Customertimes stands with Ukraine

Jim Goldfinger on CRM, PepUp Tech, and Our "Special Sauce"

Customertimes Chief Customer Officer Jim Goldfinger isn’t just a long-term practitioner of Customer Relationship Management: he helped blaze the trail that made it all possible.

How It Started

“I’ve been in the CRM industry for over 35 years,” says Jim. “In other words, I was in CRM before it was recognized as CRM. I fell in early and couldn’t find my way out. In the words of Steve Martin as Navin Johnson in The Jerk once said, ‘I think I found my special purpose.’

“More seriously, what really drew me to CRM and kept my attention all these years was the opportunity to work with clients across all industries and business models and to help find practical solutions to meet their business objectives. Unlike other areas of technology which are more static, the opportunities to apply technology to solve real business problems in the area of CRM are highly dynamic.”

He notes that the differences are not just between industries, but between companies within industries and then within companies across departments and then even within departments. No matter what, there is still a need to evolve to meet changing business dynamics and business maturity dimensions.

“If you’re a relatively large company with multiple divisions and broad geographic distribution, you’re going to find that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to CRM,” says Jim. “And if you try to force uniformity where it’s unwarranted, every group may feel compromised and therefore not value the solution.” I’ve seen many cases where companies brought an ERP mentality to a CRM project, and it’s one of many reasons projects fall short of expectations.”

This demands both flexible technology and a creative approach – requirements that many define as a challenge, but Jim characterizes as a pleasure.

“I love using technology to solve business problems,” says Jim, “but I’m not a fan of technology for technology’s sake. I consider myself an idealist and a pragmatist: I’m an idealist in that I feel that companies who invest in technology should get their money’s worth, but I’m a pragmatist in that I don’t believe in overengineering solutions or leveraging technology if it won’t provide real value in the near term.”

How It’s Going

A big part of his job, he says, is helping C-level executives view their issues clearly and dispassionately. Sometimes that involves recognizing their state of readiness in order to create a proper solution roadmap.

“It’s a matter of recognizing company maturity,” Jim says. “If you’re at level two maturity, you can’t skip to level five with technology as it will cause too much disruption to the business. Increasingly, you see system integrators pushing the latest capabilities to their clients like a shiny penny without considering the company’s readiness to absorb it.”

Jim considers Customertimes a perfect fit because the company’s ethos matches his own. He notes CT is the world’s largest independent, self-funded Salesforce Systems Integrator, a quality that affords both autonomy and flexibility, keeping employees, customers and partners at the center of the universe. The focus is on solving business problems using their 15+ years of experience and several thousand customer engagements as a guide.

“No one is forcing us to do anything that goes against our cultural grain,” he says. “One of our core competencies is helping customers configure Salesforce, and we’re always given the latitude and resources we need to build exactly what each project requires. Customertimes and I share a common motto: ‘We don’t expect customers to design the solution. We only expect them to define the problem.’”

Given the commitment of Customertimes to the Salesforce ecosystem, Jim – a Salesforce Consumer Goods/Retail Advisory Board Partner – is happily anticipating Dreamforce 2022. He’ll keep an eye out for several things: the direction of Salesforce messaging, the capabilities and appeal of new Salesforce products, and a general sense of the digital economy.

“I have a lot of friends who will be there,” he says, “so it’s mainly an exercise in connecting. You may know someone who solved a problem that was similar to one you or your client is facing. You pay it around, and you pay it forward. It may be a cliché, but we’re all in this together – and conferences like Dreamforce re-enforce our common mission.”

PepUp Tech & Our Ukrainian Roots

Jim’s avocations are closely tied to his professional passions. He’s a board member for PepUp Tech, an organization that trains Salesforce administrators from underserved communities.

“I also participate directly in the program,” he says. “I conduct training sessions every Saturday morning with a few colleagues. I provide context through anecdotes and stories. I find that when you imbed a lesson in a story, people remember it and apply it to their work. When our trainees succeed, it gives me a tremendous sense of satisfaction, and I’m proud that Customertimes has hired many of the people we’ve trained.”

 

Goldfinger and Artem Kolyshkin, Country Head for Customertimes Ukraine, at the Customertimes office in New York City.

 

Jim is also proud of the fact that Customertimes is a company founded by Ukrainian tech entrepreneurs that remains deeply invested, both physically and culturally, in its country of origin. He notes Customertimes has 700 employees working daily from Ukraine, and that productivity has remained high through all the tribulations and horrors of the war.

“As a company, we have the broad skills and competencies of a global system integrator, but we act like a boutique shop when it comes to addressing the needs of the customer,” says Jim. “That’s our special sauce. But when you factor in our roots in Ukraine and the strength we draw from our courageous and selfless colleagues who are working there – well, I think it makes us unstoppable.”

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Coming to Dreamforce?

Meet with Jim and the rest of the Customertimes solution experts in San Francisco Sept 20-22. Find us at booth 441!

I'll Be There
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