Torchlite and Salesforce Essentials Partnered in 2020 To Support Small Businesses

Dec 30, 2020 Elizabeth Basile

Supporting SMBs takes flexibility. One size does not fit all in CRM integration. Salesforce Essentials Advisors anticipate vital need and listen to what their customers want. They make entry into the ecosystem a breeze and they do it every day.   Mendy has been great so far! We've imported accounts, and now contacts. I'll be sending her more opportunities shortly. :)  Amy Ma, Manager Business Development, VetCare Canada   SMALL BUSINESS CHALLENGES Adriene’s customer came to Torchlite because she wanted training on how to use Salesforce Essentials. They'd purchased the org and their Operations Lead knew it would help them. She did her research (along with a couple Trailhead modules) on the platform and she wanted to get it right the first time.   They wanted a complete view of the communication occurring with their partners and sponsors. She just didn't yet know how to use and fully take advantage of the awesome product they'd purchased. The team was using so many different platforms for the business and they really just needed all of their information in one place.   Adriane Foster, Essentials Advisor   TORCHLITE SOLUTIONS Heather McCusker, Operations Manager for Bella Vita Designs and Practice Mastery, based in Ontario, Canada, opted for 1:1 consulting to design efficient customizations with an immediate impact on business operations.   Heather was great. I worked with them on Lead Process, Sales Process, Custom Fields, Custom Layouts, and other organizational changes. I also provided them with video links and written documentation for tasks they can easily complete on their own. Juliane Leary, Essentials Advisor ESSENTIAL ADVISORS Torchlite matches customers to Salesforce certified Essentials Advisors with Playbook options including Best Practices, Sales and Service Setup, Data Integration and Optimization or 1:1 Consultation to customize the perfect Playbook.   Juliane was a wonderful help. Her organization of what she was implementing for us is well documented, that was greatly appreciated. It will be useful in the future. Working with Juliane was a true pleasure. She was very patient and helpful in the process. Heather McCusker, Operations Manager at Bella Vita Designs and Practice Mastery.   Thank you to our Essentials Advisor Juliane. With her help, we have been empowered to make a digital shift by organizing the future growth of our company. We appreciated her informative knowledge, caring assistance and detailed technical support that empowered us to launch both companies on the Salesforce platform. Peter Barry, Practice Mastery   RESULTS RIGHT AWAY They now have a central location for all of their customer data to help them track projects more effectively, increase engagement and the ability to quickly determine which vendors provide them with the best offering in terms of discounts and delivery dates. Juliane Leary, Essentials Advisor   Adina Abramowitz, President of Consulting for Change utilized the Data Integration Playbook to get their org on track with Salesforce.   Everything went great and got done the way we hoped it would. My staff and I are now able to use the Essentials functionality in ways that we previously were not. I am really happy with the service.  Adina Abramowitz, President of Consulting for Change   The Torchlite Essentials Marketplace is where customers and consultants connect to create solutions that work. Clear communication and deliverables are what makes Torchlite a great place to do business.    TAP INTO THE TORCHLITE NETWORK Our hand-selected Essentials Advisors not only know how to get you up and running on your CRM, but will also teach you the best practices to get the most out of your sales, services and marketing efforts.    Hire an Advisor today! More information available at Torchlite.com. 

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Women's Business Daily Interviews Torchlite Founder Susan Marshall

