Salesforce AppExchange celebrates 10 years of inspiring businesses’ innovation

Amplifinity Connector continues to empower Salesforce clients

January 14th contains an abundance of important events including birthdays, deaths, cultural and historical events. But today we celebrate a birthday that’s purely representative of innovation, collaboration, and specialization – the 10th birthday of the Salesforce AppExchange.

Birthdays, and especially a business’s birthday is a celebratory occasion because it demonstrates the ability to adapt to changing ecosystems and markets. But Salesforce’s AppExchange has not only managed to succeed with their own products and services, it also has enabled other businesses to extend their reach by challenging them to innovate easy product and service options that empower integration with Salesforce through the AppExchange. And as the AppExchange launches into the double digits we take a closer look at the innovation it has inspired.

The value of the Amplifinity Connector for Salesforce clients

One such innovation that offers easy application through a sophisticated managed app is the Amplifinity Connector. The Amplifinity Connector is the premier managed referral app that easily incorporates the sensational power of Amplifinity referral software into Salesforce. This simple solution aligns marketing and sales for optimal efficiency by leveraging customer and partner relationships and maximizes the value of Salesforce.

Felecia Flack of Northern Michigan University declares enthusiastically that, “The combination of Amplifinity and Salesforce enables our constituents to easily SHARE the word about our great university. We’re excited about the connections we’re making with prospective students because of this partnership.”

The success of the AppExchange has allowed Amplifinity to provide Salesforce clients a unique and unparalleled combination of Salesforce Cloud and advanced referral automation software that:

  • Increases sales productivity to optimize revenue growth
  • Enhances lead follow through from sales
  • Provides superior data to improve the use of Salesforce
  • Offers more advanced tracking to attribute marketing ROI
  • Improves marketing program results by creating a consistent channel for lead generation that is easy for marketing to maintain

This exceptional value has been a key instigator in the adoption of the Amplifinity Connector by Salesforce clients. But the AppExchange hasn’t only added value to Amplifinity referral software, but inspired continual innovation and product development (specifics coming soon).

The fact is, the Salesforce AppExchange does not only inspire innovation, but challenges businesses to keep developing advanced technology in a simple deliverable package. This train of thought goes beyond lending itself to the AppExchange but to large scale technological creation. So let’s raise a glass, eat a piece of cake, and develop a new disruptive technology to celebrate 10 years of the Salesforce AppExchange.

Women in Tech
10 Women in Tech toasting Salesforce with local, Michigan beverages on the AppExchange’s 10th Birthday!

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Questions? Email me at JEdmondson@amplifinity.com

 

8 Magnificent marketing predictions for 2016

What should your New Year’s resolution be for your marketing department?

Where has the year gone? Already Marty McFly has come and left and turkeys have lost their heads over Thanksgiving, which can mean only one thing. It’s that time of year again. You know the time I’m talking about. That’s right . . . year end prediction time. So let’s get right down to it. What will marketing look like in 2016?

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, it still won’t look much like Back to the Future 2 predicted, but there will be some significant marketing changes. The importance of provable ROI, an exchange of responsibilities, the deprioritizing of some marketing initiatives will be evened out with the reprioritizing of others, etc. will all be taking place in 2016. In essence, there will be some exciting moves forward in how we go about marketing.

What does the ghost of marketing future have in store for you?

For starters . . . .

  1. Provable ROI will go from recommended to required – While this may not be much of a surprise since there has been a push for marketers to adopt technology that delivers provable ROI for a few years now, in the past it was only recommended, but in 2016 it will be a requirement for marketing departments. To stay competitive you need to know which initiatives are creating ROI and which are failing to produce. And with so many businesses adopting technology that delivers provable ROI, to stay in the game you can’t have your technology lagging behind.

