We had some idle time at the office last week (after one more hard working day) so we sat down with Matthew Fitzsimons, our senior Salesforce tech guru, the true master of ceremony of BiiT Dream Team and a dance teacher. Here is what we were talking about over a cup of good ol’ Indian tea.
I came to Finland after meeting a Finnish woman in Ireland. My background was originally in hotel & catering management whilst in Ireland; and then after moving to Finland, I went back to college for IT.
I wanted to move from a large international company to a company where I could grow using my training and capabilities acquired from my global work history. In BiiT I am currently working as a Senior Technical Architect with my main expertise as an integration man.
I have learned the vast capabilities and power of Salesforce.
I see the CRM industry becoming more aware of its need to integrate with other 3rd party systems for business flows, data sync and portal usage.
More centered on agreed, modular standardisation of how the visualforce is used; as well as more custom shared code for seamless development and out of box solutions.
So I started when I was 4 years old and competed in competitions in Ireland until age 20; I started doing group events and ordered shows abroad when I was 15 years old. When I came to Finland and went back to college, I started teaching in Helsingin Tanssiopisto,and then also in other parts of Finland. I also arranged shows with the students where they had a chance to perform for the public. I will soon be teaching again for school age kids, as my children and their friends have an interest in it.
The main goal when investing in the new system is to improve marketing activities, allow marketing to make all the activities within one system and give better tools to monitor the ROI. Most of the Marketing Automation Systems available can do those things but some of the are meant for B2B and some are better suitable for B2C businesses. Also the functions available vary a lot and that usually goes hand in hand with the total price of the system license.
We recommend Pardot B2B Marketing Automation System if the following topics are relevant in your company:
● To publish, monitor and improve our newsletters
● To nurture our leads with automated email campaigns
● To create landing pages and forms (Events: marketing and registering)
● To generate and score leads to be moved forward for sales team
● To publish and to monitor our social media channels
● To report marketing activities (leads, ROI’s, campaigns)
● To monitor our web page visitors and prospect activities
● To automatically communicate with our existing customers (triggered emails etc.)
Pardot helps us to work more convenient and pleasant way here in our marketing team and with Pardot we can provide more qualified leads to our sales team. We can say that with Pardot we are generating more sales than ever. We can now better align our sales and marketing teams using Pardot’s blended lead scoring and grading model. Based on criteria we set, score and grade leads so that only the highest-quality leads get passed from marketing to sales. We constantly use Pardot’s lead assignment functionality to automatically assign leads to a sales rep once they reach a threshold score.
Marketing Automation System combines and uses the company’s customer registers (earned & purchased) to better target the marketing activities and to improve customer experience. Tools like marketing automation can execute on huge amounts of data stored in a database, allowing companies to personalize the buyer journey from start to finish. That helps your company to keep the sales pipeline stocked with high-quality leads.
The new tool aligns the marketing and sales processes and makes everyone work with the same system and towards the same goal. When Marketing Automation System is integrated with CMS (Content Management System) & CRM (Customer Relation Management) it covers the whole sales pipeline from the first web page visit to won sales opportunity providing the perfect view of the current status of marketing and sales. You can use forms, landing pages, and real-time prospect activity tracking to collect detailed information from your buyers.
Even though there are many things to automate, the new system does not reduce the work load, but it makes the marketing process way more accurate and easier to monitor. It helps to get rid of multiple separate marketing tools and contact registers when all the activities are done within one master system and with one main register. And because the true ROI of every marketing activity is always visible it makes it easy to see which activities work and which activities need some improving or re-thinking.
As mentioned earlier the best result is possible only when both marketing and sales co-operate with the sales pipeline management. That is not happening and not even enough if the executive level does not support the change. Marketing Automation System is a very powerful tool but it is also pretty useless if the targets and coordinates coming from the company’s marketing and sales strategies are inaccurate.
Together with ServiceMax we held an event last week focusing on Service transformation.
We did not only focus on why transforming service organizations is so important, but also on how companies are doing it and through a demo we looked at how this can be managed from a daily perspective.
Since we have many companies in Finland that have been and are currently transforming and developing their service businesses, I thought it would be appropriate to take a look at a few companies that could be benchmarked for their excellence in certain areas. All information that was used and gathered was publicly available information and did not refer to any specific technology being used.
