Dreamforce? How about Socialforce?

CliffFigallo
Cliff Figallo Former senior editor for SMT, Now an Indie Consultant

Posted on September 19th 2012

Dreamforce? How about Socialforce?

The social revolution is happening, proclaimed Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

For online social evangelists going back to before the Web, this offers some satisfaction because Salesforce is perhaps the leading influencer in business today. Putting its wealth and expertise to work, the company has developed interoperable platforms that use social to tie all elements of the sales process together.Image

Addressing a huge audience in the cave-like below ground main hall of Moscone Centre, Benioff stated his vision and the reality of social as an essential approach for large companies like GE, and medium-sized companies like Rossignol and Activision.

Unimaginably, most of the press and blogger population was unable to connect and report via Wifi. WTF???

Anyway (grumble-grumble) the revolution is being driven by Salesforce through its customers. Its Facebook-like social platform Chatter works with other SF elements to get deeper with those customers and more immediate in responding to what those customers are saying in the social sphere. At GE, social can mean communicating with and about the machines they build and sell. At Rossignal, skiers and snowboarders can drive improvements in the recreational tools they design. At Activision, online players can have their questions answered by other players or easily escalate problems to support agents.

For this to work, companies must create social profiles through which they communicate with their customers, and learn faster through feedback, transforming product development.

The next generation of selling - the sales cloud. Sales is now social. Data, too, is social. Salesforce Touch - the first mobile app for complete sales tools. Chatter communities for partners make selling as a team sport. New products  can now be introduced to partners through video within collaborative community. Partners can respond directly to Salesforce through Chatter.

The main story for all of us in the social media world is that one of the biggest dogs on the block has now bought in 110% on the social meme. The infrastructure is there. Now all that remains to do is the hard part - making employees, executives and customers comfortable and trusting in the social environment.

 

CliffFigallo

Cliff Figallo

Former senior editor for SMT, Now an Indie Consultant

Former SMT Senior Editor, currently a social media analyst/consultant. Now find me here as username Cliff Figallo.The quintessential online communities and social media veteran and expert. Founding director of The WELL, author of Hosting Web Communities ('98) and Building the Knowledge Management Network ('02). 

See Full Profile >

Comments

Great round up Cliff.
 
It's brilliant to read your post and hear the salesforce commitment to 'social business' - surely no one can deny the trends and movement of the business market. From brand dictate - to brand collaborate.

I totally agree with your final point. The hard part is about 'change'. For so long business has survived with well placed, key individuals who 'decide', make the calls. And for all the right reasons, because for decades the social voice of the crowd has been absent. Now however, there is a paradim shift required. Decision makers need to become curators and that is no mean feat. In many instances that requires infrastructural changes.

You only need to look at social business models like Kickstarter, Quirky, AirBnB and others to see how a social infrastructure can power a business.

Like most paradigm shifts it's usually only a couple of degrees to the right or left. In this case I think it's all about 'trust' - the most important person of any marketing or product development team is the customer.
Trust the customer and build an agile, social infrastructure to facilitate an active and meaningful relationship, incorporated into the heart of your business.

Thanks, Nick. Nicely said. Being a life-long early adopter it's hard for me to relate to C-level people who are still dragging their feet.