 

  1. Marketing will take on more sales responsibility – Marketing is constantly on the move to try and deliver more qualified leads to sales. In 2016, marketing departments will take on more of your sales team’s responsibilities to continue to increase the amount of qualified leads they deliver to sales. This will expand to include:

 

  • Management of referral program and it’s leads
  • Creation and deployment of email templates used to prospect
  • Strategy and management of prospecting through email and by phone
  • Create customer programs for cross sell and upsell

 

  1. Social influencers will become more of a key part of content marketing – Social influencers have been becoming a larger part marketing these past few years and are forecasted to become an even greater part of content marketing. Social influencers have the ear (and the eyes) of your key demographic and they can ensure that your content reaches beyond the arm length of your business. In 2016, more marketers will focus on developing their relationship with influencers to harness the trust that the influencer’s network invokes and promote their business.

 

  1. Marketing departments will reduce their PPC budgets – PPC has been an easy standby for years. But unfortunately, more often than not first page bids has become exceedingly expensive when it comes to words that you and all your competitors are vying for. Along with that, ad block and the average searcher now prevent and ignore the noise of millions of ads that are assailing them. With this in mind, 2016 will be a time to reduce your PPC budget and reallocate the funds to channels that can deliver quality leads inexpensively. Instead, PPC will be used primarily as a way to fill in the gaps from your organic search.

 

  1. Customer marketing will play more of a strategic role – Customer marketing has become exceedingly important to businesses. In order to successfully upsell, cross sell, avoid churn and increase the profitability of your current clients and customer, you need customer marketers. So it’s not a surprising that it is the hot job to fill in 2016.

 

  1. Customer advocacy will be a high priority initiative – Customer advocacy has been rising in popularity because of its ability to deliver large amounts of high quality leads, increase upsell and cross sell opportunities, improve the LTV of a customer, and decrease churn. But of course, how successful your results are will depend on what technology you use to extend the trust of your advocate’s family, friends, and professional network to include your business. In 2016, more marketers will be developing advocacy initiatives and scouting out referral software to support it.

 

  1. Adoption of account based marketing will increase – In 2016, another form of personalization that will have a higher adoption rate is account based marketing. Account based marketing is an extremely personalized method of targeting key prospects from companies to marketing straight to them. Whole marketing campaign are created and aimed at one lead.  This in-depth personalization breaks through the marketing noise and attracts the attention of advocates and marketing leads at a higher rate of success.

 

  1. Mass personalization at scale will drive leads – Consumers and business are inundated with advertisements and emails. If you’re still doing mass email marketing you’re not going to be heard by prospects through the cascade of emails coming their way unless it personally relates to them at the right time. While in the past mass personalization has been worked into certain marketing initiatives, 2016 will be the year to drive all channels of communication and touchpoints with mass personalization at scale.

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Care to continue the conversation? Tweet me @Trishawinter

 

Originally posted on the Salesforce blog

Amplifinity Announces Major Enhancements of World’s Leading Referral Automation Platform

Amplifinity, the referral experts, announced they increased the power of their market leading referral tracking platform to further drive sales enablement and demand generation with robust platform capabilities.

Ann Arbor, Mich., November 4, 2015 – Amplifinity today announced that its latest release of its SaaS referral automation platform further improves its customer’s ability to drive high-quality lead generation and ignite revenue growth. Amplifinity turns customer, partner and employee advocates into an “always on” channel for leads and new acquisition. Data from Amplifinity’s platform has shown customers using the platform see an average 34% conversion rate from referral to purchase.

The latest platform enhancements bring sales teams more functionality to recruit advocates, add verbal referrals and follow up quickly on these high-quality leads. As the front line of most organizations Salespeople are often in the best position to engage advocates and ask for referrals.

“With Sales participation, every aspect of referral marketing is accelerated and amplified,” said Larry Angeli, CEO of Amplifinity. “With this release we’ve fully brought the Sales team into the advocacy ecosystem and enabled a new frontier for lead generation.”

Enhancements for Sales Enablement

Amplifinity recently announced a Salesforce approved managed App to increase sales involvement and success with referral marketing. This platform release adds enhancements to Amplifinity Control Room to help sales teams be more engaged in referral success.

