SpringCM_logo_2010.jpg Salesforce has a problem. Nope, not the title of a new Joseph Heller novel, but the results of internal research carried out by SpringCM of Salesforce customers and corroborated by a further informal survey carried out at Dreamforce 2011 or Cloudforce NYC in November.

Looking at the research and the results of the search, though, it’s a problem that many vendors also have at the moment. In this case, and the reason Salesforce has been highlighted, is that SpringCM offers a solution to it.

The research is based on a survey of 100 Salesforce customers on the role and effectiveness of document management in Salesforce CRM.

Roger Bottum, VP of Marketing with SpringCM, told CMSWire that the problem did not subtract from the value of Salesforce CRM, but rather indicates the need for added document management functionality across the system.

Document Management in Salesforce

The first thing to be said about it is that 98% of users said that Salesforce was very important to them and 96% said it was very valuable.

More specifically, Salesforce users felt that managing documents, or content, within Salesforce was important to getting the most out of sales and marketing -- understandable given the importance in many sales and marketing models of different types of sales.

But there were three important general issues and challenges that users identified:

  • Getting documents into a place they could be used, organized, controlled and found was a principal concern
  • Challenges around collaboration were also problematic, but not quite as relevant as document management issues they mattered to customers
  • Access to documents on mobile was an inverted bell curve: 42% said it was very important, nearly 48% said not important, and the remainder were in the middle

Specifically, these three issues translate into making it simpler to associate documents with Salesforce objects, being able to manage and find them. Findings show:

  • 91% want easier ways to add, access and edit documents within Sales Cloud Accounts, Opportunities and Campaigns
  • 83% want documents easier to find and secure with folders
  • 81% want to be able to search across all documents across Accounts and Opportunities using metadata


"The basic trend we see here is away from content as standalone, more toward content in context, whether it’s within a process such as CRM and application such as Salesforce, or collaboration and process support for processes like developing marketing plans,” Bottum said.

One impact of these challenges is that an estimated 50-90% of the documents relating to sales cycles are not associated with or accessible from the appropriate records in Salesforce.com.

SpringCM and Document Management

Why would SpringCM care? Quite simply because, a number of months ago, it introduced free document and content management for users of Salesforce in October.

In 30 minutes, and without having to pay extra monthly fees, the free VIP Edition makes it easier to add, find, share and manage content from Salesforce.com objects such as Opportunities, Accounts, Cases and Campaigns.

SpringCM free VIP Edition eliminates the barriers that result in documents related to Opportunities, Accounts and Cases being trapped in email, shared drives and individual devices.

Available through Salesforce.com's AppExchange or the SpringCM website, the free VIP Edition gives customers more than 15 ways to include secure file sharing, document management and collaboration.

But log in for the free edition, which offers extensive document management functionality, and as your use of it grows, you are likely to want the paid editions that add more functionality,  including advanced features like dynamic case management and workflows.

It remains to be seen whether Salesforce will respond to this itself and offer better document management functionality.