DreamForce 11: Discovering Cloud Extend

Arriving at DreamForce the check-in was smooth either because most of the 42,000 attendees hadn’t arrived yet or were off doing something cool. Based on the Twitter feed for #DF11, my guess is that the sessions are excellent. ¬†I grabbed my badge and the obligatory logoed backpack (which actually is pretty cool) before racing off to meet Mark Taber, CEO of Active Endpoints.

Mark and I spent a lot of time talking about the Buyers Journey. His experience in aligning to the Buyer proved that the methodology not only demonstrable accelerates revenue cycles but also reduces Cost of Sales. But that is a topic for a different post. What initially interested me in talking with Mark was their new Cloud Extend product.

Mark positioned it as a product that is “the best use case for Active Endpoints’ technology”. In Mark’s words, Cloud Extend solves two problems: Enabling Sales to effectively help prospects through the Buyers Journey, and help keep all that data in any Salesforce instance current and complete. That is probably very true but I saw a very innovative solution to a pesky old problem.

Every had the challenge of getting your sales teams to actually use Salesforce.com or keep all their data current? Or hear the complaint that they won’t use different systems to do a variety of tasks such as contract management or check on a trouble ticket? Onboarding new sales reps and getting them to be revenue productive in a short amount of time is another real challenge for most companies, especially those selling complex products. These are some of the problems that Active Endpoints addresses with Cloud Extend.

Cloud Extend is a Salesforce.com application that enables users to create role-based, workflow driven Guides that are embedded in Salesforce.com. What is interesting is that the Guides are easy to setup, use, requires no training and has applications across the company from Sales to Human Resources. The Guides prompt users through their tasks with questions along with offering best practices and helpful tips. Answers to the questions automatically populate Salesforce.com.

There are countless ways to use Cloud Extend to streamline operations and to align organizations. One application is to take your sales methodology and sales tools and embed them into Guides. Another is to embed outbound or inbound call scripts in Guides. Users follow the work flow driven questions, automatically populate Salesforce with data, and learn best practices along the way. Cloud Extend has one capability that I think is pretty cool, it auto populates a new Salesforce contact with any public data that is available from LinkedIn, Facebook, Jigsaw, etc. including pictures.

The uses of Cloud Extend Guides are limited only by your imagination and number of documented business processes. Cloud Extend (www.cloudextend.com) is priced at $50/user/month and is marketed to Sales Operations, Product Marketing, Marketing, Inside Sales and Sales Management.

If you’re at DreamForce, Active Endpoints¬†is booth 8; well worth checking out.

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