Q&A: Brian Millham Discusses Salesforce’s Customer Success Group
The Salesforce Customer Success Group has more than 7,000 members dedicated to creating success for the company’s more than 150,000 customers.
Brian Millham, Salesforce employee #13, was appointed to lead the Customer Success Group in September. In this interview, we talked with him about his background, customer success initiatives, Success Cloud and more.
You’ve been at Salesforce for more than 19 years, leading sales teams. Tell us about your new role heading up the Salesforce Customer Success Group (CSG).
Since the beginning, we wanted to be a different type of software company. A key part of that was a relentless focus on creating new ways of driving success for companies of every size. Salesforce has always been an advocate for customer experience, and this is why CSG has been an integral component of the company since its inception--to be there every step of the way for our customers. In this role, I'm bringing my knowledge and experience gained from years in sales and deep understanding of Salesforce products to help customers transform their businesses, gain real business value and connect with their customers in new ways.
There is the Customer Success Group and Success Cloud. What’s the difference between the two?
Success Cloud encompasses our advisory and consulting services offerings that are specifically designed to help customers reimagine their businesses and accelerate their time to value. The Customer Success Group is focused on the success of all customers, and is comprised of all of the people who deliver those services and engage with Salesforce customers after they make their purchase. These are the people who help bring their technology vision to life and help them manage their adoption and long-term journey with Salesforce. The Customer Success Group works closely with our sales, technology and products teams, along with our huge (and growing) partner community, to help customers leverage the full power of Salesforce. We want to ensure that their Salesforce investment delivers the ongoing business value and impact they expect.
What are the biggest challenges customers face in leveraging the full power of Salesforce?
Digital transformation is critical for companies of every size, but companies have different tolerances for risk. I can remember when the idea of moving to the cloud was the most difficult hurdle for customers. Today, it’s about how much of a bet they want to place on changing their culture and operations to take advantage of their technology and drive reinvention. I met with dozens of customers at Dreamforce, and they’re vocal about what they need from us. It’s no longer just about the products Salesforce offers. Why? Because they want our expertise.
We have one of the most innovative brands in the world. Salesforce has been a transformation partner for companies of all sizes, across all industries. Every company wants to tap into that. Together with our partners and with our ongoing adoption programming, we have the opportunity to take customers to the next level.
There was a lot of buzz around the Customer Koa Club at Dreamforce. What is Customer Koa Club?
Customer Koa Club is comprised of every single customer who has been with Salesforce for 10 years or more--and this year, we welcomed 4,600 companies into our Customer Koa Club. At Dreamforce--and moving forward--this group will enjoy VIP experiences, regional philanthropy activities, perks and discounts, as well as an awards program. In addition, Customer Koa Club members can now access a new customer community built on Salesforce Community Cloud. The community, which is accessible online and through an exclusive mobile app, provides members with the opportunity to network, share best practices, get access to exclusive content, updates on Customer Koa Club activities and more. It’s an important way to celebrate our long-term customers, and I’m excited to see this group take shape and grow.
What does the next generation of customer success look like?
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is affecting every business of every size, in every country around the world. Technologies like artificial intelligence, the internet of things and robotics are forcing companies to rethink their business models and get serious about digital transformation. It’s an opportunity for our customers and us to work together on mapping out the future and innovating around the customer experience. We’ve made it a point to listen closely to our customers. We’ve learned that they want a 360-degree view of every customer, faster and more efficient ways to build apps and bring AI, analytics and other capabilities into them and easier ways to measure value from their technology investments.
How does CSG interact with Salesforce’s partners?
Over the years, we've developed excellent relationships with many of our partners, and our ecosystem--in all of its depth and breadth--is critical to our customer’s success. So we need to have a hand-in-hand relationship, working with each other every single day in every single market. Look how fast the CRM space is growing. It’s the fastest growing and biggest enterprise software category today. Our potential market is huge, and we can’t do it all ourselves. We need the ecosystem that’s built itself around Salesforce to keep engaging and driving towards the same goal: to make every customer on Salesforce successful.
In fact, according to IDC, Salesforce and our ecosystem of partners will help create 3.3 million new jobs by 2022, helping to spur more than $859 billion in new business revenues worldwide. We are helping companies around the world create truly great experiences for their customers when they use our innovative technology. The whole ecosystem has to stay focused on delivering customer success. It’s the way we earn their trust and loyalty. We’re going to focus on evolving our approach to increase the positive impact that each and every employee and partner has on creating exceptional experiences for our customers.