The full presentation is embedded at the end of this blog – but here I have done a short summary of some key points per each company which was looked at.
I remembered a few years ago listening to the CEO of Konecranes saying that the company that controls the data will be the company that controls the market. I thought his thinking was ahead of many others in the lifting business segment and if done correctly it will truly give them a competitive advantage.
Konecranes collects data and gives access to customers to it through their TRUCONNECT offering. More info here: TRUCONNECT
Wärtsilä Online Services is something that many companies could learn from. Online services makes the customers lives easier as it provides one central place to take care of the lifecycle of Wärtsiläs sold solutions. Whether it is parts or service, or technical knowledge that is needed, it can all be found from Wärtsiläs Online Services. Check it out here: Online Services
As you manufacture, sell and service equipment – over the years you gather know how and expertise, which can become your most important asset, something that cannot be copied. Metso offers expert services to their customers, which means they are helping the customers on a deeper level and therefore taking more control of the whole value chain. This is an area where many manufacturers could have a big opportunity.
As service jobs get more complex all the time, Valmet is developing their ability to help guide their field technicians with the help of augmented reality in mobile devices + smart glasses. Here is a bit more information on this: Augmented reality re-defines predictive maintenance
Kone has always been been very good at focusing their efforts and being crystal clear on what to develop. In the presentation we looked at KONEs service promise of delivering superior service experience and peace of mind for customers.
In addition to this we looked at a picture of what areas they will focus on in order to become their customers preferred maintenance partner on a global level. This was split up into three areas: People, Process and system development and growth.
There are many companies doing great things and I believe you can learn something good from any company that you observe and analyze. The ideas presented here were hopefully a source of inspiration for you to do further research to generate ideas to bring back and develop your own organization to reach greater heights.
Here is my presentation.
Lightning Community Builder brings customer communities to the modern era
With the latest Salesforce release, the amount of available features has grown again. One of the most useful customer community features is now available to use – Chatter Groups. Groups are key when sharing information and data between customers (for example, guidebooks and product instructions). Groups are also very useful if you have a self-service portal set up for the customers. If your company is, for example, a manufacturer of camping and outdoor gears, you can have groups called “Hiking” “Bicycle”, “Water Sports” and so on. Users then know where to look for information or where they can ask questions related to certain areas. With Chatter Groups you can also easily control the access of users by creating private groups for different purposes and then providing the access only for certain users.
Lightning Community Builder is also very easy and fast to use. You can actually have a Lightning community with real users set up in just couple of hours, yet the user interface looks like it was developed over a couple of months. The Builder uses drag-and-drop features (where you can pick up en element you want to show in your community and place that on a page layout inside some predefined section). With “Quick Preview” you can see the changes made in real time.
The visual side of the new Lightning Community release is totally different now. In the earlier version you had two options: whether to use the old Salesforce tabs applied with Visualforce or use the new Lightning community with very limited features. In the Lightning community the only connection to Chatter Groups was to use the “Chatter Feed”, where a user could see all the posts from his/her groups in a feed, but couldn’t access the actual groups. This was a big disadvantage when considering whether to set up a Lightning or standard community, and I believe many development projects were left as pending because of this missing feature. There were some workarounds, but were not very practical. We did research where we used iframe to show chatter groups from old Salesforce inside the Lightning Community. We also examined the possibility to use custom object as a chatter group, where we activated objects’ chatter feed and used that object as a chatter group. All the solutions had some problems because a lot of customization was needed. The feature usability versus time/money spent was very poor. But now things have changed as Salesforce has activated Chatter Groups in the Lightning experience.
The visualization didn’t play a key role in the old Salesforce community, but the new Lightning Experience has changed this. Now the new view feels modern and user-friendly. We are at the point where you might actually consider activating the Lightning community for your customers. One of the Lightning Community advantages is the page scalability for different devices. You can access the community with your phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer and you always have perfect view of your community. The whole community is implemented using components and the system shows them in different places depending on the device you are using. Because of that, the usability and the user interface is very good. We are enthusiastically looking forward what the next releases bring to us.
