Recently I had the opportunity to work on a project to correct and build out an effective content management system for a fortune 100 company. For this project we had to get the solution done right to ensure the sales organization could better drive leads and opportunities within Salesforce.com. This blog post will focus on what was done to build out an effective content management system for this fortune 100 company.
The company had a data discovery issue they had to solve. They had an enterprise content management system which hosted assets such as spec sheets, internal communications, product road-maps etc. This content management system was something their sales team needed on a day to day basis to drive opportunities, convert leads, stay on top of latest and greatest communication on product/service offerings. In addition, this content management system was a way for reps to respond to a customer queries on products. However, like in most enterprises, the content hosted within the content management platform is curated based on how they are created and organized by the company’s marketing organization or product groups, but not how they are searched for by their sales makers. This created a huge data problem for sales reps finding what they needed. The problem is even more serious for the company as they use Salesforce.com to manage all their direct and channel opportunities. Content is critical for sales makers to drive opportunities through the different sales motion phases and the contextual gap between Salesforce.com and the on premise content management system made it even more difficult for the users to find relevant content. So as the reps went through the deal process, finding the right content to help sell the deal proved very difficult. Also, with sales reps becoming more mobile, this issue provided more frustration when they attempted to access content from their mobile devices. These frustrations of sales makers were known to marketing organization, but the lack of details around what content users were searching for, how they searched and where in the application, prevented the organization from identifying the root cause and the right solutions to address. So we had four unique and related problems to solve for this content management system:
- Reduce the data organization gaps between content creation and consumption to improve discovery and conversion rates.
- Help the company get insights into content usage, effectiveness and expose discovery challenges as they surface.
- Eliminate the contextual gap between salesforce.com and the on premise CMS to further improve content discovery and conversion rates
- Enable content access through mobile devices.
To solve the content discovery problem and to help the organization get visibility into content usage, effectiveness and data challenges, we deployed and configured a content discovery platform above the existing content management system. The platform of choice was Oracle Endeca Information Discovery. The platform helped users find relevant content through its guided search capability and exploitative experience. The BI analytic capability of the platform helped marketing organization get insights into the content access needs of the users, effectiveness of the existing content, ideas and answers to close the data organization gaps and identify the right areas to invest to improve content effectiveness. To eliminate the contextual gap between Salesforce.com and the on premise content management system, custom visual force and apex components were developed that extends Oracle Endeca’s guided search and explorative experience into the opportunity and collaboration (chatter) context within Salesforce.com. Next, to enable content access through mobile device, all we have to do was roll-out Salesforce1 Platform to the sales maker’s iOS and Android devices. Through Salesforce1 the company’s salesforce instance including all customizations are automatically available in the user’s mobile devices. This also included the custom guided search extensions built to solve the contextual gap.
The company’s sales users could search, share and download relevant assets from within a collaboration (chatter) or opportunity context using Salesforce1 Platform or Salesforce.com site. Sales users are now able to take quick decisions, find content they need to respond to customer inquiries faster, identify assets that were frequently used for opportunities similar their own and all of which helped them drive opportunities more efficiently and effectively than before. For the marketing organization, the data insights helped them identify ways to improve content quality, plans to remove stale content, better ways to organize content and also ways to influence the content contribute to author more effective content. What is also incredible about this project is that all of this was implemented in 16 weeks. This might sound like an aggressive timeline for the solution described above, but guess what Endeca Information Discovery platform comes with a lot of inbuilt capabilities that the bulk of the time was spend in configuring and fine tuning the platform to solve the data problems. In addition to Endeca, Salesforce1 Platform helped hugely in reducing the development hours with its inherent nature to import everything that is available within a company’s Salesforce instance. In conclusion, this project was quick and a success, which as you know is not always the case. If you have worked on quick projects in the past, they can be fraught with risk and issues and the project could fail. However, that was not the case and this Fortune 100 company has a great content management systems fully integrated with Salesforce.com. With that being said, most of this project success is attributed to IT, marketing and sales working closely together with one goal. Keep that in mind if you have to go down this path as well and good luck!