I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Taylor Moore

This is the twenty-seventh post in my blog series in which I will feature people I know from the community: Salesforce employees, MVPs, User Group Leaders, Partners, and honestly, anyone who I’m connected with who is willing to share with me the answers to five simple questions. I hoping that this blog series will help everyone out in the community get better connected to others who are either like them, can help them, are nothing like them, can’t help them, or are simply people they haven’t met yet! After all, a stranger is simply a friend you don’t know yet.

For me, one of the greatest strengths of the Salesforce Ecosystem is its people and the connections that are shared.

So, if you are brave enough, even if you’ve never met me in person, fill out this form and I’ll feature you in an upcoming post. (In case I have confused anyone, the questions on the form about our relationship refers to you, the reader, and me, the author, Eric Dreshfield, and not the featured person in this post.) Just beware, by completing the form, you are giving me permission to use that information in a future post, as well as allowing me to interject some of my own thoughts into your responses!

And now I introduce Taylor Moore.

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What’s your job title? Marketing Manager at McLarens. (EFD – In case you don’t know McLarens, they are a global claims services provider that helps clients achieve timely and equitable claims resolution. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the company has offices strategically located around the world.)

What does that mean you do? I ensure our global brands’ messaging is streamlined through various marketing media: social, digital, print, press, promotional (swag!), and ads. I most enjoy working with my international colleagues to learn about how the local language(s) and culture impacts our messaging so we can ensure our communication is relevant and meaningful. As it relates to Salesforce.com, I serve as a pseudo-admin and work with our sales team to maintain an environment that highlights their hard work & customer wins. (EFD – Does anyone ever really wear just one hat professionally? I don’t think so, and with all the engagement through social channels and the Salesforce Community, I think the line between professional and personal life gets rather blurry. Oh, and swag? Did someone say swag?)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? I’ve been a Salesforce customer since 2012. (EFD – 2012…that was the year Red Hot Chili Peppers played at Dreamforce. I missed that concert, but I’m sure it was fantastic. Taylor told me she would have loved to see RHCP and she missed it too. She also said she was in Kindgergarten when they were a big thing. And to think, I felt like RHCP was a group my kids would like. #SomeoneIsFeelingOldNow)

Bacon or sausage? Bacon!  While I must admit that I try to stick to low sodium turkey bacon (what’s the point, right?!) Bacon is at its BEST when it’s cooked in a cast-iron skillet #SouthernStyle (EFD – Oh yeah!!! #DownHomeCookin)

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know? Who you know…I’m early in my career and have many people to thank for getting me to where I am today. Networking is so important, both in and out of your own area of expertise. Pay it forward 🙂 (EFD – YES! Another one who really understands the power of the community! Pay it forward, people! The feeling you get from helping others is incredible!)

How did our relationship start, and when?  Wow, we met in the Atlanta airport on the way to Dreamforce ’13..THEN again on the sidewalk in San Francisco pre- or post- AppBash maybe?! (EFD – Yes! Truly a great story here. I was on my layover in Atlanta on my way to DF13, and posted in what we called the Dreamforce App back then, something like this: “In Atlanta’s airport on my way to Dreamforce. I’m at gate xx, anyone want to chat?  I should be easy to find with my classic red Salesforce MVP Rickshaw bag.” And literally, within 2 minutes, I hear this voice saying “Are you Eric?”  And that’s how Taylor and I met.  Later that week, late in the evening, while walking towards the App Bash at the Metreon, I spotted her at the corner of 4th & Mission and casually walked up to her and said, “Hi Taylor.”  Her reaction was priceless….out of the 50,000 or so people at Dreamforce, what are the chances of running into one you know?)

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? I’m not sure about your blog readers, but Eric, you might be surprised that I lean towards being an introvert. (EFD – Yep, I do find that rather surprising!)

You can find Taylor on Twitter.

