October 31, 2016

6 Easy Ways Salesforce Chatter Can Boost Your Business

By Bridgepoint Consulting

Salesforce Chatter is a free social collaboration tool similar to Facebook and Twitter, but for organizations on the Salesforce.com platform. Chatter allows users to collaborate securely at work to establish networks, share files and status updates. You can follow people, information and groups—all within the company’s private and secure internal network. The platform is revolutionizing the way employees communicate with each other, especially in large organizations with a vast employee network or even small organizations with a workforce geographically dispersed.

In our conversations with clients, we’re often asked how organizations are leveraging Salesforce Chatter to drive better collaboration and knowledge-sharing.

Here’s what we discovered as our top 6 Chatter features you and your team should consider using:

1.Post status updates and questions

Salesforce Chatter screenshot-1Salesforce Chatter provides a forum for anyone to share insights or propose new ideas, which can ultimately increase productivity and work quality. You can “follow” both people and documents to collaborate on sales opportunities, service cases, campaigns, projects and tasks. You can also use the feed to post interesting articles, videos, websites or other content relevant to your industry. And like Facebook and LinkedIn, users can manage their feeds and control how notifications are received.

2. Share your work and ideas in real-time

Salesforce Chatter screenshot-2Chatter provides an incredibly useful platform to connect every employee with files, data, and experts anywhere, anytime. Chatter helps eliminate version mania because users can update the original file shared to the most current version. Files can be attached right in Chatter for easy access to edits and reviews, as seen below. By getting direct feedback and insights, employees are able to do their jobs better. Also, you can actively engage senior executives to interact with junior employees. Requests for technical information from sales representatives on the road are answered within minutes, while the sales meeting is still going.

3. Privately collaborate on sensitive projects

Using public social network tools to collaborate can leave important proprietary information out in the open. Fortunately, Chatter allows companies to collaborate privately and securely with the same ease of use and accessibility of public social networks. All collaboration takes place in Salesforce’s secure cloud, which tens of thousands of businesses already trust with highly sensitive information.

4. Integrate Twitter data into your profile

Salesforce Chatter screenshot-3The Chatter system makes it easy to follow partners, customers or competitors from within your broader Salesforce profile. This integration allows related data from companies to be appended to their internal records, so you can access the latest and greatest news for a company. Sales representatives will see who they know in common with one quick click or load recent tweets. In addition, they can send Twitter Direct Message invitations and customer feedback surveys to help quantitatively tack your social care team’s effectiveness and performance. This is especially valuable to sales teams looking to leverage new developments in the company. It’s also a great way to get connected to people you have never met before and stay in touch with the ones you already know.

5. Follow specific service records or sales cycles

Tracking the lifecycle of a customer service request or sales prospect is an incredibly valuable feature of Chatter. Managers may find this tool especially useful because it provides a top-level view of the progress on key accounts. Employees who are not directly engaged with the sales cycle or in a management role are also able to follow sales activities and have visibility into the conversations that went into the cycle.  In addition, this is also a useful tool for identifying activities being performed by individual employees.

6. Customer communications within Chatter

Chatter External is designed to allow customers in Chatter groups. Customers are users outside of your company’s email domains. They have very limited Chatter access. For example, they can only see groups they’re invited to and interact with members of those groups.”

What are the downsides to using Chatter? Here are few drawbacks to keep in mind:

You must be a Salesforce user for full access

While Chatter is included at no extra cost for all editions, the Chatter Plus license is also available to non-Salesforce users for $15/user/month. This paid Chatter license includes the Salesforce content library, the ideas and answers features of Salesforce CRM and read-only access to accounts and contacts and the Force.com platform (i.e. custom objects). There is also a free Chatter license available for anyone in your company (up to 5,000 users) which provides access to Groups and File Sharing, but no access to collaboration around records.

Chatter is best suited to larger organizations

Because it is an enterprise-grade solution for an enterprise-grade sales management platform, very large and/or geographically diverse businesses have the most to gain from implementing Chatter. Smaller firms with fewer locations have less of a need for this sort of collaboration.

Bringing It All Together with Chatter

Salesforce Chatter brings the many benefits of social media to organizations. The application can decrease duplicated work, increase the efficiency and speed at which a sales team acts on opportunities and improve internal communications. But some organizations struggle with low user adoption, largely because sending and receiving email is so ingrained in employees’ daily work routines. Gaining buy-in from key influencers and understanding how to use Chatter and its benefits can help overcome this challenge. While it comes with a price tag and is not ideal for all companies, Chatter is powerful enough to warrant further exploration of your business needs.

If you are looking to leverage Chatter for your business, enlisting a Salesforce consultant from Bridgepoint Consulting can help set your organization up for success. We offer implementation, optimization, and customization solutions using Salesforce and Force.com. Contact us today!

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About Bridgepoint Consulting

Bridgepoint Consulting is a leading management consulting firm that offers a full suite of services and solutions to help companies navigate the complexities of growth and change. We work with the C-Suite—with a focus on finance, risk and technology leaders—to provide strategic resources and support critical business transitions. Learn more about our services here.

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