  • Recruiter Tools: This release includes powerful new capabilities for customer facing employees to recruit advocates and enter verbal referrals. Recruiter Tools functionality allows sales and field staff to reach out to advocates and invite them to provide referrals. With Amplifinity, these referrals can be entered into the system for easy tracking and attribution. This increases program results and eliminates manual management of this important channel.
  • Referral Lead Assignment Rules: Best in class enterprises have learned that allowing salespeople to benefit from referral leads that fall beyond their territory restrictions improves program performance and Salesperson participation. Amplifinity’s solution now provides a flexible lead assignment feature permitting leads to be assigned  by product, territory or round-robin. Beta customers using this feature have seen a significant increase in customer engagement and satisfaction scores.
  • Sales Nurturing: The new platform increases sales follow-through and advocate engagement by sending automated, personalized emails to sales for new referral leads, dormant referral leads, and successful referrals. These emails help ensure that sales is following up with these high quality leads as well as engaging with advocates to thank them when a referral makes a purchase.
  • Sales Reporting: Sales leaders can increase the success of their referral programs with reporting and dashboards that highlight the efforts of sales teams by region/product and with leaderboards for individual reps. These can be used to motivate the referral performance of customer or partner sales teams.
  • Organization Hierarchy: This new feature manages the platform’s ability to support multiple levels of permissions within an organization. The Hierarchy feature provides administrators with the tools to manage several layers of the sales/partner relationship simultaneously. This gives sales leaders the power to view/manage the referral activity of their branches/regions/segments of the business and to edit and reassign advocates and referrals as needed.

 

Features to Drive Improved Demand Generation

Marketers want strong optimization tools and ways to encourage program participation without the hassle of operational management. The latest enhancements of the Amplifinity platform include features that marketers can use to make their referral programs even more successful.

  • Reward Choice: Reward Choice is an exciting new feature that allows marketers to offer a selection of reward options like gift cards, training, and charitable contributions. Advocates can then select the reward that best fits them or their current needs. Every advocate has different motivations and this feature will help drive increased participation from advocates.
  • Touchpoint Reporting This addition to the reporting capabilities of the platform allows the brand to report on the performance of their promotional touchpoints in the Referral, Participant Activity, and Advocate reports. By adding Touchpoint data to the reporting capabilities of the platform, marketers have yet another piece of data focused on fully understanding the behavior of participants in the referral program to optimize program promotion and extend that learning to other marketing activities.
  • Program Multi-Design: The platform now supports the ability to have multiple designs per program. Program Multi-Design will allow marketers to create a more personalized design based on the type of advocate they are marketing the program to. In addition, it will allow marketers to extend specific design campaigns currently running on their sites and make a seamless transition into their referral campaigns. Running sweepstakes or special promotions has never been easier.
  • Tax Management Enhancement: Tax compliance is an important component in many B2B referral programs where rewards amounts can rise to a level where tax information is required. Amplifinity now provides the ability to prompt an advocate/partner to complete a W-9 tax form. W-9s are required by law for any ‘independent contractor’ that earns $600 or more through company programs such as referral programs.

“We believe that advocacy addresses two important C-suite objectives revenue growth and accelerated buying cycles,” said Larry Angeli, Amplifinity CEO. “Engaging and enabling your best customers to help bring new customers to you simply makes sense. And since these prospects are referred from people that they trust, they come into the buying cycle informed and inclined to buy from you.”

Learn more about how aligning marketing and sales will drive organic growth. Harness the power of referrals at scale and generate new business from customer, employee, or even partner referrals, from the new Demand Gen Report, Blueprint for Investing in Referral Marketing.

 

About Amplifinity

Amplifinity’s referral amplification software turns customer, employee and partner advocacy into revenue. Our platform provides complete referral tracking and management with 100% accuracy so none are missed. Enterprises like ADP and DIRECTV trust Amplifinity to enable high-quality acquisition while providing an engaging, fully-branded experience for their advocates. www.Amplifinity.com

Fight back against the drop in higher ed enrollment

I’ve recently learned a lot about the challenges facing higher education. While I’m certain the big universities with great sports programs aren’t feeling it yet, I know that the mid-sized and small universities are already at the start of an enrollment crisis.

