information online. It is a great way of engaging a lead – narrating what’s in store for them. At the same time, it is crucial to keep touching the lead with value-able information.

2. Traffic counts when you bring the right people, useless traffic will not serve you. Traffic assessment has to be aligned with visitor tracking solution. The constant struggle between sales and web-marketing over lead qualifiers is real. So monitoring individuals by capturing information through tools such as WhoIsVisiting, does more than churning traffic numbers.

3. Bringing prospects to the website – but wait what next? You traffic numbers could be skyrocketing, but engagement, clicks on CTA buttons is avoided. Why? Because you simply fail to connect with the visitor. Form stories and enable a lead navigate on your website to find the information one is looking for. The process needs to be synced with business acumen, A/B testing and automation capabilities.

That's where I will leave you today. Think, ponder and please share your thoughts, I am happy to discuss further on B2B marketing strategy!
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