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I’m the (Kevin) Bacon of the Salesforce Community – Introducing Lauren Jordan

This is the twentieth post in my blog series in which I will feature people I know from the community: Salesforce employees, MVPs, User Group Leaders, Partners, and honestly, anyone who I’m connected with who is willing to share with me the answers to five simple questions. I hoping that this blog series will help everyone out in the community get better connected to others who are either like them, can help them, are nothing like them, can’t help them, or are simply people they haven’t met yet! After all, a stranger is simply a friend you don’t know yet.

For me, one of the greatest strengths of the Salesforce Ecosystem is its people and the connections that are shared.

So, if you are brave enough, even if you’ve never met me in person, fill out this form and I’ll feature you in an upcoming post. (In case I have confused anyone, the questions on the form about our relationship refers to you, the reader, and me, the author, Eric Dreshfield, and not the featured person in this post.)  Just beware, by completing the form, you are giving me permission to use that information in a future post, as well as allowing me to interject some of my own thoughts into your responses!

And now I introduce the 4-time Salesforce Certified Leader of the Raleigh, NC, Women in Technology Group & Salesforce MVP, Lauren Jordan.

Lauren Jordan

What’s your job title? Senior BSA, Red Hat (EFD – For the record, BSA = Business Systems Analyst, right?)

What does that mean you do? I just started on 1.4.16, but I am working on a team to improve the internal user experience as well as work on other internal projects.  (EFD – Ooo….a Shiny, Brand New Job, that for the readers benefit you hadn’t even started working at the time this post was written. Oh, hey!  That gives me an idea for another blog series…sorry, I’m not telling anything more about that idea now. Give me a couple of months to get those thoughts in order and create the new blog series.)

How long have you been involved with Salesforce.com (as a customer and/or an employee)? I’ve been on the Salesforce platform for 6.5 years.  (EFD – That’s about the same length as my Salesforce lifespan.)

Bacon or sausage?  Can’t I have both? Don’t make me decide.

What’s more important: Who you know, or what you know?  Both – in a perfect world what you know, but its not realistic to think knowing someone doesn’t help 🙂 (EFD – Uhhh…so that’s a “What” or is it a “Who”?  I might be slightly confused here.)

How did our relationship start, and when? I’m pretty sure it was the Success Community, and in the fall of 2014. (EFD – “Pretty sure”?  I guess I really made a great impression on you! {That’s sarcasm, in case you couldn’t tell}  Seriously, I’m not sure I really remember either!  We are both pretty active on Twitter and in the Success Community, but I think the first time I met you in person might have been at Dreamforce 2015! )

And now the bonus question – What’s one fact about you that few people know, that will surprise me and my blog readers? I have my cosmetologist license – Yes I used to do hair and nails.  I did say that in a community feed one day – not sure who picked up on it though. (EFD – I wonder if you can do anything with my hair…so my children will realize I still have some left!)

You can find Lauren on Twitter.

You Don’t Have to be From the Midwest….

Perhaps by now you’ve heard of a little event being planned for July 9th & 10th, 2015,  at Chicago’s Navy Pier…it’s a little thing called Midwest Dreamin’ 2015. The organizers of Midwest Dreamin’  somehow managed to convince Dan Darcy to come to Chicago to open up the activities on July 10th, and Peter Coffee will be making a return trip to Midwest Dreamin’ to close the event down.

Who is Dan Darcy?

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Many of us that have attended Dreamforce over the past few years know Dan as “The Dreamforce Demo Man”, but he gave up that role about two years ago and moved into something bigger and better. Dan is now the Senior Vice President for Worldwide Product Readiness. He is responsible for working with the product organization to develop priorities, product positioning and competency strategy for the distriibution organization, customers and partners. In addition, he manages the New Product Introduction processes to ensure that product releases have an enablement plan and assets are developed for consumption by customers, partners and employees.  Dan is also still head of Customer Visions for Marc Benioff.

Who is Peter Coffee?

