5 Lessons in Pitch Writing from the Winners of the Dreampitch Competition

There are many things I love about my job, but one of the most exciting aspects of running AppExchange is watching innovative new ideas evolve into businesses. And few things embody this mission (and expose the phenomenal amount of talent within our ecosystem) better than our Dreampitch competition.

So I was thrilled that we were able to bring Dreampitch to our TrailheaDX conference this year, giving three teams of finalists a chance to pitch their startup vision on the mainstage. And I was even more thrilled when we were able to secure a panel of rockstar venture capitalist judges, giving these teams a sense of what it’s really like to ask for money from experts who have heard countless ideas for new business ventures (and giving the audience a great show). If you missed all the action be sure to check out the full recording below, but after five minutes of pitching and five minutes of Q&A with the judges for each team, the judges gave their ratings. And the latest Dreampitch champion — and recipient of $50,000 in funding from Salesforce Ventures — is Digital Onboarding, a SaaS solution that helps banks onboard new customers and assist them with activating their financial services products.

I had the chance to chat with the two New England-based co-founders behind Digital Onboarding — CEO Ted Brown and CTO Jonathan Crossman — after the event (and between taking pictures with their giant, Appy-signed check). It was great to hear more about Digital Onboarding’s roots, why they changed directions a year into founding their company, and what they learned from setting out to write a prize-winning pitch — and our conversation got me thinking about some important lessons in pitch writing for hopeful startups everywhere.  

Stop talking, start listening.

The first step before you sit down to write a pitch is simple: listening. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you thoroughly understand the problem that needs to be solved (and have the knowledge required to write a resonating pitch) based solely on your own experiences. Our friends at Digital Onboarding, Ted and Jonathan, actually quit their respective jobs two years ago to start the business, but realized later that the problems they thought needed to be solved in financial services weren’t necessarily a priority in the wider industry. “So we stopped talking and started listening,” Ted said — excellent advice and critical first step to ensure you’re you’re not getting tunnel vision around your idea.

Accept that your first idea might not be your best idea.

This brings me to my next point: Don’t be afraid to completely shift direction. It’s critical to keep an open mind, be ready to swallow your pride, and admit that your initial idea may not have been the best idea. In the case of our Dreampitch winner, they totally shifted direction a year into starting the business — as Ted put it, they “kept the product but changed the messaging, changed the target audience, changed everything about the story to an entirely different pitch.” A few months later, that pitch won them $50,000 in funding. Sometimes a reevaluation and change in direction can be the secret to kickstarting the growth your business.

Never lose sight of who you’re talking to.

Never lose sight of who is listening when you’re making a pitch. Your vision can be flawless, but it also has to matter to the person hearing it. The main reason that Digital Onboarding shifted direction, as Ted Told us, was the realization that the problem they were solving “wasn’t keeping executives up at night.” So even if the problem you’re solving for, say, a sales operations manager is very real and very painful, stop and think: Are you pitching to that sales operations manager? Or are you talking to their boss’ boss? If you’re talking to the C-suite, you have to find a way to translate that problem into something that’s top-of-mind for them. Make sure that you’re hitting hard and fast on what matters most to your listener — and, of course, speaking their language.

Find people who will give you honest (challenging) feedback.

The first person to hear your pitch should never be the person you’re counting on to buy your product or provide funding. Our Digital Onboarding friends told us that they held multiple meetings with angel investors in the Boston area leading up to the event, and had already fielded all of the questions the judges ended up asking them multiple times. And, as Ted told us, “the first time I responded to those questions, I did a bad job. But you answer them again and again, and you get better at it.” Make sure you’re finding people who will give you the right kind of validation — asking you hard-hitting questions and giving you a chance to handle objections — and practicing on a number of those people before you get to the pitch that really counts.

Practice, practice, practice.

We often hear from participants in our pitch competitions that the most difficult part of the whole process is shortening their pitch to meet time constraints. However, this is one of the most important exercises you can do as a startup. When you narrow down your pitch to the bare essentials, you get to the heart of why you do what you do, and the crux of what matters to your listener. The Digital Onboarding team practiced explaining their vision to multiple investors, taking note of the moments where they hit an ‘aha’ moment with their listener (“it’s not always what you expected would be the thing that would get someone to nod their head,” Ted said) and compiling those impactful moments into a more concise pitch. Then, as Jonathan told us, the team spent hours practicing and shaving off valuable seconds wherever they could —“we didn’t want the buzzer to end our pitch”— and cutting out extraneous details. And the result was a compact and memorable pitch that told the judges exactly what they needed to know (no more, no less) to pick the winner.

Best in Class Technographics Now Available in Salesforce

Whether you’re creating segments for a demand generation campaign, looking for white space opportunities, feeding your predictive analytics engine, or implementing an Account Based Marketing (ABM) strategy, you need reliable information on the technology installed at target companies to achieve the best results.