Dec 08, 2020 Torchlite

Emily Sprinkle gets to know Torchlite's founder Susan Marshall. You could say that Susan Marshall’s professional journey has been an exciting ride. She came up in tech just as the world was embracing interconnectivity like never before. People of Susan’s generation have the unique benefit of knowing both the analog and digital experience. A before and after, if you will. Susan was at Apple when Steve Jobs returned and the whole place was buzzing with renewed energy. Marketing was front and center in that world and Susan could see the democratization of the digital revolution taking root. She was product manager for the Pro Tools at Apple, which was coming into its own for consumer use. It still required high-level skills but you could see how this kind of software was going to become readily available to everyday consumers. It just seemed inevitable. That didn’t mean that the technology was simplifying, on the contrary, innovation became hyper-charged as creatives across the spectrum embraced technology into their lives. The users became the driving force of innovation. With that expanded access came predictable frustrations. Torchlite was born out of a need for integration of this powerful technology suddenly in demand in every market and every scale organization. It wasn’t just technology for the few, it was for everyone and it was crucial to staying afloat when the pandemic hit. There is no going back now.   How do you feel your previous jobs prepared you for launching Torchlite? Immensely. I worked with some pretty high-level executives and I got to see how the sausage gets made, up close. I experienced genuine leadership when there was no beaten path to the consumer experience. I saw problem-solving in real-time as the whole world watched. It was exhilarating. And eventually, it led me to create my own solutions to the issues I could see percolating in my industry. I wanted to be a part of something new and I wanted that personal interaction with my customers and talent. I may not speak to each Torchlite marketplace user, but I am watching and listening to their feedback. Because I know it is ultimately they who will dictate the future of my business. Why are you passionate about Torchlite? And what should people know about the company? We are a team of people dedicated to the freelance revolution. We all come to this place by varied paths in the corporate world, nonprofits, and big tech. Torchlite talent is committed to growing their own freelance businesses through ongoing training with the certifications to back it up. I get why my customers come to Torchlite and the talent we provide. It is because we are able to match and guide projects with transparency, identified deliverables, and realistic expectations. Torchlite customers know the value of cloud-based technology but not always the steps to take on the projects they need to get ahead. Torchlite Flexperts, certified, flexible experts, already know the technology and how to bring organizations into the system seamlessly. They have done thousands of projects and can see the pitfalls before they stop a project dead in its tracks. What sets Torchlite apart from other talent marketplaces? We stress communication and transparency. It isn’t an anonymous jobs board driven by algorithms. Torchlite is about making connections, finding the right people for the project. That is the hallmark of a Torchlite project. Our freelancers are frequently rehired by their customers creating trust and continuity with on-demand service when it is needed, and perhaps just as importantly, when it is not.   Has the COVID-19 climate impacted Torchlite? Have you had to pivot at all or do things differently? Fortunately, we were ready to go when COVID-19 hit. Our team was already working remotely so there was very little adjustment in terms of workflow. We had just launched our 3.0 platform in partnership with Salesforce to help SMBs utilize the new Essentials platform. Freshly minted Essentials Advisors, trained to help small – midsize businesses grow, were in the process of onboarding the Torchlite platform to join the marketplace when suddenly everyone was interested in cloud sales and services. We were able to meet customer demand in real-time as the world adjusted to life online. What’s the biggest challenge you’re currently tackling, and how are you working through it? Like many successful startups, we are growing fast. Right now we are working to meet enterprise demand for integration into the online marketplace. Complex industries like finance and health care are in desperate need of systems that will support consumer interface and a remote workforce. We have the talent that can make it happen. We only accept about 4% of the marketplace applicants into our platform and are always on the lookout for our unicorns with high-level certifications and excellent customer service skills. It is the perfect mix for our customers that are going to be the stewards of their data after the freelancer has gone. It’s no secret that most venture funding is given to male-owned businesses. What tips would you offer to other female entrepreneurs who are looking to raise funds? Keep your eye on the prize. Just because that is the way it was always done does not mean it is the way it will always be. We know our business better than anyone and it is our job to get that value across to raise capital. It is about knowing what funders want out of the deal, how that desire will benefit your business, and making it worth the investment. I’d even argue that many women instinctively read the needs of the people around them and excel at raising funds when challenged to do so. What does success mean to you? I’d like to say top banana but it is really about creating continuity. We are not aiming to be the biggest or most comprehensive. There are giant whales out there, dominating the market. We are about customization, even when we have done the tasks a million times. Each project is unique and our experts are trained to not only provide excellent skills but to know and understand what their customers need to be successful. How do you practice self-care? I am a bit of a gypsy. These days I have teenagers that keep me close to home in Indiana, but I get out to Colorado quite frequently to ski or hike the backcountry when I can. What’s the most valuable piece of advice you’ve been given? We create our own value. Never let anyone else define you because they cannot possibly see the whole picture. I am very proud of what I have put out into the world as an entrepreneur and as a team player in my career. We have improved the Torchlite product year over year, adding real value, as we learned how best to utilize the Torchlite Marketplace for our talent and our customers. That confidence to move forward comes from me and my vision for what Torchlite can be. I knew what we were aiming for and I kept my focus on the value we bring to the table. What single word or saying do you identify most with? Why? Resiliency. I am humbled by the challenges of this life, without a doubt. It has not always been easy but I keep moving forward and rebounding into a better, more productive place. I am grateful for those challenges, as painful as some were, because they propelled me into action that required a catalyst. It is not the blow that I remember so much as the rebound. I am much tougher than my younger self might have imagined. What’s next for you and Torchlite? We will continue to grow our consultant base as the demand for professional freelancers explodes. So many talented people out in the workforce are discovering that they want to dictate how and when they work. We support them. Whether it was because they were moonlighting, laid off or they decided to go it alone, emboldened by the demand for their particular skills, they found a home with us. We have both utilized and benefited from the freelance model since Torchlite was founded in 2015. We see the value in supporting these entrepreneurial folks as they embark on this journey with us. It’s been a blast. This interview was originally published online by Women's Business Daily Editor-in-Chief Emily Sprinkle on December 4, 2020. Learn more about Torchlite at www.torchlite.com.

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Impactful Ways Small-to-Mid-Market Businesses Can Survive During a Pandemic

