The CEO of consulting firm Bluewolf - Salesforce.com's first ever partner - explains why traditional CRM products are falling short.
In an age when major services and consulting giants are jostling to position themselves in the Cloud, it’s interesting to note that Salesforce.com’s first ever partner was a consulting firm, Bluewolf.
Since 2000, Bluewolf has worked with customers such as NBC, GSK, Rolls Royce Motor Cars and IPC Media to facilitate their moves to the Cloud.
MyCustomer.com caught up with CEO Eric Berridge at the recent CloudForce conference in London.
What is it that Bluewolf does?
EB: Large enterprises that gravitate toward a product or service like Salesforce.com. They understand that the challenge of change management and the executive reporting aspect of it. We don’t spend time dealing with a lot of code. We’re about aligning the executives and looking at what the metrics for success will be.
How do you get the business exec fired up about the Cloud?
EB: One of the ways to execs excited is just to show them the visibility they can get in a real time manner We’re starting to see Fortune 50 companies where Salesforce.com dashboards are sitting on the CEO’s desk. It didn’t happen with Siebel, it doesn’t happen with SAP.
NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson once quipped that there would be an Accenture of the Cloud but it might not be Accenture – is it you?
EB: We are the Bluewolf of the Cloud. We won’t be talking about the Cloud two or three years from now, just like we don’t talk about client server now. We did when it first started, but then it just became the way things are done. Professional services is a good term to use when talking to clients.
How do you typically engage with a client?
EB: The approach we take is to put ourselves into the two camps. We engage with the execs and understand and cultivate the vision. Then we go and sit with the users. By combining the two things we can forge the two together. If you can forge that path between them then the benefits can be very iterative. Our strategy is to pursue anything along the customer life cycle – marketing, sales, services, some operations like quoting and pricing. We play a role where we won’t push one brand over another.
So you’re selling into what we’d call the CRM market?
EB: The areas we sell into are sales, marketing, the executive suite. More and more we see Cloud breaking down those siloes. The Radian6 marketing Cloud puts the CMO on the radar. The objective of all CRM is still to get a 360 degree view of the customer. The technology can work fine, but the trick is to get the CMO to agree with the head of sales what a qualified lead is.
Which is where traditional CRM fell short. Do the ‘traditional’ CRM products like Siebel still have currency?
EB: I don’t think Siebel is a good product. I know of one global sales force which were on Salesforce.com for a number of years. They tried to renegotiate the deal they had but didn’t get what they wanted. They got all emotional about this and moved onto Oracle. Two years later they are back on Salesforce.com.
You alluded to the idea of the marketing Cloud…
EB: The markets are a little confused around the marketing Cloud idea. You have the Eloquas and the Marketos who think they have won this space. They grew up through email marketing. Now if you can tie the corporate website into that then you have a very powerful story. Salesforce.com’s next move there will be an interesting one.
Certainly the Social Marketing/CRM space is a hot topic at the moment.
EB: It’s very powerful. There’s a customer in the US, Sysco Goods, which has around 8,000 sales reps in the food services industry. One of them was walking around Manhattan a few weeks ago. One of the firm’s largest customers is a Taco chain which was opening a New York City store – which he found out through Twitter 90 days in advance. So he got networked in with the CEO and sold them everything they needed for that store, just from social listening.
You also take an interest in the concept of gamification, don’t you? How do you get hard-bitten CEOs to take that seriously?
EB: As far as gamification is concerned, if you have sales people who just sit around all day trying to collect badges then it’s gone too far and you’ve got the wrong sales team. But if you’ve got gamification built into your systems then you can set up a sales game once a month and that can be motivational. Think of it as being like mileage rewards. You’re applying this to something that they around them, but applied to a business environment. It’s a way to drive employee performance.