The CEO at Cloud for Good and CRM Market, Tal was a top contributor in the Power of Us HUB. He’s a blogger at Computerworld and holds 3 certifications. He is an inaugural MVP and launched the Salesforce for Non Profits Manual.
We’d like to know more about the fun side of the MVPs! And from what we heard, so do a lot of people in the community. Welcome to the Proust for Salesforce experts.
Being an MVP means sharing my knowledge and experience with the community.
Q: How did your love for Salesforce start? Was it a conscious choice or did the whole universe just conspire and make it happen?
I consider myself an “accidental techy.” About 11 years ago, I was the Director of Resource Development and the spokesperson of a nonprofit organization that worked with at-risk youth to reduce school dropout rates, eradicate illegal drug usage, and prevent criminal activities. When I joined, I inherited the organization’s most prized possession: an exhausting Excel spreadsheet with all the donors and foundations contacted since the organization’s inception. This was (by far!) the largest spreadsheet I have ever seen in my life.
I quickly realized that Excel was not the right tool to manage the organization’s (or any organization for that matter) institutional memory, so I started looking for tools to better manage donors, participants, and volunteers. It was through this search that I learned about Salesforce. At the time, the local Salesforce implementation partners didn’t specialize in the unique needs of nonprofits, which left us with two options: find a different application or implement Salesforce on our own. I spent the next year learning everything I could about Salesforce and even attended a Salesforce Administrator class. The more I learned, the more I fell in love with the platform! I started the first nonprofit user group in Israel and within 2 years our number grew from 5 members to 100 members. People kept asking me questions about the platform and were seeking more information, so I decided to start charging for my services.
Q: What is your current role?
I am the Founder/CEO of both Cloud for Good and CRM Market.
Cloud for Good (www.cloud4good.com) is a Salesforce.Org Preferred Partner that works with nonprofit organizations and educational institutions to create and implement Salesforce solutions. 2016 has been an amazing year for us – we were named to the Inc. 5000 list for the third year in a row, we were recognized in Fortune Magazine as one of the top 50 small business to work for, and received the B-Corp Best for the World award. Our tremendous growth has allowed Cloud for Good to continue doing well, while doing good within our respective communities.
CRM Market (www.crmmarket.com) is a trusted community marketplace for people and entities to list projects, discover talent, and implement Salesforce solutions. This service was created to pioneer new and exciting ways for consultants and business to collaborate. Every connection we make moves a business forward, shapes a consultant’s career, and allows everyone to focus on their mission and not technology. Whether your Salesforce project is a 5-hour training or requires custom code, at any price point, we have verified Salesforce experts to assist you.
Q: What does being a Salesforce MVP mean to you?
Being an MVP means sharing my knowledge and experience with the community. It also means remaining in a continuous state of learning what the Salesforce platform and ecosystem can do to help organizations create more value.
Q: Which blogs / channels do you follow to get your Salesforce elixir?
I follow and read more than 100 blogs in various categories. My favorite blogs:
Q: What’s next in line for you after the coveted MVP title?
As one of the members of the inaugural MVPs, I didn’t covet the MVP title. It was a complete surprise to me to not only hear that there is a new MVP program, but to also be part of it. I see this “title” more as a recognition than an achievement. I am very fortunate to be among this amazing group of people who are dedicated to helping the community professionally and personally.
Q: What led you to start working with Nonprofit Organizations?
I have been involved with my community and various nonprofit organizations since I was in the 4th grade, so it was natural for me to start, Cloud for Good, a consulting firm that helps implement Salesforce for nonprofit organizations. We allow them to focus on making a positive change in the world and not focus on technology. I recently listened to a fascinating story on the radio about female circumcision in Africa and how a small nonprofit organization is fighting it and making a real change. When they mentioned the name of the organization, Tostan, I knew that I had something to do with their work. We helped them implement their fundraising and program management solutions. There is nothing more fulfilling than knowing, while indirectly, my team is helping these amazing organizations.
Q: From a one bedroom apartment to a company that has been awarded 2016 Best Small Workplace, how has your journey been?
When I moved to the US from Israel I didn’t think about starting my own consulting firm. I did some freelance work, but I was looking for a full time position. Unfortunately, none of the existing implementations firms wanted to hire me which led me to start Cloud for Good in January 2010. The beginning was not easy, I made $500 (cumulatively!) over the first four months, but I finished the year with more than $160,000 in sales. It took me a while until I realized that I wanted a business and not a job. I hired my first employee in June 2011 and from that point we have seen amazing growth.
Q: Can you tell us more on how CRM Market is the perfect mix of the success stories of Uber and Angie's List?
Maximizing the value of the sharing economy and the growing power of freelancers (and small firms), CRM Market takes the best out of Angie’s List and Uber to help Salesforce customers and users connect with the top Salesforce talent and implement Salesforce solutions. Fully built on the Salesforce App Cloud, we wanted to make sure that no matter what the size of your Salesforce project (from a trigger to a full blown enterprise implementation), we have the right talent for you and they are available on demand. We developed the first Salesforce reputation score and a sophisticated matching algorithm that allows us to match Salesforce experts based on their competencies and previous experiences. Since we publicly launched the platform in early 2016, we have seen a tremendous amount of interest. We already have more than 600 consultants and developers registered (more than 1,000 certifications and thousands of trailhead badges), and a growing number of customer projects. I am excited about the possibilities of this platform and the success that it will bring to the Salesforce ecosystem.
Q: What has been your most memorable Dreamforce experience till date?
Most memorable experience is definitely this year’s Dreampitch. For the first time ever, Dreamforce featured Dreampitch, a startup pitch competition, where I had the opportunity to pitch CRM Market to a panel of judges including investors Mark Cuban, Chris Sacca, and music artist, will.i.am. Pitching in front of 6,000 attendees (and 50,000 live viewers) was an experience that I will never forget! While the judges were not easy on me, it was a very educational experience that I was honored to participate in.
Q: Other than Salesforce, what does your world look like?
We recently moved to Asheville, North Carolina and I love spending time hiking and exploring with my wife and daughter.