Technographics Now on the AppExchange

Today, we’re excited to announce a new data partner on the AppExchange as part of our ongoing efforts to provide you with innovative data you can use within the Salesforce platform. HG Data, a leading provider of competitive intelligence for B2B technology marketers, delivers valuable technographic data that can be automatically matched and added to the account records in your CRM.

This new data package, accessible through the HG Connect app on the AppExchange, allows you to integrate HG Data technographics into your Salesforce instance with clicks instead of code. That means you can now get quick access to the hardware and software products your accounts and prospects are using without having to invest in custom-built integrations, manipulate flat files, or settle for working in data silos.  

Target the Right Accounts with Technographics

An effective approach to finding the most relevant accounts for your sales and marketing teams to pursue is to use third-party tech install data to identify companies that use products that complement or compete with your solutions. In fact, in its recent survey, SiriusDecisions found that 62% of respondents are now using some combination of custom and non-custom third-party account and contact profiling.

Brian Vass, the VP of Sales and Marketing Technology at Paycor, had this to say about his company’s use of tech install information from HG Data: “We struggled for years to find high quality data for installed technologies within our prospect base. HG Data not only provides us with great data, but they make it easy for our sellers to consume within Salesforce.com. It’s the most popular data initiative we’ve launched ever.”

With HG Connect, you can easily access tech install data, enabling you to precisely target new prospects or existing accounts with the right message at scale.

How Do I Get It?

Information on HG Connect from HG Data is available on the Salesforce AppExchange here. HG Connect can be added to Salesforce Sales or Service Cloud, Professional Edition and above. HG Connect is built using the same platform capabilities that power Sales Cloud features like Geocoding and new Data.com Clean rules.

24 Salesforce Customers Review Back Office Apps

What is the back office? Simply put, it’s the backbone of a company, the departments — finance and accounting, ERP, HR, and IT — that, despite being behind the scenes, keep things running so the customer-facing departments can be successful. Stemming from the latest AppExchange guide for back office apps, here’s a look at 24 customer reviews of back office apps.

Finance Apps

Salesforce customers in finance manage all money-related matters, including accounting, strategic planning, auditing, and budgeting.

 

Sage Live

“I just press a button and all banking activity is imported into Sage and processed through posting rules that I have total control over.” - John Monahan

 

Accounting Seed

“With Accounting Seed we are now able to automate tasks and billing — this makes our jobs easier and our customers happier.” Tammy Gregersen

 

FinancialForce Accounting

“FinancialForce Accounting gave us back office automation. So now we can focus on our customers and their business needs.” - Jocelyn Fennewald

 

JustOn

“JustOn gave us an invoicing solution that adapted to our multilanguage, multicurrency, and installment logic for payment deadlines.” - Danny Müller

 

Invoices for Salesforce

“With the click of a button, Invoices for Salesforce enables us to invoice complex billing scenarios quickly and accurately.” - Stef Sampson

 

Steelbrick Billing

“We now use only Steelbrick Billing for our billing and accounting. Originally we were planning to use several other apps.” - Maurizio Cappitta

 

ERP

Salesforce customers use ERP to integrate processes, systems, and data into one source of truth.

 

Ascent ERP

“We used Ascent to migrate all our processes from being managed within spreadsheets to fully managed within Salesforce.” - Scott Gardiner

 

Kenandy

“Kenandy provided measurable efficiencies, organizational transparency, and focused us on revenue generation — not data collection.” - Charlie Merrow

 

Rootstock

“Inventory, purchasing, MRP, and WCP were key in making our back office a success. Rootstock did it all in a well-integrated fashion.” - Stephen Simons

 

Matrix Velocity

“Matrix Velocity gave us a nice way to go from quote to order to fulfillment to invoice (and to inventory) all within Salesforce.” - Jonathan Rowe

 

Glovia OM

“Glovia OM turns opportunities into quotes, quotes into sales orders, and sales orders into shipping orders and documentation.” - Teno Cipri

 

Propel PLM

“As Propel is built on Salesforce, we can be more customer- and partner-centric by connecting our product, customer, and partner data.” - Rick Austinson

 

HR

HR activities include recruiting and hiring of employees, orientation and training of current employees, employee benefits, and retention. Here are some of the HR apps recommended by Salesforce customers.