Globalization and manufacturing efficiency has led to manufacturers struggling to make money on selling products alone. Nowadays it’s the add-ons and services that put the “butter on the bread”, so to speak. Many manufacturers are selling products without any margins at all just so that they can benefit from the positive cash flow of the after-sales business.
Traditionally, the manufacturers that provide machinery and products for businesses are actually only touching a small part of the customers’ value chain. They sell the product and the rest is up to the customer.
This is unfortunate because through-out the manufacturers’ whole history they have been collecting and developing expertise about their customers and their processes. This knowledge can be put to good use if the manufacturer has true expertise and is willing to take a leap and deepen the partnership that they have with their customers. There are many variations of partnerships that can be formed.
Selling the product and letting the customer decide and control how to use and maintain the machinery. From the customer’s point of view, they are making a one time investment that needs to be maintained for its lifecycle.
The manufacturer sells the product and is, from the very beginning, the partner for maintaining the product.
The manufacturer sells the product and then takes care of everything for the customer; completely outsourced upkeep will allow the customer to focus on its core operations.
At this level you do not sell a product, only an outcome. The customer will pay for how much they use the product or machinery.
Rolls-Royce’s “power-by-the-hour” would be a hallmark example of a Level 4 partnership. They charge the airlines based on hourly flight time, which allows the customer to control costs and make more accurate business decisions. Another Level 4 example: Alstom provides a train for Virgin Trains and charges Virgin based on the amount of mileage (in this case, however, the train is actually owner by another company, not Alstom).
This is a level where profitability is the highest and the level of partnership is the absolute deepest, as it is a full cooperation between the customer and manufacturer (seller of the product machinery).
Konecranes is one company that is deepening the relationship with its customers by collecting and analyzing data for customers. Their mission is not just to help customers lift things, but lift entire businesses. With the data they are collecting, an understanding of the customer’s operations arises, which allows the customers to make better decisions. In this way Konecranes is forming a stronger partnership with its customers.
In one way it is wrong to say that manufacturers must become partners, as there is no “must do” anything in a specific way in business. It is, however, a must if they want to remain in a profitable business and ensure their competitive edge in the marketplace.
If a manufacturer is interested in increasing profit margins, the best way to go about it is to analyze and decide how to deepen the partnership with its clients to provide more value in the entire value chain. What is the current level of the manufacturers expertise and level of service and where does it need to be developed in order to help ensure that they can help their customers more?
Answering this questions and following through by taking action will be the beginning of a journey to becoming a partner for customers.
-Customers are more independent than ever. Depending on which studies you look at it varies, but generally 55-75% of the purchasing process is done before contacting sales.
-Customer have more options than ever before.
-More channels than ever.
-Purchasing has been centralized and bigger groups are making decisions.
Inside the Organization
-Larger teams working on selling.
-Working remotely, across borders and time zones.
-Pressure to reach better results with less resources.
-Increased team work between departments.
These changes in the external and internal business environments have led to the need for commercial excellence. Making good products and services doesn’t cut it any longer. Without great execution, you cannot remain competitive and profitable. To me, this is what commercial excellence is all about.
Twenty years ago phone and face to face meetings + traditional mail and post-it notes were valid tools, until the first CRM revolution. CRM’s were used for logging activities and gaining visibility into the sales pipeline. However, some are still struggling with this and its not the sales peoples fault.
Now we are living in the year 2016 and no one can deny that we are operating in a customer revolution. Many industries have been changed forever, and many are still experiencing rapid change.
For a company to remain at the forefront of this customer revolution and practice commercial excellence, all departments and functions have to play together as one organism that serves and sells to the customer in unison. Some may speak about this as “the customer experience”.
In many cases the involved departments include marketing, presales, inside sales, field sales, product or service delivery and the service organization. Unfortunately all too often they have their tools, processes and goals split apart from each other, which hinders them from reaching commercial excellence.
Many companies take the route of moving to a standard CRM, with accounts, activities and logging deals to see their entire sales situation. Unfortunately this sales part is only one part of the picture, as the sales people are only one part of the customers’ journey and relationship with the company.
I’ll go ahead and say it directly: A standard CRM for logging and planning the activities of sales people is not enough for reaching commercial excellence any longer! It will take the whole organization’s skills and know-how to acquire and maintain profitable customer relationships.