The stats out of Moody’s and WICHE tell a grim story:

  • There was only a 5% increase in high school graduates 2003-2014
  • 2015 to 2020 there will be a 0% increase in high school graduates
  • And way out in 2021-2027 there will be a measly 2% increase

It is clear that there won’t be more bodies to naturally fill fall classes. But the weird thing is, universities are getting more applications than ever before. So what is going on? The answer is the wonderful efficiency of the digital age. It is easier for students to apply to universities so they are casting a wider net to keep their options open. What a crazy time to be in enrollment. You’re getting more applications than ever before, but you are having a frighteningly low conversion rate. In fact, Moody’s states that 20% of higher ed institutions now admit less than 20% of their applicants.

So, do you have a plan in place to fill your classes despite the decline in serious applicants?

If not, I highly suggest you watch this short 20 min presentation from Steve Neiheisel, VP of Enrollment Management and Student Services at Northern Michigan University. In this presentation that took place at Dreamforce 2015, Steve outlines NMU’s plan to leverage their alumni and current student body to find the right students and provide them with the right, personalized message at the right time. A must watch if you are seeing higher ed enrollment challenges in your future.

 

 

What is brand advocacy?

Dreamforce 2015 – it was all about Personalization

Sitting here on the plane going home from Dreamforce, it is the first opportunity I’ve had to really think about the conference. More specifically, what message I can take back for my organization and for where the market is going. Despite my extreme lack of sleep, it is clear to me that everything boils down to one word: Personalization.

As Mark Benihoff said in his keynote, “We are all here to fill the gap between our companies and our customers.” And personalization is the way to do it.

As a marketer, I get that the more custom and personalized I can get with communications, the better they do. But Dreamforce made me think about how personalization touches every aspect of business. (And of course, Salesforce has solutions for each one.) I can almost hear you ask, “But how can I personalize my marketing even more than I already am?”

Personalized Marketing – There are lots of phenomenal capabilities available today for companies to take in the incredible amounts of data available on prospective customers and serve up information that is specific to what they want. Mathew Sweezey, Author, Marketing Futurist and Salesforce Evangelist, commented that “The average number of pages a visitor to your website sees is 1.5. Don’t you think you should make those 1.5 pages count?” But personalization in the marketing realm goes way beyond web and email.  The way you acquire leads in the digital age needs to be personal as well. It’s clear that many companies are looking toward advocacy and referral marketing to help fill that gap.

Personalized Analytics – After years of complaints, Salesforce is releasing its new UI/UX called Lightning. It looks great and has great functionality, but the key is that they heard their customers say they want to customize views. Don’t limit me to 2 columns, I might need 14 columns! And they are delivering. I think all companies need to think about what level of customization they can deliver to their customers. It really does make people happier with the experience. We all want what we want, the more flexible you can make your product, the better.

Personalized Sales – It’s clear that Salesforce sees the lines between Marketing and Sales as blurry at best. The Engage functionality coming out of Pardot clearly sees Marketing investing in tools to help sales prospect in a more personal way. Do generic marketing blasts even work anymore? It’s all about getting an email from an individual with a message as catered to them as possible. Doing that at scale is of course where Pardot and Salesforce comes in. It is clear that the faster that sales and marketing leaders get over their differences and begin practicing the art of smarketing, the more successful they will be.

Personalized Community – The Community keynote at Dreamforce was awesome. What Salesforce has done with this product is incredible and I’m sure it is the fastest growth area of their business. It looks so easy to spin up communities for customers, employees and partners with incredible functionality.  And of course, communities are the embodiment of personalization. You can provide a way to allow your customers to hear from other customers on your products/services and even make purchases from within the community. I predict this will be a powerful add on for companies to seriously pursue and I’m sure much more functionality will be added over the coming year.