 

Sage People

“The automated processes of Sage People not only enabled HR to be more efficient, but the quality of our data increased dramatically.” - Jess Davies

 

Skilo

“Skilo’s user-friendly interface is easy for employees and managers to use, and the highly configurable reporting module is essential for HR.” - Kasandra Radzinska

 

XCD

“XCD is a cost-effective HR solution that enables us to manage our HR data, files, and policies from one location.” - Inspire Sport

 

Cornerstone for Salesforce

“Cornerstone is a must-have training. It’s incredibly powerful with a simple setup. I’m really impressed with its ease of use.” - Melodie Schwartz

 

Improved Help

“Improved Help really is a fantastic help resource for users, providing the right help and process guidance when it is need.” - Wayne Austin

 

Litmos

“Litmos helped us to train hundreds of people each month simply by the click of a button.” - Charles Brown

 

IT

Salesforce customers in IT handles everything from a company’s physical hardware to its operating systems, applications, databases, storage, and servers.

 

OwnBackup

“OwnBackup saves my team hours of backup work that we can now use to focus on revenue-driving initiatives.” - Brie Morgan

 

Spanning

“I can’t stress how easy Spanning is to use. Backups run daily, you see what data was changed, and you can restore data anytime.” - Deb Weller

 

CloudAlly

“CloudAlly removed the worry around site data backup. Once the painless setup was done, the app just runs and we forget about it.” - Robert Middleton

 

RemedyForce

“RemedyForce is web accessible, has no servers or upgrades to manage, and lets our field staff easily submit requests and tickets.” - John Riley

 

Elton

“We had inventory across the country that we couldn’t track. ELTON tracked every piece of equipment in a very quick and smooth way.” - John Prilliman

 

Insite

“We used INSITE to change databases and simplify incident reporting, problem management, and catalog and fulfillment requests.” - Randy Engh

With over 3,000 apps in inventory, we hope this guide helps you zero in on the back office apps that are right for your business. View the entire collection and happy exploring.

12 Apps for the Best Summer Ever

With summer arriving, it’s natural to want to find the hottest beaches, restaurants with outdoor seating, and AppExchange apps to install into your Salesforce org. Fortunately, we’ve got 12 apps sure to leave you and your Salesforce users sizzling. Read on for our list of 12 breakthrough apps you should check out today.

Talkdesk for Salesforce

Released: 4/14/2016

What it does: Talkdesk for Salesforce provides all the benefits of enterprise call center software without the complexity. Build a complete contact center within Service and Sales Cloud to deliver support anywhere — from the beach to the backyard — with Talkdesk’s omnichannel contact center, empowering your agents to deliver excellent customer interactions.

What customers say:

  • “Talkdesk is the best. My whole team loves it and integration was very simple. 5 stars …”

  • “Talkdesk itself is a brilliantly simple platform to use. From usability to administration to reporting it has it all at the click of a few buttons.”

Full Circle Matchmaker

Released: 2/2/2017

What it does: Full Circle Matchmaker is an intelligent and flexible lead-to-account matching solution with built-in customizations and smart workflows for automated lead matching, routing, and conversion. The app enables sales and marketing teams to intelligently engage prospects as they heat up with full account context, and to more accurately report on Account Based Marketing impact.

What customers say:

  • “Critical component of our ABM strategy...allowed us to match new leads to existing accounts and automate lead distribution to account owners in real time.”

  • “Our sales team saves countless hours per week and our marketing efforts can be hyper-focused on individual accounts.”

Salespulse by Questback

Released: 12/12/2016

What it does: Salespulse helps your sales team understand their customers’ buying experience  with pulse surveys and increases the performance of your sales team. Salespulse is a native app that makes reporting on the customers’ buying experience as easy as soaking up the summer sun with automated surveys that provide real-time insights for your sales teams and sales management.

What customers say:

  • “A simple way to finally get feedback on sales meetings...has sharpened how we approach our sales cycle and has become an integral learning tool that feeds our continual improvement approach to business.”

  • “Our sales reps focused instantly more on their execution and preparation once they knew that the customer was going to give them feedback. Now sales reps also see that the feedback has helped them to move deals forward faster and better align with what the customers are thinking and expecting.”

CodeScan by VillageChief

Released: 7/5/2015

What it does: CodeScan is a code quality plugin, written exclusively for Salesforce code, that measures quality, helps identify bugs, allows custom rules, and increases maintainability to reduce the total cost of ownership of your Salesforce org. The plugin reduces technical debt and complexity and offers instant, unbiased insights via dashboards, applying best practice coding rules and metrics, saving you time to go play that next game of beach volleyball.

What customers say:

  • “Codescan is also helping us save time on code reviews as our dev leads don't need to check for obvious syntax errors and [can] focus on the functionality”

  • “In addition to conventional scanning, CodeScan also offers a more Salesforce-y approach. The plugin can pull the source directly from the org for analysis, so you don't have to have Git in play. You can also analyze the code, run Apex tests, and commit the changes to Git all at once.”

Egnyte Enterprise File Sharing for Salesforce

Released: 8/5/2015

What it does: Egnyte for Salesforce helps teams securely access and easily share files and folders stored in  Egnyte Connect. Avoid time-consuming document searches across apps, and share content directly from Salesforce with non-Salesforce users. With Egnyte Connect, users can easily find the right documents without leaving Salesforce. The integration increases collaboration, responsiveness, and high fives, while also streamlining operations and facilitating more meaningful customer engagements to help sales and support teams on the web or mobile devices.

