Monthly Archives: September 2015

Questions Around Dreamforce

A number of questions occurred to me as I sat through the Dreamforce sessions, mostly based on my experience working with clients or at law firms.

  1. How does all of this advanced sales type information relate to law firms?

Well, I don’t think it does. Lawyers refuse to think of themselves as salespeople or to think of their services as something to sell, even though being a rainmaker is clearly a salesperson and their services are something for which they want to get paid. From the little I know about Salesforce products, I believe they could be used in a law firm. Knowing each touch a client receives would give the partner for the client a good sense of how the client is being treated. If the partner has clients without any ‘touches’ for a period of time, then s/he would know to find something to send to the client to remind the client how valuable they are to the firm. This is where library staff could assist.

2. Are legal services disconnected episodic events? If so, how does that relate to the relationship based aspect of selling legal services?

If a client is involved in an ongoing legal matter, s/he will have more contact with lawyers than s/he would like. However, for other legal services, such as estate planning, they may be one time or disconnected episodic events. Years might go by before a change in a will or trust needs to be made. Still, the law firm should want to let the client know s/he is important. If the law firm or partner relies on anecdotal information, it is harder to keep in touch. Lawyers are busy and can easily forget a happy client. The law firm should want their client to get to the ‘Advocate’ section of the customer journey.

3. Is the cloud aspect of Salesforce a problem for law firms?

Most law firms are lax about security, don’t read license agreements carefully and don’t require users to change their passwords frequently. In light of that, probably not, but for some law firms the cloud is a problem as companies providing the cloud services allow themselves to share information, via their license agreements, with others.

4. Is the customer/client at the center of law firm transactions?

Most of the speakers at Dreamforce talked about how the customer was at the center of all transactions at Salesforce. Most of the Salesforce executives who spoke reiterated their commitment to customer happiness. I don’t think the same is true at law firms. I think the partners’ money is at the center of law firm transactions. I don’t think money is a bad thing in commercial enterprises (you wouldn’t be reading this if I did), but I do think that happy customers bring in more money.

Dreamforce 4: Mindfulness

I was shocked that 3 hours of the conference was devoted to mindfulness. It was an excellent part of the conference even though it made me feel sleepy.

The reality is that we all feel stressed, at some point, by our jobs. Having tools to use to calm down is valuable. Many times, we seek out these tools outside of work and our co-workers think we are weird for what we have chosen. That a company as large as thinks mindfulness is important really made me pay attention.

All of the speakers were outside people, so I don’t know if the C-Suite uses these techniques, but devoting time to them is a commitment. I can see how they would think it is important, because more calm means fewer adverse interactions between colleagues. Happy workers = higher productivity.

Marc Benioff says that the business of business is to improve the world.

The definition of mindfulness in this conference included:

  • Exercising compassion
  • Paying deliberate, careful attention moment by moment (be here now or paying attention on purpose)
  • Developing awareness, mental clarity and insight
  • Exercising compassion

All of the speakers agreed that the above were the basic tenets. Tara Brach (an American psychologist and proponent of Buddhist meditation. She set up an Insight Meditation Community in Washington, D.C., a “spiritual community” that teaches and practices Vipassana meditation. Wikipedia) furthered this defintion by adding that mindfulness is an evolutionary strategy that maximizes human potential.

Ms. Brach added:

  • friendliness, not judgmental-ness
  • learning to pause, stop, settle
  • take criticism without resentment

We were reminded that it is easy to say “I don’t have enough time” and enable those few words to become an inner mantra and affect our entire lives. The question to ask is how we each can live true to ourselves not based on the expectations of others?

The biggest inner stressor is a sense of deficiency. It shows up as perfectionism, self judgment and a chronic sense of not enough. These lead to:

  • inability to relax
  • fear of taking risks
  • inability to be intimate with people
Chade-Meng Tan also spoke. He is known informally as Meng, and is a software engineer and motivator at Google known especially for greeting celebrities who visit the Google campus. He is Google employee number 107 and his job title is Jolly Good Fellow. (Wikipedia)

One thing that resonated with me with Meng’s talk was his insistence that if you have health and fitness, everything changes. I know this to be true. I know it is hard to fit workouts and eating good food in, but it makes a huge difference. He also discussed the benefits of mindfulness in the workplace, of which there are 3 elements:

  1. Learning to create a calm and clear mind
  • By being able to calm the mind in a crisis, you look like a leader. People want calm in crisis and most cannot be calm.
  • A calm, clear mind gives you choice, power and freedom
  1. Self knowledge and self mastery
    Changes “I am angry” to “I am experiencing anger” which is the acknowledgement that your emotions are not you. Your thoughts are not you and and you are not your thoughts.
  1. Create useful mental habits
  • kindness, which means, for example, that when you see a person your first thought is “I want that person to be happy” You do this because of habit, but a habit move up through you to make you a happier person.

I don’t suppose you can get away from a discussion on mindfulness without talking about meditation. I am not a person that feels I can meditate, but Meng made me think of meditation in a way that makes me think I could do it. Not the weeklong silent retreats…yet, perhaps. His definition of meditation makes sense and is flexible: “meditation is whatever you do that helps you shut out the noise.”