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Seriously? If you have to ask that question, one might wonder how long you have been a salesforce.com user, developer, administrator or fan. Just in case you did just crawl out from under a rock, or recently converted from some other CRM system, I’ll fill you in. Peter Coffee is the Vice President of Strategic Research at Salesforce.com, but to those of us in the Salesforce.com community, we think of him as so much more than that. He’s the voice of Dreamforce, the pre-Keynote entertainment, the Master of Ceremony at the worlds largest technology conference. He is the show, before the show. He sets the stage at Dreamforce and gets the crowd all pumped up to see Marc Benioff talk about all the exciting things that Salesforce.com is working on, and all the awesome good things the Salesforce Foundation is helping to accomplish thanks to the 1-1-1 model – One percent of your time, one percent of your profits and one percent of your products being donated to great causes in order to help make the world a better place for all of us. Peter currently supports Salesforce efforts in CIO and developer engagement; in regulatory and stakeholder discussions, including information security technology and practice; and in collaborations with research professionals in both the commercial and academic communities

Breakout Sessions Are the Skid Marks of Learning
I think it’s always interesting and entertaining to listen to Peter Coffee and Dan Darcy speak, but where the rubber meets the road is what really helps businesses and nonprofits alike. That’s why people attend events like Dreamforce and Midwest Dreamin’. Skid marks of learning – just what exactly is that?  These skid marks don’t get made from quick stops or from taking turns too fast. They come from the rapid acceleration of business growth, from increased innovation and new ways of taking care of customers. Midwest Dreamin’ just completed its call for speakers and has a great lineup of fantastic speakers talking on everything from “Creating Change with Salesforce Communities” to “So You’ve Inherited (or Created) a Mess…Now What?”  Check out more sessions planned for Midwest Dreamin’ 2015.

Time is Money
How valuable is your time? Consider not only your salary, but the time you spend with family and friends, the time you spend helping others through volunteering or just by being a good neighbor. Attending Midwest Dreamin’ 2015, can actually save you both time and money. Sure, there’s a hard cost to attending…travel expenses and the registration fee, but the knowledge you will gain and the value of those new ideas that will start floating around in your head will certainly exceed those hard costs and help you find more time in your day by allowing you to streamline processes.

The Proof is in the Pudding
I know what you are thinking now….how can I get in on this? What do I need to do to get a piece of this action? That’s the easiest part! Visit the Midwest Dreamin’ Register! page. Yes…it really is that simple!

What’s that? You want to help?
Are you with a partner and wanting to help get your company’s message out to the hundreds of attendees coming to Midwest Dreamin’? We’ve got plenty of sponsorship opportunities still available. For details, visit Sponsorship Options

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Are you looking for some Salesforce.com training?

As the leader of a Salesforce.com User Group since 2010, my biggest challenge has been finding content that provides relevant and helpful information to the members of the group. Our last meeting we had presentations by two business analytics partners of Salesforce.com. The group told me they wanted more analytics, so I began searching. That’s when I discovered Stony Point.

I recently coordinated and participated in Stony Point’s Introduction to Salesforce Analytics – Reports, Dashboards & Snapshots (SPRD-101A) course, along with several coworkers and many other members of the Southern Indiana Salesforce.com User Group. The entire experience, from the first interaction via email to the culmination and completion of the training session was outstanding. Stony Point provided great customer service, responding very quickly to my many inquiries about course cost, detailed curriculum, and scheduling the on-site training to our convenience.

I was equally impressed with the facilitator they provided us with. Beth Ann began the class by introducing herself, giving us a brief history of her qualifications and then asked the participants to do the same. She then dove right into the course. She did a great job making it very interactive, calling each student by name as they had questions, or when she was asking for real-life use case examples. She kept everyone engaged in the training session by injecting humor and some of her personal experiences.

The audience she was teaching at this session ranged from the true novice, who had never logged into Salesforce.com before to full blown certified Administrators and Developers. Nearly everyone indicated to me after the class that they gained knowledge of things they felt they could take back to their organizations and implement. It was a great success, and worth every penny.

I highly recommend Stony Point for your Salesforce.com training needs.

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About Stony Point: Stony Point is a leading provider of Salesforce training for end users, administrators, developers and consultants. Stony Point develops and delivers training classes throughout the world for customers of all sizes in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean and Chinese. All classes are conducted by a live instructor, offered publicly and privately and students may attend either virtually or in-person. Please visit StonyPoint for complete details on what they offer.

