Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Major Role Customer Training Plays at Salesforce.com

At Dreamforce 2014, I was able to land a virtual interview with Wayne McCulloch, the Senior Vice President of Education at Salesforce.com. Here is the transcript to that interview.

Question 1: I saw a LinkedIn update that 10,000+ people were taking part in Salesforce training during Dreamforce. How many training sessions were offered at Dreamforce and how many people participated? All at the conference/any remote? What were the broad topics covered?
  • During the conference, we ran 100+ Hands-on-Training classes / workshops, attended by more than 11,500 people (several thousand were also on the waitlist for seats).
  • 27,000 hours of Hands-on-Training delivered (~13 people years of training in 1 week).
  • We administered Certification exams to over 1,000 people.
  • Topics covered a wide variety from developer and administration training (basic to expert level), Sales/Service/Marketing/Platform/Community cloud training, and business and technical enablement.
  • We also ran our annual Salesforce-on-Salesforce track, which had 43 separate sessions sharing our experiences, learning, and best practices around using our own technology to run our business. Close to 5,000 people attended this series and it is always the first sessions at Dreamforce to sell out.
Question 2: Obviously, with these kinds of numbers, Salesforce takes customer education seriously. How strategic is customer education to growth at Salesforce?
 
It is critical. Education has never played a more important part in customer success than in a cloud-based organization. Salesforce is known for innovation and the best way for a customer to have their employees take advantage of this continual innovation is through continual education. Customers that learn to connect with their customers in whole new way through the Salesforce Platform will see their companies succeed at a whole new level and thus Salesforce will succeed only through our customers success.

Question 3: As Salesforce moves from a sales company to a customer success company, what role will education play in customer success?

Customer success is made up of a number of ways, and disciplines education is one of those key areas. If you think about the trend of services convergence, you see that education is being integrated into other aspects of our Success Services team here at Salesforce. For example, professional services value is enhanced when combined with education assets, or our Premier Support offering has education assets embedded in the value proposition. Education spans all components of customer success.

Question 4: Has Salesforce seen a link between education and customer success? In other words, is there some link between customers who engage in the training and their adoption of Salesforce or in achieving their own outcomes?

Here at Salesforce we have some of the smartest data scientists around. They have done numerous studies on this, and we have real concrete data on this topic. The data clearly shows that customers unlock much greater value out of their investment in Salesforce and adopt the platform more deeply when they engage with Salesforce University.

In the latest analysis of customers we can see that customers who send students to Salesforce University training see much higher adoption (across the board in terms of maturity and size segment), increased productivity, increased service levels and better ROI. Interestingly, some of the highest impact is on small companies – a small investment in training has a HUGE impact on their ROI and adoption.

Question 5: What does the education team look like at Salesforce? How large is the team? Into what function does education report? How does salesforce.com use training partners?

Salesforce Education is one of the fastest growing teams at Salesforce due to the increasing demand for learning skills and best practices in the ecosystem. If you want to increase your chances of gaining a great job today, Salesforce is a skill you have to have. From academic institutions, to customers and partners, to helping 10,000 returning veterans get trained and certified in Salesforce, Salesforce University has never been in more demand than today. Our team is made up of professionals across all education disciplines. Salesforce University is partner friendly and has nearly 100 training partners worldwide that can resell, deliver, or build content or a combination of these options. Salesforce University exists within the delivery organization of Salesforce – the organization that represents all customer facing employees.

3 comments :

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