1. We celebrated 20 years of social impact in the keynote
After Ann Weldon, a Board Member of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, performed a Welcome to Country, Salesforce President and Chief Product Officer Bret Taylor kicked off the keynote on a high point.
“We’re celebrating 20 years of Salesforce on 8 March!” Bret told the packed keynote room. “And in 20 years, the thing we’re most proud of isn’t the revenue. It’s the way we’ve built the company. It’s our values.”
And there has never been a more important time to put our values of trust, equality, innovation and customer success into action, Bret said. He explained that Salesforce’s success is defined by customers’ success.
We heard that Salesforce employees have contributed 3.7 million hours to their chosen causes, while Salesforce has given US$250 million in grants and supplied product valued at US$39m to NFPs and education equality.
2. A rockstar panel talked trust
The day closed with a panel of rockstar guests discussing trust – harking back to Taylor’s comment in the keynote: “It’s safe to say there’s a trust crisis here in Australia.”
We’ve talked about the trust crisis before, but not with the fine minds and diverse experience in the room yesterday: Aussie journalist and household name-slash-icon Stan Grant, the leader of last year’s Thai cave rescue Rick Stanton and Seafolly CMO Adriane McDermott, with our own Rob Wickham moderating.
Media is built on credibility and believability, Stan Grant told the audience.
“The proliferation of social media has eroded traditional media,” he said, explaining that the rise of social media means anyone can see something and write about it, can do the work – for all appearances – of a journalist. “What’s left for us?” he asked.
“Our expertise, credibility, believability.”
But the shift in the relationship between media and audience triggers a chain reaction that threatens all three further. As traditional forms of media have been challenged just to survive, Grant explained, journalists have been laid off, and partisanship has taken over – people seek out the media that aligns with their beliefs, and an audience seeking partisan media shapes media companies’ business models.
How does this translate to brands? McDermott weighed in: “The difference between good and great brands comes down to believability and trust. And I’d say authenticity.”
‘Authenticity’ can be a woolly term, so McDermott explained – the ability to make decisions based on a set of defined beliefs, and the ability to stick with those beliefs even when the decisions they dictate are hard ones, or potentially not best for the bottom line.
Stanton, meanwhile, had advice on building a trusted team. As the leader of the cave dive that caught the attention of the world and saved the lives of 12 Thai kids, their soccer coach and four of the rescue team who’d become trapped, he knows a thing or two about the topic.
“I operate underwater,” he said. And look, the session was silent disco – we all had headphones on, so potentially everyone said ‘we know that bit, mate, just tell us everything!’ and shuffled around a bit on the edge of their seats to catch every one of his words.
“It’s quite an extreme, alien environment. And when we’re not doing it for pleasure, we’re doing it in a high-pressure situation. We’re working with people who are making life-critical decisions under stress.”
So, how does he know who to trust? In the Thai dive, Stanton was working with a long-term diving partner. But from there, he explained, building the team was instinct.
You couldn’t make a list of the qualities of someone you can trust in that situation, he said, “but you know it when you see it”.
While the rescue started out shakily, after a few days everyone was pulling together, Stanton said. International borders, and language and cultural barriers were overcome.
Purpose cut right through.
Translating again to brand and businesses, purpose is the basis of building trust.
3. Salesforce Ventures pledged $50 million to Aussie startups
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, The Honourable Senator Simon Birmingham joined us to launch the new Salesforce Ventures $50m Australia Trailblazer Fund, which will support innovation and growth in the Australian startup ecosystem.
Australians’ irreverence, Birmingham explained, will see local startups make the most of the opportunity.
“We’re able to think outside the square,” he said. “We facilitate the free flow of data and ideas, recognising that data is in fact the new oil.”
And we can’t wait to see who will follow in the footsteps of previous Ventures investments Arxxus, SqwarePeg and more.
Australia, go forth and innovate!
4. Heidi Prowse collected a Golden Hoodie
One of our favourite Trailblazers Heidi Prowse collected a Golden Hoodie of her very own on the keynote stage!
Heidi, who has just reached Ranger status, is the very epitome of an #AwesomeAdmin – you can read her story to find out why.
Welcome to life with goldie Heidi!
5. myTrailhead launched and we got a first-hand look at it in action
Rob Wickham took to the Keynote stage to give us all a first-hand look at myTrailhead in action. We’d already heard from Bret Taylor that 1 in 4 people who go on Trailhead land a higher-paying job with the skills they’ve built – now with myTrailhead, companies have the opportunity to create cultures of continuous learning and development.
We saw how myTrailhead has worked for Telstra, with trails integrated into workflows and tailored to users, and learning made fun!
6. Special guests talked all things growth
Red Balloon founder and Shark Tank judge Naomi Simson, New York Times Bestselling Author and co-founder of UP! Your Service Ron Kaufman, entrepreneur and sales expert Cian McLoughlin, and our own Global Customer Growth and Innovation Evangelist Tiffani Bova shared their advice for building a high-growth organisation.
The message was clear: customers are key – winning them, keeping them, learning from them, growing with them and earning referrals from them.
“And your customers are not going to thank you for just giving them what they expect,” Kaufman said.