Nov 18, 2020 Susan Marshall

The coronavirus has dramatically changed the world economy, forcing many businesses to alter their operations to survive during a pandemic.   The pandemic has taken a monumental toll, small businesses bore the brunt of job loss, with a decline of more than 17% in May 2020. With SMBs especially vulnerable during this time, these companies must be agile and nimble to adjust in ever-changing times. As companies prepare for the future, there are several ways they can come out on top during the pandemic.   Hiring Freelancers With more limitations on staff size and in-person office spaces as we enter fall and a new resurgence phase of COVID-19, businesses of all sizes must think outside of their network for staffing.   With these restrictions, we’re seeing more small-to-medium businesses bridge the gap by outsourcing work to freelancers rather than hiring new employees, especially for marketing services, project management and CRM. In fact, there are now 57 million Americans in the freelance economy, up from 53 million in 2014. (CNBC)   Not only can small businesses benefit from freelancers due to their specialized skill sets to address your every need, but they are increasingly more affordable and flexible without a long-term contract. Beyond that, leveraging freelancers makes it possible to attract world-class talent that would be unavailable to most organizations on a full-time basis.   Even when the danger of COVID passes, the use of freelancers is here to stay. With 43% of the working U.S. population turning to freelance work over the next five years, the rise of independent talent and a flexible workforce will enable businesses to stay competitive and change the workforce for years to come.   Implement a Customer Relationship Management Solution Since March of 2020, the consumer's way of life has changed dramatically. In order to captivate your target audience and stay top of mind without direct access to customers, SMBs must leverage new solutions. As a result, many businesses have implemented Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions to support their efforts amid the pandemic.   CRM technology has long been regarded as an essential tool for all businesses. From customer service and email marketing to personalization, companies now expect to be able to connect platforms and technologies with customer data, in order to provide a more personalized experience. With new operational challenges, leveraging this solution has become a necessity to stay afloat.   CRM is the fastest growing software market today. It was a $14 billion industry in 2010 and is expected to reach $80 billion by 2025. That’s nearly a 600% increase. (Source: Grand View Research). This technology drives revenue and gives SMBs a competitive advantage by targeting the most qualified leads, increasing retention efforts, improving sales productivity, and providing highly-personalized messaging to existing customers.   Utilizing a CRM helps businesses connect with their customers on a deeper level, even when they are stuck at home, and could be the deciding factor between those that thrive and those who struggle to survive.   Be Flexible and Adaptable Adjusting during this unknown moment is crucial for small businesses. Whether you’re adjusting to working from home, new marketing techniques, or selling products, being agile can help small businesses stay afloat.   Find creative ways to implement new market trends Having a unique way to market products or services helps you stand out from your competition and maintain a steady flow of customers and revenue. Give your business’s online presence a boost by: Optimizing your business website for mobile Creating valuable content Experimenting with some SEO research Incorporating keywords on your website pages Engaging in online communities and forums Improving user experience Enhance your sales strategy A few ways to enhance your marketing strategy and promote unique offerings might look like shopping virtually or hosting engaging virtual classes, meetings, webinars, and even conferences.   Invest in work-from-home solutions While most people likely have a phone, a computer, and an internet connection, the work they do from home may look different than the work they do in the office. Invest in technology like Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Google Drive to keep communication consistent and simple. The pandemic poses new challenges for small businesses as they adjust to the new reality and look toward recovery. Fortunately, new technology is booming and there’s never been a better time for companies to rethink their marketing, talent, and operations.   This article was originally published on Inside Indiana Business with Gerry Dick on November 17, 2020. Written by Torchlite founder and CEO Susan Marshall.

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Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot Playbooks

Nov 02, 2020 Torchlite

Torchlite, the freelance marketplace for all your Salesforce needs, announces the release of a new series of Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot playbooks designed to help the millions of small-to-mid-market businesses who have been affected by the ongoing pandemic. The Torchlite Mission The new series of playbooks address the challenges faced by businesses hit hard by the public health crisis. “It’s Torchlite’s mission to support small-to-mid-market businesses. We provide trusted, certified consultants. As a result, our customers are able to access the tools they need to get ahead, especially in this challenging time,” said Susan Marshall, CEO and founder of Torchlite. “With the launch of these new playbooks, our goal is to help businesses implement and optimize their Salesforce solution with ease.” Packaged Services The playbooks are packaged services delivered by a Certified Freelance Consultant or freelancer who has a holistic understanding of Salesforce products. Companies who leverage Salesforce Marketing Cloud or Pardot can purchase one of the 12 different playbooks in the new series.  Certified Freelance Consultants The Torchlite Marketplace enables customers who purchase the Marketing Cloud and Pardot playbooks to collaborate, share documents, and provide feedback through their unique rating system. “I love the flexibility and customer-first mentality of the Torchlite model. Salesforce is a living, breathing thing that will require highly skilled expertise for our model. We like the ability to have access to the short-term project and problem-solving assistance through Torchlite’s network,” said Lindsey Dunn, Director, Lead Generation for Scrubs & Beyond. Torchlite is a certified Salesforce partner with a wide network of vetted professional freelancers ready to help businesses of any size unlock the power of Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot. The Torchlite Marketplace accepts only the top 4% of applicants, ensuring businesses get the very best experts in their field. Pricing Prices for each playbook in the new Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Pardot series vary. For more information on Torchlite and its services or to purchase a playbook, please visit www.torchlite.com.   About Torchlite Founded in 2015, Torchlite enables companies of any size to access and manage highly sought-after freelance talent from anywhere in the world. With Torchlite’s 3.0 platform, organizations can now take advantage of the growing freelance economy and create their own private marketplaces of experts who help customers take advantage of powerful technologies - on-demand.

