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10 Warning Signs Your Enterprise Cloud Company May Be in Trouble

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At Emergence Capital, where I serve as operating partner, we’ve worked with some of the most successful enterprise cloud companies, including Salesforce, Veeva Systems, Box, SuccessFactors, Yammer and Zoom. Over the years we’ve learned a thing or two about why some companies succeed, and we have insight into some of the challenges they’ve faced along the way.

In this article, I want to share some of the early indicators that should serve as warning signs to CEOs as they look at the fundamentals of their business. It’s important to pay attention to these early red flags so you can fix them before a problem starts.

1.  Beware of the “bloated pipeline.” You should be worried if pipeline velocity is slowing and getting bloated in the middle. A slowing pipeline velocity kills sales force productivity, especially if the funnel gets clogged as efforts get diluted.

2. Watch out for “disappearing deals.” Start to panic if month-end sales – deals expected to close – are getting pushed out or, worse yet, disappear altogether. Objections like “We just aren’t ready to buy,” may be a sign your product isn’t generating enough urgency to close the deal. Or worse yet, market need is waning.

3. Sales team productivity is dropping. Be nervous if productivity in your sales team suddenly decreases. It’s time to start asking the tough questions, such as:

  • How high is sales rep turnover? Is it trending up?
  • What percentage of reps are hitting their quota? (A good rule of thumb: ~60 percent make their quota; 40 percent miss it).
  • Are annual contract values (ACVs) shrinking over time? Do you have a high-touch sales model? If so, make sure ACVs can support costs.
  • How heavily are reps discounting (particularly when selling into a single vertical)?

4.  The dreaded MQL (marketing qualified lead) definition. Be worried if your sales and marketing teams are not in complete, 100 percent alignment around the definition of an MQL. Is a demo request an automatic MQL? What about a free trial? For those focusing on a freemium strategy, at what point should sales engage to try and convert? MQL definition clarity builds trust between sales and marketing, ultimately empowering both teams to better serve prospects and customers.

5. Inbound is overleveraged. You should be on edge if 80 percent or more of all leads come from your inbound engine. Inbound is great, but it’s not the only solution for long-term, sustained growth. Generally, inbound leads tend to slow – and get more expensive – over time. Instead, play the long game: Build out a strong outbound engine to supplement your inbound strategy. 

6. Fear the “feature wars.” You’ve lost the deal if your conversation begins with “Do you have X feature?” Instead, spend time and energy understanding core differentiators and determining if the market has changed. Worried your competition has copied your core positioning? Dig deep into won (and lost) deals and change the messaging accordingly. Avoid building pitch decks based on features. Instead focus more on winning deals based on the value delivered.

7. Time spent on site is too short. Get scared if high website traffic numbers coincide with a high bounce rate. This may be an indicator of poor messaging – content that isn’t resonating with target prospects. Additionally, you could be attracting the wrong target audience to the site.

8. Infrequent customer contact. You’re preparing for that renewal conversation, but you realize your customer hasn’t logged into the product for a few months and is effectively on life support. Do you have a plan in place for automated check-ins? Don’t wait until renewal time to touch base with customers.

9. Key customers becoming your main focus. Be concerned if big customers are starting to suck your resources dry with requests for customizations and other special needs. Everyone loves a big deal, but don’t let a handful of customers change your focus and vision.

10. Slow new customer onboarding. After signing several big deals, you’re starting to see momentum build. But it’s taking much longer to deploy these customers than you hoped because your customer success team is too small or overburdened with product issues. The longer a customer has to wait to use your product, the less valuable it becomes.

Any one of these warning signs could spell trouble. Constant vigilance is required – not simply when you start to sense trouble.

Employees at This Company Believed It Was Stuck at No. 3 in the Industry, but This Business Leader Showed Them How to Think Bigger

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Steve Collis, CEO of AmeriSourceBergen, shares how he developed “intellectual confidence” in his company.

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Timely and Relevant Is The Only Message That Matters

During the 2014 Grammy Awards, musician Pharrell Williams was seen wearing an unusual hat:

Image Source

Sure, he may have gotten some funny looks, but it didn’t seem like a big deal.

That is, until a certain fast food chain seized the opportunity to craft a clever tweet:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

This was a spectacular feat on several levels. Many brands had been unsuccessfully trying to capitalize on the Grammys, but Arby’s nailed it.

