What do sales people gripe about? Aside from the crappy economy, customers who won’t make decisions, and lousy commissions; there’s managing and getting action on the overload of documents and approvals involved in a typical sales cycle.

Not only are there numerous renditions of client specific presentations, supporting marketing materials, and RFPs, but there are also contracts and other business-critical documents which must be shared and collaborated on within the larger Enterprise. They are typically accessed via a variety of computing and mobile devices and having everything and everyone in sync is a must.

Keeping everyone on the right version of the right page at the same time without wasting a minute is challenge enough. But often there’s quite a bit more required: such as the application of business rules, records management, compliance and so on. Add a business partner or other external party to the mix, and just thinking about it all becomes overwhelming. The more people involved the greater probability for missteps and mistakes.

And if something is going to challenge sales professionals and their partners within the Enterprise, it ought to be thinking of ways to delight customers and to close more sales, not juggling and struggling with content.

With Every Problem Comes a Solution - Introducing Alfresco Connector for Salesforce

Earlier today, at Salesforce's User Conference, Dreamforce, Open Source Enterprise Content management leader Alfresco introduced the Alfresco Connector for Salesforce. The UK based vendor says that it is the first cloud-based application that allows Salesforce users to share, collaborate and control contracts, marketing materials and other business-critical documents synchronized with the rest of the enterprise, making these documents more accurate, timely and compliant.

The connector leverages Alfresco’s new Enterprise CMS Cloud Syncing and Sharing platform that enables users to work with content in the cloud without sacrificing any CMS features such as version control, rich metadata and workflows.

When Salesforce is paired with the Alfresco Enterprise CMS Cloud Syncing and Sharing platform, sales teams don’t have to leave the application, use email, or a Dropbox-like service to exchange and collaborate on documents with the rest of the enterprise, such as legal, operations and service. They can simply “push a button” and make their Salesforce content available to non-Salesforce users who have the appropriate access credentials.

And with the press of a button they can also access the content that they are collaborating on or talking about in an application like Salesforce Chatter. The Alfresco/Chatter integration also includes functionality that immediately informs sales teams of relevant changes from anywhere in the enterprise to their documents, further enhancing productivity.

The “magic” of the Alfresco/Salesforce connector is that teams across the Enterprise and inside and outside of the firewall can access the “right” content at any time. This makes them instantly productive, eliminates confusion, reduces room for error and saves time.

But that’s not all. Alfresco Chief Marketing Officer Todd Barr says that the Alfresco Connector for Salesforce can also help sales teams work smarter. Because Alfresco is a true Enterprise CMS versus a simple file-sharing service, it can add additional information to documents such as opportunity names, sales stage and opportunity close date so that teams can discover similar documents and re-use past experience. 

And, of course, no Enterprise CMS feature set is complete without a promise of how it can help keep CEOs out of jail. Alfresco’s Enterprise Sync caters to legal and compliance teams via its trusted enterprise-class document management control offering which protects sensitive information inside the enterprise as necessary. Salesforce Chatter integration immediately informs sales teams of relevant changes from anywhere in the enterprise to their documents.

At Last, an Enterprise CMS that Might Help Companies Make More Money

It seems that the Enterprise Content Management Industry might finally be turning a corner; the buzz around integrations with solutions like Salesforce seem to be more about using information to work smarter, faster and with less confusion than proactively guarding against law suits and keeping the brass out of jail.

We’ll hold our breath for a while before we call it smart AND sexy; but at least the “necessary evil” label is becoming less prevalent in our minds.