I joined Salesforce less than a year ago as an Account Executive and recently had the pleasure of returning to my home country, Turkey, to represent Salesforce at the 5th Annual Basecamp Istanbul event. It was an exciting, hectic, and above all, truly rewarding experience. I was thrilled to see the heart of Salesforce beating so strongly nearly 11,000 kilometers away from headquarters in San Francisco!
As the master of ceremonies, I had the privilege of welcoming a record-breaking one thousand customers, partners, and technology enthusiasts who came together to learn about how companies of all sizes can deliver amazing customer experiences by personalizing each customer interaction. The energy, enthusiasm, and participation remained high throughout the event, as customers shared their success stories, teams presented live demos, and attendees networked with peers.
We celebrated our Ohana
“Ohana” means “family” in Hawaiian, and our family includes our customers, employees, partners, and communities. Robin Fisher, our Senior Area Vice President of Sales in EMEA, kicked off the event by sharing Salesforce’s global vision in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, along with our latest innovations and developments.
But the real surprise was when he invited the entire team responsible for putting on the Basecamp event to join him on the main stage, where he thanked us, along with our customers and partners, for our contributions. What a great way to kick off the event!
Trailblazers shared their stories
Nissan CFO Birol Kirklareli shared the inspiring story of how they went “live” in all 41 locations in just one night and during their busiest season, no less! Kirklareli also mentioned that as a result of their partnership with Salesforce, 20% of all of their sales now come solely through digital channels. This statistic is even more impressive given that the automotive industry is usually more traditional in their marketing tactics.
Meanwhile, Pegasus Airlines, Turkey’s first “digital airline” shared how Salesforce has been a cornerstone in their “digital-first” approach, leading them to revamp their social marketing efforts and redesign their mobile application and website.
Turkey’s largest global producer of consumer durables and consumer electronics, Arcelik, completely transformed their business utilizing Salesforce across their entire organization, from sales to service to marketing to communities. IT Manager Ziya Askar raved about the cutting-edge omni-channel platform they built on Salesforce and how it has reinforced Arcelik’s market leadership in customer service.
Einstein Voice delivered a personalized customer experience
Like the hundreds of attendees, I was glued to my seat to watch how Marriott International uses Salesforce’s Service Cloud and Einstein Voice to create consistently personalized experiences for each and every hotel guest. By giving hotel employees a clear, 360-degree profile view of each guest, Marriott not only increased hotel guests’ satisfaction with their hotel stays but they also improved the work experience, leading to happy and satisfied employees!
We helped startups and SMB be successful
As an entrepreneur myself, our session on how startups and small and medium businesses (SMBs) can use Salesforce was particularly rewarding. Over 99% of the Turkish economy is comprised of SMBs and Istanbul has a growing startup ecosystem, so it wasn’t a surprise that the session was well-attended. We helped SMBs understand how our services can be tailored to their business needs with an interactive demo of how startups can use Salesforce to find, win, keep, and connect with their customers.
Mobile all the way!
Turkey has an extremely high mobile penetration rate, with 96% of the population with a mobile plan and 72% of the population that use the internet (and an incredible 79% of those are active mobile social media users!). Thus, interest in Salesforce’s mobile solutions was high and sessions outlining our mobile capabilities, such as how admins can develop mobile apps with clicks not code and how sales teams can utilize our mobile app to stay connected while on the road, were well-attended.
We supported nonprofit organizations
During the event, Salesforce announced a new partnership with YenidenBiz, a nonprofit organization that helps women who have taken a break from their careers return to the workforce through educational workshops, job placements, and advocacy for flexible employment arrangements.
While this partnership is new, Salesforce has been actively working with nonprofits in Turkey for several years, having also worked with Darussafaka, the leading orphanage in Turkey, the Educational Volunteers Foundation of Turkey (TEGV), and the Istanbul Modern Museum, among many others.
We honored our partners
Our business in Turkey, like in many emerging markets, operates entirely through resellers. The close partnership with our implementation partners in Turkey is not only effective but also impactful. So, this year we honored Ritmus with the “Top ACV Influencer Reseller” award, while Inspark was awarded “Top Trailblazer Partner of the Year” and “Top Ohana Partner” and TeknaIT was named the “Top SI Partner.”
We celebrated our 20th birthday … and gave back
The event concluded with a rambunctious celebration of Salesforce’s 20th birthday, complete with a gigantic blue cloud cake, sparklers, and champagne. It was the perfect way to end a day full of learning, collaborating, and interacting with customers, partners, and colleagues throughout EMEA (10 countries were represented).
But Basecamp Istanbul didn’t end there – the following day, we put Salesforce’s renowned 1:1:1 model to action with a visit to an animal shelter on the outskirts of Istanbul alongside one of our reseller partners, Ritmus. Together, we spent several hours, giving back to the community by caring for the animals.
It was an honor to be part of such an inspiring event and I can’t wait until the 2020 Salesforce Basecamp Istanbul.
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