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If you’re a VP of Sales, here’s what you should know about Salesforce Chatter:

1. It can improve communication and collaboration across your team and your company.

2. It reduces email overload and streamlines your conversations.

3. It can help you identify opportunities faster and meet customers’ needs more efficiently.

4. It will never reach its full potential without your participation and support.

That’s what you need to know in a nutshell, according to the Salesforce experts we interviewed for this article. You can dive into the details below.

Becky Webster, manager at Acumen Solutions

Salesforce Chatter Expert Becky WebsterBecky points out that Chatter is an enterprise social network (ESN) that enables sales teams to find better answers when they need them.

It makes it easier to share competitive intelligence across large organizations, which helps you eliminate silos and makes the entire company smarter.

Chatter can reduce unnecessary internal emails and free up your sales reps to spend more time selling.

Becky says VPs of Sales would be happy to hear that you can customize your feeds to display only the most relevant information. You can follow updates to individual leads, opportunities and account records in Salesforce. So, you’ll always be up to date when anything changes, such as lead stage, opportunity amount or account status.

Chatter can improve communication and reduce inefficiencies. For example, if one of your sales managers posts a question, you can respond once and everyone will see it, which will likely reduce the number of times you have to answer that specific question. Or even better, somebody else might answer the question first, so that you don’t have to take the time to do it.

You can also create a private group for discussions with your sales managers.

Remember to provide training and feedback to drive adoption and usage among your team. To get maximum benefit from this tool, you must take an active role in making sure it is used effectively.

Mike Gerholdt, director of client engagement at Red Argyle

Salesforce Chatter Expert Mike GerholdtMike’s first observation is that Chatter is not “Facebook for the enterprise.” It is the new way for companies to collaborate. Chatter is disrupting the email-based enterprise, he says.

It makes it easier for you to track your conversations by bundling all of the related comments into a single thread.

Chatter creates “contextual conversations.” Your sales team can collaborate around the data — on a particular record — instead of collaborating outside of the data.

Mike says you can turn your data into intelligence because you have context on the conversations about that data.

Salesforce Chatter is a tool, so treat it like one. Tools have rules. Tools require training. Putting a hammer in someone’s hand doesn’t make him a carpenter, but with training he can be.

Don’t turn on Chatter and expect magic to happen.

Instead, implement a Chatter policy — much like a social media policy. Teach people how to contextually collaborate on a record. Show them how to avoid “Chatter splatter,” which happens when team members just post something and hope someone replies.

Remember that groups are like meetings: they need moderators to drive the conversation and keep things on track.

Don’t look at Chatter as a scary thing to implement. View it as the new way successful companies are leveraging social tools to drive collaboration.

Here’s what Salesforce thinks you should know about Chatter

You can find a ton of free resources on salesforce.com to help you get the most of Salesforce Chatter. The video below describes how Honeywell uses the platform.

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