Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Dana Aldis, LivingSocial’s, Director of Sales Training and Development, to discuss how her company uses Blackboard’s Salesforce integration throughout the sales training process. If you’re not familiar with LivingSocial, it is the local marketplace to buy and share the best things in your city (and their headquarters is just across the street from Blackboard’s here in D.C.!). Since LivingSocial relies heavily on developing relationships with small businesses to create unique offers for its members, having an informed, agile sales force is critical to the company’s success.
Q: Why did you decide to incorporate your training programs within Salesforce?
Aldis: Salesforce is one of the main ways we communicate with our sales team, so having this integration is key. Through Blackboard’s integration with Salesforce, for example, our users can access training directly from Salesforce so training courses are easy to access and are more directly aligned with company goals. The powerful reporting tools have also been a huge asset allowing us to see what training is most useful to individual sales reps while analyzing the relationship between a rep’s training and performance metrics.
At what point does a conference get too big that it can’t be considered a success? Whether you are in sales, marketing or run your back office, if the sheer size of Dreamforce’12 didn’t impress you, perhaps you need to check your business vital signs. With an estimated 90,000 registrants, Dreamforce’s rock concert-like atmosphere gave attendees a preview of what’s to come from salesforce.com in the next few months. This included demonstrations of Marketing Cloud integrations with Buddy Media and Radian6, Chatterbox (a tool to sync files across devices), and Identity, which combines single sign-on with the ability to import data into Chatter.
As a marketer, I couldn’t be happier that customer relationship management (CRM) is starting to take a back seat to these social marketing tools. Moves like this continue to show the importance of tracking every marketing dollar, even if it is spent socially, to accurately demonstrate ROI. Force.com continues to be the development platform for many of their applications, as well as new applications developed by the partner community.
Every day, I have the opportunity to work with companies who want to leverage corporate training for business results. This means I am always interested in gaining insight from people who bring dramatic change to companies by investing in learning and employee development. One such individual is David Vance, who writes The Business of Learning blog for Chief Learning Officer. Vance writes from his experience as the founder and former president of Caterpillar University, which aligns corporate goals with training while meeting the learning needs of Caterpillar and dealer employees. He now consults with organizations on learning and performance issues, and has even published a book titled The Business of Learning: How to Manage Corporate Training to Improve Your Bottom Line.
What I appreciate about Vance is that his writing emphasizes how training is not an expense for businesses, but it is an investment in the people who can make a company great. In his recent post “Framing the Learning Discussion at Budget Time,” Vance discusses how learning and development professionals shouldn’t take their training budget for granted, but should instead be always prepared to show the real impact training can have on business.
Here’s some of his advice for corporate learning professionals who want to show the importance of training for next year’s budget:
“To make your case, carefully align learning initiatives to the key organization goals and secure agreement with senior leaders on the expected contribution or impact of learning on those goals. In short, build a business case for your learning investment and incorporate in a business plan for learning…Your business case may be qualitative or quantitative, but at least you will have addressed your leaders’ reasons for investing in learning. At a minimum you will have a great discussion about learning with your leaders and your organization will be much better for it.”
I recommend Vance’s writing to corporate professionals who want to not only improve training at their organizations, but also want to help colleagues become more invested in the importance of learning and development. If you’re interested in reading more from David Vance, visit Chief Learning officer to find the The Business of Learning blog – and tell us what you think about it!
With Dreamforce 2012 less than a week away, we wanted to give you some final insights to help you get the most out of the conference. First, visit our “3 Things to do with Blackboard at Dreamforce 2012” page to see how you can meet our team, watch a demo, and hear case studies from the Fortune 500 companies who use our solutions -- all at our Dreamforce booth (#1403!).
You can also watch my recent interview below with Salesforce MVP Matt Brown, where he discusses Dreamforce sneak peeks and the perks of being an MVP:
Once you make it to Dreamforce, be sure to stop by Booth #1403 to meet Matt Brown, myself, and others from Blackboard team. You can also keep up with us by following @BlackboardProEd, @lperlis, @mattybme on Twitter for real-time updates throughout Dreamforce. Until then, let us know if you have any questions about Blackboard Learn for Salesforce, and we’ll see you in San Francisco!
With Dreamforce 2012 just a few weeks away, we’ve been thinking about ways attendees can get the most out of this year’s conference. Though attendees usually see a significant ROI on their time spent at Dreamforce, stop by to speak with us and hear about specific ways Blackboard clients (or those interested in learning more about our solutions) can take their Dreamforce experience to the next level.
1. Learn how customers like M5 Networks are improving sales training with Blackboard
2. Watch a demo to see our training solutions in action
3. Have a one-on-one meeting with Salesforce MVP Matt Brown
Before you head to San Francisco for Dreamforce 2012, I also suggest checking out the list of sessions to see which presentations are most relevant to you and your industry. There are over 750 expert-led sessions this year, so be sure to plan out some of your must-see presentations ahead of time!