Moving forward

A few thoughts occurred to me while flying from Chicago to Philadelphia recently.

Some organizations (and size doesn’t matter here) do a great job with customer service but meeting their customers where they are and communicating with customers in the manner I which the customer chooses. A few examples of such organizations include: Habitat for Humanity; Enterasys Networks; American Airlines; KLove Radio, Starbucks, and Salesforce.com.

Of particular interest from that list, at least to me, is Salesforce.com and Enterasys Networks. Why, you might ask? Because both those organizations focus more on B2B interactions, where the final customer may not even realize that Salesforce.com or Enterasys is involved at all. They both provide a backbone for their customers, who I turn rely on the stability of that backbone (or platform, if you will,) to in turn, provide excellent service to their customers.

So why the focus on customer service? Because in some form or another, we all provide customer service. At my job, I am in a role where I support Sales Representatives and Management, but that doesn’t mean what I do on a daily basis has no impact on my company’s customers. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Without the work I do, our Sales Reps might not make the best decisions on how to conduct their business, which in turn affects how our company’s customers view our products. Without customers, wait, make that without satisfied customers, the company can not thrive and grow. I worked in the corporate accounting office for a major shoe retailer for a few years, and we had a saying, “If you did not sell a pair of shoes today, what did you do to help someone who did?”

That sums it up very nicely. Everyone in an organization, no matter what their role, does something that helps shape the final consumers view of the company and the products or services the company sells.

I think it was Sam Walton who once said, “There are two rules in business: Rule #1 – The customer is always right; and Rule #2 – When the customer happens to be wrong, see rule #1.”

We all know that in a perfect world, that works, and we also all know that our world is far from perfect. However, if we all strive for excellence and have as our goal to exceed our customers expectations, we will all be much better off.

Remember, everyone has a little awesome inside, you just need to let it show!

What can you do with Salesforce (dot)com ?

Some friends of mine who really don’t know much about what I do for a living keep asking me to explain my job. That’s not an easy question to answer. I’m an analyst, and for those of you who are analysts, you can understand why that’s not an easy question to respond to. For those who are not analysts, I’ll try to enlighten you.  An analyst is someone who analyzes thing. Too simple ?  Yes.  Way too simple.  In my case, I tell people that I spend my time looking at data trying to determine the story it is telling. And it really doesn’t matter what kind of data you are looking at, or even what the source is. All data has a story to tell that can reveal some fascinating things about the nature of business, of people, and of society in general.

I have been an analyst for many years and in many industries: higher education; small-box retail; big-box retail; an airline; and a ‘mom and pop’ consulting firm, just to name a few. The one thing I found that was consistent among all that, is that people have a need to understand data and what it means. They want to know more, and more. In today’s terminology, I suppose I could say I am a Data Scientist.

By now you are probably wondering, how does all this tie into Salesforce.com…please bear with me just a little longer. I promise to make the connection.

When I started writing this post, my first ever blog post, I had an agenda in mind. I wanted to compare my career as an analyst to the cloud computing / CRM giant, Salesforce.com. But as I kept writing, I kept coming back to one theme: Asking an analyst what they do, is a lot like asking “What can you do with Salesforce.com ?”  The answer to that question is really quite simple: You can do almost, if not everything your business needs to do to succeed with Salesforce.com or an app from one of the scores of Appexchange partners.

Perhaps the best response to that question is truely a better question: “What can you not do with Salesforce.com?” And personally, I think the sky is the limit…the possibilites are endless, so jump in, sit down and start driving. I can’t tell you where your journey will lead, but I can promise you it will be a facinating ride!

So much for a deep, thoughtful, analytics-based reply.  Perhaps in my next post, I’ll delve deeper into the numbers.  Actually, I won’t, since my next post is almost ready.

Here’s the teaser to have you come back to read the next one:  Passion, what matters most and a Fiat 500 crossing the country in preparation for Dreamforce 2012.

Thanks for taking a moment of your day to read my historical first blog post.