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Artificial Intelligence

Salesforce CMO on Today’s C-Suite Priorities, Customer Centricity, and Generative AI

How can companies take better care of their customers during an economic downturn? Salesforce President and Chief Marketing Officer Sarah Franklin shares what C-level execs are prioritizing with tighter budgets, what it takes to be a customer company today, and the game-changing possibilities of generative AI at Salesforce.

Q: How do businesses give customers better experiences in uncertain economic times? 

No matter the economic situation, customers have to be at the heart of everything you do. It was easy to become disconnected during the pandemic, but you really need to be a customer company and focus all your decisions around your customer, surround them with the latest technology, and stay true to your values so they trust you.

Of course in this economic environment, everybody’s looking to do more with less. Everyone’s asking — how can we get more value out of what we have? How can we automate our systems to help our teams be more productive? But they’re also asking how they can do all this while still giving their customers better experiences? That’s top of mind for every exec right now.

Q. How does Salesforce technology help businesses grow efficiently despite tighter spending?

Businesses should always be asking themselves: is this the most productive use of my people’s time? Salesforce has built a platform that incorporates three critical capabilities — data, automation, and AI — that every company can apply to becoming more efficient and productive. 

It starts with customer data — collecting, unifying, and harmonizing every piece of data connected to a customer across sales, service, marketing, and commerce. 

sarah franklin, president and chief marketing officer, salesforce

And to truly differentiate your customers’ experiences from others, you need to be able to use automation and AI with that data in real time, which our data cloud allows. 

But data without insights is just data. Salesforce’s AI and automation allows companies to take actionable insights to deliver personalization at scale and connect with customers the way they need and want.

When you want to grow your business and every dollar you spend matters, it’s essential to have a single source of truth for your customer and infuse it with the latest tech to make it work for you.

Q. What’s an example of how Salesforce helps businesses become better customer companies? 

Look at L’Oréal and how they’re completely transforming health and beauty — they’re making it into a technology to drive success. Using Service Cloud, their agent satisfaction scores went up 70% because all their customer data was in one place. Our AI-generated product recommendations even drove around 15-20% of sales for one brand. 

Also, what they’re doing with AR, VR, and personalization at scale with all of their beauty products. You can make your own lipstick shade! That’s incredible. This is a sustainable approach to cosmetics, and it can match exactly what you’re wearing in real time.

It’s incredible to see what Salesforce customers like L’Oréal are doing and what they’re coming up with next.

Q. Speaking of what’s next — as technology evolves, so does where we find audiences and potential customers. There are more platforms than ever competing for attention. As CMO, how do you approach this challenge? 

Not only have the channels and platforms grown, but attention spans have decreased, so it’s definitely a quandary for marketers. That’s why standing out is a necessity.

As a marketer, one of the ways I stay on top of market trends — I look to my kids. They’re on Tiktok, Roblox, etc. They’re in these places I need to understand to stay current in my job. 

We have to keep that beginner’s mind about the channels we’ve traditionally relied on, too. Take TV. We no longer just have to rely on viewer ratings or how many people saw a show, because advancements in smart TVs will allow us to start seeing a more detailed picture and personalize the experiences we provide there. That’s something we’re already doing on our streaming service, Salesforce+ — using data to give audiences more relevant, customized content. 

It’s a really exciting time to be a marketer because you don’t have to have just one message that goes to millions of people — you can personalize each message for each person. Real-time, AI-generated content tailored to each unique person at a scale that we couldn’t imagine before — that’s the future. 

sarah franklin, president and chief marketing officer, salesforce

Q. How are you thinking about the future of generative AI and Salesforce?

The advancements in generative AI have been really mind blowing, and they build on the work we’ve been doing for years with Einstein. To learn more, register for TrailblazerDX, our developer conference taking place March 7-8 in San Francisco.

For customer service or sales teams, conversational, interactive experiences can be personalized, and suggestions to interact will be generated right there in the moment for you, based on real-time data — not just data from the past. There’s an incredible opportunity and why it’s more important than ever to work with a technology partner that can bring this to life in a trusted and responsible way

Q. Generative AI works off of data. What makes Salesforce uniquely positioned to be a leader in this space?

AI is only as good as the data that’s powering it. Salesforce has the world’s most trusted set of customer data in the world. We have that golden, first-party data that is every marketer’s dream. 

Having that really great source of data creates a world of endless opportunities for both predictive and generative AI to create personalized customer experiences that feel like magic. It’s a perfect match — the best data paired with the best AI creates the best experience for customers.

Go deeper:

  • Register for TrailblazerDX.
  • See what Salesforce experts are saying about generative AI here and here.
  • Learn what’s in store for the ultimate content personalization platform, Salesforce+, here.
  • Read how Salesforce helped Casey’s create marketing personalization at scale.

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