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Customer Success as a Culture — How the Salesforce Marketing Cloud Creates a Roadmap for Customer Success


To succeed with customer success at your organization, it takes incredible alignment and collaboration with the product team. We interviewed and asked 8 industry leading product leaders their advice on how they put customers first when building new products or working on existing products at their particular companies. Today we’ll highlight Ryan Warren, Vice President, Strategic Solutions at Salesforce. In this post, we’ll briefly explore his approach to customer success alignment as it relates to the product team at Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

Download a complimentary copy of the ebook “Customer Success as a Culture: Product Leaders Edition” to see Ryan’s full contribution and get access to other product leaders’ viewpoints.

About Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Based in Indianapolis, Salesforce Marketing Cloud (formerly ExactTarget) connects interactions from any channel or device, combining customer data and behaviors to create relevant communications that are delivered in real time, on customers’ terms.                                    

Why Salesforce Always Looks at Business Objectives First

When asked what questions Ryan typically asks of customers, he explained the process is different at a large company like Salesforce. “We try to look at business objectives first – I think that it’s easy to lead with product oriented conversations (such as: how can this feature make your life better?), but until you can capture where the organization is going as a whole, it’s hard to figure out how to best align your company with the features they’re requesting,” said Ryan. “We don’t want to just react to what the organization says – at Salesforce, we put a lot of money and thought in order to get ahead of that. We drive our customers to what they should be doing – even if they aren’t ready yet.”

What Customers Really Want From Salesforce’s Strategic Solutions Consultants

Ryan believes his customers want the following from his team of strategic solutions consultants

  1. Give the customer a vision
  2. Expose gaps and opportunities
  3. Solve very specific problems

Putting the customer first is a priority at Salesforce. In fact, just one quick look at their website and you’ll see words like “become a customer company” – and this certainly holds true even at Salesforce itself. Ryan explains that his department puts customers first by aligning the customer’s problems and opportunities with Salesforce’s differentiators. “In order to do that effectively, you have to get in a room and surface those things with the customer, face to face,” explained Ryan. At Salesforce, Ryan and his team look for patterns across the entire customer base in order to make the best recommendations. “The way I view it is a Pay for Performance Model. You work with customers to bring fresh ideas, and you will be awarded in contracts. But you have to be willing to make that investment upfront. If you can do that, it’s a winning formula for both the customer and for your company,” said Ryan.

Ryan’s Advice to Product Leaders

Ryan’s words of advice to other product leaders or strategic consultants is, “From a product perspective, it’s how you package your product. Some organizations will sell everything they have at one time. If it’s a more complex product offering, then sell your customers what they have the capacity to consume at that time,” explained Ryan. “If they can’t consume everything you offer at one time, then bundle your products. Determine your success as your ability to have customers grow along with you. If client isn’t growing with what they have, they’re either looking to your competitors or they’re stuck.”

Read Ryan’s full contribution to the ebook entitled, “Customer Success as a Culture: Product Leaders Edition” and learn from 7 other product leaders like Ryan.

Download the full “Customer Success as a Culture” ebook collection:

Customer Success as a Culture: Customer Success Leaders Edition

Customer Success as a Culture: Sales Leaders Edition

Customer Success as a Culture: Marketing Leaders Edition

Learn more about how ClientSuccess can help your company develop a strong customer success methodology and strategy with easy-to-use customer success software by requesting a 30-minute demo.

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