What customers say:

  • “The Egnyte for Salesforce App Integration has been a game changer...our users have experienced increased efficiency and enhanced collaboration with other team members.”

  • “Egnyte is definitely our go-to place for needed documents and information at the office and on the go. We love the ease of updating a document on the web.”

MapAnything Live

Released: 11/23/2016

What it does: MapAnything Live enables Internet of Things (IoT) workflows inside Salesforce with maps, real-time vehicle telematics, vehicle and asset tracking, and business process automation. MapAnything Live, an add-on to MapAnything, helps track and record vehicle telematics data in Salesforce to streamline operations, boost productivity and efficiency, reduce costs, ensure safety and compliance, and navigate you to the nearest sunny destination.

What customers say:

  • “MapAnything [Live] is a must have. We are now gaining insights that we couldn’t before…”

  • “MapAnything [Live] is a fantastic platform for live tracking assets and personnel.”

  • “MapAnything Live saves us significant expenses in labor costs by turbo-charging productivity, and reduces our overall risk exposure.”

TeamViewer App for Service Cloud

Released: 9/28/2016

What it does: With TeamViewer, easily create service cases and provide remote support directly from your back deck, and from Salesforce cases inside Service Cloud. Create and join a support session, remotely control the customer’s device, and share session information via Chatter inside this Lightning Ready app. Your customers will benefit from faster response times across all operating systems.

What customers say:

  • “Customer Relations Managers love the control for its reliability and execution ability, and customers recognize its intuitiveness.”

  • “This ability to support customers faster, more efficiently, and professionally in the case of escalation via TeamViewer also naturally improves our quota of successful remote support.”

SpringML Predictive Analytics

Released: 1/11/2017

What it does: SpringML’s predictive analytics app helps organizations improve sales forecasting, manage opportunities, and grow targets through real-time dashboards embedded within Salesforce, empowering sales leaders to access relevant KPIs and take immediate action. SpringML uses machine learning and advanced analytics to automate manual, error-prone processes to improve the productivity of your sales team, making your sales process easier than that sun tea recipe.

What customers say:

“SpringML helps our sales organization run more effectively. Their productive algorithms provide us the insights to monitor our progress and see if our tweaks to sales programs, discounts, and compensation are working. Their algorithms integrate seamlessly with the rest of our sales analytics dashboards, allowing us to compare our internal numbers with their forecasts.”

Check-fleet: Fleet Telematics for Field Service by GPS Dashboard

Released: 2/7/2017

What it does: Check-fleet allows for GPS vehicle tracking in real time, resulting in improved productivity and driver behavior. Powered by Geotab, which has over 700,000 vehicles in service worldwide, the app provides for geofencing, exception alerts, and remote vehicle diagnostics, integrating fleet telematics all within Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and Field Service Lightning, improving customer service, driver safety, and vehicle maintenance, all while reducing overall costs.

Other features:

  • Auto work order status update on arrival at jobsite

  • Productivity reports:  Drive time vs. on-site time reports

  • Driver scorecard and safety reports : speeding, harsh braking/acceleration, hard cornering, and more

  • Real-time alerts and notification on rules-based exceptions

  • Time card verification

  • Fuel card integration to verify fuel usage

Charge eCommerce by Fonteva

Released: 8/29/2016

What it does: Bring ecommerce and full revenue accounting to Salesforce in one package, help customers manage multiple business units, create an eStore to sell anything (even sunscreen), and handle all revenue accounting needs. With Charge eCommerce, manage multiple business units in one solution, present your customers with different products and pricing based on their CRM profile via a built-in eStore, and manage debits, credits, and refunds right in Salesforce.

What customers say:

  • The best app to establish groups for divisions, branches or local affiliates with group-specific pricing, branding, general ledger codes or payment gateways.”

  • “Charge [eCommerce] makes you successful at ecommerce in no time.”

Email Integration - Sync Outlook, Exchange, Gmail & Office 365 by Komiko

Released: 7/11/2016

What it does: Email Integration by Komiko synchronizes email, attachments, and calendar events. It also creates contacts, and automatically associates synced data to accounts and opportunities in Salesforce. You won’t need to change the way your team is using Salesforce or email, and Email Integration puts an end to nudging the sales team to feed Salesforce with customer conversations, documents, contact frequency, and more. Start syncing and go swimming.

What customers say:

  • “A total game changer. Before Komiko we depended on reps to log calls, events, and tasks. After implementing Komiko, this rich data is ingested into Salesforce with ease.”

  • “A truly fantastic product that has solved all of our issues with failing to capture Exchange data. It works great across all platforms. Customer service is stellar!”