It was also a great use of Arby’s social media persona. The restaurant even gained a funny response from Pharrell himself:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Those two Tweets gave Arby’s a colossal amount of publicity, gaining tens of thousands of retweets in a couple of days.

And they did it all with just eight words and a related hashtag.

Why did it work so well?

This smart marketing move had two important characteristics. It was timely, and it was relevant.

The most successful marketing is timely and relevant, and as I’m about to explain, that’s all that matters.

It doesn’t matter if you have millions of social media followers. It doesn’t matter if tons of influencers are promoting your product.

If your marketing isn’t timely and relevant, it won’t succeed.

It’s getting tougher and tougher to do marketing right. People are pickier about what they consume, and they’ll ignore anything that rubs them the wrong way.

If you throw salesy terms at your customers and pressure them to buy, you’re not going to get a lot of conversions.

But if you can build a connection with your customers, they just might turn into lifetime brand advocates.

You need to reach your customers where they are. That’s why timely, relevant messages are crucial for your brand.

What exactly does timely and relevant mean?

First, let’s define these terms.

“Timely” and “relevant” aren’t just buzzwords. They have real implications for your business, and as it turns out, they’re fairly complex.

Let’s tackle timeliness.

Many marketing campaigns are timely but not relevant. Often, these campaigns fail.

Make no mistake––timeliness is crucial. But you can still fail if you send a message at the perfect time.

Consider the Race Together campaign that Starbucks put out in 2015.

The campaign definitely came at the right time. The coffee giant launched it in response to the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, which had just happened the previous year.

The cases were still in the news, and Starbucks decided to create a dialogue about race. It should have been a match made in heaven, but it wasn’t.

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The campaign flopped quite badly.

The initiative itself was inherently flawed. It didn’t matter that it came at the right time because it just wasn’t the right marketing approach.

The race issue is definitely of intense importance, but the way it was approached was solidly off.

So timeliness is definitely important, but your marketing can’t be just timely. It also has to be relevant.

To be relevant, you have to think about your audience’s current needs, wants, and opinions.

You can’t base your ideas of relevancy off of old trends or data. You have to stay up to date and figure out what your customers want and like right now.

You have to think about what your customers want, where you can reach them, and how you can benefit them.

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If your audience isn’t interested in what you have to offer, they’re not going to listen to you.

If your audience isn’t hanging out in the same places you’re marketing, they’re not going to hear you.

If your audience doesn’t derive any value from your marketing, they’re not going to pay attention to you.

Last but not least, if you want to be relevant, your marketing has to fall in line with your audience’s values.

If you launch an initiative that your customers fundamentally disagree with, you won’t see much success. The same thing will happen if your marketing is insensitive or poorly done.

To sum it all up, relevancy means catering to your customers in as many ways as you can.

When you combine timeliness with relevancy, you get a one-two punch that almost never fails to convert.

The danger of the wrong message

To understand why timely and relevant matters so much, let’s consider some marketing efforts that failed miserably.

One of the biggest marketing fails in recent years has to be Pepsi’s controversial ad that was called “tone-deaf” by almost every media outlet in the world, from the New York Times to USA Today.

The 2017 ad involved TV personality Kendall Jenner taking part in protests and eventually offering a can of Pepsi to police.

Pepsi said the ad was meant to “project a global message of unity, peace, and understanding,” but it fell flat because the ad painted an unrealistic portrait of protests and the interactions between police and protesters.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dA5Yq1DLSmQ?wmode=transparent&modestbranding=1&autohide=1&showinfo=0&rel=0]

Like Starbucks’s Race Together campaign, Pepsi put this out at the right time, in the wake of police protests that seemed to divide America, and the company’s intentions were positive.

However, the ad wasn’t relevant. It was far too staged and the situation far too impossible to relate to viewers.

To put it bluntly, the public thought the ad was a ton of crap and spoke out against it. (Pepsi removed the video from their channel, but the re-uploaded version received over 150,000 dislikes!)

The flak that Pepsi received for the ad was more than negative publicity. Pepsi learned the hard way that the wrong message at the right time won’t work, and that was a wake-up call for businesses around the world.

