Salesforce.com has tied its Sales Cloud CRM (customer relationship management) application into its Work.com employee performance management software, in a combination the company says can make average salespeople better and good ones great.
Work.com is the result of Salesforce.com's acquisition of Rypple in late 2011. It employs a Facebook-like milieu that enables managers and team members to comment on, praise and recognize the work of employees on an ongoing basis, rather than roll everything up into an annual performance review.
There's an erroneous perception that salespeople are "simply managed, coin-operated kinds of people," said Daniel Debow, senior vice president of Work.com. "But data is coming out that the best sales managers are great managers. They give recognition [to salespeople], they know how to motivate them."
While nothing stops managers from noting high performance by an employee as it occurs, that kind of recognition can get lost in email messages. Work.com provides a much more public way to give praise, said Linda Crawford, executive vice president of Sales Cloud. "Even top performers get very, very motivated by other people saying things about them," she said. "This plays to their ego."
Crawford and Debow demonstrated the Work.com-Sales Cloud integration, showing how acknowledgements, which can come in the form of special awards or "badges," such as "competitive ninja," are collected over time by Work.com, allowing a manager to go in later and easily pull together some highlights for a traditional annual review.
Employee "social profiles" generated by Work.com are also showcased in Chatter, Salesforce.com's social collaboration software.
The Work.com integration is ideal for salespeople since they can participate in peer reviews while working within the familiar Sales Cloud interface, according to Salesforce.com. It's currently in a pilot phase and is planned for general availability in the first half of next year.
In a broader sense, Salesforce.com's announcement speaks to its ambition to spread beyond CRM into human resources software. Performance management applications such as Work.com have the potential to be licensed for every worker in a company, and also aren't subject to heavy regulations like other areas of HR software, making them an easier sell.
Work.com pricing starts at US$10 per user per month.
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com