Salesforce: Why you can’t create a culture of brand advocacy overnight

Dan Rogers, VP EMEA marketing at, sits down at a press table in the ExCeL. “Well, today was just about the highlight of my career,” he begins.

Looking at the Salesforce1 World Tour, with the announcement of a UK data centre and the renaming of the Heron Tower to the Salesforce Tower, it’s easy to see why. “Hearing that we have huge customer momentum and growth, and the growth of the partner ecosystem, is just amazing,” Rogers explains.

“As a marketer, that’s what you need in your back pocket,” he adds. “It’s kind of the fuel in your jet pack.”

A throwaway comment from Dr Steve Garnett, chairman of EMEA, in the press conference summed up the prevailing mood; the London leg of the world tour felt like Dreamforce five or six years ago. That’s Dreamforce with over 130,000 registered attendees in 2013 – the compliment was by no means backhanded, and showed the depth of progression in the UK.

Why is this? People love to be associated with Salesforce – the recent ‘Salesforce Selfie’ Twitter campaign has proved that – yet it goes further. When MarketingTech spoke with Twilio’s CMO Lynda Smith earlier this week, she sounded genuinely excited that the company had fans as opposed to customers.

It’s a similar thing with Salesforce, which Rogers puts down to the company ethos and DNA.

“Brand advocates, I’d say, is a mentality around the authenticity with which you communicate to customers,” he explains. “We don’t talk in the language of beating our chests, we talk in the language of our customers’ success, and we allow our customers to talk for us.

“The customers who are talking for us are passionate, and it’s contagious.”

We don't talk in the language of beating our chests, we talk in the language of our customers' success

CEO Marc Benioff is noted for his philanthropy, and particularly Salesforce’s 1/1/1 model – one percent of profit, one percent of equity and one percent of employee hours goes back to the community. It’s pervasive throughout the company – the first speaker at the keynote was Ray Cross, CIO of the Alzheimer’s Society.

Rogers notes you can’t switch this sort of ethos on and off like a light.

“I do think you can’t just make this up overnight,” Rogers explains. “You can’t just suddenly say ‘we’re a customer-centric company.’ It needs to be embedded in the people high up, the processes that you have, the people that you reward, how you reward people – so it’s a value.

“Then that value permeates to the sales conversation, to the service conversation, and in turn customers feel like they are our partners, and as a result advocacy’s not a big step.

“In the world of all these devices, there is a customer, and these customers are all talking to each other – so I think it’s never more important to have people that love your brand,” he adds.

The customers who are talking for us are passionate, and it's contagious

According to Rogers, there are three things most important to him as a marketer: having a single view of the customer; creating a journey for that customer; and providing the most relevant and personalised conversation to that customer across any device possible.

He cites KLM as a great example of the single view – understanding who that person is, even when dealing with in-the-moment service cases.

“The social feeds associated with that person, the Twitter, the Facebook, the LinkedIn – the past case history’s there in their hand, otherwise they’re talking to them as if they were a stranger,” Rogers explains. “They have that single view to not have that conversation four different times, in four different ways, in four different cities.”

For relevant and personalised, see mobile. “If the experience isn’t mobilised, then you’re not touching the billions of smartphone users,” Rogers explains. “It has to be social, it has to be mobile, it has to be email. You need to create that consistency and relevance and personalisation across all of those.

“For me it’s the piece I need in my toolkit.”

Related Stories

Leave a comment


This will only be used to quickly provide signup information and will not allow us to post to your account or appear on your timeline.