We developed this real time face recognition app as a research project, trying to combine CRM and AI. The use case involves sales and business developers in networking events (conference, trade show …). They usually have access to prospects and customers information through their company CRM but how can they look for a name if they don’t remember it in the first place? Typical «the tip of the tongue» situation: I know the face, but I can’t remember the name. This app uses top of the art face detection and recognition to find in real time the names of the persons in front of you.
As for the technical details, we have encapsulated a C++ library (dlib) into a Java android app. We used dlib’s HOG (Histogram of Oriented Gradients) face detection which is a very good “frontal” face detector and thus suitable for real time video. Then, we integrated the app with Salesforce from which we extracted pictures, names and ids. Pictures were translated into facial landmarks though a first neural network and then into 128 measurements for each face through a second neural network. The magic lies in the 128 measurements which brings us into a Euclidean space where distances correspond to a measure of face similarity. Such distances happen to be really easy to compute in real time.
Eventually, we decided not to turn this project into a commercial product. For one, some of the pre-trained models that we used are based on datasets whose licences exclude commercial use. Consequently, significant investment would be required, in addition to fine tuning and features development, just to recreate these models. There are also some legal challenges in storing face pictures and facial landmarks as these are often considered, and rightly so, as biometric data. Finally, apart from using Google glasses which is not really available anymore, it is actually quite creepy to hold the phone to capture people faces. In fact, you can’t even turn off the shutter sound on mobile phones in some countries like Japan, because of an anti-upskirt photos law!
These last two points are characteristics of the legal and ethical issues that face many AI initiatives. However, I believe that with time and practice, we’ll find answers to these challenges. What’s sure for now, is that AI has the potential to greatly enhance our capabilities.
Convincing Sceptical Employees to adopt Salesforce
Bringing Salesforce into your organization can increase productivity, boost sales, and help you close deals faster. But getting every sales reps on board is often a challenge. What can you do to increase early and rapid adoption? How can you incentivize and reward employees who use it? And should you reprimand those who don’t?
What the Experts Say
The vast majority of managers believe that achieving digital transformation is critical to their organizations. However, the pace of technological change in their workplaces is often too slow, primarily due to a lack of urgency and poor communication about the strategic benefits of new tools. “Sales reps need to understand why Salesforce is an improvement from what they had before,” says Pierre Hausheer, Managing Director and Salesforce Practice Leader at Arctan Analytics. “Our job as consultant is to help people cross the bridge — to get them comfortable with the technology, to get them using it, and to help them understand how it makes their lives better.”
Design the system wisely
When you see a Salesforce.com system which has been over-engineered and unusable, it typically stems from a shortcut in the planning and design phase. A lack of clear thinking and articulation of how your team moves through the sales, marketing or service process exacerbates the issue. Functionality is critical, but so is user-friendliness. If your goal is a high adoption rate within the organization, make sure that you’re designing the most approachable, most intuitive solution possible. Too many fields or data which is not related correctly can create more wasted energy than useful results. Encourage your team to do trials, get feedback from users, and learn from that before you take the jump.
State your case
Persuading your team to adopt a new technology requires putting forth a compelling vision for what the technology is and what it’s going to do. First, you must demonstrate the new service offers economic and rational benefits for the organization and the individual. Perhaps it will help the company better quantify its sales pipeline; maybe it will enable employees to track customer data more easily. Help employees understand what’s in it for them. Will it enable salespeople to meet their quotas faster — which gives them the opportunity to make more money? Or increase productivity in a way that reduces weekend work? The best argument for a new technology is that it will make your life better.
Because familiarity with and interest in digital technology varies widely among employees, your training efforts should reflect those differences. Some employees might prefer an online training session; others might need a bit more handholding and support in the form of a personal coach. You don’t want to send people who are tech-savvy on a course because that’s a waste of time. Instead, ask your team members what kind of training they’re most comfortable with. During the instruction phase, it’s important that you lead by example. Show that you are investing time in learning the new system. Show your humility and empathize with your team about the challenges you’re all facing.
Get influencers onboard
In the early stages of the launch, focus on getting a network of champions fully invested in Salesforce, so they can coach others on how to use the tools to their benefit. This group of evangelists should replicate the organization and include your star performers. Don’t just pick the geeks – those who are most interested in technology. You want people who are able to work horizontally across the organization and who have good communication and networking skills. It’s most important not that early adopters adopt, but that influencers adopt. Getting those folks on board early is critical.
Make it routine
As soon as reasonably possible, try to institutionalize Salesforce and show employees that you are transitioning from the old way of working to the new one. Make Salesforce part of the routine of the way the place works. For example, you can start asking for weekly updates on sales numbers. Of course, employees could still use provide the information without using Salesforce, but it would be more cumbersome and time-consuming. The goal is to implicitly demonstrate the cost of not using Salesforce.