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The Female CEO In the Spotlight with Susan Marshall

Oct 23, 2020 Torchlite

Tricia Scott interviews Susan Marshall, Founder and CEO of Torchlite. A 25+ year technology professional, who held successful leadership positions at Adobe, Apple, and Salesforce before founding her own company. As the visionary behind Torchlite, Susan brought the first Torchlite Marketplace online in 2015 to create a roadmap for marketers to successfully navigate the digital learning curve ahead, while giving highly skilled, professional freelancers the opportunity to expand their own businesses. Now a Certified Salesforce Partner, Torchlite's primary focus is to serve enterprises to working with cross-cloud Salesforce products. Susan loves technology, digital marketing, and building teams of super-smart people and I am honoured that she has chosen to share her journey with us. Over to you Susan… So, Susan, what's your story? Thanks for asking. I came out of the midwest to Southern California in the early 1990s. I was young with a fresh degree in History from Denison University and fairly limited work experience. Life was still analogue for most of us, but I quickly began hearing about what technology was going to do for society. What was going to be possible in our lifetimes. It all seemed so fantastic and exciting at the same time. In the early days, close proximity to the creative forces was pivotal to understanding the innovation ahead. You had to hear it for your own ears to believe what was coming down the pipeline, and quickly. With strong writing skills, I got in on the ground floor, creating marketing copy for the incredible new video and graphic design technologies coming online for professional use. It was so new that we were making up words and phrasing for it on the spot! From there, I was hired by Apple to join its product marketing team under the leadership of Steve Jobs. I worked on pro tools for the early tech adopters, high-skilled web developers who could code like it was their native language. Steve had just come back to Apple, and we were all vibrating with his renewed creative energy. Although coding was still the most prized skill among developers, even back then we were working toward universal usage of these tools to democratise access and get everybody on board. The rest, as they say, is history. One opportunity led to the next. I was very deliberate about the positions I accepted before breaking out on my own in 2015 to start Torchlite. I am a lifelong learner, and while I was recruited into subsequent leadership positions, I deliberately chose mentors and projects that I knew I could get behind with the full force of my intentions. By the time I had dreamed up Torchlite, I knew the path we would take to get there - and the sacrifice it would require for my core team of stakeholders and me to achieve success. I was ready for that new challenge. You’ve worked for some of the most successful tech companies in the world, including Apple, Adobe and Salesforce. That’s quite a resumé! What made you decide to set up on your own and how scary was it to leave behind the security of those massive corporations and go solo? Life often pushes us in the right direction. I had returned to my midwestern roots, and the timing just felt right. I’d had this idea percolating in the back of my head as I brought one innovation online after another. With each new product launch, I could see the access broadening exponentially but not necessarily the users’ bandwidth. While we are adapting as consumers to adopt technology on the fly, complex systems still require some finesse. Specialised skills that may require an effective setup are not necessarily skills an employer needs in a long term employee. Over and over, I heard about customers frustrated that they couldn’t get their investment in technology to help them work more efficiently and perform as expected. What’s worse, they’d limp along getting more and more discouraged. I knew that professional help would always be necessary just based on the light-speed rate of innovation coming to market. This digital divide was opening rather than closing. Fortunately, Salesforce recognised the same problem. To make sure the Salesforce technology performed as their customer expected, they began providing robust online training and certifications through the Trailhead training centre. This action and that of other enterprise marketing tech companies gave me the cornerstone to Torchlite. Our customers would have access to the very best freelancers, and their skills would be clear to everyone through a transparent network of high skilled workers with an online profile detailing their expertise. The model has worked well for us and our network of freelancers. I’ve worked on thousands of marketing campaigns and kept pace with the technology to support it. I was ready to break away from the corporate world at a time when freelance work was on the rise. I had a solution to my biggest challenge as a product manager - how do you get technology into the right hands at the right time? By building a network of high-demand, high-skilled experts across industries, I was able to bring together my passions to create my marketplace. I love working with engineers. My team is building the bridges powering innovation. I can stay connected and put people to work. That is a good feeling. 2020 has been a challenging year for many businesses with flexibility being key to surviging this global pandemic. Many businesses are going to see changes for years to come while we work the new ‘normal’.  How do you see using companies such as Torchlite assisting small businesses through the transition? Can you give our readers the top three benefits of hiring nonpermanent  assistance? We hit the nail on the head in terms of timing for 2020. I’d argue that we have never seen such incredible adoption of technology from both business and consumers in our lifetimes. We all jumped on email and such as the world came online, but today is different. I don’t know about you, but I remember the analogue world, learning what WWW would mean to society in our lifetimes. It was exhilarating. Now, twenty-odd years later into my career, technology plays a larger role in commerce than ever before. Digital adaptation is moving so fast that manuals have turned into FAQ pages and automation is king. Understanding the backend of this process is more critical than ever before. Just as we went into lockdown Salesforce graduated its first cohort of Essential Advisors for SMBs. As a strategic partner to Salesforce, we built out a dedicated portal for small and midsize businesses to find the expertise they need to stay relevant in a transformed world. Our playbooks, with the guidance of a certified Advisor, walk clients through the project step-by-step or Advisors and customers can create custom plans to meet the SMB’s needs in consultation on the marketplace platform. It’s all transparent and clear to ensure on-time delivery of exactly what the customer is looking for. The three big reasons to hire freelancers are simple. Freelancers are flexible, specialised, and focused. We do the legwork to find and recruit the best of the best so our customers can entrust the marketplace to give them the insight to make smart decisions. So much is expected of a business owner, learning how to set up and implement technology may not get the attention its investment deserves. This is where a professional consultant is critical. As businesses grow, they have the option to tap back into the marketplace to find an expert ready to support that process. How do you handle criticism? I’ve worked in some very high-pressure environments where sensitivity to how criticism is received isn’t a factor. I learned to take it, and praise for that matter, at face value, setting aside an emotional response to get to the source. Is this something I can fix, do I need expert support to sort it out, or is this something that doesn’t apply to my vision? Because in the end, I have the final say and so it is essential that I hear what is being communicated to me by my colleagues and board members, taking the necessary actions to keep us moving forward. I also give frequent feedback to my team and network of freelance professionals as we continue to grow Torchlite. I believe context is so important when communicating difficult information. I value my team and want them to know that I am invested in their success as much as my own. Critical feedback is always delivered in the context of how we can make this better. Because in the end, we all want to be on the same page or else it isn’t worth it to be here. I am not a big corporation, and I rely on the freelance model to power Torchlite. Those relationships are built on trust. The ability to give criticism in context of success powers that trust leading to long-standing, mutually beneficial relationships. What has been your biggest hurdle to overcome so far in running your own business? Freelancing has so many benefits, but it does require a steady stream of clients in need of those services to stay afloat. We are a niche marketplace that isn't going just to run itself. I know who our freelancers are and their high level of skills. I work closely with my BDM to get in front of the businesses that will benefit from that expertise. I also follow business trends