Salesforce.com

 

I'd never heard of Salesforce.com until I picked up the book Behind the Cloud, by its founder and CEO, Marc Benioff.  It's a 'customer relationship management' (CRM) platform that led the industry into cloud computing. The story is surprisingly interesting, and Benioff and his team have used a lot of holistic marketing techniques along the way.  Here's what their website looks like:

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Like Plum Village, they use standard practice in website design: logo on the upper left, a simple menu across the top, a colorful 'call-to-action' on the upper right, and clear information about who they are on the left side of the page and 'above the fold'.  

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In this section they're focused on two things: the common problems their clients face and the solutions offered in response.  They show great empathy and guidance here.  

In traditional marketing they often talk about 'pain points': finding the places where people suffer, empathizing with them, and then offering them solutions that will help them feel better.  Some businesses place a lot of emphasis on everything that could go wrong, activating the reader's fears and anxieties in order to increase the urgency for the product or service being sold. 

I'm interested in marketing that's more focused on courage than fear, and that offers calm solutions instead of frantic problems.  Salesforce.com does a great job of this here.

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This section is called 'social proof'.  Nobody wants to stick their neck out in trying a product or service; they want to feel reassured that others have tried and loved it beforehand.  "Over 150,000 companies" is reassuring, as are the familiar names of large companies.  It's common to use testimonials here.  Social proof builds trust with your potential customer. 

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This section clearly states the company's core values.  It establishes the intentions behind their decisions, which builds trust.  Sometimes you sense that a company's main intention is to make money for themselves.  That intention doesn't translate well to the customer, who has other interests.  But with a value like "Customer Success," their intention translates as "make money for a lot of people."  Your success is our success.  That's a lot easier for a customer to get behind.  

The illustrations they use convey a sense of playfulness.  They know how to balance the seriousness of their business with a light heart and laughter.  

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They reinforce their intentions here by telling the stories of their customers' success.  It's easy to talk about how great you are as a business, but if you can tell stories about how successful your  customers are, it's far more powerful.  It creates social proof, trustworthiness, and a sense that this is a community where you'd be welcome.  It conveys the sense that this company is great at listening, and they're genuinely interested in their customers' lives and experiences.

I know from reading the book that listening well is a pillar of Salesforce.com's business.  They're constantly asking for feedback, and they incorporate that feedback into their designs.  Some people find this obvious, but it's surprising how many companies don't want to hear feedback.  It takes a truly open mind and strong self-worth to be open to feedback.

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More social proof, this time in the form of awards and recognition from the broader community.  

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A call-to-action: now that they've told the story of who they are and what they offer, you're invited to explore whether it's right for you.

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The junk drawer at the bottom.  Lots of great information that's secondary to their main story of problem-solving, trustworthiness, and good intentions.

Pick up Behind the Cloud if you're curious--I loved reading about Salesforce.com's process of growth, and all the thoughts and intentions that went into it.  I also love learning about large corporations that are able to be forces for good in the world.

© 2019 by Wild and Mighty Stories.  Always becoming.

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