Conga Contracts

Released: 4/19/2017

What it does: Conga Contracts streamlines and accelerates contract negotiations so you can close deals (and enjoy that summer adventure) faster, all without leaving Salesforce. Improve efficiency, empower sales, and increase insight with features such as:

  • Clause management,

  • Easy sync of contract changes back into Salesforce, and

  • Analytics that show which clauses get changed most and where contracts stall

  • Seamless integration into Salesforce CPQ, Conga Composer, and eSignature apps.

What customers say:

  • “With the implementation of Conga Contracts our legal team can overcome the tedious nature of relying solely on dated technologies like Word and email.”

  • “Managing the lifecycle of sales-generated documents has seriously never been easier, and with all the native functionality built directly into Salesforce we were able to hit the ground running with our installation.”

Make sure your summer is as good as it can be with these apps and more on AppExchange.

Ready to Pitch Your Startup in Front of Thousands at TrailheaDX?

At Salesforce, we love seeing startups grow into successful businesses and are committed to helping them every step along the way. Our dedication to fostering innovation is evident through several important initiatives, including Trailhead, the AppExchange Partner Program and Salesforce Ventures. 

Trailhead enables anyone to learn how to develop apps on the Salesforce platform, while the AppExchange Partner Program is designed to help them build, grow and take that app to market. As they grow they may attract the attention of investors, including Salesforce Ventures, Salesforce’s strategic venture arm that can help build credibility and accelerate growth even further.

This is why we are thrilled to add yet another opportunity for startups to this list: Dreampitch, a contest designed to showcase great startups built on Salesforce, will be coming to TrailheaDX on June 29. Our first Dreampitch was a huge success at Dreamforce 2016, and now we’re doing it again — and searching for the next group of startups to take the stage this summer for a chance to secure funding, gain exposure and receive insightful feedback from a panel of experts. Here’s what you need to know to get involved.

How can my startup participate in Dreampitch?

If your startup’s technology stack is built on or integrates with the Salesforce Platform (Lightning, Force.com or Heroku), we want to hear from you. Applications need to be submitted by June 2, 2017 to be considered for an opportunity to be one of our three finalists.

On June 29, the three finalists selected will pitch their startup onstage at TrailheaDX in front of thousands of attendees and a panel of judges comprised of industry leaders and business experts. This panel will choose one winner to receive a $50,000 investment from Salesforce Ventures.

What do I receive if I am a finalist?

If you become one of the three Dreampitch finalists, you will receive:

  • An opportunity to receive a $50,000 USD investment from Salesforce Ventures

  • Two 2017 TrailheaDX passes

  • Airfare and hotel accommodations for up to 2 presenters

  • Participation bragging rights

What is the fine print?

To qualify for Dreampitch, your startup must fit the following criteria:

  • Your technology stack is built on or integrates with the Salesforce Platform (Lightning, Force.com or Heroku)

  • Company must be based and authorized to work in the United States

  • Total cash funding received to date < $2,000,000 USD

  • Current gross revenue >$100,000 annual run rate (based on company’s gross revenue from its most recent quarter, multiplied by four (4))

  • You are an independent legal entity (LLC, S corp or C corp)

  • Meet the eligibility criteria as described in the Official Rules

  • You comply with the Official Rules

Applications close on June 2, 2017 at 11:59:59 PM, so apply soon!


The 2017 Salesforce Dreampitch at TrailheaDX Contest entry period begins on May 15, 2017 8:00:00 am PT and ends on June 2, 2017 at 11:59:59 pm PT. Offer to participate available only for those entrants that meet the eligibility criteria as set forth in the Official Rules. Restrictions apply. 

15 Growing Business Leaders Share Their App Secrets

Small businesses are changing the business landscape and the way we live our personal lives. From ridesharing, to healthcare, to dating apps, a number of growing businesses have reinvented entire industries. To do so, they need the help of technology, particularly apps, to manage the challenges of cultivating a business growing at the speed of light.

In the newest AppExchange ebook, 15 Success Stories of Business Growth with Apps, we spoke to founders, CEOs, and other executives to understand how their companies scale, and how technology — and AppExchange apps — play a huge role. Below are some of our favorite quotes from those conversations. Be sure to download the ebook for more great conversation.

Emily Tam, Director of IT, Borrego Solar

“We were trying to stay away from any solution that would cause us to have to purchase a third-party integration tool or some off-premises solution that didn’t sync with Salesforce. With Accounting Seed Financial Suite, the project managers now have a view into the accounting system they didn’t have before.”

Blaine Iler, Co-Founder, SOMMA Food Group

“One of the reasons we implemented Kenandy Cloud ERP so early was for traceability. The product we produce carries a significant burden on us throughout our supply chain. We weren’t all that big when we did it, but we knew were growing quickly and wanted to get ahead of it.”