very closely to gauge what kind of talent I need to add to Torchlite to meet our clients' needs. My days are filled with meetings - more now than ever that people don't have drive time between appointments - I do media interviews like this, podcasts, and will talk to anyone that wants to know more about us. I am continually hustling to bring new clients into the Torchlite marketplace. This level of engagement has nurtured a network of loyal freelancers and customers that have maintained steady contracts since our inception. There may be other ways to do it, but this works for us. I like to know what's happening with my baby, who is working in our network and what is happening in the broader marketplace. What is your favourite thing about being your own boss? I work where I want when I want. I am fortunate to split my time between Colorado and Indiana. Each place is so beautiful, and I wanted to be able to enjoy both of them to the fullest. I can set up in a room next to my family and get more done in a few hours than if I was going into an office, putting off time with them. The efficiency allows me to balance my drive to succeed with a life that is fulfilling and rich with experiences outside of my business. Like many CEOs, it is hard for me to stop sometimes with that ease of access, but I've got a team that I trust to keep the plates in the air when it is time for me to go offline for a hike with my kids or to make dinner. It is always there when I get back, and usually, they have made progress on projects I set in motion. More importantly, my brain has been cleared, and I am ready to give it my all again. One of the questions often raised when it comes to outsourcing work is, ‘how can you know if the person(s) you are outsourcing to are qualified/safe/competent’? As the CEO of a freelance marketplace, how do you ensure that your clients get the right match and it it easy to check credentials? This is the cornerstone of Torchlite. Our freelance marketplace is designed to answer precisely those questions. We vet and interview our freelancers for both the hard skills and soft skills necessary to work with our clients. Less than 4% of the applicants are accepted into the Torchlite marketplace because of the rigorous interview process. This is not a self-serve marketplace for freelancers to sign up for, and it shows in the quality of our projects. Of those accepted, we verify certifications and provide a user profile detailing their accomplishments. Client reviews are posted with their profile so new customers can be confident they are matched with the best consultant for their projects. What is the first thing you check in your business on a daily basis? I have a team Slack channel that we use for daily check-ins. We are scattered all over, so it is an excellent centralised place for us to keep each other up to date, sharing our successes and frustrations. I trust and rely on my team and the various freelancers I am working with at any given time to keep me informed. In return, I stay super responsive to their needs. It is a virtuous cycle we started well before the pandemic, and it has become a lifeline these last few months as we all stayed close to home. What have you found difficult on your journey and what would you avoid if you were able to do it all again? There have been so many challenges, but I don't know that I would have it any other way. Those painful moments in my career, and there have been many, pivoted me into something bigger and brighter than I could have imagined. Leaving Salesforce to start Torchlite was hard, but I was propelled on a path that got me here when I took that leap of faith. I had to believe in myself above all others, and I don't know that many women my age were taught to do that. I'd successfully worked in a male-dominated field for so many years, and I was good at meeting the goals set out for me to advance their objectives. Finally, I permitted myself to put my ideas first after years of striving to please someone else. It was incredibly liberating, and without those challenges, I wouldn't necessarily have arrived at this point. What's your top tip for our awesome female entrepreneurs reading this article? Stay focused. Entrepreneurial initiatives require flexibility and sometimes radical change to achieve success. Without a guiding mission and laser focus on the end goal that flexibility can become muddled, and we find ourselves being pulled in too many directions. I start every day with an intention. I have my punch list to get through, and I always ask myself, will this move us forward? Is this the best use of my time or can I rely on someone on my team to make this happen? I take my responsibilities to Torchlite very seriously, which means I need to know everything that is going on. I cannot possibly micromanage any of it, but I can step in at a moment's notice if need be. Fortunately, I have a great team that allows me to maintain high-level engagement with day to day operations while focused on issues that will continue to grow our network. Digital marketing is often seen as complex and there’s no doubt that the need for such expertise is only going to grow exponentially in the coming years. Do you feel there should be better educational programmes for young people emerging into the job markets? You are right. I know there are better educational programmes available right now for anyone motivated to get trained up. One significant change emerging from the pandemic, coupled with the current student loan crisis is a serious reevaluation of how and where we learn. Industry leaders like Salesforce know the value in ongoing training beyond profits. The Trailhead program provides viable, certified paths for freelancers to gain the expertise required to join the Torchlite network as a professional consultant. Again, as a Salesforce partner, we rely on the virtuous cycle as they up their game in training, we can improve services offered to our clients. The new Advisor program is a perfect example. Launched in the winter of 2019, Salesforce Advisors are CRM experts ready to help small businesses get started quickly on the Salesforce platform. We network those new admins with small companies invested in the technology but in need of a hand getting going. For all this to work, it requires each of us to do our part. Our freelancers operate as small businesses. Their next gig depends on the success of their current one. The most successful freelancers anticipate that next gig and make sure they are ready. The Trailhead program encourages ongoing learning as the platform continues to innovate. What's the number one played song on your iPod? I am a classic rock girl. I’ve been listening to some deep cuts from Janice Joplin lately. She’s got a rawness to her voice that really speaks to me. What do you know for sure? I know for sure that I can do this. It is not always going to be the easiest path, but it is the one I have chosen. I can be a workhorse, or I can lead. I am dedicated to my team and the success of Torchlite, so I decided to lead. It feels as right as that first copy editing job that opened my eyes to the power of technical innovation. I believe in what we do and the abilities of my freelancers. As a small business myself, I am invested in their success and will continue to build out this network because no one has to be here. They all chose to work with my team. I don't offer the benefits of a traditional employer. But I do provide a pipeline for more work so they too can dictate the terms of their work-life balance like I do. And to me, that is really rewarding.  Do you have a book or favourite podcast recommendation for our female CEO members? I highly recommend Masterclass.com. It’s important to continue growing and learning no matter what it is. What's next for Torchlite? We will continue to grow our network to meet the needs of our customers. It isn't just about traditional marketing. Businesses are in desperate need of the broad range of digital expertise we provide. There isn't an industry untouched by the digital transformation. The services required to bring it all online from our health records to the financial powerhouses and back to the mom and pop retailer are profound. We are going to keep pace and keep innovating to meet those needs. And we are going to hire professional consultants to help us get it done. What makes you truly happy and how do you handle downtime? I am feeling really content right now. My kids are teenagers, and I am so proud of them. I've sacrificed a lot of time with them for my career, and it is so gratifying to see that they are thriving despite our non-traditional household. Their dad's dedication to their well being allowed me to "have it all" if there is such a thing. My downtime is about my kids. I now can go offline to be with them without feeling stressed about what I might miss in my inbox. Colorado offers incredible vistas with zero wifi, and I honestly breathe a little deeper when that part is shut down for a while. I know it will be there when I get back.   The Female CEO is a a community of awesome women coming together in support and empowerment and setting a new trend for female entrepreneurs across the world. To learn more about The Female CEO catch up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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Meet Salesforce Datorama Expert Brad B.