You don’t have to be Pepsi or Starbucks to send the wrong message and alienate your audiences––it can happen to a business of any size.

SaleCycle found that out when its content strategy failed.

The B2B company wanted to produce more content and provide more value to its readers. So far, so good.

SaleCycle started publishing 2-3 pieces of content per week, and their overall content output soared.

However, they focused more on quantity and less on quality.

Even though they had 100 blog posts, just 10 of those posts made up half of their total blog traffic.

Image Source

The reason? They were publishing lots of content that their audience wasn’t interested in.

While it may have been timely, it wasn’t relevant whatsoever.

These examples prove that you need both timely and relevant marketing. You can’t just have one or the other.

Being timely but not relevant (or vice versa) is an awkward imbalance. It makes it seem like you’re kind of paying attention to your audience, but not really.

Both the Pepsi ad and SaleCycle’s content strategy were timely, but they weren’t relevant. In both cases, customers felt distanced from the business.

Ultimately, it’s your customers who decide whether or not your message is timely and relevant. That’s why you have to prioritize them.

You have to know your customers

Being both timely and relevant requires you to listen to your customers, get to know them better, and produce content that they want to see.

That sounds simple enough, but how does it play out in real life?

Basically, you have to continually track certain elements of your audience and use customer feedback to improve.

Okay, that still sounds simple. But trust me––there’s a lot to it.

Many businesses think that they can just glance at online reviews or social media posts to create timely, relevant messages.

But here’s the thing – customers want you to know them super well.

But the customer-business relationship is a two-way street. If you’re not doing your part, why should your customers?

So put in the extra effort to build personas, get to know what your audience wants, and cater to them.

Make “timely and relevant” your motto

I hope you’re convinced that timely and relevant are truly the only message that matters.

That doesn’t mean you’re done.

Understanding is only the first step. You have to implement it.

As corny as it sounds, being timely and relevant has to be something you are and not just something you do. (I told you it sounded corny.)

You might tell yourself that you’re being timely and relevant, but if your customers still aren’t happy, then you’re not doing so well.

Pepsi is a perfect example. When it created the disastrous TV ad, it wasn’t trying to deliver irrelevant content to their customers, but they misunderstood the kind of content their customers would connect with.

There’s no doubt that Pepsi thought it was delivering a message that was both timely and relevant.

Just like you probably think you’re delivering the right messages to your customers.

For all I know, you are. But the point is that you can’t ever assume you’re doing the right thing and turn a blind eye to your customers.

If you want to create the most timely and relevant messages, that concept has to be a focus throughout your company.

Everyone on your team should be thinking “timely and relevant.”

Think of Amazon’s mission statement. It’s easy to remember and permeates every level of the company.

Our vision is to be Earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.

Every Amazon employee knows that this is the goal. In the same way, your entire team should live and breathe “timely and relevant.”

That concept has to guide everything you do.

Your social media team should be thinking “timely and relevant.” Your product manager should be thinking it. Everyone from the interns to the CEO should be thinking it.

If everyone isn’t on the same page, then one person’s efforts could get completely lost in translation.

Conclusion

You care about your customers, right?

Obviously that’s a rhetorical question because you do care about your customers.

But be brutally honest with yourself: When you put out your content, run your shiny new marketing campaign, or release a new product, does that attention to your customers still come across?

The Pepsi and Starbucks fiascos proved that intentions don’t always translate into actions. What begins as a good-natured marketing plan may end up taking a nosedive.

As much as it might hurt to admit, you might be ignoring your customers.

And you might be sending your customers the entirely wrong message, which is directly caused by ignoring your customers.

At the heart of the matter, being timely and relevant is all about taking care of your audience.

If you listen to what your customers have to say and understand what they want, you’ll almost never send the wrong message.

You’ll understand your audience’s wants, needs, interests, and dislikes.

You’ll be able to see what kind of content is both timely and relevant.

To make it even easier on yourself, you can take advantage of Kissmetrics Campaigns.

https://fast.wistia.com/embed/medias/z946e3jlgn.jsonphttps://fast.wistia.com/assets/external/E-v1.js

 

Campaigns was developed with the goal of delivering the right message at the right time. You’re able to send emails based on your users’ behaviors. Essentially, Campaigns is a behavior-based email engine. You find a segment of your audience that needs a nudge, and you create and send your emails in Campaigns.