Highlight quick wins
Once employees begin to use Salesforce more and more, draw attention to the positive impact it’s having on your organization. Publicizing quick wins helps build a case for change and encourages further adoption. Emphasize individual gains, too. Say, ‘Ted uses Salesforce and he’s been able to retire his quota in 10 months rather than a year’. Depending on the size and scale of the rollout, you might consider enlisting help in getting the word out about the early successes. Leverage your company’s marketing department to communicate and disseminate that message.
Make it fun
Rewarding the behaviour you want to see is much more effective than penalizing the behaviour you don’t want to see. You’ll need to know which employees are adopting Salesforce and which kind of rewards means the most to them. Is it compensation, perks, recognition, or the ability to innovate faster? Experiment with gamification to make it fun and create a bit of buzz around the technology and motivate and engage people. Employees might accumulate points, gain financial incentives, or achieve new levels of status.
If you’re still having a hard time getting your team on board, consider instituting penalties for non-use. It depends on how damaging it is to the organization to have resistors. At a certain point, lack of adoption becomes an issue of productivity and the bottom line. Let’s say, for instance, members of your sales team are especially resistant. Tell them that only data entered into Salesforce will count toward their quota. Although penalties like these can be effective, they should be used as a last resort. They’re a blunt instrument and they reinforce the notion that the new technology is a hassle.
Principles to Remember
Win hearts and minds by emphasizing how Salesforce benefits the organization and makes employees’ lives easier
Encourage adoption by rewarding employees in ways that are most meaningful to them
Build Salesforce into the routines and rhythms of the workday as soon as possible
Skip the design phase or let your let your Salesforce implementation being over-engineered; for a swift adoption, design a system that’s user friendly and that answers principal needs
Overlook the importance of getting your most influential employees on board early in the process; they will help you bring around others
Leap to punish employees who don’t use the technology; penalties should be a last resort if incentives and rewards aren’t working
We are happy to announce that we have enhanced our Salesforce Lightning component “Show Me The Picture”!
“Show Me The Picture” is a Lightning component (Lightning is the collection of tools and technologies behind a significant upgrade of Salesforce platform) that permits to add a picture to any record with a simple drag and drop from a computer or a trusted website.
In this update, now record pictures are save as files instead of attachments. Backward compatibility is provided for previous picture uploaded as attachment. One of the advantage of using files is that you can manually change the description and add or remove ‘record picture’ from the file’s description. The last modified picture in file (or in attachment) with such a description will be the record picture display in the component.
You can now download (for FREE*) the latest version of the component on the AppExchange at the following url:
Stay tuned for additional development around picture and machine learning!
*NB: At a time where we are all loaded with cheap and useless marketing goodies, we decided to invest in this simple yet useful component for our current and prospective customers. Just pay us a visit to our website and follow-us on LinkedIn.
Building customer-facing apps with Heroku from Salesforce
Few years back, Salesforce bought Heroku, the leading cloud Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), to expend its App Cloud offering and empower businesses to build customer-facing apps. Indeed, apps are the new channel to reach customers and, in today competitive environment, the road to success in selling is paved with customer interactions.
In the following example, we have built a showcase based on Heroku to demonstrate the capability of using such an app in a retail context. The salesperson, Samantha, who is employed by the distributor, is interacting daily with consumers but doesn’t have access to the cash register. This is a typical use case in department stores or in airport duty-free stores. Samantha will use the app to capture customers contact details and their purchases. Simplicity and speed are key as Samantha has to spend as much time as possible interacting with customers.
As a first step, Samantha will log into the app with a Salesforce credential (which can be a simple Chatter Free License). As with other apps, this step won’t be required for subsequent use.
Then, Samantha will enter key contact details (name, email, phone) and save this data into Salesforce via Heroku Connect. In this demo, we have to wait for the synchronization but the synchronization could happen in the background which could save previous seconds.
Next step is to capture the customer purchases. Indeed, in our example, the distribution company Samantha is working for doesn’t have access to the store cash register system. For this step, we have integrated a bare code scanner to capture the product information. As with the contact detail, the synchronisation can process in the background.
Eventually, all the information is on the Salesforce platform: point of sales, customer details, products purchased (name, quantity, date). This will open the door to targeted marketing and drive better sales and better customers experience. Thanks Heroku!
Arctan Analytics is now a ‘Registered’ Salesforce Partner
Arctan Analytics Pte Ltd is now a ‘Registered’ Salesforce Partner. Which means that we can help businesses work with the world’s leading social, mobile, and cloud technologies to unlock new opportunities and drive successful business outcomes.
No fuss, no muss, just smart
Our Salesforce practice focus on the following:
support sales people in selling better by utilizing Salesforce out of the box features whenever possible, and taking the simple route to business success without over-engineering Salesforce.
implement Salesforce advanced solutions such as the Heroku platform, Wave Analytics and IoT Cloud.
provide advanced analytics solutions and services in AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Graph visualization.
