What Trails Are You Blazing?

Are you a Customer Trailblazer? If not, it’s not too late for you to become one.

Maybe you’re not familiar with the term. It’s what Salesforce calls those people and companies who leverage the platform to drive innovation, solve problems and transform their careers and their teams.

No doubt you’re already using Salesforce to take care of the basics: understanding customers and prospects, closing deals, keeping your team informed and empowered. And that’s great. But some users are pushing themselves towards disrupting their markets and paving the way for new business models. In short, they’re inventive thinkers who are turning their sales tech into engines of ingenuity.

I know you want to drive a better customer experience. It’s not a simple ask. Neither is energizing your sales team and taking them to a higher level through technology. But some leaders are rising to the challenge – and here’s how they’re doing it.

They’re all about empowering people through technology – and not just their team.

Let’s admit it. Traditionally, IT has existed in its own bubble. IT leaders may be hunkered down integrating new platforms, solving an outage or monitoring dashboards for signs of cyber attacks, but they don’t always have a seat at the business strategy table. Trailblazers are changing that by using their technology to help every part of the business function at a higher level. Maybe it’s about helping the customer success team access key information, or using applications to align sales and marketing. Maybe they’re figuring out the right metrics that can turn sales effort into sales efficiency. Overall, they’re kicking down silos and helping the entire organization get stronger.

They don’t just ask for innovation – they foster it.

Trailblazers look beyond their traditional systems and hunt for opportunities to help others get creative. They know when people are bogged down in tedious tasks, they probably aren’t going to carve a few hours for brainstorming or meeting with other teams to develop synergy. One basic example: cloud technology has freed workers from maintaining hardware and allowed them to focus on more flexible improvements. Salesforce can help businesses scale projects, integrate important tools and connect data, which gives everyone more time to be creative and think outside the box.

They’re all about their customers.

When sales tech first came around, people thought it would help sales reps connect with prospects and buyers. Today we’ve gone way beyond that. Now smart leaders are exploring ways to help every employee better understand and assist customers. By connecting customer data across platforms, different teams and departments can all draw from a well of valuable information – adding up to a seamless experience for the customer that ultimately increases loyalty and satisfaction. The customer experience is no longer about one transaction or phone call. It’s about a connected community that offers an “anywhere/anytime” availability to help customers feel understood and fulfilled, no matter what their challenges.

But they care about their employees too.

Okay, so it’s a cliché but it’s still true: your workforce is your greatest asset. Customers may be vital, but leaders know that employees — from all departments — want to enjoy a seamless, mobile-friendly experience while they’re at work. Trailblazers have made it their mission to boost collaboration, productivity and talent retention through better access to information and tools for everyone. Not only does it drive up employee morale, it fosters an overall commitment to excellence built on a foundation of employee loyalty. Increased productivity from a motivated, skilled workforce: there’s no better recipe for a great brand experience for customers, or an increase in revenue.

Ready to be a Customer Trailblazer? Your Salesforce platform can give you the tools. Transformation is just a few fresh new ideas away.

Making the Transition from Legacy to the Cloud

Name a seminal moment in the history of sales, and chances are industry veterans will name this one: when on-premise technology stopped being the only option and teams could enjoy Salesforce’s cloud-based CRM delivery model. The Internet has changed almost every aspect of modern life, but for the sales world, CRM apps were indeed the shot heard round the world.

That was almost 18 years ago and the changes Salesforce wrought have changed business forever. There’s no putting the genie back in the bottle; after experiencing the convenience of the cloud, many teams’ eyes were opened to the drawbacks of on-premises solutions.

They also realized the long-term advantages of cloud software. Businesses could deploy new tools without forking over massive capital up front. Affordable to manage, maintain and update, these tools provided faster time to value and let even small businesses adapt to changing market dynamics with more agility and less investment. And of course teams could turn the dragon that was ever-increasing data into something manageable and insightful.

This evolution put enterprise companies at an intersection where they needed to choose between cloud solutions or industry-specific on-premise software. Plenty of them chose the latter; today many of them are saddled with legacy CRM systems that in many cases are proving a burden. These systems can’t integrate with other systems, nor can they be customized to meet unique organizational dynamics. Rarely can they deliver up the kind of precise data intelligence offered by Salesforce.

Newer companies run by digital natives, on the other hand, face no such struggles. These new players on the field can fearlessly embrace developments like IoT, Big Data and predictive analytics because they have that agility built into their foundation. Instead of spending extra resources trying to devise workarounds, they can simply adapt in whatever way is required by market changes. As a result, many of these young companies enjoy competitive advantages that enterprises can’t imagine.

So it’s not surprising that many of the bigger companies that chose legacy systems can now see that moving to the cloud is inevitable. At the same time, making the transition isn’t that simple for them. Why? Because they also worry that in building a cloud CRM that accommodates their processes and workflows, they face a possible “rip and replace” of their legacy system.

So here’s some good news. Thanks to recent technological innovations, these companies can take advantage of the new industry cloud solutions partnering with Salesforce. Built specifically for vertical markets like healthcare, insurance, communications and the public sector, these solutions partner the benefits of the cloud with industry-specific functionality.

And no, this isn’t a “rip and replace” scenario. These new tools can help organizations modernize their systems via incremental steps that will complete their transition without disruption. The companies will keep the specialized features and functions required by their industry, while still enjoying better forecasting and smarter data interpretation. There’s no reason to fear moving from legacy technology to the cloud – not anymore.

The last 20 years have represented a quantum leap for the sales field. It’s safe to say the future will bring only more pioneering new tech that can transform us in ways we can’t imagine. By bringing more enterprise businesses to the cloud, the newest tools continue to redefine the game.