Salesforce.com Socializes Sales Performance Management

Cloud computing software heavyweight Salesforce.com wants to be the company that runs every company's customer relationship engine, but today's integration of the Sales Cloud with Work.com indicates a deeper move—this is a company placing bets on the internal enterprise, as well.

During Dreamforce, Salesforce.com's annual partner, user, and customer conference, this fall, the company announced the launch of Work.com, a social performance management platform born out of its purchase one year earlier of Rypple. Some in the industry said the move paralleled SAP's acquisition of cloud-based human capital management company SuccessFactors, although the two played in slightly different courts. Other human resources–related enterprise acquisitions of late include Oracle's snap-up of Taleo and IBM's, of Kenexa.

Salesforce.com's announcement of a tight integration of Work.com with its Sales Cloud, along with a spate of new features, "focuses on the areas of behaviors [sales managers] want to amplify—like coaching, recognition, and goal-setting, which are the ones we think make the biggest difference, and drive the most results," Daniel Debow, cofounder of Rypple and now vice president of strategy for Salesforce Work.com, tells CRM.

Salesforce.com's Sales Cloud, which counts over 100,000 customers, already enables sales teams to track and manage opportunities, accounts, leads, and contacts with social integrations to enterprise collaboration tool Chatter and cloud business information warehouse Data.com. Now, with a full integration to Work.com, currently in a pilot test phase with general availability scheduled for early 2013, Sales Cloud customers can create, drive, and track sales performance initiatives with built-in gaming elements.

Here's how it works: A sales manager logs into Sales Cloud to check his dashboard and metrics such as closed business, activity by rep, or group movement. When the manager opens his Chatter social collaboration feed, he sees that a sales rep closed a competitive deal. Using Work.com, a new "Thanks" button allows him to acknowledge the deal and select from a custom set of badges like "Competitive Negotiator" or "Dealmaker." Because Work.com has a relationship with Amazon.com, there is the option to assign an Amazon Rewards Badge for redemption.

The integration also allots users a Sales Performance Profile, which lets sales managers stay on top of key sales goals and track what their teams are committed to each quarter. Under the "Thanks" tab, a sales rep has what the company calls a "trophy case" of achievements, where he can store key sales skills or certifications in the latest product pitches. The new integration offers a Goals tab, where a manager can drill in and see updates to goals, track progress, and enter feedback in the private, shared space called Coaching Notes. With Work.com's HR-compliant performance summaries offering, a sales manager can copy and paste key accomplishments (or even needed improvements) into an easily populated form summary for more fluid feedback.

One of the greatest challenges sales organizations face is continually coaching to replicate the best selling behaviors. "Sales managers that have the highest results are actually the ones who are thinking about the qualitative side, the human side of, 'What kind of coaching, learning, career development, or recognition do my salespeople need?'" Debow says.

Sales performance management is defined as both a business discipline and set of solutions designed to improve sales quotes and goal attainment through sales coaching and incentive compensation and recognition.

What Salesforce.com aims to do by combining Sales Cloud and Work.com "is reward, and the keyword here is 'scale' the behaviors of the best sales team," comments Linda Crawford, executive vice president of the Salesforce.com Sales Cloud. "We believe this solution will do that for not only a company or two, but all of our customers."

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