Obama for America

"Salesforce massively scaled to meet our real-time engagement and decision-making needs."

-Michael Slaby
Chief Integration and Innovation Officer

Connecting with 5.7 million voters

Every American has a story to tell. From foreclosed homes, to newly affordable college educations, to healthcare that’s too expensive—the tales that Americans share with their elected officials are full of inspiration, heartbreak, joy, hardship, and gratitude. Using Salesforce, the Obama 2012 campaign was able to get a closer look into the hopes and dreams that are the soul of our country. By connecting one-to-one with 5.7+ million voters, the campaign guaranteed everyone a voice in how the country is run.

In the months before the election, the campaign typically received 10,000+ emails each day with stories, questions, or feedback for President Obama—growing to almost 50,000 in the days following the Democratic convention. Staffers used Service Cloud to personalise messages to voters. Allison Belville, the campaign’s Director of Communications explains, “It was very important to us to have a personal touch. With Salesforce we didn’t just give mass-produced answers—each person got a tailored response with the information they needed.”

Not only did Obama 2012 use dashboards to get a real-time read on what the nation was thinking about big issues, but staffers were able easily see where opinions differed across the country. “Salesforce let us take the pulse of the nation, while still understanding how people felt about issues at a neighborhood level,” explains Edward Schlicksup, Lead Salesforce Administrator. The campaign segmented by zip code to prioritise efforts in certain counties. “We could be intentional about every conversation with every voter.”

One of the keys to the campaign’s success was its ability to utilise supporters to reach undecideds and get out the vote. Salesforce is so easy to use that new volunteers—often without technical skills—could be trained and start answering questions and sharing the campaign’s message in just minutes. “It’s easier to use Salesforce that it is to ready the healthcare act,” Schlicksup laughs. With 700+ volunteers in the Chicago call center alone, putting their energy to work was a powerful boost for the candidate.

“Salesforce let us empower the volunteers when they came into our headquarters and get them up and running quickly so they could communicate effectively with voters.”

Technology as an advantage

“Time is one of the most valuable assets in any campaign,” says Michael Slaby, Obama 2012’s Chief Integration and Innovation Officer. The campaign used the Salesforce Platform to be more agile and responsive to changing conditions, quickly deploy new apps, and speed up many of its day-to-day processes. “With Salesforce we could move from idea to application very quickly—we built the equivalent of a Fortune 500 company in just seven months.”

Campaign staffers built a variety of custom, mobile-enabled apps to manage everything from budgets for state and regional headquarters, and coordination with the 7,000+ celebrities and public figures that attended various events on behalf of the campaign. One of the most powerful tools was a small app that reduced the time required to activate and deactivate volunteers from hours to just minutes, enabling the team to get even more value from its volunteer corps.

Slaby says, “I would advise others in government to seriously look at the amount of time that they spend setting up servers and networks, and creating all that infrastructure. If you’re not building useful applications, you’re losing time.”


Obama for America
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