Digital Transformation, Customer Centricity Take Center Stage At Dreamforce 2019

Published: November 20, 2019

Dreamforce 2019 kicked off in full force this week, bringing thousands of “Trailblazers” to the heart of San Francisco for four days of learning and networking. The common theme coming out of the morning keynote — as well as other presentations throughout day one — was all about digital transformation and putting the customer at the center of everything you do.

During the keynote, Salesforce Chairman and Co-CEO Marc Benioff and guests highlighted the importance of transformation in a world where multiple factors affect the way we do business, including:

  • Trust — People are losing trust in the media, the government and the companies they do business with. Marketers must build honest relationships and communities within their business.
  • Intelligence — With data and artificial intelligence, buyers are expecting smarter experiences with the companies they work with.
  • Connected customers — Buyers are more connected than ever through technology and feel empowered to buy from trusted companies.

Key Announcements From Dreamforce

It wouldn’t be Dreamforce without new product and innovation announcements from Salesforce. In addition to Customer 360 Truth, the company revealed:

  • Service Cloud Voice — This new product is designed to modernize the contact center by integrating telephony within Salesforce Service Cloud, allowing Einstein to read call transcripts and serve next-best actions. The tool aims to unify phone conversations, digital channels and CRM in real-time in one central console. The tool is a result of an expanded partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS).
  • A strategic partnership with Apple — The company launched Salesforce Mobile App, which is powered by AI and reimagined for iOS, which aims to deliver a new user experience enabled by Einstein that includes advanced analytics and features exclusive to iOS, including Siri shortcuts and Face ID. Salesforce also revealed Trailhead GO designed to empower users to skill up anywhere and at any time with more than 700 modules covering in-demand business and tech skills.
  • An expanded partnership with Microsoft — The company said it will move its Marketing Cloud to Azure and build new integrations that connect Sales Cloud and Service Cloud with Microsoft Teams.
  • Einstein Voice Assistant and Einstein Voice Skills (beta Spring 2020) — The expanded Einstein Voice portfolio aims to empower Salesforce admins to create custom Voice Assistants for every user.

With all of these factors coming into play, today’s businesses must accommodate them by focusing on shareholder and stakeholder value with their customers, partners and communities. “That is why we’re here as Trailblazers: to improve the state of the world with trust, customer success, innovation, and equality,” Benioff said during his keynote address.

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The themes highlighted at the show were made a reality by a variety of new Salesforce product launches and improvements. The company announced Salesforce Customer 360 Truth, a solution designed to help companies unify all of their data across all touchpoints so they can build a source of truth of their customers. With Customer 360 Truth, companies are positioned to connect customer data, authenticate identity, govern privacy, segment audiences and personalize experiences, according to Salesforce.

The new Customer 360 Truth capabilities include:

  • Customer 360 Data Manager, which is designed to connect sales, service, marketing and commerce customer data into a single global ID to deliver unified cross-channel experiences;
  • Salesforce Identity for Customers, an authentication service that aims to provide a consistent, secure customer login across a company’s digital properties;
  • Salesforce Privacy and Data Governance, which aims to provides customers and business users with the ability to manage privacy, consent and preferences via one single application; and
  • Customer 360 Audiences, designed to enable companies to capture, unify, activate and analyze customer data at scale.

“We’re going to make it easy for you to build your own 360 and your own single source of truth,” said Salesforce President and Chief Product Officer Bret Taylor, during the keynote.

Lyft Builds World-Class Experiences By Listening To Customers


As buyers and customers are more empowered than ever and have grown to expect the same types of experiences they get from their personal buying journeys, it’s critical for B2B businesses to deliver the same experiences for their professional journeys.

Statistically, customers view the experience of working with a vendor the same way they do the product they’re buying from the vendor, according to Cliff Seal, UX Lead at Salesforce. In addition, Salesforce research shows that 66% of customers are willing to pay more for a great experience. In addition, they want the same experience no matter what the medium is — whether it’s across channels or departments.

“B2B customers are now realizing that Amazon can do all of this and retail can do all this, how can we get a personalized experience for my buying cycle, too?” Seal said during another session at Dreamforce. “B2B buyers are expecting personalized experiences [from vendors]; they expect Amazon-like experiences. Phrases like this are proxies for great personalized experiences. People are just trying to figure out a way to describe what they’re expecting. So, the experience is the product statistically.”

To deliver these types of experiences, high performers are getting into the crowd, speaking with customers and leveraging all the data at their disposal to figure out what the experience is like and look for opportunities to make it better.

“You want to know what it really feels like to be the customer,” said Seal. “You are the first line of defense against bad experiences when you test them for yourself when you audit for yourself.”

One B2B company putting its customers at the center of everything it does is Lyft Business. During the presentation, Samantha Goldman, Head of Enterprise Marketing for Lyft, Inc. joined Seal on stage to share how she leverages the company’s core values to deliver world-class customer experiences.

“When I think of our values, ‘be yourself’ is one that has always resonated with me. It tells you to let your guard down to ultimately be comfortable expressing how you feel, and it enables us to create more diverse opinions,” Goldman said. “When I first started at Lyft, I had this impression or stereotype of what it meant to be a leader and I was acting in a certain way. Finally, my boss actually called me aside and he said, ‘Listen to our values. You need to focus on them and not be nervous to speak your mind and share what you believe in.’ And it actually was about the customer experience. I had some very specific views on the way we were handling something. So just be yourself, feel comfortable talking and saying what you need. That really allowed me to be a better leader, a better innovator and, ultimately, create better experiences for all of our customers.”

The driving factor for all of Lyft’s initiatives is simply listening to customers, something Goldman stated multiple times throughout the presentation. By doing so, Lyft was positioned to execute multiple campaigns that created a sense of community and trust with its customers and even its drivers.

“It’s about knowing your audiences,” she said. “We need to understand what their pain points are and what will resonate with them. We want to be a part of communities we’re in.”

For example, Goldman said the company launched a business rewards program — the first loyalty program in rideshare and it gives you $5 and personal credits for every five business rides — by looking into what business travelers want.

When it came time to test the program, Goldman initially pitched testing it with a small segment of Lyft customers. But the CEO didn’t believe it was enough.

“I was just going to test this with 10% of our population and he literally looked at me and said, ‘Why would you only do this for 10%? Make it happen is one of our values; so if you want to make an impact, you can’t just do it for 10%,’” Goldman said. “’Let’s roll this out to 50%. Let’s actually test it. Set this up as a true test and get measurable outcomes from it. When you get the data, you get the learnings. Go for it and make it happen.’”

Other programs Goldman and her team executed based on what they’ve learned from their customers and drivers include creating an exclusive recording studio in Atlanta for drivers moonlighting as musicians, as well as developing a Lyft “Concierge” for Medicare patients who needed rides to and from their medical appointments.

Goldman highlighting how they noticed “something really weird happening” on the platform. “There were a lot of rides that were all being requested from one location, but the origin for the ride and the destination for the ride were totally different.

“It was actually a call center that had been set up, where you had people that were dispatching rides using multiple Lyft apps on different cell phones for Medicare/Medicaid patients going to and from their medical appointments. So, we saw this happening and we didn’t ignore it, right? We went and we talked to them. We understood their pain points and, ultimately, that’s how our Concierge product was built.

“So, in that vein, you’re experimenting, you’re figuring out how to make things happen, getting leadership to support the ideas and then you really put the test to it,” she concluded. “How do you ensure that your marketing continues to be relevant over time? It’s about constantly checking your audience.”

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