Balance. It’s something many of us strive to achieve in both our personal and professional lives. At home, I’m focused on spending time with my family and catching up on my reading. When it comes to my role leading Salesforce’s Customer & Market Insights team, I spend most of my time partnering with our leaders to ensure our customers’ and partners’ voices bring strategic balance to our product roadmaps.
What does balance look like in a roadmap? What we build for Salesforce Trailblazers — our community of customers and partners — must be practical and deep enough to address customer pain points today, and innovative and forward-looking enough to address the challenges we’ll face in the future.
Given that our product portfolio continues to expand to meet new customer needs, and our products are used in increasingly new and creative ways — some of which we didn’t initially imagine — we rely on Trailblazers to help guide us in creating this balance.
At Dreamforce and other large events, we source product feedback through live discussions with Trailblazers, in a session we call True to the Core. Outside of these events, we look to our always-on listening platform: the IdeaExchange.
Harnessing the power of customer- and partner-led innovation
IdeaExchange is where we solicit ideas from Trailblazers on what improvements they’d like to see in our products. It’s also where other Trailblazers can support an idea and add their use cases and workarounds, all in an effort to provide Salesforce with signals indicating where we should build additional depth into our products.
The concept isn’t new — the IdeaExchange is 14 years old and has been key to bringing more than 3,400 customer-requested features to life in our products. What is new is the site itself, along with our renewed commitment to ensure this community always has a voice in shaping — and bringing balance — to our products.
The new IdeaExchange, rebuilt on Experience Cloud, now makes it easier to provide feedback to, collaborate with, and hear from Salesforce product teams. New IdeaExchange features include:
Intelligent Search – Via simplified statuses and categories, and the power of keyword search, finding relevant product ideas is now faster within IdeaExchange. Returning to already-posted, upvoted-on, or commented-on ideas has also become simpler with a new “My Activity” tab.
Improved Collaboration – Good ideas are well written. Great ideas are enriched with diverse use cases. With threaded commenting and the ability to bring others — including product managers — into a conversation through @ mentioning, it’s now easier for Trailblazers to turn raw ideas into rich co-created features.
Simplified Idea Submission – If an idea doesn’t already exist on IdeaExchange, the new category picker gets an idea routed to the right place and the enhanced duplicate detection engine will help unique ideas stand out.
Enhanced Idea Details – We want to make sure our community knows exactly who is working to address their requests, and the status. For ideas in development, Trailblazers will see which product manager is working on it and a link to the release notes when the idea is delivered.
A reshaped roadmap
These improvements are the latest in a multi-year journey to reimagine the IdeaExchange. They complement the innovation we launched at Dreamforce 2019 with IdeaExchange Prioritization, where customers and partners become an extended member of our product team — they get a virtual budget that they can then allocate to top product ideas. This functionality helps our customers and partners think like product managers and prioritize which feature requests they’d like to see implemented first. In fact, this capability has led to the delivery of 14 top-requested features and an additional 23 currently in development.
When we piloted the prioritization process with Trailblazers in January 2019, they helped place the ability to assign tasks to a queue within Sales Cloud. In January 2021, they prioritized a Nonprofit Cloud feature that enables an address to be marked as no longer valid. This stemmed from the idea logged “Add Bad Address to Address Management.” And during our most recent round of prioritization, the community signaled they’d like us to focus on analytics. Shortly after, two analytics ideas rose to the top of the prioritized list and are now in development.
A community of continued influence
Our journey doesn’t stop here. Balance is something that is maintained, not achieved. We will continue to look to our customers and partners to guide our product roadmaps, including how we evolve the IdeaExchange itself.
We are excited to see what ideas come from this community on the new IdeaExchange, and how they will continue to shape the Salesforce product roadmap for years to come. In the meantime, help us determine what we work on for the Winter ’23 release and beyond by prioritizing ideas in our next round of roadmap prioritization from January 26 through February 7, 2022.