Trackland appeals to many small business owners because they:
- Get a spreadsheet user interface that feels familiar (google sheets and excel fanboys!), and
- Only need a single Enterprise Salesforce license to support an entire team of Trackland users.
Trackland was intended to be a new and independent CRM experience. Yes, it is a CRM built on the Salesforce.com platform, and yes, you get a lot of the “amazing!” that goes along with Salesforce by only purchasing a single Salesforce.com license. But Trackland was not intended to be an “on the cheap” way of getting all that Salesforce offers. It is a completely different CRM paradigm that makes use of a very specific feature set of Salesforce.com.
Let’s Understand What Salesforce Offers
I recently wrote a post on the difference between Hubspot and Salesforce that you can read here. It does a good job of explaining how misleading it is to say that Salesforce is a CRM. More accurately, Salesforce is a platform where CRM strategists can build all sorts of different solutions. The platform comes preconfigured with a host of CRM tools and workflows. Salesforce.com can be divided into the following two applications:
Server Application (Force.com platform)
- Objects Types & Fields. You can make any object or field you design. This enables you to create a custom data structure to meet your needs perfectly.
- Automations. Salesforce has a best in class tool set for building automations without writing any code. These automations can be triggered in a host of ways.
- Integrations. Salesforce has a massive number of integrations with other systems to help you tie your data together across disparate systems.
- Customizable AI. As your data grows you need help sorting and sifting it to find useful stuff. Salesforce’s Einstein is first rate AI you can customize to help extract personalized data and trends.
- Exhaustive API. Salesforce exposes virtually everything. Build what you want.
- Apex Code. This one blew my mind at first! If the automation tools are somehow insufficient, or you don’t want to use the incredibly exhaustive api, just write some custom code in a language they provide and deploy it directly into your server application. You can even write your own APIs if you don’t like the available options Salesforce provides.
Note. 5 and 6 are what make Trackland possible.
Browser Application (Lightning UI or Classic UI)
- Lists. This is standard in most applications. You have lists of records that are sortable and filterable.
- Record Pages. When you find a record in a list, you can click on it to go to its record or details page in order to work specifically on that record.
- Workflows. Salesforce provides a robust set of stock CRM specific workflows such as Lead and Opportunity pipelines.
- Custom Workflows. If you need your people to enter data in specific ways, or perform specific actions, you can create custom workflows.
- Reports. Reports are ways in which data is filtered, grouped and then calculated for meaning. Charts and graphs are helpful to visualize report data.
- Integrations. One of the best parts of Salesforce is its app exchange. A browser based integration might offer you all of the functionality of a completely different company’s software inside the Salesforce app.
What Does Trackland Inherit From Salesforce
Trackland like Salesforce is comprised of a server application (the Trackland Hub) and a browser application (Trackland Sheets). Data gets to the Trackland Hub from 1) users entering data into Trackland Sheets or 2) when data is entered into Salesforce via any channel. Salesforce keeps your Trackland Hub up to date with data not entered via Trackland Sheets. Despite the Trackland Hub having all of the same data in your Salesforce application, the Hub’s data is stored without any context or structure. It is essentially meaningless data. Salesforce provides an API that reveals the context or meaning for the data stored in the Trackland Hub. This context is pulled from Salesforce in real time and used to display your data in Trackland Sheets. We pull the context in real time just in case you’ve made changes to your data structure in the last few minutes.
With a total and complete reliance on Salesforce to convey real time context about the data in the Hub, Trackland inherits all of points 1 – 6 from the Force.com platform (server application). Trackland does not, however, inherit any of the features in the Salesforce.com browser applications (ie… Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud).
Trackland – Same Data, Different User Paradigm
So Trackland inherits virtually everything from the Force.com platform (the server application) and nothing from the browser applications. Why? The intent for Trackland was not to create cheaper access to as many watered down features of Salesforce that we could provide. When we started building Trackland we were amazed by the power and flexibility of the Force.com platform. With its generous API rate limiting, open APIs and custom Apex coding we realized the Force.com platform could provide an engine to run a CRM with a completely different data usage paradigm. Salesforce’s browser applications follow an industry trend of utilizing lists, record pages, wizards and reports (referred to as LRWR-UI).
Giving data to users through a LRWR-UI works great for large companies where people have very specialized jobs and only a few workflows they are responsible for. For users who need to see, edit and interface with larger amounts of the data the LRWR-UI can feel restrictive. These people know the data structure and want a fast, expansive way to access and manipulate data. This is why so many executives hate LRWR-UI style software, and always go back to spreadsheets.
In a spreadsheet, record pages and the reports are the list. Add the right filters and sorts on a spreadsheet with a few column calculations and you can see everything. The difference is, you can work on it at the same time; its live data! As we developed the spreadsheet concept we also found we were able to represent object relationships more intuitively than LRWR-UI. Rather than lists of related records at the bottom of a record page, we could provide slave spreadsheets automatically filtered by a selected row in a master spreadsheet. You may want to schedule a demo to see exactly how it works. It’s really cool!
Trackland is not a watered down version of Salesforce. We have not figured out a way to duck tape in features from app exchange apps. Trackland is the robust data structures of the Force.com platform in a spreadsheet user interface that provides organizational superstars the fast, expansive data access they crave.