11 Features to Bring Salesforce Chatter to Life

by Michelle McGinnis on Monday, March 28, 2011 in Sales & Marketing Alignment

Salesforce.com’s slick demos show how users can seamlessly collaborate through it’s micro-blogging system Chatter. At its core, Chatter is about creating news feeds from people and recording updates. These news feeds let users stay informed, collaborate, and act on real time information. Behind this seemingly simple tool, there are an exploding number of features. Here are 11 tools to help you make these slick demos a part of your life.

1. Auto follow people and records
Chatter adoption depends on users following people and records. Don’t let users kill adoption if they think following someone is creepy. Chatter swarm is a Force.com Labs application that can be configured to have users auto follow each other, or records of interest – like your big deals.

2. Install Chatter enhancements
Much like Chatter’s older cousin Twitter, there is a growing list of applications designed to enhance the use of Chatter. Be sure to check out the free Chatter Labs applications to see if they apply to your organization.

3. Save a one-off note in a record’s Chatter feed
I constantly get asked where personal or descriptive notes about accounts and contacts should be stored. I now recommend adding these notes to the record's chatter feed. This will save the information on the record, and ensures anyone who follows the record gets notified. Tip, if you take handwritten notes during sales calls: scan and add these notes to the opportunity chatter feed, and you’ll be able to access the notes on your computer or iPad.

4. Install a Chatter adoption dashboard
This will let you reward power users, and identify who might not be engaging. You can install 25 reports and 20 dashboard components through this Force.com Labs package.

5. Share critical dashboard components through Chatter
Many of your organizations key metrics are likely presented through dashboard components. Now you can share the components that you’re proud of, directly to your Chatter feed.

6. Publish a lead score update to the record’s chatter feed
Align your sales and marketing teams by publishing lead score updates to the records chatter feed. This will ensure the record owner is made aware of the update through their Chatter feed.

7. Reply to a comment via email
Taking inspiration from Facebook, you can now reply to a notification of a comment by simply replying to the email notification. This should allow those users who live in outlook to stay connected.

8. Execute a trigger off a chatter feed
I wouldn’t be doing my love of the Force.com platform justice if I didn’t mention Chatter’s ability to execute a trigger. Based on the text of a chatter post, you can now update fields, execute jobs, etc.

9. Use @ replies, hashtags and Like
Drawing inspiration from Facebook and Twitter, Chatter now supports ‘mentioning’ a user to loop them into the conversation. ‘Tagging’ a post adds it to a special news feed, and ‘liking’ a post indicates that you support the person or idea.

10. Create Chatter groups out of your group email addresses
Through Chatter groups, users will be able to post questions, ideas, and get advice. The groups daily digest email will hopefully cut down on the number of ‘reply-all’ message that clutter up the inbox.

11. Distribute Chatter anywhere
Chatter is now available through the web, on your desktop, and through an iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry and Android app. Users can be connected through chatter anywhere, and on any device. More recently Chatter has been integrated into to the popular social media platform HootSuite and Seesmic.


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