CRM is now social. With Chatter Salesforce.com is one step closer to its goal of making enterprise software as easy to use as Facebook.
Have you ever been working on a sales or support project and had to track down a co-worker to find out what they have done on it? Maybe you go to call a contact and find out that a co-worker has already spoken with them and the contact is now with a different company? Or say you have a spreadsheet that you want to share but you do not want to email it as it will get lost in the 200 emails your co-workers get each day?
What to do, you ask? Well, Salesforce.com has a great new feature called Chatter. Think of it as an IM client on steroids for you and your co-workers but that stays within the security of your company’s network. Not only does Salesforce Chatter allow you to post messages to any or all of your co-workers, it also allows you to create public and private groups, attach links to web pages, upload files, track records that you own and any other records that you may be interested in.
Here is how it works: You have a profile where you can upload a picture and post information about you such as your skill set or whether you prefer cats to dogs. You can also post what you are working on so your co-workers can see at a glance what project you are on. Then you get to choose which co-workers you want to follow as well as set up your own public or private groups. The sales department may want their own group that support does not need to see.
You are automatically following accounts, contacts, leads, opportunities (sales), and cases (support tickets) that you own so that if a co-worker makes a change to the record, you will be notified. If a contact that you own moves to a new company and your co-worker makes the change, you know about it in real time and it is all automatic. No more “I was going to tell you but I forgot”. You can also choose to follow records that others own and are working on. Just select the record and any posts or changes notify you automatically. You even have the option to receive an email when someone sends you a post or updates a record.
Chatter also has the ability to upload a file or add a page link to share with everyone or a group. Say you have a spreadsheet or PDF that you send to clients regularly. If you find it useful, chances are that your co-workers will as well. Upload it to Chatter and they now have it.
What was that post I saw last week on the Smith account? Do I have to dig through all of the posts for the past two weeks to find it? No worries, Chatter supports searching as well. Enter some keywords do a Google-like search and there you go. For road warriors, Chatter is supported on smart phones like the iPhone.
Chatter supports all of the security functionality of Salesforce, so if a Co-worker in Denver is following someone in the Seattle office, and they do not have permissions to view each others records, then they will not see any posts associated to those records; just the general posts.
As you can see, Chatter can be a very useful tool when communicating or collaborating with your co-workers. No longer will Linda have to scream from the end of the hall that she is out of sugar for her coffee!
For more information on Salesforce Chatter click here.