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Customer Success

New IDC Report Examines Salesforce’s ‘Gold Standard’ Customer Success Delivery

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According to a new IDC report, “Salesforce is a technology industry gold standard for customer success. Salesforce was a pioneer of the concept and was one of the first businesses in any industry to publicly advocate a goal of customer success.”

Driving the news: In 2018, Salesforce invested in connecting its Sales and Customer Success teams to deliver a unified, end-to-end customer experience. Then, in 2021, the Customer Success Group (CSG) expanded to include both partner organizations (Alliances and Channels) and Ignite — Salesforce’s in-house customer innovation and consulting organization. 

As a result of this expansion, Salesforce is better able to offer customers of multiple sizes and industries integrated, trusted experts, and high-value services – and drive mutual accountability for customer success.

What’s the impact: The IDC report, “Customer Success — The Salesforce Approach,”1 focuses on Salesforce’s Success 360 methodology, which connects the pre-sale and post-sale experience and delivers value at every step of the customer journey. It includes four steps:

  • Listen to customer needs: Conduct research/discovery and develop an initial point of view. Qualify needs and the potential realized value to stakeholders.
  • Build trust: Define customer requirements, deliver a prototype, and validate the solution, ensuring solution vision, value, and scope align with IT and line-of-business (LOB) stakeholders’ expectations.
  • Partner with the customer: Resolve concerns, deliver the final proposal, and finalize contracts.
  • Succeed: Implement and deploy the solution, encourage adoption, realize customer value, and grow usage.

What they’re saying:

“Salesforce has succeeded in transforming its customer success operations into a strategic competitive advantage,” said Gerry Brown, research director, IDC European CX. “Its commitment to customer success is striking. It has connected customer success and sustainable long-term revenue growth that fuels its customer success investment decisions. Other technology vendors would be well advised to follow its example down this route.”

The Salesforce perspective: Customer success should be considered a business model — more than service alone — that can galvanize morale and motivation and direct customer experience (CX) investments to measurable and tangible customer outcomes. 

Companies should consider implementing a dedicated CSG team to ensure low customer churn, market share growth within enterprise customer accounts, and long-term loyalty, advocacy, and customer value.

The customer view:

  • “Salesforce Professional Services and Customer Success teams were phenomenal. They did a really great job in bringing the teams together and clearly articulating what we need to do to design a solution that is scalable, reliable, and maintainable. They had clarity of thought, were aligned to our business vision, and built a quality solution,” said Stella Michael, Director of CRM Platforms, Priority Health.2 
  • “Taking advantage of the expert coaching sessions as part of our Success Plan with Salesforce is really a no-brainer. It saves us money and time,” said Allyndreth Devlin, Salesforce Business Analyst, Glassdoor.3

Explore further: For more than 20 years, Salesforce has collected over 150,000 customer product usage best practices, insights, and benchmarks that can help guide customer success. For more information on Salesforce’s Success Plans, Professional Services, and how its Customer Success team leverages these best practices and tools to drive amazing results for customers, read IDC’s whitepaper here.

1 IDC, Customer Success — The Salesforce Approach, (doc #EUR147904421, June 2021)

2 IDC did not provide the customer analysis on Priority Health.

3 IDC did not provide the customer analysis on Glassdoor.

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