We’re sharing the top nine lessons from Salesforce Basecamp Auckland – in case you weren’t one of the 1500 Kiwi Trailblazers who joined us on the day.
 

1. Kiwis are doing amazing things

 

The incredibly powerful karakia by Otene Hopa of TupuToa that kicked off Basecamp was tough to beat as a ‘top moment’, and set the stage for inspiring tales from our New Zealand customers. 
 



The way everyone shared their stories, their best practice and ideas with each other was astounding, and revealed the love of innovation among our New Zealand customers. They're doing some amazing things and it’s really inspiring to see everyone sharing their knowledge and expertise to help each other.
 

2. Tech is nothing without smart people and focus

 

One of the companies doing amazing things is NZ’s biggest retail group, The Warehouse Group (TWG). TWG provides rich personalised service and incredible customer experience (CX) across six different brands, even with the complexity that comes with managing different journeys across each brand’s customers.

When TWG’s Chief Digital Officer Michelle Anderson shared the story of its end-to-end transformation, it was clear that, although the organisation is making great use of Customer 360 to manage that complexity, it’s able to do this because of its incredibly smart people and intent focus on CX.

In a live demo, Rachel Oakley talked us through the experience of a customer who wanted to watch the All Blacks beat Canada in the Rugby World Cup. The beating was pretty predictable (sorry Canada), so all they needed was a new television to watch it on. We saw how the offer of the 50-inch television was presented to the buyer in an interaction perfectly tailored to their needs.

That whole experience, all the way through to being able to recommend the next best product, was a very smart, tailored and intelligent journey to help the customer.
 

3. Start small, just get started

 

Each mighty oak came from a little acorn!

I know it can be overwhelming to see what the amazing Trailblazers on stage at Basecamp have achieved, and it can seem too difficult – it’s easier to walk away and not do anything. 

The key in each story shared by a Trailblazer was that they started small. They focused on getting the foundations right, iterating regularly and cultivating a mindset of continuous growth and incremental improvement. They weren’t afraid to fail and knew they would keep improving.
 



If everyone goes into a project with the goal of putting the customer at the heart of their business and providing exceptional CX, then you know you’ll always be looking for improvement, trying new things, learning from mistakes, and be willing and ready to adapt. 
 

4. Build a network with a shared vision

 

Of course, ‘just do it’ is one thing, but there are vital relationships that enable transformation and these were core to each of the Trailblazer stories shared at Basecamp.

The customers who are doing great work that they’re incredibly proud of sharing all shared a strong vision with executive sponsorship and with trusted partners, who they worked with while building their internal capabilities. This shared vision allowed them to get the foundations rock solid and iterate rapidly.

Back in the day, the start of a technology implementation would mean the creation of massive requirements documents outlining what you thought the end solution would look like – you’d spend a huge amount of time building that solution, launching it only to find that your requirements in practice have significantly changed. That's just not the way now. You have to start small, form good partnerships, realise value as you go, and ensure executive buy-in and sponsorship throughout. To realise value, you need to be prepared to fail fast and improve just as fast – and we can’t do that alone or all at once.
 

5. Building skills for the future of work is everyone’s business

 

The absolute highlight of the Keynote for me was sharing the news of a new partnership with Tech Futures Lab that will offer Salesforce Administrator Certification training in a new short-course format.

Through this partnership with Tech Futures Lab we’re making admin skills and certification so much more accessible to a broader audience. People can do four hours a week of face-to-face instruction and another four in their own time on Trailhead, and it costs less than $1000.

In the long term, this will have a massive impact on the local ecosystem and address a skills gap. 

We know that Trailblazers are key to the success of local companies using technology to better connect with their customers and to meet those increasingly changing expectations – just look at the TWG experience – and I’m looking forward to seeing even more New Zealanders join our family. 
 

 6. Customers want connection

 

From each story we heard at Basecamp, there’s no doubt that connectivity is impacting New Zealand businesses – it's changing customers' expectations. They're more informed and they expect every business to be accessible when and where they want to reach them, to offer the same sort of experience they can get as a consumer anywhere.

They expect omnichannel interaction 24/7 – and as TWG told us, “the omnichannel consumer is a more valuable consumer”. They expect us to take the data that we have about them and use that to their advantage by providing tailored, relevant experiences.

In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the pace of change is staggering, and it's only going to increase. The businesses that will be onstage at our next Basecamp are the ones that understand this and are responding.
 

7. And data is key to connection

 

We heard from customers about the value of easily accessing in real time the data that was once stored in multiple silos and disparate applications – the value of using that data to gain actionable insights and make decisions about operational activities, and to service customers and innovate more rapidly.

Mulesoft is an important part of this story, but I’m most excited to see use cases for Salesforce Blockchain. There are literally hundreds of potential local use cases where a quick, seamless and safe way to share and connect data across networks will benefit end consumers – from a car manufacturer increasing visibility into the dealer network so they can better predict when a customer may be looking for a new car, through to enabling consumers with food intolerances or allergies to track the supply chain of a product to check if it’s safe for them before they buy.

The possibilities are endless at the moment and we're just scratching the surface.
 

8. Consumer goods reps are superpowered now 

 

We were so pleased to announce Consumer Goods Cloud at Basecamp. We heard so much about the importance of relationships – of getting closer to customers – throughout the day, and Consumer Goods Cloud will allow reps to do just that.
 



With access to all the information they need whether it's inventory, supply-chain, or consumer or customer information, as well as data-driven insights pushed directly to them, reps will know who to see and when, what to talk with them about and why to talk about it. 

That guided selling capability will reduce the administrative workload so reps aren’t burdened with operational activities that prevent them from spending more time in the field doing what they should be doing – spending time with the customers getting to know them.
 

9. Our not-for-profit customers are doing incredible work

 

In the Campground, St John shared some of the amazing ways they have improved the way they can connect with New Zealanders using marketing automation. Principal Architect Adrian Krzyzewski and Digital Manager Adi Wickramaratne spoke about St John’s transformation program, sharing insights and lessons from their experience in the 10 years St John has been using our technology.

But while Adrian and Adi won hearts and minds, Datacom and Fronde won bellies. There was so much buzz in the campground, and the coffees and sweet bribes from these two partners went pretty well with the excitement and collaboration between Trailblazers, the Salesforce team and our partners.

To find out more about getting closer to your customer and creating amazing customer experiences, download the State of the Connected Customer report here.