Heather White, VP of Delivery, ForeFront

“We were doing everything by hand, leveraging Word and Excel, and nobody was doing it efficiently. We’re [now] able to manage a lot more volume with the same number of people, and we couldn’t have done it without Nintex Drawloop.”

Corinne Hua, CFO, Traction on Demand

“We are able to look at our different types of projects and decide how to build them from different billing perspectives. The functionality is available right in FinancialForce PSA and it’s very easy to implement.”

Justin Bakes, CEO, Forward Financing

“Salesforce enables us to have a consistent experience for our customers. Customer experience is one of our key values; it’s also a core value for our customers. You can do a lot with Conga Composer, and it makes us stand out. Conga understands what’s really important to us: the customer experience.”

Dan Hansen, President and COO, MedPro

“As a business owner, I want every lead touched, regardless of their size. Compared to other technology tools, Velocify Pulse is one of the best investments we have ever made.”

Hans Schaedel, CFO, Canto

I think every company should look for solutions that apply to their specific use case, and perhaps industry and size, and see what can help them aggregate all of the data into one place, automatically. Intacct Cloud ERP helped Canto address [several] challenges, with a focus on the software industry and its needs.”

Justin Hart, Vice President of Member Acquisition, Surf Air

“We were first working off of spreadsheets and printouts. We realized, this is going to take us nowhere. That’s where Salesforce entered the queue. Our members and prospects love us. Salesforce is an important part of that.”

Sam Rajkovich, Vice President Sales and Marketing, Sturtevant

“What’s really important to us is the core of Salesforce itself – the focus on our pipeline, our revenue, and what’s on the horizon.”

Aaron O’Brien, Chief Technology Officer, Les Mills

“To provide a better experience for customers, leverage technology designed to increase engagement efficiently with real-time interactions.”

Mike McCarron, Former VP, Customer Success, MobileIron

“You can keep hiring people, but in the end, the tech capabilities that exist today and will exist in the future, will only make customers’ experiences better. It’s best to embrace that.”

Conrad Chu, CTO and Co-Founder, Munchery

“Our goal is to go above and beyond, so that ultimately we can turn someone from a frustrated customer into an evangelist. Thanks to Salesforce, great customer service is always on our menu.”

Erin Peterson, VP, Customer Success, Mintingo

“AppExchange allows greater efficiency in terms of doing research. I would advise other SMB leaders to leverage the fact that Salesforce, and our peers, have done much of the vetting for us, to make a great set of solutions available.”

Ali Moshfeghian, COO, Xtreme Lashes

“You can get so much additional functionality from AppExchange. We implemented our entire back end on Salesforce in only three months. Typically that takes six months to a year.”

Damian Mogavero, CFO, Avero

“We take very good care of Avero customers across many touch points. Salesforce tracks it all.”

Get your copy of 15 Success Stories of Business Growth with Apps for more from these growing business leaders, as well as inspiring videos and audio stories.

How to Transform Your Idea into an AppExchange App

A new year may mean new diets, new gym memberships and new resolutions, but it can also mean bringing new ideas to life. 2017 is here and it’s time to make the most of it. If you’ve had an idea for an app, why not bring it to life? Here’s how to transform your idea into an app in five clear steps.

Step 1: Join

Set yourself up for success by joining the Partner Community. Explore, ask questions, and learn best practices from other Salesforce partners. This is where you’ll learn which app-building path is right for you.

Step 2: Build

Now it’s time to start building and turn your idea into reality. Sign up for a free Development Edition to build your app or connector. Use Trailhead to expand your Salesforce developer skills, and build using secure coding best practices so you are prepared for Security Review.

Step 3: Package

Next, it’s time to package your app. Managed packages provide intellectual property protection, enable the delivery of seamless upgrades, and provide support for license enforcement features.  For specific steps on how to do this, check the developer guide.

Step 4: Design

A compelling AppExchange listing helps customers understand your value with demos, screenshots, pricing, and even on-the-spot trials or installs. Include screen shots, an attention-grabbing header image, and descriptions.

Start this step by linking your managed package to your listing. Once your package is linked to your listing, skip to step #5 and submit for Security Review.  After you’ve submitted for Security Review, you can come back to this step and finish designing your listing.  Step 4 and 5 can be completed in parallel.

Step 5: Review

Protecting customer data and maintaining trust are part of Salesforce's core values. Security Review helps establish trust between you and Salesforce customers. Prepare for it early in your development process. Salesforce provides numerous free security resources to assist you with education, design, and development of apps.

Enroll in Trust Academy for practical, hands-on experience in the fundamentals of application security, how-to guidance on testing tools, and detailed instructions for how to submit for Security Review.

Congratulations. After you pass security review, you will be able to publish your app on AppExchange. The entire Salesforce ecosystem can now see and interact with your listing.

