Relationships are at the heart of business for U.S. Bank, the nation’s fifth-largest commercial bank. Yet, over the years, customer trust has only built up within individual business divisions, even though a customer may have been working with multiple divisions such as banking, mortgage, investment, or payments. As a result, officials in each division had a different, and frequently incomplete, picture of their customers’ interactions.
While that type of fragmented experience isn’t unique in the commercial banking space, the Minneapolis-based financial institution made a conscious decision to switch the paradigm.
The move to Salesforce began slowly at first, when the Small Business Banking group was looking for a new vendor to support mobile applications. Steven Daniels, Senior Vice President and Director of Enterprise CRM, was part of the selection process.
“Salesforce gave us lead-management features and was compatible with our legacy systems in ways that other vendors were not,” Daniels said. “But it provided other benefits, too: data outside the data center, not paying for upgrades, not needing to buy new hardware every three years. Salesforce had a very different model.”
That 2009 launch 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, according to Daniels.
“Those are things we just couldn’t do on our previous platform,” Daniels said. “Most companies can get in their own way with existing technologies, processes, and environments. We did, too. But Salesforce helped us break through those issues — we can do almost 80% of our own modifications and configurations, so our technical team can focus more on integration and data quality tasks.”
Those results 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 more than 73,000 employees are Salesforce users.
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 ready for the move to 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.
“There is no better tool out there for learning the Salesforce Platform,” said Daniels. “It’s where you see innovation resonate — in every aspect of Salesforce — all the way down to the most basic individual user level.” When introducing Salesforce within a U.S. Bank unit, Daniels’ team has found individual users were much quicker to adapt to the Salesforce Platform once they completed the Trailhead paths.
This guided-learning approach has provided valuable education for the development team members, too, as it helped them easily find solutions to problems they were facing. Trailhead is now the most popular starting point for training on Daniels’ team, and they’re expanding its use to reporting, seasonal updates, and new product education.