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Salesforce CEO Asks: Are You A Customer Company?

SF imageThe fact that today’s consumers — both B2B and B2C — are more educated and empowered than ever before is not a new concept. In fact, the growing adoption and influence of technology has been a key part of marketing and sales conversations for years. However, with geolocation technology, mobile devices and social networks becoming more integrated, customers are demanding more streamlined and personalized experiences. 

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff spotlighted the increased need to become a “customer company” as Salesforce’s new corporate mantra and strategic focus as a solution provider during an event at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.

Ongoing convergence taking place between the cloud, mobile and social, Benioff explained, is connecting consumers, employees and partners in entirely new ways. By integrating communication and service dots, and harnessing the power of Big Data to get a more comprehensive view of customers, companies can establish long-term trust, and in turn, generate more lucrative relationships.

“It’s not just about when we’re connecting with each other; we’re connecting all the time,” Benioff said. “It’s about how we’re connecting and the level of trust consumers have. Because this customer revolution all our companies are going through also is a trust revolution.”

As we move to the cloud, mobile and social, the companies that succeed will be the ones who put the customer at the center, Benioff noted. “But what does becoming a customer company mean? It means that you have to connect with customers, employees, partners and products.”

Benioff went on to unveil new mobile capabilities for Service Cloud, which includes mobile co-browsing, communities, chat and touch-based agent interface technologies, all designed to improve customer experiences through the cloud.

Building The Company-To-Customer Relationship
During his keynote presentation, Benioff shared the mic with executives from NBC Universal, Obama for America, The Museum of Modern Art, and Unilever to share how their businesses are putting the customer at the center of business operations.

Michael Salby, Chief Integration and Innovation Officer of Obama for America, discussed how team members leveraged the Service Cloud to deliver personalized tweets to volunteers, instantly share news on campaign developments, and more efficiently pinpoint areas of opportunity, and specific states/counties they needed to better nurture and educate before the election.

“Fundamentally, the campaign was about building a community around a shared sense of purpose and a mission of putting people in power and taking a real meaningful role in politics,” Salby said. “With people being at the center of the way we think, it was up to us internally to figure out how to integrate everything we needed to do — from fundraising to communications — in a meaningful way, so supporters could have a unified experience of being a part of politics.”

 Tasked with managing more than 6 million voter inquiries across channels, Obama for America needed to not only monitor and listen to feedback, but respond to it in a timely manner. 

“We tend to think of customers as interchangeable,” Salby added. “The most frustrating marketing metaphor is the funnel, which is offensive. It was important for us to realize that every person we talked to was a person with a story whose experience mattered and had a unique relationship with our campaign.”




About Alicia Fiorletta

Alicia Fiorletta is Senior Editor for Channel Marketer Report. Working closely with industry analysts and experts, Alicia reports on the latest news, technologies, case studies and trends coming to forefront in the channel marketing world. With a focus on emerging marketing strategies, including social, mobile and content for demand, Alicia hones in on new ways for organizations to market to and through their partner networks. Through her work with G3 Communications, Alicia also acts as Associate Editor for Retail TouchPoints, a digital publishing network focused on the customer-facing area of the retail industry.

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