Want to continue exploring? Learn more in the Partner Community.

8 Quotes to Help You Build an Amazing Company Culture

Company culture has a major impact on business success, as it affects everyone from employees to partners to customers. In a recent SalesforceLIVE webcast, Rich Karlgaard, Editor-at-Large and Global Futurist at Forbes Media, shed light on the vital importance of culture in today’s global economy. Hosted by our own Jamie Domenici, in partnership with Docusign, Sage and Xactly, the webcast covered the impact of mega trends surrounding the global economic, political, demographic, and technology impacts on today’s businesses.  While culture was just one aspect of Karlgaard’s talk on surviving and thriving in the global economy, I personally found it to be the most impactful.

Here are the highlights of the cultural focus from Karlgaard in this webcast, including eight of his quotes about culture, explained.

1. “Be cognizant of your culture”

Karlgaard urges organizations to stop thinking about the size of their companies, or the number of people on their payrolls. “If companies today have to org chart every little decision, they're not moving fast enough,” said Karlgaard. “Instead, be cognizant of your culture. Write it down and set a precedent. Rally your company around that.”

2. “Be cognizant regardless of your company size”

Karlgaard discussed the impact of today’s global economy, and urges businesses to be mindfully aware of the circumstances in which they live, where there are problems, and where there are opportunities. “Don’t panic or get stressed about it, but come together as a team to be able to pursue these opportunities or solve these problems,” said Karlgaard. The good news is that organizations can be “cognizant regardless of your company size.”

3. “Immune system things”

“My thesis is that the best model is living organisms. We have immune systems,” noted Karlgaard. “You have this immune system that takes care of you, but imagine what it would look like for an organization to have a really good immune system.” For Karlgaard, that gets to the culture of an organization. Companies with an immune system will have a high level of trust, great teamwork, great appreciation for diversity, and unique talents that their employees bring to the organization.

4. “Hope-balance characteristics”

Business to business is truly person to person. We work with human beings in business. If the goal is to obtain a customer, hold onto a customer, and satisfy a customer, then the rational and emotional side is crucial. “Customers think rationally, and they also think emotionally. So you better bring that into your product or service,” advised Karlgaard. The people delivering your product or service must have those “hope balance-characteristics.”

5. “Build whole-brain teams”

In order to create high levels of trust and personal empowerment within an organization, Karlgaard recommends developing teams that spontaneously form to solve a problem or to pursue an opportunity on a day-to-day basis. “Establish steering teams to create whole-brain teams, which means cognitive diversity, introverts, extroverts, left-brain thinkers, right-brain thinkers who can see the big picture. Analytical people, highly analytical people, and highly intuitive people,” Karlgaard recommended.

6. “Have a highly adaptive culture”

In today’s global economy, Karlgaard feels it’s crucial to have a “highly adaptive culture based around small autonomous teams where people love and respect each other and can therefore rise spontaneously to solve problems or pursue opportunities.” He goes on to share, “People who are happy and feel good about what they're doing is going to matter. It improves how companies impact their customers.”

7. “A degree of paranoia is appropriate”

According to Karlgaard, it’s appropriate to be fearful, but it's not appropriate to be paralyzed with fear. “Andy Grove of Intel, said ‘Only the paranoid survive,’ and I think that's good,” said Karlgaard. “A useful amount of paranoia and fear is needed to think about the future, but also look at it in an optimistic way. ” Good managers will make sure that there is that balance, because according to Karlgaard, that's the creative spur.

8. “Mobilize around trends”

Many companies are doing a great job of preparing for the short-term, but might not be looking five years ahead, according to Karlgaard. ‘The two-to-five year time frame is really critical,” said Karlgaard. “The global integrated economy has offered great opportunity for organizations to mobilize their companies around technology and other trends.” Focus on how to stay competitive as a company in an era where technology is evolving as fast as it is. “There are trillion dollar opportunities out there for companies to figure out based on these trends,” advised Karlgaard.

Watch the replay to hear all of Karlgaard’s mega trends impacting today’s organizations.

A New Way to Get B2B Buying Research Data in Salesforce

Companies need the ability to incorporate trusted data sources directly into their CRM to help users better target the right prospects, sell smarter, and create personalized, 1-to-1 customer experiences. To date, it has been hard to find, license, and integrate additional data sources that help you truly get to know your customers better. That’s why we’re working to make adding data sources in Salesforce faster and easier.

B2B Research Data Now on the AppExchange

Today, we’re excited to announce a new data partner on the AppExchange as a part of innovative data integration features built into the Salesforce platform. Bombora, a leading provider of B2B intent data, delivers valuable buying signals that can be automatically matched and added to the account records in your CRM.