Oct 02, 2020 Elizabeth Basile

Datorama is a centralized platform for marketing data and decision making across teams. Every marketing performance, outcome, and investment in one place. Torchlite Flexpert Brad B. specializes in helping businesses connect and unify data in scalable solutions with intelligence performance monitoring built in. Businesses large and small have relied on Brad's expertise to design custom workspaces allowing for more efficient and effective marketing uses of company data. Datorama was built for marketers and media professionals to strike the perfect balance between automation and customization.    What does this mean for Torchlite customers? This means you can be sure your Datorama workspace, and most importantly your data, is accurate, timely, and working for the specific and unique needs of your business.   Data management Modeling Analytics Actions Brad is experienced in both marketing communications and data analysis, providing a unique perspective to help businesses not just display data, but also tell stories as they learn and progress with critical KPI insights.   Delivering a single source of truth. Datorama can take any data -- in any format  -- into the platform with AI machine learning, making cross channel insights easy. Working with Torchlite gives our customers access to professional, certified freelancers like Brad.  Align your business goals, build data governance processes, ensure proper naming conventions and data standards, and integrate multiple data sources to display campaign performance in one easily accessible, central location.  Torchlite Flexperts deliver concrete value, saving companies time and money while providing 360 degree views of their marketing activities, creating a single source of truth for critical decision making.  Visit torchlite.com to learn more about how we can help with all your Salesforce support needs.

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Press Release: Torchlite Promotes Robert Harris to Chief Operating Officer

