By Sarah Deutsch
Salesforce.com stands outside the box of “Customer Companies” for three very important reasons.
1) They are Evolutionary. They have an ever-evolving product that strives to service every aspect of the business process, whether that business be an espresso cart, a food bank, a mentor-matching program, or a global corporation. They want to do it all, smartly.
2) They Practice what they preach and Do Good. The 1/1/1 model (1% People, 1% Technology, 1% Resources) is at the heart of their philanthropic mode of doing business. The Salesforce Foundation is, at this very moment, growing the capabilities of nonprofits in tech, redefining how technology can meet an organization’s needs.
3) They embrace Community. Scratch that. They are revolutionizing the very definition of what it means to be a part of the larger whole.
Here’s why number three is important for nonprofits of every size and shape: You know your organization is making the future brighter in your area of focus. You should also know that your vested involvement in the Salesforce Community makes the product’s future brighter, too.
Wouldn’t it be really awesome if Salesforce let us assign a task to a queue or if there was one place to see all Salesforce calendar events? Submit an idea to the IdeaExchange (or vote up an entry that someone already did. #VoteEarlyVoteOften). It’s important to submit and important to vote because every Salesforce release includes Ideas users have submitted! We make the product better, one vote at a time.
What about meeting other people who speak Salesforce? Join a User Group (or start one) for nonprofits, for profits, or verticals. Or, find a group on the HUB or Success Community that shares your interest, be it Nonprofit Start Pack, Cloud for Synagogues, Girly Geeks, Admin Essentials, Who Owes Me a Beer?!?, Job Postings, or even Awesome People (or create one).
And that certification you’ve been meaning to get? Join a study group! There are options for meeting in person or online, and it is not limited to just the Success Community or HUB. Members of certification study groups have an 80%* greater chance of passing the exam on their first attempt than those who study independently. *This is not a factual statistic based on a random sampling, just my personal experience.
Another program Salesforce does much better than the rest is their appreciation for Community Leaders. They call them MVPs – those who spend their free time answering questions, leading user groups, informing the community through any and all social channels, promoting exposure and awareness of the product and the community itself. They are peer nominated and represent all of us users. They are Brand Advocates, and they are us.
Last but not least… Dreamforce. The annual uber knowledge sharing, tech loving, positively innovating, networking conference extraordinaire. It’s where you meet people who have impacted your Salesforce career online, inspired you, taught you, challenged you. It’s a wealth of tightly packed sessions, trainings, keynotes, and events that will help you scope out your next year’s goals, both personally and professionally. Attendance is not mandatory, but I guarantee it’ll change your life for the better.
These are all examples of users helping users, and users making the product better. At this point, you may be wondering, “What does this mean to me?” Everything. Are you an administrator, fundraising user, executive, volunteer, program manager, data entry specialist, consultant… anywhere in between? Then you can benefit from every other user who is invested in making their organization succeed, and shares their questions and answers with the larger community. Isn’t that what we try to do already? Make the world a little better, one act at a time?
Here is my very favorite post on the community and some of the answers.
Why are there so many nice people here:
Steve Molis: Because it’s just the right thing to do and the right way to treat someone.
David Liu: Helping out is the best part of my day =) We all love the Salesforce platform!
Sharif Shaalan: So as much as I come here to help, I come here to learn.
Bill Greenhaw: Today you, tomorrow me.