Salesforce allows us to serve our customers in the moments that matter most.”

Bill Hoffman, Chief Analytics Officer, HEAD OF CRM
73,000 employee
Salesforce customer since 2009




As the nation’s fifth-largest commercial bank, U.S. Bank focuses on fostering deep customer relationships across all its divisions. Yet, in the past, this used to be a challenge for the financial institution. Customer trust was only being built within individual business units, despite the fact that a customer might do business with multiple divisions such as banking, mortgage, investment, or payments.

Not surprisingly, officials in each division had a different, and frequently incomplete, picture of their customers’ interactions as a result. While that type of fragmented experience isn’t unique in the commercial banking space, the Minneapolis-based financial institution made a conscious decision to shift the paradigm.

Instead of perpetuating multiple silos, bank officials encouraged a “one U.S. Bank” mentality among all the divisions and created a unified customer experience that cut across all business lines.

To guide this new shift in direction, U.S. Bank chose the Salesforce Platform to give customers easy access to its financial services across all channels, including mobile devices, personal computers, ATMs, and more than 3,000 branches in 25 states.

“Salesforce is a critical partner for our transformation to be a truly customer-centric organization,” said Bill Hoffman, Chief Analytics Officer and Head of CRM.

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The move to Salesforce started after the Small Business Banking group began looking for a new vendor to support mobile applications. Their old system relied on separate databases that each required individual updates and hardware that required constant upgrades. This meant data was siloed and could not intermingle, which prevented U.S. Bank from getting a complete picture of its customers. With Salesforce, all customer data collected from every branch lives in one system.

“We want to make sure we put customers at the center of everything we do,” Hoffman said. “So we need to have a unified view to create a unified customer experience. The way to do that is to enable our employees, so we’re leveraging AI and natural language in service of our front-line employees.”

With a single, unified database for all its customer information, U.S. Bank has the data it needs to understand its customers, and with Sales Cloud Einstein, it has the tools it needs to turn that information into results. To automatically build a model that can predict lead conversion, Einstein uses machine learning to search through historical lead data — all customized for U.S. Bank — without needing any additional data science or development. By sharing the insights gleaned from Einstein, U.S. Bank employees are able to work more effectively, and across all branches. For example, wealth managers can use retail banking insights to offer relevant products to customers in the wealth division.

“The A in AI should stand for augmented, not artificial,” said Hoffman. “There’s nothing artificial about a high-quality personalized relationship that a financial advisor or a commercial banker can build with a customer. AI takes some of the minutia out of that, and enables a human being to do what they do best, which is be a human and build a deeper relationship.” After implementing Einstein, U.S. Bank saw a 2.35x increase in conversion of top-ranked leads.

The company’s implementation of Salesforce in 2009 created immediate benefits that were hard to ignore. The Small Business Banking group gained more agility and more flexibility to add or subtract built-in features, as well as a decreased need for technology assistance and new equipment.

Their increased productivity garnered attention from other areas of the bank, and in 2013, the company’s Home Mortgage division adopted Salesforce, followed by Wealth Management and a Payment Services unit. Two years later, the Commercial Banking group signed on as well. Today, about 12,000 of U.S. Bank’s employees are Salesforce users.

The next step in U.S. Bank’s deployment of CRM is personalization, and the bank is partnering with Salesforce to fully implement that capability and strengthen the complicated, high-touch relationships that involve a mix of banking services.

“Salesforce allows us to serve our customers in the moments that matter most,” Hoffman said. “They don’t come to us thinking they are working with U.S. Bank Home Mortgage or U.S. Bank Consumer Banking. They come to us thinking they are working with U.S. Bank. The Salesforce Platform gives our employees who are handling those relationships access to what they need to know, regardless of our internal division, so we’re one bank, one company to our customers.”

One example of this new cohesion is Salesforce’s “team room” functionality, where up to 50 employees who work on a single customer account can see the information they need, when they need it.

“That single source of collective truth frees up time for our folks to do what they do best, which is to actually talk to the customer, understand their risk, and identify the product sets or service sets that are right for them,” said Hoffman.


Salesforce is a critical partner for our transformation to be a truly customer-centric organization.”


In the past, customer records were manually kept or digitally housed within one business unit, but now that’s all changing, thanks to the Salesforce Platform.

“We’re moving from analog to digital on the overall customer experience,” Hoffman said. “We’re enabling it in real time. We’re making it holistic, so you can see across a customer’s relationship with the broader U.S. Bank.”

Salesforce’s mobility, said Hoffman, is a “huge value unlock,” as well.

“We can’t have folks chained to their desktops,” he said. “Salesforce makes it easy for them to get the information they need to meet customers where they’re at. Often, that’s not in the office. It may be at a client site or in transit.”

Getting people to adopt Salesforce has been a major consideration for U.S. Bank, and the company points to Trailhead, Salesforce’s guided learning paths, as an important part of that initiative.

When introducing Salesforce within a U.S. Bank unit, the Enterprise CRM team found individual users were much quicker to adapt to the Salesforce Platform once they completed the Trailhead paths.

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This guided-learning approach has provided valuable education for the development team members, too, as it helped them easily find solutions to any concern they may have. Trailhead is now the most popular starting point for training on the Enterprise CRM team, and they’re expanding its use to reporting, seasonal updates, and new product education.

After eight years with Salesforce, and success with Sales Cloud Einstein, U.S. Bank was ready to see what else Salesforce Einstein had to offer. Despite requiring an AI solution customized to its unique needs, U.S. Bank nonetheless found there were many use cases for artificial intelligence. With myEinstein, U.S. Bank has the ability to predict anything in CRM — an ability that is powering many of its current projects. For one initiative, Einstein helps U.S. Bank solve a problem shared by all banking institutions: customer churn. The team uses Einstein Discovery to understand and explain the causes of churn and predict the likelihood of customer retention.

“Artificial intelligence and machine learning allow us to see things that human beings just don’t have the capacity to see,” Hoffman said. “That augmentation of our analytics capability — bringing that into the frontline — that’s a game-changing tool in the toolkit for us. We’re really excited about Einstein because it’s going to allow us to see non-obvious patterns that will help us better serve our customers.”

“We want to embed machine learning and artificial learning capabilities into the normal processes that our employees are leveraging every day. It has to be natural,” said Hoffman. “It has to be truly centered on customer experience.”

In December 2016, U.S. Bank signed a five-year agreement, cementing its relationship with Salesforce as a mission-critical partner.

“Salesforce has shown us that they have an enablement culture where people are at the center, and the platforms they have created bring that to life for clients,” Hoffman said. “That is important to us, because it enables a key element of our ‘one U.S. Bank’ philosophy and our core value of putting people first. Salesforce allows us to put our frontline in the best possible position to deliver our overall corporate strategy in service to our customers.”

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