I recently interviewed Tal Frankfurt, the Founder and CEO of Cloud for Good (@cloud4good), which works with nonprofit and educational institutions to create and implement strategic solutions based on cloud technology. He is a prominent member of the salesforce.com community and has apps and services on the AppExchange. Tal shared some great insights about his experience as a salesforce.com partner that we thought were great tips to share with the rest of the community. Check out the interview below.
What was your first exposure to salesforce.com?
Eight years ago, prior to founding Cloud for Good, I was the director of resource development for a nonprofit organization that worked with at-risk immigrant youth. I was looking for tools to better manage my donors, participants, and volunteers. It was through this experience that I learned about Salesforce. The adoption of Salesforce into my everyday work was what sparked the inception of Cloud for Good, a salesforce.com implementation partner working primarily with nonprofit and educational institutions to create and implement strategic cloud solutions.
What was the first app you ever wrote for production use in a Salesforce org? Is it still in use?
The first app I wrote was Donation Split and it is still on the AppExchange today, in use by more than 500 organizations. With this (free) application, nonprofit organizations can easily record how funds should be allocated between multiple designations and budgetary years.
How many apps have you written on the Salesforce Platform, including those packaged for the AppExchange and private apps only used by a single customer?
I currently have 3 apps on the AppExchange and we are releasing 3 additional apps in the near future. I probably wrote close to 100 customer specific applications.
Do you offer both free and paid apps? How does offering a free app benefit you?
The My Donation Split and Nonprofit 101 applications are both offered for free and it has been a great tool to generate leads and build a strong brand in the salesforce.com nonprofit community.
How often do you revise your app?
It depends on the app, but I try to release an update at least every few months.
Why did you decide to publish on the AppExchange?
There are two main reasons we decided to publish our applications on the AppExchange. First, all the AppExchange applications undergo a security review before they are published. The security review is similar to a Kosher stamp on our application. It means that it was tested and it complies with all the rules, regulations, and trust standards that salesforce.com created.
Second, the AppExchange is a great marketing tool. It gives us exposure to thousands of potential customers.
How long did it take you to find your first paying customer for your first App?
Once the list became public it took less than a week to find our first paying customer.
How large is your company today?
Overall we are 15 consultants and developers at Cloud for Good and we project to double in size in the next 12 months.
Do you have any certifications, or have you won any awards?
I am a certified Salesforce consultant. Additionally I was chosen in 2010 to be one of the first Salesforce.com MVP Program members, an exclusive club representing the top 1% of the Salesforce community, and have maintained that status to date.
Have you been to Dreamforce?
I attended my 6th Dreamforce last year and I cannot wait for next year! It is like Disney World for Salesforce groupies.
Do you have a local user group you call home?
I am also a serial Salesforce User Group leader. I founded the Nonprofit User Group in Israel and when I moved to the United States I founded the Memphis user group.
What other services does Cloud for Good provide outside of app publishing – app related consulting? General Salesforce consulting?
Most of our business is still professional services. Our nonprofit consulting services apply to the full life cycle of the implementation – from discovery and data migration to integration and ongoing support.
What app are you most excited about today? Why should the average Salesforce customer care?
We are about to release 3 new applications on the AppExchange: Cloud for Habitat, Cloud for Organizers, and Cloud for Synagogues. Each application focuses on a very small vertical in the nonprofit sector and provides a comprehensive solution for their constituent relationship management. All our applications allow our clients to spend less time focusing on managing technology and instead focus on bringing a positive change to their community. It is very rewarding. Our Cloud for Organizers for example provides a complete solution for field organizers including a phone banking tool, canvassing, and a scanner integration.