This new data package takes advantage of enhancements to the Salesforce platform that allow for integration of data sources into the customer’s org with clicks, not code. The combination of these enhancements and vendors’ data packages will allow customers to create more intelligent processes, built on better, more targeted data—improving CRM user adoption and ROI. Instead of having to invest in custom-built integrations, wrangle data manually from flat files, or settle for working with data in silos, customers can now use the power of Salesforce to gain deeper insights from their data while making it actionable for users across the organization.

Surf the Waves of Intent Data

B2B buying teams often rely on third party content -- whitepapers, webinars, articles, case studies and more -- to make their purchasing decisions. In fact, according to a study by the CMO Council and Netline Corporation, 88% of B2B buyers, influencers and researchers believe that online content has played a major to moderate role in their vendor selection. Recognizing this, Bombora monitors data from thousands of premium B2B publishers across over 2,800 topics. They’re able to recognize when accounts are showing what they call “surges” in research behavior on specific topics. With this data, sales and marketing have a strong indicator of purchase intent to help them personalize content, improve effectiveness of targeted campaigns, prioritize prospecting, and much more.

How Do I Get It?

Information on the new data package from Bombora is available on the Salesforce AppExchange here. The Bombora data package can be added to Salesforce Sales or Service Cloud, Professional Edition and above. The data package is built using the same platform capabilities that power Sales Cloud features like Geocoding and new Data.com Clean rules.

25 5-Star Apps You Haven’t Heard Of (But Need To)

I love that AppExchange is constantly growing with new apps. Although new apps may be flying under your radar, some are starting to generate significant momentum and buzz (not to mention terrific reviews) from our community. Spanning a wide range of categories, these 25 apps possess common attributes: they’re value packed and have a high customer rating.

Discussed at Dreamforce, here’s a look at 25 5-star apps you may not have heard of, but need to.

1. RealZips

Incorporate full geographic structuring (such as city, county, state) to zip code granularity to improve lead routing, territory management, and analytics.

2. OneMob

Connect with customers and employees with personalized videos and landing pages.

3. Tact

A full mobile sales productivity suite that enables users to interact with data through text or voice.

4. Fingertip

Decision management app with over 80 lightning components that helps manage the entire decision making process and links outcomes to business results.

5. Augment

Display and simulate your products in augmented reality, allowing for real time feedback and improved visual communication.

6. Flosum

Complete application lifecycle management app that helps developers manage changes, testing, implementation, and version control.

7. SwagIQ

App that handles ordering, fulfillment, and delivery of company branded swag that can be sent to contacts and linked to sales outcomes.

8. ChatOOO

Free app that allows users to set automatic out of office notifications for Chatter posts.

9. IPFolio

Organize, visualize, and manage all activities and information related to intellectual property, including mapping patents into product catalogs.

10. PropelPLM

Brings together customer, product, and partner data into one place with this Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) app.

11. Conversica

Create an “artificial intelligence agent” who can serve as the first layer of response and can determine, as well as respond to, customer interest.

12. ChattoMate

Manage Chatter notifications by creating custom rules to automatically notify, follow, or unfollow records, users, or groups.

13. Simpplr

Create beautiful, mobile friendly social intranets to easily manage sites, news pages, events, files, and videos.

14. InGenius

Complement existing telephony system investments with a flexible and easy to use CTI solution that enables click to dial, screen pop, and call logging from directly within Salesforce.

15. Magic Robot

Robust automatic marketing campaign attribution that does not require users to assign contact roles.

16. DigitalGenius

AI layer of customer service that learns from historical records and communicates with customers until response confidence interval drops below a set threshold.

17. LearnTrac

Free Learning Management System that allows users to create and assign training content. Use in conjunction with ViewTrac to provide video content and tracking.

18. TalkDesk

Full contact software and dialer within Salesforce that can be deployed without phones or hardware.

19. Lurniture

Peer voted training and content that recommends the right video and content depending on the record type or stage of an opportunity.

20. Persado

A Marketing Cloud app for testing multiple email messages with random users within a contact database in order to identify which message performed the best.

21. Cloudaware

Manage multiple public cloud infrastructures from one central location while detecting usage waste, implementing budget limits, and identifying process changes.

22. Krow

A professional services automation app that provides a single location for project management, resource planning, billing, invoicing and centralized analytics.

23. Salesforce1 Org Chart

This free app helps you view and easily navigate through your company’s org chart to find hierarchy, title, and contact information.

24. Timezone IQ

This free app provides visual stoplights let you know if it’s after hours at your lead or contact’s location to help with lead prioritization.

25. Spanning Backup

Automatic backup for all standard and custom objects, Chatter posts, attachments and metadata while setting user permissions across the organization.

Check out all of these apps on AppExchange, and for more fantastic AppExchange apps, get the new ebook, 88 Apps Every Smart Business Should Know About, including 63 more apps mentioned in AppExchange sessions at Dreamforce ‘16.