Last year I had the opportunity to take part in the Salesforce Trailblazer programme whilst working for Addison Lee. A year later, we live in a CV19 world where Salesforce World Tours have been postponed and even cancelled. After working in the Salesforce ecosystem for 8 years, it feels strange not to have spent time in the London EdExcel Centre waiting for the show to begin. This displaced feeling prompted me to reflect on the Trailblazer experience and think about what benefits it brought to myself and Addison Lee. Was it just a bit of fun having a video produced and having my picture splashed around the EdExcel Centre, or was it more than that?
For those that haven’t taken part in the Trailblazer experience, let me give you a brief overview.
The process begins with interviews with nominated members of your organisation’s exec team and key members of the CRM technology team. After that, a narrative is formed that will be the basis for the trailblazer video. Planning the video takes a couple of weeks, with site visits and planning meetings to ensure that the best locations are found. In Addison Lee’s case, this even extended to reaching out to TFL to gain permission to film on the streets of London and working with restaurants to film segments on their premises.
It soon becomes clear that the commitment from Salesforce is considerable both in time and money.
The filming takes a number of days, and the team that arrives to film would put some BBC film crews to shame. They take over a large portion of our head office and contact centre for a number of days. Hair and makeup rooms are set up, lighting rigs erected, sound and lights are triple checked, interviews are rehearsed, and headshots are taken to make sure everything is perfect. The whole time, the Salesforce team is onsite to help us through the process.
Amazingly, within a week, the first cut of the video is ready for review and hours of raw footage are available for the organisation to keep and reuse as they see fit.
As World Tour draws closer, banners are produced, and speaking opportunities for Addison Lee’s team are discussed. I spoke twice at the tour: once at a Digital Engagement lunch and learn, and also at the Service Cloud keynote. Both of them were great opportunities to show off the achievements of my team and how far Addison Lee had progressed.
What benefits did it bring?
So this all sounds fun, and it certainly broke up a few dull early spring days, but how does an organisation benefit from this process, other than having its name in lights for a day?
Of course, the buzz that the company gets is great. It shows that you’re doing something right, and your team is being recognised for their hard work and enjoying the success that comes from a job well done. As a head of CRM technology, it was great to be able to show my team that Salesforce recognised their hard work and skills.
Trailblazers are also recognised within Salesforce, and our story and pictures were posted throughout the Salesforce offices. This generated a great deal of interest in our story, and for Addison Lee, it meant that we gained access to some very senior members of the Salesforce team, including Bill Paterson, EVP and General Manager, CRM Applications and Bret Taylor, President and Chief Operating Officer. This sponsorship opened many more doors within the Salesforce organisation and allowed us to gain access to product specialists, industry subject matter experts, and leaders in other organisations like Bentley and Rolls Royce. Post World Tour, my CRM programme gained added momentum from this support and we managed to deliver even more capability to our Sales, Marketing, and Services teams.
What benefits did it bring to me?
Experience – Being part of Salesforce World Tour was a terrific experience, and it offered me opportunities to advise people on how to achieve success using the Salesforce platform.
New friends and network – I’ve made many friends within the Salesforce family. Even if you don’t work for Salesforce, you can still be part of the Ohana.
Increased executive sponsorship – The overall experience gave me much more visibility with my exec team, increased enthusiasm for continuing the Salesforce journey, and the opportunity to show how my team could continue to contribute to the success of the company.
Lego and a very cool stress ball – I came home to my children a hero!
Would I recommend a company to take part?
I could not think of a reason why any organisation would not choose to take part in a Trailblazer success story. Salesforce makes the process extremely easy. They focus completely on your success, your story, and your ambitions as an organisation. They truly are happy to stand beside this success and do not attempt to push you into a position that meets only their objectives.
Not long after my Trailblazer experience, I moved on from Addison Lee. I now work as Director of Customertimes UK, a global platinum Salesforce partner and technology SI, but I make use of the experience, knowledge, and network I gained to help Customertimes clients achieve the success that will allow them to take part in their own Trailblazer stories.
When Customertimes works well with Salesforce, the true winners are the companies we’re working with. We do all we can to help our clients get the most out of their Salesforce investment – we understand the market and can recommend the technology platforms that will best meet their needs. Salesforce is also invested in our success. They want their implementations to go as smoothly as possible, and they know our team has the experience to get the job done.
If you are reading this and think this is a path you’d like to take, feel free to reach out to me here on LinkedIn. Customertimes would be happy to give anyone advice on how to take their CRM programme to the next level and get the most out of Salesforce.
Matt Baker, Director, Customertimes UK, is a highly experienced and versatile CRM/Customer Experience specialist with more than 20 years of experience in CRM technology and consulting. Matt works with national and international organizations, helping them implement CRM technology and develop a vision and strategy for using it to compete in the ever-changing, challenging global business environment. Matt’s expertise includes financial services, engineering, media, and more, and he’s recognized for his ability to design and build high-quality enterprise-class cloud CRM platforms.