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Scoring Salesforce's latest Customer Success initiatives - "be Netflix in a sea of Blockbusters"

Rebecca Wettemann Profile picture for user Rebecca Wettemann September 26, 2023
The announcement of the Customer Success Score is the latest move by Salesforce to support customers move to AI.

customer success

Salesforce is serious about AI – and customers are too. The tone of Dreamforce was a lot more serious this year than previous events, with a focus on Salesforce as a trusted partner to help its customers navigate their journey to AI-enabled applications. 

Take the Dreamforce Customer Success keynote, for example. The message from Jim Roth, President, Customer Success, was clear: now is the time for companies to embrace Artificial Intelligence (AI) or be left behind. But Salesforce recognizes that it’s not going to be easy, and it is investing in resources to help customers “be Netflix in a sea of Blockbusters.” 

Roth pointed to Trailhead educational resources, success plans, and professional services and partner resources as key components helping customers to be successful with AI no matter where they are on their AI journey.

As always, a key part of learning new Salesforce capabilities like AI is education with Trailhead. Salesforce announced new AI and data certifications, new MuleSoft hands-on challenges to help up-skill users on integration and automation, and new AI and data modules to help customers at any level up their AI game.

Beyond self-directed training, Salesforce outlined three tiers of success plans for customers:

  • The Standard Success Plan, included in all licenses, provides on-demand success guidance and support with Salesforce Help – and, of course, access to Trailhead.
  • The Premier Success Plan, priced at 30% of net license fees, adds 24/7 support, tailored insights and recommendations, and one-on-one coaching and guidance from Salesforce-certified experts and instructors.
  • The Signature Success Plan is priced based on number and size of instances, complexity of deployment, and products and use cases being supported. The signature tier adds support from a designated Technical Account Manager, architecture expertise around proactive monitoring of technical health, and access to the Customer Success Score. 

Scores on the doors 

The Customer Success Score is designed to give designated users a self-service dashboard that enables them to track their progress, receive personalized recommendations, and understand the health of their implementations. The Customer Success Score is built on Data Cloud, Experience Cloud, and Tableau. Based on a weighted average of product adoption (50%), customer engagement (20%), and technical health (30%), the score uses AI to measure individual customers against Salesforce benchmarks. Up to 30 days of historical performance data cross top metrics and smart alerts notify users when they are at certain thresholds for each metric.

This first iteration of the Customer Success Score is a great step toward helping customers maximize – and prove the value – from Salesforce. This will be particularly important as Salesforce champions look to expand the use of the platform in cross-cloud and Data Cloud scenarios where multiple groups of users and departments are involved (and where cross-functional teams may have limited visibility into how their peers are using Salesforce).

One of the promises of cloud applications has always been the telemetry data that can provide visibility into how the application is being used. With the Customer Success Score, designated users can see that data to better understand how their users are using Salesforce and where there may be adoption or other issues keeping them from maximizing value from Salesforce. As Salesforce continues to invest in development of the Customer Success Score, I’d expect they’re looking at:

  • Using AI to link certain performance metrics to specific Trailhead modules that could help improve that performance, such as training on use or implementation of a particular feature.
  • Tying those performance metrics to financial outcomes in terms of increased efficiency and productivity or reduced costs to help Salesforce champions make the business case for their ongoing investments in Salesforce.
  • Providing at least a basic version of the Customer Success Score to all Salesforce customers that want to access it. While obviously it takes resources to provide a dashboard for each individual customers, some basic benchmarks around usage, performance, and engagement would help every Salesforce customer better understand their usage and Salesforce’s impact – and make it easier for customers and Salesforce account executives to make the business case for renewals and additional subscriptions.

My take

With the quiet announcement of the Customer Success Score, Salesforce is taking more steps toward helping its champions maximize the value they get from their Salesforce investment.


For all the highlights from Dreamforce 2023, check out our dedicated events hub here.

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