As we’re winning more business, growing the size of our team, and adding more sites to our stable, I’m spending a fair amount of time looking at how we operate and where we need to change our ways to be able to scale. Small and profitable is nice, big and profitable sounds even better!
This led to the recent adoption of Salesforce.com, which we love so far. It really beats the alternative of moving Excel lists of customers around. This, along with migrating our properties from Movable Type to WordPress, seemed like a no-brainer — don’t let software drag you down if it’s ill-suited to your requirements. Now I want to see how we can better support our whole sales cycle from prospecting to making proposals to closing them, to trafficking the ads, to billing them and getting paid. On paper, integration between SFDC and Quickbooks Online looks compelling and is made possible by a third-party app. But once you start doing practical due diligence, here’s what you find out:
- There’s no Mac nor Firefox support. Come on, is this a way to run a web app in 2007? That alone is a deal breaker for us because the two people most involved with billing use Macs.
- Customers are complaining about QBO’s availability and management seems asleep at the wheel. When SFDC ran into similar problems it grabbed the bull by the horns.
- Everyone wants to eat from your pie. The AccountDynamics licensing system turns into gouging as you add more reps to your organization though the accounting team is going to stay about the same. An integration gateway charged on a per-user basis, now that’s rich. This needs to be provided by Intuit at little extra charge. If AppExchange means death by a thousand cuts for Salesforce customers it’s not going to work. It reminds me of the old days when you had to pay $100 per seat to get a TCP/IP stack on top of Windows for Workgroups. This just didn’t make sense, and a lot of the third-party hoopla we see these days doesn’t either. Just integrate a copycat into the core product and be done with it; buy the third-party provider if you need them to get there.
Intuit needs to step up and learn the whole lesson from Salesforce, not just the easy and attractive parts. Interactions with Paypal a couple of months ago show me that amateurism and carelessness are still rampant in this industry. Talking to people at Google Adsense feels like Groundhog Day, and it’s a lousy day at that. The last post on the Quickbooks Online blog goes by to May 2006. Don’t open a corporate blog if you won’t maintain it!
Incidentally, that’s when I last posted to my own blog, and I assume you all thought I was dead by now, right? Nope, news of my early death have been greatly exaggerated, I’ve been busy with life (a mix of great joy and sorrow) and work (lots of good stuff) and much less interested with this blog. It looks like I might revive it somewhat though.
On my plate these days is a mix of people, tools and procedures, including:
- Get the most out of SFDC starting with more effective outbound sales and direct marketing.
- Make sure tasks don’t fall through the cracks, with ongoing visibility on key business metrics and progress against our plans.
- Close business development deals that actually generate revenue for everyone involved.
- Always Be Hiring. Always Be Training.
Can you tell I’m having great fun?