- 3-Tier Sales
- Trade Marketing
- Advanced Analytics
Lots of companies do surveys. Surveying is important, especially at the beginning of key selling periods to drive execution, but most companies do it all wrong and waste the effort they put into the survey.
You have a push to get displays, so you do a survey to check display activity in accounts. You want presence in a well, on a backbar, or a cocktail menu so you survey for that as well. However, most companies don’t maximize their survey efforts. They survey, and forget about it until all the surveys results have been rolled up into a massive spreadsheet (some weeks later) and the volume results for the month are reported to answer the question “how well did we execute this season?” Which is great for analysis… after the fact.
The better reason to survey is to drive the actual execution during the season to get the most out of the selling opportunity. At GreatVines, we believe the survey is an execution tool, not just a measurement tool. Our application enables your company to use Surveys to improve your execution at point of sale.
Key steps to using a survey to drive execution
If you utilize GreatVines to follow this Survey methodology, you are sure to gain incremental sales from increased execution at point of sale.
Thanks to new mobile-friendly technologies from Adobe (PhoneGap) and salesforce.com (Mobile SDK) companies like GreatVines are able to provide groundbreaking new applications which leverage the latest tablets and cellular networks to provide seamless business value in the trade. This blog, written by our CTO Jim Thompson and published by salesforce.com, explores the key concepts behind mobile web surveys for retail and the impact it can have on CPG as a whole.
Many companies in our industry are doing things the old fashioned way. Their common practice is to review monthly reports of sales summarized by geography and or product, then react by applying pressure to “do better” down the chain of command. At best, they get the same old results. At worst, they get run over by the more progressive and nimble competitors. We see the same thing happening with both small and large companies who use this old fashioned approach.
The GreatVines development methodology follows from a few high-level axioms,
draws from multiple software development and project management methodologies,
and makes use of modern tools for collaboration.
The first two items, changing requirements and priorities, are related, and mean that we don’t expect to be able to predict the future more than a few months out. We generally have a good sense of which new features customers want to make use of next month, but not those that will be most useful next year. Additionally, as we deliver new features to customers, requirements for enhancements to these features become apparent as we get feedback from them.
Item 3, delivering quality software, stands on its own. These first three items reflect what we think are the most important principles from the Agile Manifesto.
Item 4, that the delivery of updates is cheap, follows from the fact that we are a software-as-a-service company. The days of shrink-wrapped software are gone, and updates to both our web-based and mobile applications are delivered without end-user intervention. Because delivering updates is cheap and requirements change, we are able to deliver multiple iterations of new features, and adjust requirements as we discover exactly how customers are using our software and how they would like to use it.
Therefore, we aim to deliver useful, working software frequently under theassumptions that requirements and priorities change regularly, and that delivering updates to our software does not impose a large cost on either GreatVines or our customers.
We generally organize releases into three- to four-week cycles, similar to Scrum sprints, but try to keep the next two to three releases planned as well so we’re looking two to three months down the road. Like scrum and kanban, we start from a backlog of features that we would like to implement. We bring together team members from development, support, implementation, and sales when prioritizing the tasks for future releases.
Each release typically has a combination of small tasks, which may already describe a combination of technical requirements and planned implementation details, and larger tasks, the requirements for which need to be further elaborated.
In preparing the bigger tasks for an upcoming release, we work to ensure the requirements are clearly defined so development can proceed. Features that require a new user interface or significant changes to an existing interface are mocked up. There are often a few iterations of mockups, as questions are raised and addressed, and the requirements and mockups updated.
Depending on the feature, we occasionally share the mockups with existing or potential customers, and solicit their input before starting development, but we generally prefer to implement a working interface, then adapt it as we get feedback from real use.
As the requirements are fleshed out, we break them down into development tasks, referencing the mockups and relevant requirements. Each task is estimated by the developer that will be responsible for writing the code.
The tasks within a release are prioritized so if there is any slippage, the highest priority tasks get completed first. The assignment of prioritized tasks to developers ensures that each developer knows which task they should be working on at any time, and helps collaboration by letting all members of the team know who is working on what and how the priorities are defined. As in kanban, it also limits the amount of work-in-progress.
We have found that testable code is better code. If it’s hard to test, it’s probably poorly designed, and needs to be decomposed.
During peer review, both the tests and implementation code are reviewed. We look for areas in which the design of the software can be improved as well as ensuring that the code follows our internal coding conventions to ease future maintenance.
With our mobile app, we have started writing automated functional tests as well as unit tests. The goal is to have the tests fully specify the functionality of the application.
There are a couple important tools we use to support our development process. We use LiquidPlanner as our project management tool. Each release is organized as a package. We have our web-based application and mobile applications organized as separate projects,
broken down into broad features using folders within the projects. We pull tasks from both projects into a release package.