He went on to explain how to build growth into customer service: start with service transactions, build into a service relationship, and grow into a service partnership.
“But if you want to get more from customers, they’ll want to get more from you. At the transaction stage, you have to deliver what you promised, but deliver higher than their expectations. At the relationship stage they’ll give you referrals, but you need to work out what you will give them to take it to the next level – a partnership.”
Simson, meanwhile, recommended entrepreneurs cast their minds back to their businesses’ very beginnings.
“You remember having no customers, and you remember getting that first customer and how that felt. How do you now honour every customer and the decision they’ve made?” she asked.
For McLoughlin, customers are key to innovation.
“They’ll help us innovate, they’ll hold us to account,” he explained. “You can get further and further from customers, but we need to bring them into the tent, because they’ll show us the right way and let us know when they’re getting off track.”
McLoughlin recommends taking the time to ask customers for feedback: “don’t leave it sitting on the table.”
And Simson recommends tuning into the customer conversations that are already happening.
“When I need to remember our customers, I hang out in our contact centres and I sit in on service calls,” she said. “I get to hear about the things customers have been able to do because they chose us.”
7. Celeste Barber dropped in to chat!
Launching new research into women’s opinions of work, life, stress and more, Marie Claire Editor Nicky Briger hosted a panel discussion with CEO and President of Cochlear Dig Howitt, Country Road Group and David Jones Chief Customer Officer Hannah Ross, and comedian and actress Celeste Barber.
The research tracks changes in women’s lives since Marie Claire’s ‘What women want’ survey, 10 years ago, finding that more women are now happy in their careers, but they also want to be paid more – women’s greatest fear is not having enough money now and in retirement – and that women are empowered to take action against sexism and sexual harassment in the wake of #MeToo.
Barber, however, questioned just how far society has progressed: “54% of women will now report sexual harassment in the workplace. And we see that as a good thing? That’s only half!” she said.
Howitt, part of Male Champions of Change in STEM, has recently spearheaded an initiative to combat everyday sexism at Cochlear.
“We ran focus groups on everyday sexism and I’d thought we were going well, that we were very equal,” he said. “I expected a bit of feedback that men talked over women, but there was more. Men would stand back and wait for women to unwrap sandwiches at lunch meetings. Women travelling for work we asked ‘who’s looking after your children?’ – a question that carries the weight of accusation.”
Knowing about a problem is just step one. Following the focus groups, Cochlear ran town halls to discuss the problem and solutions.
“Calling out everyday sexism is important,” he said. “We ran one ‘mic-throw’ event, and noticed that when a woman was waiting for the microphone – her turn to speak – men would throw the mic among themselves. We called that out. Some embarrassment can be useful.”
After the panel, Celeste Barber also jumped into our studio – watch the video here.
8. We talked sales trends
In the Sales Keynote, News Corp Chief Information Officer Dominic Hatfield spoke about the transformation of the media giant from a product-centric organisation to a customer-centric organisation.
“We have transformed our selling process with consistency across the platform, campaign tracking, reporting and analytics,” he said. “We joined up our tech strategy and augmented it with our business strategy so it became one.”
Hatfield’s advice to other companies undergoing transformation was to get executive endorsement, stop focusing on technology projects and focus on business projects, have a clear change plan, be patient, be prepared to change over time, and get your partner and team mix right.
Five trends that are shaping sales now were discussed:
Collaboration across sales and marketing
Intelligence and the rise of AI
New revenue channels/partners
9. We looked to the future
John Cassidy, Managing Director at Accenture, asked the question: the post-digital era is upon us – are you ready for what’s next?
This is what Cassidy said is coming, and how organisations can be ready:
DARQ power: DARQ are the new technologies (such as artificial intelligence, extended reality and quantum computing) that will be a catalyst for change in a world that has already embraced digital tools. Understanding the DNA of DARQ is an essential step in preparation.
Get to know me: unlock unique consumers and unique opportunities – this includes markets that open and close quickly even within three or four days and the ability to produce products to suit.
Human worker: change the workplace or hinder the workplace.
Secure us to protect us: enterprises are not victims, they are vectors – as consumers become increasingly reliant on connected ecosystems, companies have to become more aware of where the security weaknesses are.
And, according to Cassidy, the pace of change bringing the next wave of technology will move faster than ever.
10. We gave back
60 students from Casula High School – Our Circle the Schools partner – attended and pitched very impressively to the Campground on their Maker Fair projects, focussing on tackling the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We saw everything from AI-enabled robotic household rubbish bins to ocean clean-up projects. Go kids!
To celebrate 20 years of giving back, five not-for-profits were in the Salesforce.org Zone in the Campground: Australian Schools Plus, Two Good, Batyr and The Shepherd Centre. More than 300 attendees posted a pledge on our giving back wall to take action in their own lives to make a difference to themselves, their community or the world.
And so much more
There was so much action – more than can be covered here. More than 200 customers and partners shared their stories, insights and expertise; the Campground was packed with partners, demos, NFPs, even a spot of mini golf and a VR experience; admins started the day with breakfast and closed it with a demo jam, and four floors of the ICC hosted discussions, panels, breakouts and workshops.
See more of the action on Salesforce Live.