He also said that:

  • we should gather people around us who are on the same path and that magic will happen.
  • Sharing and caring for another human being is a gift you give to yourself. This made me think of moms
  • Perfect your capacity to be present with an open heart as opposed to trying to perfecting yourself

One basic meditation strategy that I could do is taking 8 deep breaths and let them out slowly. It is a start.

Dreamforce 3: Systematic Engagement

In my first post on Dreamforce, I briefly mentioned systematic engagement and some of the ways it works in the sales related/retail world and how it could work in a library setting. I wrote:

“Consider that your customers have a journey (the customer journey),

which is comprised of the following lifecycle:

  • Acquire
  • Sell
  • Onboard
  • Engage
  • Advocate”

I can’t really get these concepts out of my mind. I feel strongly that libraries need to consider all options when setting up marketing programs to increase traffic.

Acquire: how would a library acquire new patrons? What is the best way to get the word out?

Sell: how do librarians ‘sell’ their services. First of all, librarians need to get over the word ‘sell’.

Onboard: if the library doesn’t have the app they can get the patron to download, what are other ways to get people on board with using library services? Sign up for a training session? The least you can do is send them a welcome email. If your organization is hosting a volunteer event, invite everyone to that.

Engage: respond to the user/patron after each transaction. In a corporate setting, I think that talking to people in the cafeteria and the elevator could also be considered engagement. It is important, now, to connect with the customer/patron.

Advocate: this is the nirvana, because your patrons are selling for you. The list above is daunting, but if you can get to it, you earn your reward, because your customers will start telling their stories about your books, your products and your services.

Systematic engagement does mean that you have to review and respond to each mode of communication. Phone and email engagement are not enough. What are people saying on social media via their mobile device? How did they respond to your advertising campaign; do you need to reply to cranky tweets? Where are the emails from the website going? Do communications from all the devices, which can communicate with each other, the web, etc all get through?

All of this tells me that the key is engagement. How do you engage with people? Personalized engagement works better than scattershot general engagement. Salesforce’s new product, Lightening, helps companies make people feel like they matter as individuals and are part of something. While not all libraries or information organizations might not they can afford Salesforce products, there are ways to start the process of personalized interactions without the product. You have to think creatively.

Tell the story of the relationship with the patron, e.g. keep track of interactions. Of course, public libraries have to be aware of privacy, but libraries and information centers in commercial enterprises can track interactions and use it to market to their customers.

DreamForce 2

As I said the other day, Dreamforce was amazing.

The other thing I heard about was ‘personalized at scale’. This is a concept with which I have toyed at various job and during various projects, but the description, ‘personalized at scale’, is one I could not quite grab hold of until I heard it. Yes, I thought, that describes exactly what libraries need to do on a daily basis.

‘Personalized at scale’ is the concept of sending a customer an email with recommendations or personalization in some way based on their past purchases or interactions. Within the realm of personalization, you acknowledge each ‘touch’ with the client, because each touch point is documented. Obviously, using a system to help with this makes life much easier and, according to the conference, is that system.**

Salesforce has a small business unit, but this area is really designed for large organizations that want to seem like they care about each customer. This feature has to be done with big data and computers. There is no company who can hire enough people who have the skills to get to know all the customers and suggest other products. It just won’t happen.

Still, I think that librarians do this to some extent by remembering what attorneys or patrons asked for last time and follow-up. I think it is very ad hoc. Readers Advisory is similar, but not a push notification; it is reactive. If public libraries could send out emails, personalized to all of their patrons I think things would change.















** I know there are other systems that do this same thing and if I get the opportunity, I will write about them, but this post is about Salesforce’s Dreamforce and their products.


I was offered a free ticket to Dreamforce, the conference and took the opportunity to see what a tech conference was like. The difference between Dreamforce and the SLA or AALL conferences was AMAZING. People were excited to be at Dreamforce; speakers were well rehearsed and the entire ‘compound’ was packed. There was a place to donate books. They had a playground with beanbag games, hula hoops, a large screen, a beading activity and places to lounge. Attending this conference made me want to work for and use their product.

My ticket allowed me to attend a limited number of events, most of which were keynote type sessions. I wasn’t allowed to attend the Foo Fighters concert nor did I get free meals. The organizers emailed me several times about upgrading my ticket, so it wasn’t that they didn’t want me. I wanted to see what was what and I was thrilled with what I was able to get for free.

The very first session was a marketing session and the takeaways will be very useful for my clients:

  • Consider that your customers have a journey (the customer journey), which is comprised of the following lifecycle:
    • Acquire
    • Sell
    • Onboard
    • Engage
    • Advocate

I was quite intrigued by the example they gave for ‘onboard’, which was from Mattel. If a customer purchases a toy online, they are sent, as part of their purchase receipt, an invitation to download an app which connects the physical toy, to an online environment and allows Mattel to create a relationship with the customer.

As I listened to the presentation, my mind was whirring about how this could be used in libraries, especially in public libraries. Could a patron who checks out a book and receives an emailed receipt also be sent a link to download the library’s search tool app?