The engine runs on the fuel of behavioral analytics and segments. Behavior-based emails mean that your emails are much more likely to be timely and relevant to your users.

And instead of relying on basic metrics like opens and clicks, Campaigns digs deep and looks at behavioral analytics.

Is your marketing and content timely and relevant? Have you had issues delivering the right message for your customers?

About the Author: Daniel Threlfall is an Internet entrepreneur and content marketing strategist. As a writer and marketing strategist, Daniel has helped brands including Merck, Fiji Water, Little Tikes, and MGA Entertainment. Daniel is co-founding Your Success Rocket, a resource for Internet entrepreneurs. He and his wife Keren have four children, and occasionally enjoy adventures in remote corners of the globe (kids included). You can follow Daniel on Twitter or see pictures of his adventures on Instagram.

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Samsung’s New Galaxy Tab A Tablet Gives Small Businesses Functionality and Portability

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The New Samsung Galaxy Tab A Tablet Offers Long-lasting Battery Life, and More

Samsung Electronics (KRX:005930) this week introduced its newest Android tablet, the Galaxy Tab A, which appears to take on Amazon’s low-cost tablets like Amazon Fire. If you are looking for a budget tablet that delivers enhanced performance and everyday usability, the Galaxy Tab A could be it.

New Samsung Galaxy Tab A Tablet (8.0’’)

According to the South Korean multinational electronics company, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A tablet lets you do more, faster, whether at home or on the go. It features a long-lasting battery (5,000mAh) that lets you power through emails, movies, games, and more, all from a single charge that lasts up to 14 hours.

Small business owners who travel a lot and need a multi-functional device for working on the go may like that the Galaxy Tab A comes with 16GB of built-in storage with up to 256GB of expandable memory for additional files storage. And if you need more screen size than your phone screen to work from, the Tab A features an eight-inch, 1280 x 800 display that looks good in any light, while still keeping the device portable, the company says.

“It’s the tablet that’s just as easy to take on the go or curl up with on the couch, with long-lasting battery life to get the entire family through the day,” wrote Sangsuk Roh, Vice President of Tablet Product Strategy for Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics, on the company’s NewsRoom blog.

Tab A Family Features

Similar to Amazon’s Fire tablets, the Galaxy Tab A also packs family features that allow kids to have their own accounts with parental controls set up beforehand, such as available content and time limits. A handy “kids mode” populates the tablet with games and apps from Samsung partners, including Lego.

Tab A has a sleek metal body and smooth rounded edges that make it comfortable to hold. It became available for $229.99 on November 1, offered in WiFi or LTE models in Black, Silver and Gold.

Image: Samsung

This article, “Samsung’s New Galaxy Tab A Tablet Gives Small Businesses Functionality and Portability” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Spotlight: Bonusly Offers a New Way for Businesses to Reward Employees

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Spotlight: Bonusly Employee Rewards Software Offers a New Way for Businesses to Recognize Employees

Rewarding employees can be a great way to keep your whole team engaged and happy at work. But what if there was a better way to actually hand out those rewards? That’s exactly what Bonusly aims to provide.

The company has created a system to allow team members to recognize great work from their co-workers. Read more about the company and its offering in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Provides a new way for companies to recognize great work from employees.

Co-founder and CEO Raphael Crawford-Marks told Small Business Trends, “Bonusly is a rapidly scaling start-up that empowers companies to reward and motivate employees through peer-to-peer micro-bonuses, so teams can recognize and publicly praise their colleagues for work they’ve done well. When Bob in accounting stays late to help meet a deadline, or Rick in sales closes a major deal, anyone within the company can recognize Bob and Rick with Bonusly points. As points accrue, they can be redeemed for real-life rewards such as cash, gifts cards to Sephora, Amazon or Home Depot, or even charitable donations. Bonusly seamlessly integrates with the leading HR and communication tools like Slack, Basecamp, BambooHR, Namely and ADP. Currently used by more than 1,000 companies including Hulu, Gilt and Chobani, Bonusly improves employee lifetime value by improving learning and development, increasing motivation and job satisfaction, and ultimately retaining employees for longer.”

Business Niche

Being fun and easy to use.

