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How Listening Can Create Customer-Driven Innovation at Scale

How Salesforce Drives Customer-Led Innovation at Scale

If you ever wondered how we connect with customers at all levels, here’s a look at our Voice of the Customer program.

I’m often asked, “What’s the difference between a fact and an insight?” While facts are specific pieces of information, they don’t necessarily tell you how to solve a problem or how to move forward on a great idea. Insights use data to act on facts, creating solutions that make ideas a reality. So, what’s the best way to glean insights? It’s simple — by listening.

Salesforce was built by listening to our customers. In the past year alone, we listened to over 19,000 customer and non-customer voices while logging 700 hours of impactful discussions around the globe. We engage with tens of thousands of customers through a multichannel listening program. If you ever wondered how we connect with customers at all levels, here’s a look at our Voice of the Customer program.


The IdeaExchange is Salesforce’s always-on platform for customer feedback, connecting the community to product planning. Customers post and upvote ideas for future releases and then prioritize what’s most important to them three times a year. We’ve spent the past year reimagining the experience on the IdeaExchange to transform how we collect and act on feedback that scales with our growth. There are a few ways customers can get involved! Earn the IdeaExchange Basics badge on Trailhead and connect with our team in the IdeaExchange Reimagined Trailblazer Community Chatter group.

Product roadmap tour

At the beginning of each year, President and Chief Operating Officer Bret Taylor and our most senior product and marketing leadership hit the road, traveling to multiple cities around the world over the span of two weeks. We go on this annual listening tour in order to shape product roadmap strategy for the year ahead while doing what we love — engaging with customers! We also discuss new market concepts and explore opportunities for existing products. Customer feedback uncovers insights into how we can change our approach to build even better products.

Visionary councils

Designed to unpack trending topics and universal issues with customers and non-customers alike, visionary councils differ from our other programs. We open up discussions around a macro problem — not specific to Salesforce products — and gather insights based on how the conversation organically unfolds. These forums are “visionary” in that participants brainstorm and consider solutions of the future — products that Salesforce has not (yet) built, even ones we might never build.

Customer advisory boards and product councils

We meet with customers throughout the year for focused discussions around specific products. It’s an opportunity for customers to get a glimpse into the product roadmap and one of the many ways customers can provide feedback about their evolving needs. With this invaluable intel, we make tweaks and adjustments to new features or functionality to continue to drive customer success.

Bringing customer-led innovation to life

We know the insights we get from our customer listening programs have the power to drive tremendous business results. It also keeps our customers at the center of everything we do at Salesforce. But, listening to and gathering feedback is only valuable if you use it, right? It’s my team’s goal at Salesforce to champion the voice of our customers. That means delivering insights to the right people at the right time — and it’s this multichannel model that empowers us to do just that. Then, voilà, customer-led innovation comes to life! We appreciate customers who have helped shape new features available in the Spring ’20 Release.

Ready to connect with your customers on the road to innovation? The Customer 360 Playbook can get you started with tips on how to create a voice-of-the-customer function and act on insights from across your organization.


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