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Tag: chatter

How to Bridge the Gap Between Salesforce and the Rest of Your Company

By Jared McGriff

This is a quick post to explain how our sales team uses Sameroom to share Salesforce information with other teams.

This is important for our organization, as there are members of management and business teams who do not use Salesforce as a key component of their daily workflow. There are also members of the product team who do not have access to Salesforce.

However, there are data points within our instance of Salesforce—leads generated, opportunities instantiated, closed and lost—that should be seen by the rest of our organization. Since the rest of the organization lives in Slack and Fleep (we use two chat systems for redundancy), that's where those data point should be directed.

The question is—how?

One method would be to forward the daily Chatter digest to some company-wide email distribution list. This approach introduces key problems for our team:

  1. The Daily Chatter Digest contains a lot of information that is not pertinent to the entire org;

  2. We operate in a enterprise chat-first environment, wherein email is primarily used for external communication. Internal communication flows take place within our enterprise chat instances (Slack and Fleep);

  3. The Daily Digest is not real-time, so even if an forward is set up, important information may arrive nearly a day late.

While the first problem is more common with inter-disciplinary teams, the other problems are relevant from an efficiency standpoint, as email is a rather poor method of disseminating this type information.

With email, there is no way to confirm that the message was actually received (unlike with Fleep, for example, which has excellent read receipts), it is easily lost in the cruft of poor inbox hygiene, and there is no way to capture real-time reactions or feedback on any one piece of information contained within the Chatter Digest.

I found that the best way to share this information is to create a group in Chatter and use Sameroom to pipe updates from this group to a channel in Slack and a room in Fleep. This synchronization is almost like Dropbox for chatrooms.

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To try this yourself, follow these steps:

  1. Create a Group within the Salesforce Chatter app

  2. Use the process builder to specify which information shows up in this Group’s feed

    • Ensure that only key information relevant to intended audiences shows up here, in my case it is Lead and Opportunity creation and disposition data is disseminated to this feed
  3. Create a channel within Slack that is dedicated to this Group

    • Give this channel a name that makes sense to the entire org (i.e. #sales-chatter)
  4. Connect the Salesforce Chatter Group and Slack channel via Sameroom

    • Go to https://sameroom.io/open-a-tube and click on the Salesforce icon and sign in
    • For Side A, select Salesforce, then your group
    • For Side B, select Slack, then your channel
    • Optional: if you're using other chat applications within your org, you can repeat this process for each one

You will now see every Chatter group update in your Slack channel in real time. The integration is bi-directional, so if a Slack user types a question about a particular update into the Slack channel, the question will appear in the Salesforce group feed.

Announcing Sameroom Integration with Salesforce Chatter

The latest integration from Sameroom is with Salesforce Chatter. This integration enables real-time, bi-directional connections between private, open, and public Chatter groups and chatrooms on HipChat, Slack, Skype, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, and other platforms.

Salesforce Chatter: Background

Chatter, née GroupSwim, was Salesforce's seventh acquisition—it was finalized in December 2009, six years ago. Of the 28 companies Salesforce has acquired since, none were able to earn a spot as prominent as Chatter's—right next to Home:

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GroupSwim was an early player in the enterprise social network space, where it competed against Jive, Yammer, and SocialCast (to name a few).

The lightly-funded GroupSwim undoubtedly struggled with strong competition and—likely—with long-term product/market fit, since the enterprise social network model largely failed to take the world by a storm.

Yammer and SocialCast both raised lots of money and wisely exited (within a year of each other) by selling to Microsoft and VMWare respectively, where they now wither. Jive had a huge head start and the lion's share of the market at its peak, which prompted its IPO. Thanks to that, we can now track the steady decline of the enterprise social network business:

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Chatter and SFDC

Salesforce executives made the ingenious bet on a communication and collaboration solution for… Salesforce customers. Only. They took the general-purpose GroupSwim, re-christened it "Chatter", and narrowed its focus down to a couple of departments—Sales and Marketing—instead of all of them.

It is because Chatter never had to abide by the whims of an entire company—by being a part of a CRM solution—that it's been able to thrive for so long in an age of cut-throat competition for workplace collaboration pixels.

The improvements to web and server-side technologies the world has enjoyed over the past few years have gone largely unnoticed by Chatter: it's proudly shepherding web application design patterns common at the century's turn wickedly close to its third decade. You have to hit ⌘R to see updates, the URL says salesforce.com/_ui/core/chatter/ui/ChatterPage, and responsiveness ends at 1000px width.

This doesn't matter one bit: the Salesforce stack is about the ecosystem and job mobility, not technology. If a company uses anything other than Salesforce for CRM, it risks having a very hard time expanding its sales team with top talent. All experienced salespeople know how to use Salesforce and expect to hit the ground running on day one. This makes Salesforce kind of like J2EE, but for sales professionals.

Trouble, as it tends to, came moustached.

The Bay Area housing prices aren't the only thing the modern tech worker is disrupting.

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Slack and HipChat are taking over a lot of enterprise mindshare. This leads many to see narrowly-focused and siloed collaboration tools as incongruous to company-wide communication.

"Email is bad, so lets use these 24 tools instead, all at the same time," implore the Gods of Fragmentation and Protocol-level Incompatibility.

Zapier and IFTTT Integrations

To be fair, Chatter has, for a long time, enjoyed some degree of interoperability with other tools.

Both Zapier and IFTTT—the leading connector services for business apps—support Chatter. Zapier and IFTTT recipes can be immensely useful in Sales Operations, enabling information flow between revenue hustlers and the rest of the company. For example, it can be handy to see every tweet mentioning a company in a Chatter group, or a mailing list notification for each closed deal.

However, since neither integration is bi-directional nor real-time, the range of IFTTT and Zapier recipes does not extend past simple notifications, making human communication impossible.

Chatter and Sameroom

Sameroom aims to improve this situation with its brand-new Chatter integration.

The integration enables users to bridge private, open, or public Chatter groups with all other platforms supported by Sameroom (HipChat, Slack, Skype, and 12 more). It's as real-time as Chatter allows it to be: messages may take up to a minute to propagate across, and, of course, you gotta hit that ⌘R to see any replies.

Somewhat surprisingly, this new integration also brings federation capabilities to Chatter, enabling several enterprises to securely share Chatter groups with one another.

To try it for yourself—say, by connecting Chatter and Slack— go to https://sameroom.io/accounts, add your Salesforce and Slack accounts, and then Open a Tube between your Chatter group and Slack channel (create these in advance, in necessary). Once connected, if you post a text message and an image, expect something like this:

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