Aside from the various integrations and and analytical features, the platform makes the process of awarding bonuses fun for all involved, so they’ll be likely to actually use it.

Crawford-Marks says, “Bonusly is not a chore. You never have to send out a nag email reminding employees to use it. Employees find it fun, delightful, and habit-forming. You can enrich bonuses with images, emojis, and Gifs.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhpd4lzWPwI?rel=0]

How the Business Got Started

Because of frustration at other startups.

Crawford-Marks says, “[Co-founder] John Quinn and I were both veterans of startups large and small, and had been frustrated by a lack of recognition, and also by companies that asked only managers to dole out recognition and spot bonuses. We knew peers had the best vantage point to identify and celebrate contributions and accomplishments, yet there was no way to easily empower employees to do so. So we decided to build Bonusly.”

Biggest Win

Securing a major round of funding in 2014.

Crawford-Marks explains, “The company was bootstrapped up until that point, until one of Bonusly’s paying customers introduced us to the investor at FirstMark. That introduction was significant, since it opened the door to a meeting and eventually landed us $1M in seed funding. The customer? InVision, who is one of Bonusly’s strongest supporters to this day.”

Biggest Risk

Moving away from a major startup hub.

Crawford-Marks says, “Bonusly was founded in San Francisco in 2012 and eventually moved the company to Boulder, CO in 2016 with some employees working remotely from various cities around the U.S. It was a risk from a sales and marketing perspective since the largest deals are typically done on the coasts. Also, the Bay Area is the center of the tech industry, where startups have unfettered access to media, investors and talent. However, the move has proven to be hugely beneficial, opening the door to new tech and design talent in Boulder at a more affordable cost. It has also nurtured the team’s work/life balance, who enjoy living more healthy, active lifestyles.”

Lesson Learned

Have a plan for charging customers early on.

Crawford-Marks says, “Bonusly launched as a free service John and I were curious to see take off. It quickly gained traction as the go-to peer to peer rewards system and we then realized, it’s difficult to monetize something people have been getting for free. The company adapted by offering a freemium pricing plan, where teams up to 8 have free access and larger teams scale up from there.”

Spotlight: Bonusly Employee Rewards Software Offers a New Way for Businesses to Recognize Employees

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Hiring a full-time marketer.

Crawford-Marks says, “This person would focus on driving both new and expansion demand through integrated and automated marketing, targeting SMBs and mid-market enterprises.”

Favorite Quote

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” —Winston Churchill

* * * * *

Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program

Images: Bonusly, Raphael Crawford-Marks

This article, “Spotlight: Bonusly Offers a New Way for Businesses to Reward Employees” was first published on Small Business Trends

Facebook Marketplace Enhancements Can Benefit Used Car Dealers

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Facebook Partners with Auto Dealers to Offer More Options

Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) Marketplace has been making it easier for people to discover, buy and sell a variety of items locally — from household items, to electronics and apparel — since October of last year. Now Facebook is adding more options specifically for used car dealers in the U.S. to connect with local shoppers.

Facebook Partners with Auto Dealers to Offer More Options

According to the giant social networking site, Marketplace is expanding its popular used car inventory by partnering with leaders in the auto industry. This will reportedly help both used car dealers and shoppers in local areas make more of these connections, and conveniently transact with each other.

If your small business sells products or other items (including used cars) locally, you should have a Facebook presence to market your products, and an online inventory listed on the Marketplace. Selling in the Marketplace is fairly straightforward. Simply take a photo of your item or add it from your camera roll. Enter a product name, description and price. Confirm your location. Select a category and post.

Anyone looking in your area can find your item and message you if they want to buy it.

Facebook says the Marketplace will allow car shoppers in the U.S. to:

  • Browse inventory from auto dealers through new partnerships with Edmunds, Cars.com, Auction123, CDK Global and SOCIALDEALER
  • Find what they’re looking for by visiting the enhanced vehicles section and filtering listings by year, make, model, mileage, vehicle type and transmission
  • See trusted car values from Kelley Blue Book
  • Communicate directly with dealership representatives via Messenger, powered by chat providers like ActivEngage, CarCode, Contact At Once!, and Gubagoo

“In addition to vehicles, we are testing features in other Marketplace categories like jobs, event tickets, retail, and home rentals to give people more options when looking for products and services in their community,” writes Vice President of Facebook Marketplace, Deborah Liu on the company’s NewsRoom blog.

