Designing a Transformational Business Strategy with Salesforce

We’re pretty obsessed with customer experience (CX) here at Bluewolf.

No one knows more about the transformational effects of Salesforce and customer experience strategy than Joahna Kuiper, Bluewolf’s Director of Customer Visioning and a central member of the Bluewolf Align™ Team.

Joahna brings over 15 years of technology and strategy experience to the team, including roles as Business Architect, Customer Journey Leader, Solution Architect, and IT Vice President. Not only does Joahna devote her time to developing exceptional customer experiences for Bluewolf’s clients, but she is also currently working towards a Diploma in Strategy and Innovation at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School-on the side. (Yes, you read that right.)

I sat down with Joahna to learn more about developing compelling business strategies with Salesforce, tips for addressing the most common challenges when pursuing a business transformation, and Bluewolf’s unique process.

Tell me about your role at Bluewolf and on the Bluewolf Align™ team

Bluewolf Align™ is all about establishing internal consensus and prioritizing how to design valuable customer and employee experiences with Salesforce. I partner with our clients to help them synthesize what they know about their company and their customers into a strategy to transform their business with CRM.

I instill this perspective of transformation in every engagement we undertake-that includes delivering strategy and CX/EX alongside our Align team, especially when a more technological element is also needed to deliver a strategic plan to a client.

When clients embark on an Align engagement, where are they on their Salesforce journey?

Align is ideal at any transformative moment in a client’s journey with Salesforce.

If Salesforce is new to their business, it’s critical to understand the expectations for the system and how they enable a company to use the platform to meet business objectives and the needs of their customers and employees.

If Salesforce has been in the environment for a while, Align helps them understand how their technology and process impacts the customer and where there are opportunities for business impact and growth.

If Salesforce has grown organically, Align can help tie Salesforce more closely to the company’s business strategies. Salesforce is a sophisticated platform, and it may not be providing the most value-or worse, may be holding the company back from achieving its brand promise, how a company delivers value to its customers.

All of the clients I’ve worked with over the years had a business strategy, but often many of them had not taken the step to tie their Salesforce solution to it.

Where do you see common challenges when working with clients on business strategies for Salesforce?

Almost all the challenges I’ve seen can be boiled down to two statements:

    Buzzwords don’t solve business problems; success is only possible when you dig deeper.

It is easy to say that you want a “360° view of your customers” or that your main strategy is “to be easy to do business with,” but very difficult to agree-across departments, customer segments, and product lines-on what exactly that means and how it should drive investment. Communication, and cross-functional alignment take a lot of work.

I can honestly say, every customer I’ve worked with has said both of those things to me at the beginning, and by the end of the engagement, we always find that focusing deeper on all of the definition and detail that go into such statements is the key to success.

    Technology doesn’t solve business problems; it is but one tool that enables business solutions.

It is tempting to think of Salesforce as an easy “fix” for sales or service departments. However, if there isn’t clear consensus on how the technology fits into a business or the role it plays in a client’s business model, it will never provide the value a company seeks. At best, it helps employees to limp along with better information here and there; at worst, it makes bad process, practice, or habit occur more quickly, and exposes these shortcomings in the business to the end customer.

Never forget that people use technology, not the other way around. Technology can be a very smart tool, but any system is still just that-a tool to achieve your company’s goals. When you embark on a strategic initiative such as Salesforce, it’s crucial to understand your users’ journey-how they interact with you or any of your solutions-and build around your people. Our entire approach is human-centered, never forgetting the journey of the person or people who will ultimately use it.

Walk me through the Bluewolf Align™ team’s process for helping a client to develop a business strategy for Salesforce.

We use a series of activities and proven processes to facilitate our conversations with a company’s leadership, the people who know what it takes to meet the company’s business objectives and brand strategy.

In a workshop setting, company leaders and Bluewolf experts work together to understand and map a company strategy to initiatives that everyone agrees will contribute to and drive that strategy. We conduct interviews with the client, their customers, and partners in their value chain to understand how the client is performing from both an internal and external perspective.

Finally, we take the insights from the workshop activities and prioritize initiatives based on their feasibility and the contribution we’ve agreed they will make to the business.

What is unique about Bluewolf’s process?

While much of our approach is based on tools and techniques that originate in concepts developed at IBM (IBM Design Thinking), our uniqueness derives from how we have packaged, templated, codified, and aligned the offering to the optimization of Salesforce.

Bluewolf’s culture is also a differentiator, which I attribute to being direct and clear with our clients. We rarely sit back and collect client requirements without questioning. Our job is all about guiding them on a journey of discovery and transformation, which sometimes requires challenging what they think they know about their business. You have to ask the right questions and listen carefully, looking for specific opportunities that clients might not have considered before.

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Designing a Transformational Business Strategy with Salesforce continues with a discussion on Augmented Intelligence (AI), how AI is offering unprecedented opportunities for business transformation, and the steps every organization can take to begin their AI journey-now.

Ready to start your business transformation? Talk to a Bluewolf expert.

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