AppExchange All-Star: Geraldine Gray's App Picks

Geraldine
Salesforce customers are using apps to make work easier every day.  Given the power of apps it's only natural that some people develop a special fondness and become full-fledged app experts.  We call these folks "AppExchange All-Stars."

Geraldine (@GeraldineGray) is a Salesforce MVP and has been using Salesforce for 12 years. She now runs Endiem, a Salesforce consultancy based in Houston.  Endiem delivers Salesforce implementations, strategic roadmaps and custom development projects to customers across industries including oil & gas, healthcare, finance and technology.

Geraldine Gray

Geraldine says: "When it comes to Salesforce, I’ve recently been concentrating on AppExchange apps that provide value by taking data from multiple sources and help by providing the ability to make improved data-driven decisions. Apps which aggregate your data streams into Salesforce provide huge value in a number of ways:

  • keep users working in one system thus reducing “swivel-chair” activities
  • make it easier to access and manage relevant customer information
  • boost user productivity and increase adoption of Salesforce
  • improve customer intelligence to help close more deals

Here are some of my current favorites (they’re all easy to use and none of them are hugely expensive):

SKYVVA Dataloader for Salesforce

SkyvvaI predict that the SKYVVA Integration Suite which is a native Force.com app that covers the entire integration lifecycle – from data migration and manual data upload to time-scheduled data Integration to real-time process integration.  It will quickly become one of your favorite tools. Unlike with most integration tools there’s no SKYVVA middleware or client so non-techies like me can build an automated integration between a complex database and Salesforce. SKYVVA looks and works just like a Salesforce custom object, it feels like a Salesforce custom object, it sits inside your Salesforce org just like any other AppExchange app and it’s a good value. Their data loader is free so start there and you won’t look back.

HubSpot Marketing Automation

HubspotIf your company has a website and you get more than a handful of leads a day you need HubSpot; an all-in-one marketing suite. Among the many features this tool has it allows you to customize the lead experience with calls to action. Say what? This means that if I visit your website and express an interest in one product by clicking on it you can control the other pages revealed to me. So, if I were a patient looking for migraine relief you can choose to only show me procedures or products for just that specific ailment. When I commit to providing my email address you can customize the landing page just for migraine sufferers and you can deliver content relevant to my inquiry.

HubSpot then pushes this information into Salesforce where it creates a lead and begins to provide closed loop analytics so I can see where my Salesforce leads and contacts have been clicking on my site and target their interest accordingly. HubSpot applies data science to what was previously a marketing scattergun approach. It is the easiest marketing suite I’ve worked with and it has the slickest user interface.

WorkIt! Automatic Time Tracking

WorkItWorkIt! aggregates and analyzes time spent on tasks so that you can see what’s taking longer than it should; you can then take this information and use it to provide more training, better call scripts or an improved knowledge base. It’s like Liquid-Plumr for your Salesforce org because by analyzing the data it produces it helps you fix problems faster, reduces customer wait time and this will lead to increased customer and employee satisfaction.

 

Appirio Cloud Sync for Google Apps

CloudsyncCloudSync syncs your Salesforce calendar with your Google calendar and 5000 contacts but still allows you to mark items as private so your boss won’t see your dentist appointment. It takes less than 30mins to install.  Importantly, it means that once your calendar is synced you can then use the free Cloud Scheduler in Salesforce to set up customer meetings according to a time that works for everyone invited.

CloudFactor meanwhile puts Salesforce in your Gmail. No kidding! You’re working in Salesforce and writing to or creating records in your database. If I could have one app for boosting productivity and keeping data in order this would be it. (And no, Appirio did not pay me to write that!)

ClickTools Surveys and Scripts

ClicktoolsSo, you’ve got your Salesforce data integration covered with SKYVVA, your marketing engine is running like a dream with HubSpot, the sales team is in love with CloudFactor and you’re making life easier for your service reps with WorkIt! so it’s time to get your data together for the users one last time.

ClickTools closes the loop on marketing, sales and service activities by submitting a survey to your customer with just one question: “Would you recommend us to your friends?” Let the survey results speak for themselves.

FieldTrip

FieldtripAnd in case you’re not feeling the admin-love, treat yourself to FieldTrip. It’s free and it analyzes the number of times a field is populated on an object; a great housekeeping tool for helping the business improve processes and for helping you to keep your metadata clean and under control.