Car For Sale Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Facebook Marketplace Enhancements Can Benefit Used Car Dealers” was first published on Small Business Trends

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9 Things About Salesforce for Small Business that You Should Know

Salesforce serves businesses big and small today. But even as the company grows and its customers do, too, it hasn’t taken its eye off companies like yours.

Here is a list of 10 things every small business should know about Salesforce to get a better understanding of the company and what it offers.

Salesforce started small, too — 18 years ago in a small apartment.

The story of Salesforce’s beginnings is probably one to which many small business owners can relate. Back in 1999 Marc Benioff and three co-founders started Salesforce in San Francisco. To start Salesforce, Benioff gave up a successful career and struggled to find investors.

Today, the company is a tech titan. In the past quarter, Salesforce revenue reached $2.56 billion. That’s a 26 percent increase over the previous year. And it’s been recognized as the top CRM company in a competitive industry.

Salesforce has more than 150,000 customers, many of which are small businesses.

Once a small business itself, Salesforce got off the ground by serving small business needs. Today, some of the biggest companies in the world rely on Salesforce but still, many of its customers are startups and small businesses. The company is not taking its eye off the customers who got them where they are today.

DUFL is a great example of a company that has grown tremendously with Salesforce. Acting like a personal valet for business travel, DUFL cleans and stores garments customers need for their trips and ships them directly to their destination. DUFL uses Salesforce to keep a complete record of each individual’s unique needs so it can then deliver personalized, 1-to-1 experiences to its customers. With Salesforce supporting its sales and customer service, DUFL’s team of less than 50 employees has seen 10% month-on-month growth while maintaining a retention rate of more than 99%.

Today, Salesforce is much more than CRM.

Sure, Salesforce is nearly synonymous with CRM, especially for small businesses. But the company is getting a reputation for other services it provides companies like yours.

For instance, a few years ago Salesforce acquired Demandware, which it now calls Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Commerce Cloud allows small businesses to create unique shopping experiences for all its customers, including new ways of engaging customers on mobile devices at any time.

Salesforce also offers Quip, content collaboration tools for businesses.

Salesforce puts on one of the largest user conferences in the United States.

You’ll never walk alone at Dreamforce. That’s the annual user conference put on by Salesforce. And this is a big deal. It’s the largest software conference in the world.

Dreamforce offers the opportunity to learn first-hand how Salesforce — and any of its offerings — can help your small business. And if one of the many experts on hand isn’t enough, you’ll have a chance to meet the 175,000 or so attendees at this year’s event. That’s right — 175 THOUSAND!

“It’s bigger than a lot of cities,” says CRM Essentials co-founder Brent Leary, a regular at Dreamforce.

Many of those at Dreamforce are small business customers. This year there will be over 300 sessions dedicated to small businesses.

Salesforce has invested big in artificial intelligence.

Salesforce is integrating artificial intelligence with its CRM platform. The company calls its AI Einstein and promises to make everyone in your small business using it smarter.

In an interview with Small Business Trends, Salesforce’s Tony Rodoni stressed the role and impact of AI for a small business.

“No small business should have to have a data science department,” Rodoni said. “But we want to put functionality into the product that helps them see trends, recommend actions, and take next steps. And our SMB customers are going to see that in our products pretty darn quick.”

Your small business can access capital, find an investor, or get help on growth with Salesforce.

Salesforce has its own venture capital and investment arm called Salesforce Ventures.

The company has also created the AI Innovation Fund and is investing $50 million in startups that use AI to integrate their companies’ products with Salesforce.

Salesforce for Startups provides startups with access to the Salesforce technology, resources and expertise needed to become thriving customer and community-focused companies. Salesforce helps startups build, grow and give back through the AppExchange Partner Program, Salesforce Ventures, Pledge 1%, customer-focused products and much more.

Salesforce has a 1-1-1 philanthropy program.

Making an impact on your community, outside of being a successful company, adds value to any small business. Salesforce.org is based on the company’s own 1-1-1 model of social philanthropy.

And the 1-1-1 model is ideal for small businesses to donate from the beginning without stunting

their own growth. The 1s in 1-1-1 represent a percent of time, resources, and products that go to the common good of the community surrounding every business who’s pledged to contribute.