Customer 360-Degree view
We are staffed with seasoned professionals with industry experience, IoT expertise and Salesforce certifications. As a consequence, we know how to help companies harness the immense informational value that sales data and connect devices provides and build 360-Degree views of their customers.
Explore Salesforce CRM connected data with Linkurious
In this blog post, we explain how we integrated Linkurious with Salesforce’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions to leverage the power of graph analysis.
Linkurious is an award winning graph visualization startup based out of Paris. Their flagship product, Linkurious Enterprise, helps government agencies and Fortune 500 companies identify and investigate insights hidden in complex connected data. It is used in anti-money laundering, cyber-security, metadata management or medical research. Recently, Linkurious helped the ICIJ network of 370 journalists investigate the Panama Papers. Compatible with graph databases (AllegroGraph, DataStax, Neo4j, Titan). Linkurious Enterprise is an on-premise web application with advanced security features and an extensible API.
What’s Salesforce CRM
Salesforce CRM is the leading CRM cloud-based software. It is designed to help companies manage relationships with prospects and customers, collaborate and engage with employees and partners, and store data securely in the cloud. It takes all of the important data (contacts, emails, follow-up tasks, prospective deals …) and organizes it into a simple user interface that can be accessed anytime, anywhere, whether on desktop or mobile.
Salesforce is a customer centric platform. As such, all data is directly or indirectly connected to customers. In general, there are many other ad hoc relationships. In particular, each piece of data in the platform has a designated owner. As a consequence, it’s a natural candidate for graph analysis and visualization.
Integrating Salesforce with Neo4j and Linkurious
To create the bridge between Salesforce and Linkurious, we started with Heroku, which is a platform as a service (PaaS) that enables developers to deploy web applications and that was acquired by Salesforce in 2010. We used the following add-ons:
Relying on Heroku platform and its third-party add-ons allowed us to quickly have a scalable, cost efficient and easy-to-deploy solution. We added to the platform a custom application in Java to import data from the Postgres database and create nodes and relationships in the Neo4j graph database.
Linkurious works out of the box with Neo4j and provided an easy way to analyse the hidden connections in our Salesforce data. We customized Linkurious nodes design to give the feel and look of Salesforce’s interface. With this integration, it is easy to use graph visualization with Salesforce and find new insights.
Leverage the connections of your data with Linkurious
Salesforce intuitive interface makes it easy to navigate and interact with connected data, one piece at the time. The Salesforce / Linkurious integration allows to go even further and provide visualization of entire sub-sets of connections. Answering day-to-day questions becomes much easier. What data a salesperson is interacting with? Who within the organization is interacting with this customer? Finding unexpected connections between people, organizations or locations can be the difference between selling or not selling, achieving high customer satisfaction or not.
In the scenario below, we are interested in the existing relationships around a particular Salesforce user named Laura Garza.
Laura owned many Salesforce records (account, contacts, leads, campaign …). Among these records, we note that she owns a contract and a case (customer support incident) with a medium priority (one of the node property).
They both relate to the company Walsh54 Inc. With a simple double click on the company node, we open all of this node’s relationships.
We see two contacts, Robert and James, who work for Walsh54 Inc and we open their relationships as well. Now we have a clear picture of what is going on with this particular customer and who are the Salesforce users that needs to collaborate on the case to deliver well rounded customer experience.
Find connections to generate more opportunities
In many large organization, the holy grail of revenue generation is trying to capitalize on existing relationships and drive cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. Finding the shortest path between salespersons and particular customers can help enable these opportunities and make cold calls something of the past.
In the above example. we are looking at the shortest path between a Salesforce user name Bruce Kennedy and a company named Bailey19 Inc.
The result of the query suggests that three users, Catherine Brown, Laura Garza and Laura Palmer, interact with this company. Bruce has some level of indirect interaction with them. Not only Bruce now knows who among his colleagues can help introduce him to the targeted company but he has a better knowledge of its own interactions with the aforementioned colleagues, leading the way for improved operational efficiency.
Sale smarter with Linkurious / Salesforce integration
CRMs are great tools for companies to develop strong and lasting relationships with their customers. They enable their sales teams to access information-rich customer profiles, to keep track of deal opportunities, to manage leads and partners, to collaborate on sales cases… However, despites dealing with massive volume of highly connected data through their CRM, companies still cannot leverage these connections.
With the Linkurious / Salesforce integration, now they can. Graph analysis gives them a higher understanding of sales context which allows them to take smarter decisions. Link analysis methods, such as pathfinding methods, expose new connections within a sales ecosystem in a glimpse. Understanding the connections within sales data is definitively one step toward better personalization of customer relationships and, in such a connected world, it might even be the ultimate key to close sales.