Personalized Service – Lots of sessions were focused on Customer Success and the idea that they own the customer journey. This means that they need to understand it and find ways to influence it and make it consistent across silos of engagement. Salesforce has always been a great tool for this as it integrates across departments. The real innovation comes with some of the AppExchange partners doing advocacy and referral marketing with a sales referral program. With those as add-ons you can get an actual ROI from your customer journey while making customers feel more engaged with your brand. It’s no wonder that companies are aligning around this function and are hungry for improvement.  Who doesn’t want happy customers and revenue growth to boot?

In the age of digital, it is clear that companies need to be looking in every area of the business for ways to enable 1 to 1 interactions and provide an experience that makes each person feel that your brand understands them. Each engagement is an opportunity. An opportunity for delight. An opportunity to generate a high quality lead. An opportunity to turn a negative situation into a positive. Make each engagement count with personalization! Now time to get some much-needed sleep!

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‘Smarketing’ has never been so easy!

Expanding your sales reach with referral automation

The world of sales and marketing have never been so intertwined as they are today. Everyone is looking for ways to align sales and marketing, so much so that it has been named ‘Smarketing’.  As marketing continues to frantically search for new ways to produce the highest quality leads, organic acquisition by way of customer referrals has become of increasing strategic importance. Referral automation technology has allowed the marketing department to increase the generation of quality leads and nurture those leads. But the seamless transfer of these leads into the sales lead management process continues to be a challenge. Not to mention the challenge sales faces when trying to extend their reach with the help of their best customers. Luckily, we’re in the position to help sales overcome these challenges.

Our mission as a product team at Amplifinity is to continue to innovate our Referral Automation products to drive organic growth by empowering marketing to generate quality leads through customer referrals, to easily move those leads into the sales process, and to give sales the tools to quickly extend their reach with the help of their best customers.

Today, we are extremely excited to introduce the Amplifinity Connector for Salesforce. This product enhances the power of the Amplifinity Referral Automation platform to improve lead management by shifting the process into Salesforce. This empowers sales by imbuing them with the ability to harness the power of referrals within the Salesforce interface.  A smarketing dream!

The Amplifinity Connector for Salesforce provides features dedicated to harvesting the trust of your customers, partners, and employees to deliver high quality demand generation and unbelievable ROI. These features include:

  • Account Verification And Lead Sync: Automatically verify that a new advocate’s account exists within Salesforce and creates a lead in Salesforce when a prospect is converted in Amplifinity
  • Referral Sourcing Identification: View the Amplifinity Referral Program that produced a specific referral in the Lead views in Salesforce
  • Advocate Status Tracking: View the current enrollment status of an advocate in the contact record
  • Advocate Invite: Send an Amplifinity platform invite to a potential advocate from the contact record

The Amplifinity App’s unique value for aligning sales and marketing

Amplifinity’s new app integration is highly unique. The Amplifinity app is optimized to engage and enable your direct sales team to obtain and nurture high quality leads. By integrating the Amplifinity app into Salesforce you’ll add immense value to your leads and gain advantages such as:

  • Easily Seeing The Referring Advocate: Identify the advocate who made the referral so that you can contact them for more info and thank them for the referral.
  • Easily Inviting Contacts To Become Advocates: With a single click, sales can send an email to a contact to recommend they join the referral program.
  • Quickly Seeing High-Quality Referral Leads: View referral source from your Lead List to immediately prioritize the best leads to follow through on
  • Easy Implementation: Obtain lead routing and field mapping with SSO to access Amplifinity data. In addition, this adds 2 new lead record fields and 2 new contact record fields.

With the technology available today why continue to struggle with aligning sales and marketing teams?  This connector will allow you to empower your marketing and sales teams to work together and achieve an all-inclusive management of referrals with 100% accuracy so no referrals are missed.  Strengthen your marketing and direct sales teams today by exploring the value of the Amplifinity app integrated with Salesforce.

Questions? Email me at Jswenson@amplifinity.com

 

What is brand advocacy?