The use of ranged estimates in LiquidPlanner allow us to organize releases with a fair amount of confidence in being able to hit delivery dates. Estimating software development tasks is a continuing challenge, but we find the confidence interval-based approach superior to point estimates often used in project management tools and story-point estimates used in scrum. In the backlog, we often put wide estimates on broadly defined tasks, when it’s not yet clear the value of the information provided by more granular requirements and estimates. When organizing a release, we break down big tasks into smaller ones, generally around one- to six-hours. Smaller tasks are easier to estimate more accurately, and estimates improve with practice.
LiquidPlanner also serves as a collaboration tool, minimizing project management overhead. As discussed above, the priority of tasks is unambiguous. We keep estimates of remaining work on tasks up to date, and LiquidPlanner automatically updates the schedule. Discussion about task details happens within LiquidPlanner so if there’s a change to or clarification of requirements, there’s one place to look. (When real-time discussion is required, we generally use Google Hangouts, then record the result of the conversation in LiquidPlanner.) Using LiquidPlanner mostly eliminates the need for “what’s the status?” discussions.
We also track the status of code reviews and whether the code for each task has been merged within LiquidPlanner.
We use git and GitHub for version control. Our use of github follows how most open source projects are organized. We have a greatvines organization, which contains the primary repo, from which we package our software. Each developer has a fork of the repo. Developers create feature branches for individual LiquidPlanner tasks, and open a pull request against the greatvines repo when the code is ready to be reviewed. The pull request is noted in LiquidPlanner and the task is moved to a ready-to-review package, which puts the task on hold (not scheduled for further development).
Peer review is done within GitHub, using inline comments on the open pull request. If the task needs further work, the task is moved out of the ready-to-review folder in LiquidPlanner so it’s scheduled for additional work. When the pull request is merged, the task is marked done.
There are a couple areas in which we are planning improvements to our development process around testing. We are using jasmine and jasmine-jquery to do some functional testing of our mobile app, but it’s not exhaustive, and we don’t
have anything similar in place for our Visualforce interfaces. Therefore, we augment our automated testing with manual testing. We would like to add more robust automated functional/acceptance testing, perhaps using a browser automation tool like selenium or casperjs.
As we further automate testing, we also plan on introducing continuous integration. Travis CI looks promising here, with tight integration with GitHub, and extensive use among open source projects already.
There are a couple areas in which we might experiment with changes in process in the future. One is in choosing which features should go into each release. We currently use a consensus building approach in which we informally consider
the value of possible enhancements to our customers. I’d like to investigate whether there might be gains to be had from the use of more formal Decision Analysis practices.
We might also experiment with scrum-style user stories for documenting requirements. For the most part, our lack of a formal requirements documentation structure has not been a problem, and we are able to turn requirements into technical designs easily. But in cases where requirements are very broadly defined, the “As a user, I want” structure may prove valuable. Using a standard structure may also ease on-boarding of new employees and coordination with any contract or outsource developers with which
“Social networking-type applications will become as ubiquitous in the workplace as Microsoft Office tools and will likely replace e-mail as the dominant form of corporate communications.” — Bill Gates
Chatter is changing the way employees collaborate with one another. New, young sales reps grew up on the internet. This is how they communicate. This is how the world communicates. Now available for your business. Contact GreatVines to learn how Chatter from Salesforce.com is an integral part of the GreatVines user experience, from real-time team collaboration, to triggered alerts and shared content. Let your data talk to you!
Whether you know it or not (or even like it) websites like Facebook and Twitter are shaping the way we think about data and communication. No longer do you need to search through piles of disparate, disconnected information sources – today the data you need comes to you! We all have strong feelings about how Facebook connects us or who it connects us to, or how Twitter overwhelms us; but you can not dispute the power of information within a business. At one level or another, you are probably on this website because of a need for a CRM solution – relationship management, and relationships are founded on communication.
The great news for all GreatVines customers is that Chatter is embedded fully within our application and available today - and you can now enable Chatter access for all employees in your organization for free, including mobile support! Please check out this powerful video (also displayed below) and contact us to discuss your collaboration needs.
We are officially announcing the formation of GreatVines Academy, a service we are providing to the GreatVines user community. Over the coming months and years, we will be delivering several added value resources to help you get the most out of your GreatVines solution. We will highlight important information on new features and functionality, including how to implement them. As well as an ongoing series of scheduled webinars focused on specific use cases within GreatVines starting with:
“Why is CRM the Key to Success and How do I Implement it?”
For more information please email .
Whether its basic CRM, National Accounts, Surveys, Sales Goals, Reporting and Dashboards, or discovering our new mobile app—pick the modules you are interested in and join us for an educational and inspiring webinar demonstration of how to leverage the power of GreatVines.
