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Customer Success

Salesforce Leaders Share a Look Under the Hood of Customer Success

On February 16, we launched our new Salesforce Success Plans to help every customer maximize their investment in Salesforce technology, and offer expert resources, specialized guidance, and personalized, proactive expertise. Customer Success has always been a cornerstone at Salesforce, and our success philosophy has driven how we engage with customers for the past 22 years. Today our customers are asking: how are we innovating? 

We sat down with Salesforce executives Anna Le, SVP of Customer Success Group Offer Management, and Jim Roth, EVP of Customer Support to answer that question. Anna’s group is the go-to-market vehicle for Customer Success, packaging up success offerings. Jim’s group takes it from there, delivering success to our customers. 

Together they lifted up the hood on Customer Success at Salesforce: what’s changed within the industry and with our customers’ needs, and why they’re excited about the new Success Plans.

To learn how Signature, Premier, and Standard Success Plans help our customers go from vision to value fast, check out the press release here.

Q. What are the critical global and industry trends that guide your approach to customer experience?

Anna: There’s a massive push for businesses to go all-digital, fast. Digital transformation isn’t new, but it’s incredibly urgent now and it’s across all industries. 

Giving customers the tools to embrace self-service isn’t new either – but likewise, it has become critical to how we do business. As new capabilities become available, businesses don’t always have the resources or the time to keep up with the innovation that vendors deliver. That issue has been highlighted by the pandemic; everyone’s having to really look at their customers’ needs, their internal needs, and their environments, and prioritize effectively. 

As a result, customers are asking vendors like Salesforce to do more, so they’re freed up to spend more time with their customers. 

Jim: Since many of our customers are going fully digital across their organizations, their environments are more complex. They need solutions that solve end-to-end needs – so integration between environments is a key part of driving success.

I’d also say that, even though it’s starting to sound like a cliché, the crises of 2020 really have accelerated digital transformation, and it’s like every day is Black Friday. So our customers have to get up and running with new solutions faster.  

The crises of 2020 really have accelerated digital transformation, and it’s like every day is Black Friday.

Jim Roth, EVP of Customer Support

Our customers have always relied on us for business critical functions, but now they need us for mission critical operations.

Q. You’re both veterans in customer success at enterprise tech companies, and have worked with companies of all sizes and industries. What do you see as the key challenges customers are likely to face this year?

Anna: What customers need to succeed today is a curated experience, delivered digitally. That’s why our success methodology gives customers access to experts and information when they need it, instantly. Digital-first is table stakes now, and precision is key.

Ultimately, customers today are looking for both ease and expertise – delivered fast

Jim: We’re also seeing a greater need for expertise in industry domains. For example, if a retail customer has Commerce Cloud, and they’re engaging with a success expert from the Customer Success Group, we’re pairing them with a TAM (Technical Account Manager) who has significant retail experience to deliver best practices from that industry.

Our support and success organizations are moving to a greater focus on specialization. To scale, we need to be able to pull in the right specialized experts and swarm quickly to meet customer needs. We’re continuously upskilling our team and using our own technology, the #1 CRM platform, to ensure we can stay ahead of those needs.

Q. So how do the new Success Plans deliver on those needs for speed, scalability, and specialization? What added value do they give to customers? 

Anna: Our number one objective is to help every customer maximize their Salesforce investment. I mentioned precision earlier, and that goes hand in hand with flexibility. We rearchitected our portfolio to make it easier for our customers to choose what’s best for their specific needs, when they need it, driving value from their technology.

Jim: It’s about helping every customer succeed, with flexible options. Every Salesforce customer gets our Standard Success Plan with their license purchase, which gives them access to self-guided resources and the tools to learn Salesforce knowledge and capabilities. 

We streamlined our Premier Success Plan to give customers 24×7 fast issue resolution, access to expert coaching sessions, and specialized guidance. And our new high-touch Signature Success is really about helping customers get ahead of problems before they even know they exist. Proactive monitoring, designated Technical Account Managers, and peak event readiness are key parts of that. 

Q. How do Salesforce Success Plans go beyond traditional support packages?

Jim: Most companies sell support packages, which is an insurance plan for when things break down. We sell Success Plans. They deliver a unique combination of success guidance and support across the customer lifecycle: from getting started with our products, to resolving issues quickly and proactively, to capitalizing on new technology innovations.

Anna: The best support experience is no support case at all. Ideally, your issues are solved before you know they’re happening.

The best support experience is no support case at all.

Anna Le, SVP of Customer Success Group Offer Management

That said, customer support is critical – and it’s the foundation of every Success Plan. Jim leads an award-winning support organization that is ready and able to serve our customers’ needs.

Jim: Support is also about more than just keeping customers up and running. You can’t deliver sustainable, long-term customer success by only focusing on systems when they break. 

As Anna said earlier, it’s about ease and expertise; today’s customers need both proactive engagement and support from day one. That includes being able to move fast and without friction. Our innovations on the support side – including search optimization, improved chat functionality, and faster support delivery – are key to how we get there.

Interested in learning more about Salesforce Success Plans? See how the plans compare here.


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