Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cloud Extend for Salesforce: Jedi Mind Tricks for More and Better Sales

In the very first "Star Wars" movie to be commercially released (as opposed to the first episode in the saga, which was the fourth movie to be released, I think -- but I digress), the first Jedi mind trick shown was Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi getting a security droid to replace what it was planning to say with what Obi-Wan wanted the droid to say. ("These are not the droids you're looking for.") No muss, no fuss -- the security droid just followed the script the Jedi wrote for him, word for word, with no objections, and the process of escape proceeded according to Obi-Wan's plan.

Would that salespeople were as easily manipulated. Once an Obi-Wan had been identified, he or she could write the script, then distribute it to all of their colleagues, who would follow it perfectly and generate more sales faster than ever before.

If this scenario appeals to you, you should take a look at Cloud Extend for Salesforce, introduced by Active Endpoints at the Dreamforce conference/revival meeting/festival in San Francisco last week.

Here's what Cloud Extend for Salesforce let you do. And by "you," I mean "almost any sales manager or other business-savvy decision maker unafraid to perform basic editing tasks on a typical modern networked computing device. You know, like with a Web browser." You can create guides -- step-by-step recipes for specific sales-related tasks, such as lead nurturing. Active Endpoints calls these "guidance trees," and that's an apt visual description. Remember flowcharts? They look a bit like those, only sideways. They result in scripts users can be instructed to follow explicitly or to treat as suggestions, depending on the sophistication of the user being guided.

You can then easily add specific Salesforce.com actions to specific steps in each script. You can then publish the script, which each user can access and follow from within the already-comfortable Salesforce.com interface. Without leaving the specific task that user is doing. And the scripts capture all kinds of useful information about how well the scripts and their users perform.

Sales managers can build customized scripts that automate and help to improve key business processes. Users get scripts to follow based on proven processes and practices. The adoption and business value of Salesforce.com increases. And little to no IT involvement is required.

If your company uses or is considering using Salesforce.com to support sales efforts, you must look closely at Cloud Extend for Salesforce. Active Endpoints boasts that the solution can "make every sales rep your best rep." If you add Cloud Extend for Salesforce to a well-working Salesforce.com environment and use the information produced to improve and extend your sales processes, that boast will prove true. And likely encourage you to explore opportunities for similar successes beyond sales. As I'm sure Active Endpoints is doing even as you read this…

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