Friday, April 26, 2013

Are you ready for some Action!!


One of the most enjoyable things about working at FirstRain is that we spend time every day with Fortune 500 sales and marketing leaders discussing about their challenges, their objectives and how they’re trying to move the revenue needle for their companies. And one thing we’ve heard consistently when talking to these folks is the urgent need they have to increase the productivity of their teams. As we exit the Great Recession, many companies are facing pitched competitive battles while having significantly reduced teams—which puts the onus on a company’s sales and marketing operations or enablement teams to help every rep be as productive as possible!

This drive to provide increasingly powerful solutions to the sales team to raise their revenue productivity is what’s behind our latest release, just announced today (see it here on WSJ.com): an expanded set of analytics actions for Salesforce.com. With this new release, FirstRain users who are accessing FirstRain integrated into their Salesforce.com CRM instance can now:

  • Advance their sales cycles more quickly by instantly assigning critical FirstRain intelligence into an actionable salesforce.com Task for themselves or their team.
  • Easily inject useful context and intelligence into any account view by enriching emerging account developments using account Notes.
  • Improve collaboration by instantly sharing impactful developments with their team and colleagues via Chatter or email.


The means we're making it easy for sales people to instantly convert useful customer analytics into the activities that increase their team collaboration, improve their alignment with their customer and so grow their revenue - and their commission.



 

We put out a press release which quotes me as saying “To be competitive in today’s market, enterprise sales teams need to not only deeply understand the customer, their customer’s customer and their customer’s market, but they must also be able to instantly act on that intelligence.”

...and our early release customers are already loving it!

CMSWire’s great article on the release today puts it well, “FirstRain, whose name invokes nourishing precipitation after a dry spell, is looking to refresh productivity in Salesforce …”.

We couldn’t have put it better.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

2013 Guide To Hiring Engineers (based on the 1943 Guide To Hiring Women)

The following is my spoof, based on an excerpt from the July 1943 issue of Transportation Magazine (see below) sent to me by a friend who knows this stuff both makes me laugh and makes me crazy . 



2013 Guide To Hiring Engineers 

This is written for management of engineers in the workforce during the digital revolution of 2013.

 Eleven Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Engineer Employees:

There’s no longer any question whether technology companies should hire software engineers for jobs formerly held by systems analysts and hard core computer scientists. The explosion of the internet and mobile devices and the resulting engineer shortage has settled that point. The important things now are to select the most efficient engineers available and how to use them to best advantage.

Here are eleven helpful tips on the subject from Silicon Valley:

1. Pick single engineers. They usually have more time that their unmarried brothers, they’re less likely to want to go home at the end of the day, they enjoy the work or they wouldn’t be doing it, they still have the pep and interest to work hard and to code efficiently.

2. When you do have to use older engineers, try to get ones who have worked outside of engineering at some point in their lives. Older engineers who have never contacted customers have a hard time adapting themselves and are inclined to be cantankerous and fussy about features. It’s always well to impress on older engineers the importance of user friendliness and quality.

3. General experience indicates that “husky” engineers – those who are just a little on the heavy side and who enjoy junk food – are more productive than their hard bodied brothers who may want to spend time in the gym.

4. Retain a physician to give each engineer a special physical examination – one covering concentration and substance issues. This step not only protects your company against the possibilities of lawsuit, but reveals whether the employee-to-be has any substance issues which would make him mentally or physically unfit for the job.

5. Stress at the outset the importance of time, the fact that a minute or two lost here and there makes serious inroads on product schedules. Until the point is gotten across, productivity is likely to be slowed up.

6. Give the engineer-employee a definite day long schedule of duties so they’ll keep busy without bothering the management for instructions every few minutes. Numerous companies say that engineers make excellent workers when they have their projects cut out for them, but that they lack initiative in finding work for themselves.

7. Whenever possible, let the engineer change from one project to another at some time during the day. Engineers are likely to be less morose and generally happier with change.

8. Give every engineer an adequate number of rest periods during the day. You have to make some allowances for the nerd psychology. An engineer has more confidence and is more efficient if he can keep up on pop culture, play a video game and get a diet coke several times a day.

9. Be tactful when issuing instructions or in making criticisms. Engineers are often sensitive; they can’t shrug off harsh words the way a sales person can. Never ridicule an engineer – it breaks his spirit and cuts his efficiency.

10. Be reasonably considerate about using strong language around engineers. Even though an engineer’s friends may swear vociferously when playing first shooter games, he’ll grow to dislike a place of business where he hears too much of this.

11. Get enough size variety in chairs, desks and screens so each engineer can have a proper fit to their work style and body type. This point can’t be stressed too much in keeping engineers happy.





Thursday, April 11, 2013

Be Like Jane: FirstRain

Ever wondered what my company FirstRain does? Wonder no more... smile at the power of advanced customer analytics...


Monday, April 8, 2013

Tears for the Iron Lady: Margaret Thatcher dies

Whatever your politics, Margaret Thatcher was one of the greatest leaders in modern English history. I cry today, remembering England in 1979 and how bravely and radically she transformed the country with her powerful leadership and vision for the possible future of the UK.

In the Winter of Discontent which struck the UK in 1978-79 we had continuous strikes of angry union workers and a weak, ineffective government -- coupled, I remember, with unusual cold and very deep snow. The country, which had run a global empire and stood up to Hitler, was on it's knees in political turmoil with a defeated population, high taxes, bad food and no way out.

Margaret Thatcher was the powerful force that turned the country around. Her leadership was unstoppable. She had a clear, determined vision for what the UK could be again, and no one and nothing was going to get in her way. By restructuring taxes and privatizing the nationalized industries she forced the country to compete on the world markets. Yes, there was severe unemployment as a result, but short of a deep socialist (short-sighted) agenda that unemployment was coming, one way or another, and she had the courage to get ahead of it.

Watching Mrs Thatcher on stage a few years after she left power confirmed what I had come to believe watching her in the media. She was on stage with Gorbachev and George Bush Snr (Reagan had already succumbed to Alzheimer's by then) talking about how they worked together to reform Soviet politics -- which resulted in the fall of the Berlin Wall. She had a huge brain, charm, and an iron will. Her clarity, intellect and wit were unmatched, even by her peers who were themselves global leaders, and I was inspired.

I have admired her determined, uncompromising leadership since 1979. For 30 years now when I am asked who has inspired me I have said Margaret Thatcher.  It's as true today as it ever was. 

It's not the first time I've cried for her. I cried for her - posted here - when I saw the film Iron Lady about her rise to power, fall from power and fall into dementia.

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