It is our goal to empower each of you to utilize the full power of the GreatVines tool to deliver exceptional success to your business.
I loved Richard Branson’s recent article, “Why aren’t more business leaders online?” While he is mostly referring to executives aversion to social media (only 16% of executives are using social media), he also indicates the lack of ambition by these executives to utilize technology in general. There is a “surprising lethargy about using the online tools already available”. In his opinion, and mine, this is a big mistake. If your answer to the question “How am I using the latest technology to improve my business?” is, “I check my email on my iPhone”, then you are missing the boat. State of the art cloud computing systems and mobile business applications can make your business much more efficient, collaborative and productive. And, the tools are here NOW. As Branson says, “Anyone who thinks new technology isn’t going to keep changing the world has got their head in the sand”. Don’t be late to the game.
The Success Manager role is a client-facing resource for GreatVines Customers, delivering support account management. The role encompasses ongoing support/guidance, business strategy and transformation advice, and account oversight. As a customer advocate, the Success Manager is the client’s Primary Point of Contact responsible for orchestrating all support activity within GreatVines to deliver a superior client experience. This role focuses on ongoing relationship-building and proactive account management activities, promoting overall customer satisfaction, product adoption and renewals.
High Level Duties:
2+ years recent Salesforce.com admin experience mandatory, certification desirable.
You are: a quick and motivated study in all things technology.
We’re an agile company using leading edge cloud tools for process management alongside enterprise software integration with our global clients – for you mastering new technology isn’t a burden, it’s just another day at the office.
You possess: strong communication, organization, business analysis, and project management skills.
Your ability to effectively communicate with clients/peers and avoid misunderstandings as regard requirements, deadlines, testing and delivery is uncanny! This includes communicating changes in timeline, training non tech users on new software, and translating complex business concepts to our dev team.
Your other skills might include:
We are an established startup tech company providing beverage selling solutions for wine, spirits and craft beer. As a salesforce.com technology partner our cloud-based solution set utilizes the force.com platform, GoodData.com for business analytics and Amazon Web Services for infrastructure and data management.
Our customers include a range of marquee alcoholic beverage brands from niche producers to global behemoths. We enthusiastically deliver custom configured solutions to meet their sales automation needs.
Please respond via email only to with some information about yourself, your background and why you feel you are a good fit for the position.
Include your resume and any desired cover letter or references saved as a single document with the following filename structure:
Role works from home, must have suitable work environment and internet connection. Must live in CA, OR, WA, no exceptions.
Do not call, no recruitment professionals please.
Welcome to the first in a new series of website posts dedicated to cutting-edge new features of GreatVines and Force.com in 2012. Hopefully by now you are already aware of and utilizing our new “Account Call” capability, affectionately referred to as the “Mega Call”. This significant upgrade in 2011 allowed GreatVines users and managers to log visits, tasks, update objectives plus log any relevant brand activation and visibility data gathered during the visit, such as Tastings, Events, Wine and Cocktail Menu Placements, Off-Premise Displays and much more. This new single page reduced unnecessary clicks and page loading by 200 to 300% per visit.
Up next in our first Spring 2012 release is the much anticipated National Account Authorizations module. Building upon the flexibility and configurability of “Mega Call” this new feature lets Key Account users who focus at the National, Regional and Chain level to log product “Authorizations”. In most Suppliers, these take on many forms and names such as “Distribution”, “Mandates” or even simply “Programs”. We use the example internally of selling in a “Drink Feature” at a chain like TGI Fridays. Each customer can drive the data they wish to gather including Authorization or Mandate type, approval status, start and end date, plus very specific data about each “Placement” type such as Backbar, Menu or Limited Time Offer.
This feature is typically enabled only on “Chain HQ” pages within GreatVines, although it can support any valid Account Type including Distributors and Retailers. Support is included for Chain “Objectives” which result in new Authorizations, combining current, expiring and targeted placements into a single report or grid. Once these multiple authorizations are logged across all of the Chain accounts, users can quickly generate a grid, export into Excel or Email a summary of the data to selected Contacts.
This powerful new module of GreatVines will require your team to perform a quick review and update of your applicable Labels and Items, as most customers may want to limit the “Products” available to the Authorization module. And as previously mentioned, your Administrator can rename virtually all the descriptors on the Authorization pages and emails into terms that you choose!
Please work with your System Administrator to review whether this new Module should be activated in your GreatVines Account, and let us know what you think of this great new capability!
We are thrilled to be highlighted by one of our craft beer suppliers today in the Craft Business Daily email newsletter! Thanks to Marty, Andy and Jenn for the love.
At Dreamforce 2011 our CEO John Collins recorded the following testimonial for our partner GoodData. Let us show you how GreatVines Advanced Analytics can transform your business.