Sep 18, 2020 Torchlite

INDIANAPOLIS (September 14, 2020) – Torchlite, the freelance marketplace for all your Salesforce needs, today announces it has promoted Robert Harris to the position of Chief Operating Officer (COO). Previously, Harris served as the Vice President of Product and Customer Success for Torchlite. Harris brings more than 25 years of experience in technology, e-commerce, and organizational leadership.  In the new role, Harris will lead all operations, including product development and engineering, and help establish the company’s strategic vision while facilitating the execution of critical projects. He will also work closely with Torchlite CEO and Founder Susan Marshall and its leadership team to help grow, scale, and operate Torchlite’s platform and services effectively. “With the launch of our new Marketplace for Salesforce, we are helping businesses implement the tools they need and provide highly-trained freelancers with meaningful work during this difficult time,” said Marshall. “Robert’s leadership skills, passion and proven track record in consulting and e-commerce make him the perfect candidate to take our new Torchlite Marketplace to the next level and further scale our services.” Harris is a proven leader with more than 25 years of experience building teams, products, and solutions that deliver compelling value to customers. In his previous roles, he’s demonstrated how to effectively drive cross-functional, organization-wide impact and work collaboratively with key internal and external stakeholders. Prior to working with Torchlite, Harris served as the Founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at MVP Launch Partners and VP of Product and Engineering at Sigstr. He also served in numerous leadership roles at Loxa Beauty and its parent company Beauty Systems Group. “It has been an honor to be part of Torchlite’s journey by helping build the category-leading freelance marketplace for Salesforce and filling a much-needed gap in today’s business ecosystem,” said Harris. “With the accelerating growth of freelancers, per a recent Payoneer report, this is just the beginning for Torchlite. We look forward to continuing to support businesses nationwide by giving them access to the talent they need to run and grow their business.” Recently, Torchlite launched its new Marketplace for Salesforce Essentials, offering a new way for small businesses to access certified Salesforce Essentials Advisors on-demand with no long-term contracts, minimums or limits. The new Marketplace allows small businesses who adopt the world’s #1 CRM platform to access highly-certified freelancers who empower them to sell smarter, deliver faster support, and get started in minutes. About Torchlite Founded in 2015, Torchlite enables companies of any size to access and manage highly sought-after freelance talent from anywhere in the world. With Torchlite’s 3.0 platform, organizations can now take advantage of the growing freelance economy and create their own private marketplaces of experts who help customers take advantage of powerful technologies - on-demand. For more information, visit torchlite.com.

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How Mid-Market Companies Can Get The Most Out of Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Jul 24, 2020 Maria Rummel

These days, it seems like everyone is using Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) to elevate their marketing plans. The tools are incredibly enticing, especially when it comes to essential verticals like email and marketing automation. And their sales team? They are on it. So, you’ve fought for the budget and bit the bullet. Now you’re a Salesforce customer! When it comes to implementing and optimizing your SFMC tools, Salesforce services may be out of reach for small and mid-market companies. Luckily, Salesforce Marketing Cloud has become so universal that there are a range of options out there for getting help with your new tools. Here are a few of our free or low-cost recommendations for mid-market companies looking to get the most out of their investment in Salesforce Marketing Cloud: Manage your expectations If when you bought Salesforce Marketing Cloud, you thought everything would be easy-peazy with the flip of a switch, it might be time for a little reality check. Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a very big and powerful tool for marketers. However, it’s so big, and so powerful that even today’s modern marketer can struggle to find the time and expertise to get all of the tools up and running to their fullest capabilities. It’s important to set reasonable expectations about the timing of your implementation, the sophistication of the projects you want to run, and how quickly you’ll see results. Start small As with many technologies, it can be helpful to get your feet wet before diving all the way into your new Salesforce products. Look to tackle a small project first to get a feel for how the whole thing works. Then deal with your larger projects or dive into the more intricate features of your Salesforce stack. Learn about the tools and capabilities There are many available ways to learn about Marketing Cloud tools. If you have the time to do some of the learning on your own, resources like these can help you get up and moving with SFMC! Email Studio Email Studio Basics from Trailhead Salesforce’s email marketing best practices Social Studio Getting started with social studio Social Studio Trailmix from Trailhead Ad Studio How to Use the Professional Edition of Marketing Cloud’s Advertising Studio Getting Started with Marketing Cloud: Advertising Studio Audiences Marketing Cloud Products from Trailhead Journey Builder Trailhead: Marketing Automation Strategies Salesforce’s Implementation guide Teach Yourself Journey Builder in 10 mins by Robert Livingston Get some live help While there are a number of resources available online, it can be difficult to find and set aside the time necessary to really get the most out of your SFMC tools. Hiring an expert to help you implement and run marketing cloud technologies is pretty much a must. At Torchlite, we have on-demand experts to help you with all of your Salesforce Marketing Cloud needs.

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Get More From Marketing Cloud: Meet Salesforce Expert Karl B.

