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Salesforce Chatter’s Kendall Collins on the Correlation Between Productivity and Social Connectivity

Kendall Collins, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Saleforce Chatter, discusses how the correlation between productivity and social networks can be used to reproduce and leverage the traits of successful employees. While enterprise social networks are not a substitute for measuring business performance, he says there is a correlation between a successful employee’s productivity and their connectivity on networks. Also appearing in this video: Techonomy’s Adam Ludwig.

Collins: These unstructured collaboration platforms, it’s not a substitute for measuring business performance. Your best salesperson, because he or she has umpteen connections inside your company, it’s probably not a substitute for them having or not having closed millions of dollars worth of business. I think what’s interesting though is, how do you bridge these? How do you find the correlation and how do you tie these systems together? Largely, structured data systems and unstructured data systems have been separate, right? I’ll pick on my industry, which is originally SFA and CRM. You have a highly structured dataset: here’s a form, enter your sales forecast, enter your information about an opportunity, so someone up the chain can report on what you’re doing or not doing and how many activities you’ve logged. Meanwhile, all the work that you’re doing is about putting together great presentations, finding the right reference, getting the right competitive info, nailing the killer deck in the preso. That’s how you actually win a deal, and that requires a lot of different people and expertise and content within an organization.

I think what’s interesting is that if you look at the most effective salespeople, certainly within our company, they’re also the most networked people. So there is a correlation there, and I think what’s interesting is not just finding that correlation and measuring it, but then how do you reproduce it. If we know that a salesperson needs to have an effective network, why wouldn’t you take this network and say, “Boy, this guy, who’s an A-player, is connected to these ten people, who funnel expertise in. Why am I not connecting these new salespeople? Why am I not plugging them into a similar graph or a similar network?” So I think that you’re going to see this link to performance, and then I think you’re going to see people design networks in a very interesting way.

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