What does Salesforce1 mean for Business Owners?

Dreamforce 2013

Dreamforce 2013 was exciting and the keynote was a triumph of top technology entertainment. At one point Parker Harris skydived out of a plane, in a car – that’s the kind of show it was.

Marc Benioff unveiled Salesforce1, the newly launched platform that is going to usher in the brand new ‘Internet of Things’, alternatively referred to as the ‘‘Internet of Customers’. The concept is that of ultra-connectivity, from the apps we use to run our lives, the way we interact with our customers, even the toothbrush we use to clean our teeth. It’s certainly an impressive vision of the future.

But now the dust has settled a little, it’s worth asking the question…

….What does this all mean for Business Owners?

In no particular order, if you run a business, here are the ways in which Salesforce1 is likely to affect you right now and in the future.

  1. You can run your business from your phone

Salesforce was not really mobile before. You could access Chatter via an app on your phone, but you needed to log into your nearest laptop if you wanted to get beyond that, and start actually updating anything.  Now, you can download the Salesforce1 app from the Appstore, or Google Play, log in and away you go: all of your business data will be there, including the customised elements. So you can run your business from any location, on any device.

  1. You don’t need to build a separate bespoke mobile business app anymore

Which is good news – put plain and simply, you just saved about £10k. Prior to Salesforce1, you may have wanted to grant access to your users to an element of your Salesforce instance on the move – say to your sales reps out in the field. To get that up and running you would have needed to engage a team of developers…hello expensive tricky custom mobile app build. Now, with the new Salesforce1, everything is already mobile, so all you are doing now really is creating a customised page view within that. Come Spring ‘14 and your team will be able to access this ‘app’ via a customised button on their phone or tablet.

  1. Hold on tight to your Salesforce developers!

Marc Benioff announced 10 more APIs, everything can now connect to everything – other apps, other operating systems, other objects and devices (that toothbrush we mentioned earlier). Except its not that easy and it takes good skills and knowledge to tie this all up together neatly. Expect to pay more for good developers – they will be in high demand. And one final word of caution with developers (and we love developers)  – they are not business people. Code alone will not fix your business (a bit more about that here), that fact still remains.

  1. Your Salesforce Administrator may need a medal

The launch of SalesforceA is kind of good and bad news for Admins. The good news: now they can do a lot more on the fly via mobile (reset passwords/ unfreeze users etc), and there is more in the post. That’s also the bad news – welcome to weekend resets! As long as your Admin is ok with ‘always on’ they are going to love this…

  1. Customers are going to expect better service than ever

When your customer gets in touch with you, they are going to expect that you already know what they want. Whether they walk into your store, ring your helpdesk, or email your support centre, they will assume that you have a full record of all of the contact that you’ve had before. They don’t want to start again from the beginning every time they talk to you. Businesses who don’t get the importance of the 1:1 customer relationship will lose out. With the recent acquisition of ExactTarget, the Marketing Cloud is now a toolkit to allow you to get to that relationship.

  1. Marketing is likely to be more important than sales

According to Salesforce.com, the future is marketing. The point is that technology has become so embedded in people’s lives that our every action can be recorded and measured. By making sense of this data and knowing our customers better, we should be able to serve up exactly the right message at the right time, all the way along the decision making process….. until they are delivered right into your hands as a fully formed customer (advocate even). No more poorly qualified leads. A lot less ‘sales’.

  1. More of your marketing spend is going to be channelled into technology

Behind the effortless charm of a well timed and welcome marketing communication, labours the hardworking unsung hero – technology.  Have you ever received an email that seemed uncannily helpful and made you wonder out loud ‘However did they KNOW I was thinking about JUST THAT QUESTION?’ That’s the kind of marketing you want to be doing because that’s the only stuff that’s going to cut through the clutter. And that takes some pretty good systems, and some investment.

  1. Technology is going to go beyond screens

Salesforce1 just jumped out of your computer and into your washing machine! Or your car, your toothbrush…your shoes..? You can now connect with everything. This goes beyond apps, this type of connection is embedded into your actions. So if you are collecting customer data, why not put a mayday button on every household object which dials you straight into customer service. It’s a little way off for most businesses, true. It will be interesting to see how this one pans out.

  1. You can stop wondering if Salesforce is the right choice of platform

It is. That question can now be answered. Maybe 3, even 2 years ago you may have considered Salesforce the outsider, punching above it’s weight. It was tricky, should you board this bus or the next one along? The announcements at Dreamforce 2013 can put that one to rest – this platform has just turned its first billion dollar quarter, its snapping up the competition and breaking all the barriers down. It’s now the mainstream and everything worth doing in the business technology space is going to be on Salesforce1, or able to integrate with the platform. It’s definitely the right bus.

Dreamforce 2013
By Matthew Morris
28 November 2013
AppsSalesforceThe Good Systems Blog

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