Jul 16, 2020 Emily Brungard

According to the Walker Sands 2018 State of Marketing Technology report, sixty-three percent of marketers feel the martech landscape has evolved rapidly or at light speed in the last year, while only 28 percent feel the same about their company’s use of martech. As companies continue to see the value of and secure the budget for marketing technology tools, they’re also realizing that squeezing the full value of these tools can be difficult. In other words, they need help in order to see ROI from their martech spend. We asked Salesforce.com Certified Consultant and Torchlite expert Karl B. to discuss how marketing teams can get the most from Marketing Cloud, and how on-demand freelance experts can help marketers do more with the platform. What is the most common issue you see when working with Salesforce Marketing Cloud customers? The most common roadblock I see, especially with new Marketing Cloud customers, is the expectation that Marketing Cloud is like other marketing automation platforms—that new users can jump in and immediately leverage all the cool features Salesforce promotes. That’s when you start hearing customer complaints about Marketing Cloud; how it’s hard to use and it doesn’t work like their old marketing automation platform. Especially if they’ve come from platforms like HubSpot, which are less powerful, but easy to use. While Marketing Cloud has come a long way in simplifying complex functionality for users—take Journey Builder, for example—the real power lies in how Marketing Cloud allows you to build nearly any solution your business might need. But that power has a price. Marketing Cloud requires training and a developer mindset to truly leverage the capabilities it offers. I often describe Marketing Cloud as a “marketing automation construction set.” What do you predict will be a bigger problem in the next year for Salesforce Marketing Cloud customers? Honestly, a shortage of Marketing Cloud professionals. Customer interest in Marketing Cloud is growing faster than the supply of experienced Marketing Cloud consultants and developers. Lack of training resources has been key to this shortage. Salesforce has created some Trailhead training modules for Marketing Cloud and I can’t help but expect that more are on the way. Trailhead has turned into an incredible learning resource for Sales and Service Clouds and Salesforce’s other clouds. I look forward to seeing how Trailhead training evolves for Marketing Cloud. What is your most frequently shared tip for using Salesforce? When in doubt—Google it! During training, I always tell my clients that “Google is their best friend” when using SFMC or the other Salesforce clouds. Chances are someone else has asked for help for the same problem in Salesforce’s own communities or on StackExchange. And then there are blog posts and, of course, Salesforce’s documentation. On the flip side, what's your "secret" tip for Salesforce success? Education. Never stop learning when it comes to Salesforce—especially SFMC, which evolves so quickly. And don’t be afraid to tackle new areas, like writing SQL queries or learning AMPScript. The best SFMC users found out early on that the real power in SFMC comes from thinking like a marketer, but building like a developer. And that means getting out of your comfort zone and learning some tech. What is your proudest Salesforce-related project? Probably my second SFMC project. The client already had a very complex Sales Cloud org and needed to create dynamic meeting notification emails delivered by a Journey. That project pushed me to level up my SQL skills, dig deep into AMPScript and learn how to code API callouts from Sales Cloud to Marketing Cloud. That’s when I realized how critical developer skills are for accessing the power in SFMC. What are you most excited about in the current B2B marketing scene? Funny, but it’s been an ongoing issue for me since my days as a copywriter and marketing consultant that’s finally gaining traction. Marketers forget when selling B2B that they’re selling to people, not businesses. While the best B2B marketers have always known this, the rest are catching on and realizing that engaging with the person, not the business, is critical, especially in the first touches. I think social media has helped marketers embrace the human connection that’s essential in B2B marketing. Personalization is key to establishing relevance, and I think AI offers enormous potential in helping marketers craft relevant messages to cut through the barrage of bland marketing that prospects face every day. Applying AI effectively and ethically is going to be an exciting challenge in the years to come. Why do you think having an on-demand SFMC expert is necessary? SFMC can be frustrating for marketers new to the platform and the learning curve is demanding. An on-demand SFMC expert accelerates time-to-delivery for your campaigns. And, quite simply, it’s the best way to unlock the power of SFMC for your business without dedicating your internal staff to many hours of training and the necessary trial and error experience. Interested in learning more? Request a demo of Torchlite today.

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Just Announced: Torchlite Launches Salesforce Essentials Marketplace For Small Business

Jun 30, 2020 Torchlite

Torchlite Launches Certified Advisor Marketplace for Small Businesses with Salesforce The Essentials Marketplace matches businesses with Certified Salesforce Advisors to help service small businesses and grow leads with Salesforce Essentials. INDIANAPOLIS, June 30, 2020- Torchlite, the freelance marketplace for all your Salesforce needs, announced today the launch of the Torchlite Marketplace for Salesforce Essentials, a new way for small businesses to access certified Salesforce Essentials Advisors on-demand with no long-term contracts, minimums or limits. Through the Torchlite Marketplace, Salesforce Essentials Advisors can now find work online and small businesses get access to the talent they need to run and grow their businesses. “The Torchlite Marketplace for Salesforce Essentials provides flexibility and agility on any size project at affordable costs,” says Susan Marshall, CEO and Founder of Torchlite. “We are excited to partner with Salesforce to help small businesses during these unprecedented times.” With Salesforce Essentials, small businesses can easily adopt the world’s #1 CRM platform— designed to scale and grow with them. New social, chat and phone capabilities in Salesforce Essentials empower small businesses to communicate with customers on their preferred channels—and can be deployed in just minutes. “It’s our mission to support small businesses with the technology and tools they need to connect with customers, especially in this challenging time and we're proud to partner with Torchlite” said Meredith Schmidt, Executive Vice President and GM of Salesforce Essentials. “The new Torchlite Marketplace for Salesforce Essentials is helping small businesses implement the tools they need, while at the same time helping trained freelancers find meaningful work.” In addition to matching Advisors with customers, the Torchlite Marketplace helps Advisors manage relationships with customers, find new work, and get paid. For those interested in becoming a Salesforce Essential Advisor, apply here. To get matched with a certified Salesforce Essentials Advisor, visit the client portal. About Torchlite Founded in 2015, Torchlite enables companies of any size to access and manage highly sought-after freelance talent from anywhere in the world. With Torchlite’s 3.0 platform, organizations can now take advantage of the growing freelance economy and create their own private marketplaces of experts who help customers take advantage of powerful technologies - on-demand. For more information about Torchlite, visit www.torchlite.com.

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