Without enabling the whole organization to live in sync and utilize one main customer centric platform, a company can no longer reach commercial excellence, and therefore new levels of profitability.
A summary of the two-day event in Stuttgart, Germany focused in PLC products and specifically in ThingWorx, an IoT platform that monitors data received from close-to-machine sensors:
On 17th and 18th of November, some 2500 people gathered in Stuttgart (Germany) to attend LiveWorx 2015 – an event organized by PTC to which, according to official sources, doubled last years’ attendance.
The conference was about all-things-PTC, a big company that has a wide range of products for creating and testing models – from heavy machinery to consumer goods or energy industry. Some time ago, PTC had the vision that the future of all those items that their customers are making should be interconnected, proactive and intelligent. In short, they envisioned what we now understand as Internet of Things (IoT). This future is coming to life now with ThingWorx, a platform that brings all PTC products under the same roof and allows devices modeled with PTC products (they call them “things”) to be connected with other systems and become a source of data.
BiiT was there, in Stuttgart, to learn about new ways to bring more value to our customers by integrating ThingWorx platform with Salesforce and ServiceMax. Here we also strengthened our links with ServiceMax as a partner and gained valuable knowledge and connections that will help us bring this integration to life.
On the first day we attended a very interesting breakout session by Mark Minnucci, Systems Engineering Domain Leader at Schneider Electric, and Mark Holmer VP Global Customer Transformation for ServiceMax where we could experience first hand a series of demos integrating Salesforce/ServiceMax and ThingWorx. In those series of demos, data from Salesforce and ServiceMax (specifically Cases and Work Orders) was brought into a ThingWorx dashboard representing devices spread throughout the US. Cases were automatically generated by each of the devices in the field capturing data via sensors. Each device was connected wirelessly to ThingWorx platform and constantly capturing and monitoring data. By setting up thresholds in ThingWorx you could trigger events that create Salesforce Cases.
Another interesting feature showcased was a dashboard element showing the Cross-sell Opportunities generated automatically by each of those devices. For example: in the scenario of a company selling and maintaining printer machines, this would mean that the printer (the “thing”) would automatically notify ThingWorx (and Salesforce via ThingWorx) of a low ink cartridge and also the closest place to the printer where to get a replacement (wow!). Another practical example would be a business of inspecting elevators: the elevator (again, “the thing”), would automatically send a notification of malfunctioning parts and suggest the closest field service person that could fix it. In short: a world of possibilities.
Many other exhibitors were showcasing success stories about PTC products, including ThingWorx. In general, the talks were 50/50 technical and business friendly with a strong emphasis on IoT and the security on IoT, but overall a very exciting atmosphere to network with people from different fields showing different solutions for the same thing: connecting devices to the internet, obtaining data from them AND making sense of that data.
It really was an exciting experience to be part of LiveWorx 2015 and see in person what type of solutions are being built today around a concept like Internet of Things (which has been around for a while and seems it is taking off now).
We, at BiiT, are excited about the world of possibilities that an IoT platform like ThingWorx could bring to our customers, and we are ready to implement together a solution that brings even more value to them.
Manuel González (BiiT, Software Engineer)JAA SOMESSA
Together with our BiitMax team we traveled to the wonderful city of Paris last week for the annual MaxLive event.
The event was all about meeting great people and hearing about how world-class service organizations are developing their field service operations.
Among many excellent keynotes a few highlights would definitely have to be Kevin Ashtons keynote on the topic of IoT (Internet of Things). Kevin Ashtons keynote was filled with his interesting story of how the term IoT was founded and how he sees what the future will bring. Picture of Kevin Ashton below.
Another highlight was the ServiceMax Transformation teams cooking session! Each member of the transformation (Mark Homer, Patrice Eberline and David Hart) team had their own topics around building a business case, metrics etc.
Here you see Mark Homer explaining some things about ServiceMax’s knowledge and capability of helping businesses develop their service organization. The one in the picture is the maturity matrix.
Among other great keynotes was also ServiceMax CEO Dave Yarnold and his interviews of ServiceMax clients – Daves topic was “The New Service-Led Economy”.
Here are some more pictures of our highlights from Paris.