Salesforce.org says, to date, it has donated $168 million in grants, 2.3 million hours of community service, and product giveaways to more than 32,000 nonprofits and higher education institutions.

The AppExchange offers other apps for your business that automatically integrate with Salesforce.

Salesforce was the first to come out with an app store for third party integrations and extensions. It’s called Salesforce AppExchange. The AppExchange is where you’ll find other business apps that integrate with Salesforce.

The AppExchange recently reached its five million installs milestone, which shows the accelerating momentum of the AppExchange. Salesforce hit one million installs after six years, but in the last 12 months, it has grown from four to five million. This illustrates the exponential growth and strength of Salesforce’s partner ecosystem, which empowers SMBs with pre-integrated business apps to help them run their business efficiently.

Salesforce training is gamified.

Salesforce has a learning system dubbed Trailhead. The company calls it the fun way to learn how to use Salesforce.

Trailhead is free and offers learning modules and guided trails for every skill level. Check out this blog post to learn more about how small businesses can use Trailhead. There’s even a special “Trail Mix” designed especially for small businesses.

Salesforce Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “9 Things About Salesforce that Small Business Owners Should Know” was first published on Small Business Trends

A Near Death Experience Changes Perspective on Success

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A Near Death Experience Changes Your Perspective on Success

Sometimes major life events, like near death experiences, can help entrepreneurs find some much-needed perspective about what success means to them. That was the case with Rand Leeb-du Toit.

A Near Death Experience Changes Your Perspective on Success

Said Leeb-du Toit, “If you were on your deathbed 18 months from now, and there was no coming back. That’s it. You’re on a one way ticket out of here. And you ask yourself that deep meaningful question at that point, have I done what I wanted to do? Have I done what really meant so much to me in my life? And if you can unequivocally answer, ‘Yes, absolutely,’ then that’s what success is.”

Leeb-du Toit is a coach, speaker, founder of EXOscalr and author of the new book Fierce Reinvention, which is a guide to being fierce in entrepreneurship and finding success as a leader.

I had a chance to speak with Leeb-du Toit recently. During our interview, he shared some tips for entrepreneurs along with his own story of fierce reinvention.

Check out the full interview here …

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These are the tips for entrepreneurs Rand shared in our discussion.

A Near Death Experience Changes Your Perspective

Leeb-du Toit explained, “I’m essentially a serial entrepreneur and former venture capitalist and I was working for one of the largest research and advisory companies at one point in 2014 and suffered a sudden cardiac death experience, which was a massive trigger event for me to contemplate what it is that I should be doing with my life. The result of that was one year later I left that company, started EXOscalr with the vision and the quest to help people get onto the right track with their lives. I hesitate to call myself an executive coach, a leadership coach, a guide, a spirit guide. It’s all of the above.”

A Near Death Experience Changes Your Perspective on Success

Stop and Think

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily hustle of business ownership and forget about the bigger picture. When this happens, Leeb-du Toit recommends taking a pause to reset your brain.

He said, “Once you stop for a moment, you stop that hustle, and I’m not saying stop it completely by any means. I’m just staying stop, whether it’s a micro pause or it’s going on a hike for a couple of days or a retreat.”

Harness Fear

Making major changes in life or in business can be scary. So instead of fighting that, use it to energize your journey.

Leeb-du Toit said, “What are you so afraid of stopping and thinking about? What’s going to emerge for you? And that’s the real challenge as well in terms of once you understand that fear doesn’t control you and you’re able to live with it to get in there and manage it and that’s a lot of the process that I work with my clients through is getting to love their fear and harness then turn that into energy.”

Hold Yourself Accountable

From there, you need actual systems for making the changes you want to make. Leeb-du Toit calls this an operating system. Essentially, it’s a roadmap to your major goals.

Leeb-du Toit said, “You build out an operating system, which starts with your very high level of goals of consequence and then starts mapping that down into, right down to on a daily basis what you’re going to be dong over a period of time and you then start mapping out and checking in on yourself. Being accountable to yourself or to your coach or your guide or to a friend, am I on track? If you’re not on track, how can I recalibrate so I do get back on track?”

This article, “A Near Death Experience Changes Perspective on Success” was first published on Small Business Trends