Nielsen is a Trailblazer

I’m happy to say that the partnership and integration with Salesforce and Google Cloud has paid off. It’s been a major win for Nielsen.”

Andrew Criezis | Vice President of Sales Operations

Nielsen scores high ratings from users after deploying Google G Suite and Salesforce.

For decades, Nielsen has been a trusted source for information on consumer behavior. When businesses want to know what consumers are watching, listening to, and buying, they turn to Nielsen. The New York-based company uses data science to give retail, manufacturing, and media companies a better understanding of what’s happening in the marketplace, why it's happening, and what actions to take.

For Nielsen, 2015 was a year of digital transformation. “In the same way that we’re building products that are cloud-based and SaaS, we wanted our teams to work fully in the cloud internally,” says Andrew Criezis, Nielsen’s Vice President of Sales Operations.

The company also wanted to increase tracking of key customer engagement activities and speed up the administrative task of entering data on leads, contacts, and opportunities throughout the sales funnel.

“We really wanted a single place to see and understand all of the opportunities and quality issues, all throughout the pipeline, side-by-side with other cases,” Andrew says. “On a more basic level, we also wanted to be able to see recent activities so that before we go meet with a client, we’ve got the latest status, and we are coordinated internally as a team.”

To accomplish those goals, Nielsen needed to abandon its current office products suite and turn to Google Cloud’s G Suite for cloud-based collaboration and productivity products and to Salesforce for customer relationship management. As a bonus, the two products integrate together, which adds greater ease and simplicity.

Nielsen gains the benefits of cloud collaboration using G Suite.

Nielsen chose Google Cloud for three reasons: easy collaboration, cross-device capability, and its cloud-first strategy.

“On the collaboration side, we found G Suite to be more intuitive,” Andrew says. “It creates simpler and more seamless collaboration.The mobility aspect of G Suite, whether on a phone or a tablet, is impressive.”

For Nielsen, adopting cloud technology for internal use was a big change. The deployment was a large-scale coordinated effort, with executive sponsors and an executive committee to drive and encourage the change. They started with a 100-day plan and a small, tech savvy team. At the 90-day mark, a core group of IT people began migrating emails and content from on-premises sources into the cloud. Soon after, the company launched Google Guides, a network of super users who tested the system and helped others transition to G Suite features such as Gmail, Hangouts, Drive, Docs, Slides, and Sheets.

“Moving to G Suite was as much a change management effort as a technology shift,” said Nerina Martinez, Technology Director at Nielsen. “We appointed a full-time change management leader to work alongside the technical architect and project manager.”

Nielsen conducted a multi-phased approach, focusing on creating a culture of collaboration. The company identified several personas to target. These included general end users, administrative assistants, executive stakeholders, as well as core IT staff and help desk professionals.

In July 2016, the company launched G Suite to more than 50,000 users worldwide. The methodical deployment has been a success: By September 2018, usage of Google Docs was 58 percent; Google Sheets, 82 percent; and Google Slides, 49 percent.

“It’s been a huge success from an IT standpoint and a sales operations standpoint,” Andrew says.


Nielsen drives revenue growth with a new enterprise sales process powered by Salesforce.

With scalable cloud-based solutions in place, Nielsen next focused on implementing a new standardized enterprise sales process. Salesforce is the backbone of that process.

“The big reason for moving forward with Salesforce is that it’s the top-end CRM platform. The UI is really intuitive—especially now with Lightning. It has a great app exchange with tons of apps, many of which we’ve integrated with our platform. And it has a strong investment plan in the product and the portfolio.”

Using the Salesforce roadmap, Andrew’s team integrated Salesforce into everything from pre-sales, such as marketing and lead nurturing, to automated pricing contracts, to delivery and feedback, to integration with billing and case management.

Service Cloud is enabling cases and a direct portal to clients. Sales Cloud is helping them track activities and opportunities. Pardot is helping with marketing efforts. Analytics is driving data visualization, and the mobile app is making the teams more flexible.

The company has more than 3,000 commercial Sales Cloud users, more than 300 analytics users, and more than 12,000 Service Cloud users across 100 countries. Adoption is 85 percent, with over 10,000 live opportunities.

Salesforce and G Suite Integrations saves Nielsen about 100,000 administration hours a year.

“With Google, we’re driving collaboration. With Salesforce, we’re driving revenue,” Andrew says. “So it was important to see how we could get these two major technologies to play together.”

The verdict: “They come together nicely.”

With some basic admin configuration by one administrator, Andrew’s team implemented the Salesforce Gmail Integration and Lightning Sync for Google Calendar, making tracking interactions and activities simple and fast.

“No one loves going in and manually typing every single meeting or piece of information they have,” Andrew says. “We wanted a better way to track some of that information and the important activities. We also wanted a faster way to enter leads, contacts, and opportunities.”

Andrew’s team pushed out the integration to 500 users, with a goal of reaching 1,000 by year’s end.

User feedback has been glowing: “The best SF enhancement ever,” wrote a commercial director. A director of new business wrote, “You are going to save my team a TON of time with this functionally. Thank you so much!”

In fact, the integration is saving about 2 hours per week in administration time for each sales rep—building up to a potential 100,000 hours of sales efficiency gained companywide.

“Ultimately our goal to bring these two together was about increased time selling,” Andrew says. “It worked.”

“I’m happy to say that the partnership and integration with Salesforce and Google Cloud has paid off. It’s been a major win for Nielsen.”


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