How Chatter can help to make a project successful

Group chats apps are great for projects. And when they are integrated in your CRM, Marketing Automation or ticketing system, they become an effective and easy way to improve communication.

Group chat apps are a great way to let project members communicate in an easy and quick way.

When such apps are integrated in your CRM, Marketing Automation tools or ticketing system, they become an effective and easy way to share ideas, feedback and projects results.

One of those Apps is Salesforce Chatter.

I have been a promoter of Salesforce Chatter since it was launched by Salesforce, but at the same time I am aware that it does not succeed in all projects.

There are several cultural and personal reasons why employees sometimes read posts without interacting much in the discussion, but – after talking with my customers – I can say the main reason for failure is the lack of a “chatter strategy”.

“For many companies, Chatter represents a cultural shift and requires champions at all levels of the organization to make it a success.” (Salesforce)

 

Chatter Rollout and Strategy

Chatter is a very simple and intuitive tool. If needed, the online education tool “Trailhead provides free instructions and great information to all users.

What really matters is the strategy behind it: how can we make all users be interactive and proactive?

People in the company are probably used to communicate using emails, so it is important that you gradually involve them and let them understand how Chatter can help their work:

  1. Determine use cases and their business goals
  2. Identify champions: Sponsors, Evangelists, Community Managers
  3. Create a communication plan
  4. Provide feedback loops and optimization

 

Your To-Do List

Let’s use a fictive business case: you start a new project in the company, which is aimed to engage current customers and optimize your company´s products. You know that the project will only be successful if the Sales Team is involved and engaged throughout the whole process.

 

1- Business goals definition:

  • Make the program successful
  • Inform Sales Team about the program
  • Collect Sales Team feedback around program: problems, expectations, obstacles, results
  • Understand end customer reaction through Sales Team feedback
  • Engage Sales Team
  • Provide marketing material, education and support to Sales Team
  • Inform Top Management around program results

 

2- Champions identification:

  • Executive sponsor = the program owners. They will have a calendar and a plan to follow the business goals.
  • Chatter Group Manager = the program owner will take care to setup the group, invite the Sales Reps and ensure the group is active with regular posts.
  • Evangelists = CEO + Country Sales Manager + Sales Rep. A first post from the CEO in your group will definitely attract attention and start to engage people. The Country Sales Manager and one Sales Rep need to be formally recognized as the Chatter group evangelists. They can help answer questions and encourage other users who are nervous about posting.

 

3- Communication Planning:

  • Content creation:
    • Program guidelines for Sales Reps
    • Program guidelines for end customer
    • Presentation for end customer (ppt)
    • Dashboard with program results
    • Chatter group business goals

 

  • Schedule:

Make sure you have a plan at least for the first 2 months. During this time you will get more ideas, adapt the content and improve the planning. The first month of a new chatter group is very important, so I suggest to publish at least two posts per week, a third post is optional.

    • Week 1:
      • Post: Program owner and CEO first post
      • File share: Program guidelines for Sales Reps
      • File share: Program guidelines for end customer
    • Week 2:
      • Link: Program dashboard
      • Poll: How do you rate the program guidelines from 1 to 10?
      • Post: Program results week 2
    • Week 3:
      • Post: The most active program member
      • Post: Questions and support to Sales Reps
      • Post: Program results week 3
    • Week 4:
      • Poll: What do you think is the best reward for our end customers?
      • Post: News
      • Post: Program results week 4

 

4- Results Analysis:

At the end of the month, take 30 minutes to answer these questions:

  • Are your chatter group members active? If not, what can you do to help them be more proactive?
  • Did your communication plan work? What can you improve? What content would you need to create for next month?
  • Did you get appropriate feedback to help you improve the program? Do you need to create more polls next month?

 

Engagement and new projects: the game is not over after the Chatter launch

Unfortunately in most cases, companies launch Chatter and then forget it, or just think “there is no way to improve the adoption”. Communication about important topics is sent by email, and employees just do not interact or miss the information.

Have you ever posted an important information or document in Chatter and nobody reacted to it? And the only feedback you receive is maybe a phone call? Of course, people read your post, because they use Salesforce everyday but they are reluctant to ask questions or share impressions in Chatter.

The important part about managing a Chatter launch is to actually manage it. As a project leader you need to make sure that your strategy works and that everyone is following it. Even though I just gave you tips for the first four weeks, you need to create a consistency. When the team members use Chatter without hesitation and the idea and result sharing happens in a respectful and informative way, you can be sure that they accepted this tool for good.

 

Salesforce Chatter is constantly improving and offers a lot of functionalities for you to meet thousands of different scenarios and projects. Although your project might be over – you will always find another use case to work with Chatter.

 

Have you already work with Chatter? What were your experiences? Did your project benefit from it?

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Francesca Turri

Francesca has more than 5 years experience in integrating CRM and Marketing Automation technologies into different organizations. She works strategically with customers, to understand their business objectives, determine the best approach for leveraging APTLY solutions, and provide recommendations on how to proceed.

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