We love it. We hate it. We can’t grow without it. Salesforce. For those of you who work with a CRM (customer resource management) system you know what I’m talking about. At OffWhite we use Salesforce. There are other CRMs, of course. We chose Salesforce because it is widely supported, more than adequate for what we want to do, and it is used by many of our clients. Salesforce is a relational database living in the cloud, a sharable groupware that delivers on our earlier excursion into Lotus Notes many years ago. I loved Lotus Notes; those folks were way ahead of their time.
Salesforce is simple. It’s complex. It’s mean and cantankerous and it reminds me of Hungry Hippos without the marbles. It demands attention each day. It can be a content monster. But if you’re trying to do a lot with minimal infrastructure, and if you want your hands on what’s happening in your company, from document management and sales to new business development, Salesforce is for you. Combined with our longstanding project and accounting management system Clients & Profits, our investments in infrastructure are impressive and producing results everyday. We cannot demand detail and reports, follow-ups and task assignments . . . accountability . . . unless we feed the system. In reality, Salesforce is as much of a culture as it is a tool. It is totally without emotion, impersonal, cold and dispassionate, never taking a day off, never forgetting.
Salesforce chases you, it hunts you down on holidays and weekends, tackles you then holds your feet to the fire of detail. It wants to know who’s on deck. Did we get the job or not and if not why not. Salesforce becomes the DNA of the company. Salesforce becomes the boss.
At OffWhite we depend on satisfied clients and referrals. Always have. And when we have news like the launch of Ed.it™2, a majorly cool content management solution for websites, we want people to know and learn and yearn for the value we bring to the table. This requires a bullet-proof database. We’ve pledged to do better with Salesforce and we will. We’ve defined our terminology, opened our lists. Clients. Those we’d like to have. People who care about us and do business with us. The ten or so people we can’t live without (you may be one of them).
Managing Salesforce is not intern territory. It’s a management decision that flows from the top – top included – and a platform that unites our firm in better service to clients who depend on us. It’s a common thread. Bullet-proof? Yes, if properly managed. A bullet worth biting? You bet. Easy? Um, it will be easier. Worth recommending to our clients? Yes, but you’ll hate us for a while before you love us again. Frankly, there is no alternative if you want to grow, if you want to empower the last person hired. Or, as we say at OffWhite, if you want “information that sells”.