12 September 2017

Why Silicon Valley CRM could crack the world of small business

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Content marketing has become increasingly fierce, it is no longer sufficient to merely produce information that can be sent out to prospective clients. The game is now focussed on giving away something as valuable as possible that will entice someone to buy into the vision that is being sold.

Marketing has always been easy for companies like Coca Cola who are able to sell a product based on sex appeal and memorable experiences. For software developers however, successful marketing has always proved difficult as the audience is less willing to engage with their more work related message.

The answer to this conundrum has been the rise of online training schemes and a certification process that has been pioneered by companies such as Google and Hubspot. Take a look around the digital community on LinkedIn and you will see certificates plastered across profiles as digital professionals proudly display their achievements. The genius in the creation of these courses is that they have started to become established as an industry standard which places extra pressure on fellow digital experts to obtain the same qualifications. Having people that are better trained in the software will also help to further knowledge of its capabilities and therefore how it can be of immense benefit to a company. Generating word of mouth recommendations is the strongest form of marketing and training courses are experiencing great success in this area.

One company that is looking to take this idea to a new level is Salesforce which has invested heavily in implementing a comprehensive training course so that users have a more in-depth knowledge of CRM and are able to understand its ever growing range of features and capabilities, something that will be especially important as the company provides more AI integration into the software.

Salesforce’s new online learning platform called Trailhead is seen as an equalising force in Silicon Valley as the course lowers the barriers to the adoption of new business technology which has previously been reserved for those that have had years of expensive training and education. A democratisation of software usage is an incredibly smart move by a company like Salesforce if they wish to expand their reaches to more traditional industries that might be resistant to the implementation such programs. CRM has been heavily adopted by large corporations who use it to achieve complicated objectives but it is at a more local level where the company must strive to make a breakthrough if they wish to achieve their aim of having CRM becoming a trillion dollar industry. A lack of knowledge about the product is proving to be an obstacle in the path of the company but the successful promotion of Trailhead could make the difference and prove to be a useful tool in its arsenal when attracting a new demographic.

The great challenge for companies specialising in CRM will be their ability to penetrate the market of small business owners that is the foundation of the global economy. If they are able to do this, the potential for growth in the CRM market will be enormous. The Trailhead learning platform is a key step in achieving this objective as it provides a program that will help novices and experts alike to get the most out of the Salesforce system. Eliminating the steep learning curve that is often associated with software is essential to bring it to the mainstream and ensure that it becomes integrated within the architecture of a wide range of businesses.

As a piece of content marketing, Trailhead will help to spread the word about the benefits of CRM system usage but it is crucial in bridging the knowledge gap that has stood in the way of the adoption of business software in the past. In a digital world, the largest companies may continue to race ahead but the backbone of the economy will continue to be formed by small businesses and such learning platforms will help to attract that market and open up new avenues for software companies. Other CRM developers must respond with a more comprehensive free training course so that there is a greater understanding of the software or risk seeing Salesforce take an increasingly dominant marketshare.