Customer-Centric Discovery for Salesforce Partners

Get Started with Customer-Centric Discovery

Describe customer-centric discovery at Salesforce. List the four key steps of customer-centric discovery at Salesforce.
  • Focus on Customer Success
    • Customer-centric discovery: Salesforce’s method for learning more about customers so you can:
      1. Gain insights into your customers' business challenges
      2. Share those insights with your customers
      3. Inspire and connect with your customers to lead them to new opportunities and improve how they work
    • Uncovers our customers' biggest challenges, identifying their needs and co-create successful strategies
  • Path to Success
    • To get to those successful projects and happy customers, we:
      1. Co-create strategies based on confirmed challenges - ensures working toward what matters
      2. Focus on solutions that are the right size for the customer’s needs - so they deliver on time and within budget
    • Four steps to customer-centric discovery:
      1. Know your customer - in particular, their industry and business
      2. Be your customer - walk in their shoes
      3. Connect with your customer - share insights with them
      4. Create with your customer - develop a strategy with them

  • Practice customer-centric discovery in order to co-create successful solutions with customers
  • The discovery step connect with your customer is about sharing insights with them

Know Your Customer

Identify trends and challenges in your customer's industry. Identify the details of your customer's current business plan. Identify decision makers in your customer's business.
  • Step 1, “Know your customer,” specifically means gaining an understanding of their industry, business, and people
  • Know what drives the customer’s Industry:
    • Research online: trade publications, current reports from professional services and consulting firms, check social media and LinkedIn
    • Consider also, current industry challenges and trends, how those challenges and trends affect how the industry connects with consumers, and any languages specific to the industry
  • Know the Business:
    • Specifically:
      • Goals-that they want to achieve
      • Values-guiding principles
      • Initiatives-how they achieve their goals
      • Strategies-how they plan to achieve their goals
      • Obstacles-problems they face as they work toward their goals
    • There are many sources for this info:
      • Annual reports, earnings details, press releases, shareholder letters, investor presentations
      • “About Us” website page, their store, social media pages and posts, online business reviews, Glassdoor reviews, executive team on LinkedIn
    • Consider specifically how they make money (business model), their challenges, and strategic priorities (expanding product offerings? expanding into regions?)
  • Know the People:
    • Map the decision makers you know, find out if there are others, figure out how to connect with them, create a plan to do so
    • Consider what role each decision maker plays, their key priorities, and their challenges

Be Your Customer

Practice empathy to see your customer’s business from their point of view. Identify business needs based on your customer research.
  • Step 2, “Be Your Customer,” requires empathy, curiosity, and engagement
  • To empathize, work to identify common ground with your customer, develop a genuine interest in their business, and look for shared experiences
  • To walk in their shoes, find ways to check out details and see things from their point of view. Study the business to look at what its like to be a service rep, salesperson, operations or supply chain team member
  • Help customers understand their customers' experience by acting like them-shop your customer’s site, visit their store, sign up for their online newsletters/notifications, call customer service
    • Consider a few questions:
      • Is there a direct relationship between your customer/their customer? Or steps in between?
      • What’s the relationship between your customer’s supplier/distributor/marketer and the consumer?
      • How can these relationships be improved?

Connect with Your Customer

Talk to your customer about what you learned from your research. Organize your customer’s challenges.
  • Step 3, “Connect with your Customer,” means that you prepare for your meeting with them, confirm and sharpen your insights with your customer, and organize and visualize your insights through whiteboarding
    • It likely also makes sense to collaborate with the Salesforce account team during this step since they understand the solution and its pricing details
  • Prepare to Connect by reviewing info from previous steps, making a list of possible solutions noticed along the way, and validating the solutions being considered with the Salesforce account team.
    • When you reach out to them to set up a meeting, include a summary or preview of your insights - this may help pique their interest.
  • Connect using thoughtfully delivered insights:
    • Be sincere, follow insights with empathetic comments (“Other customers I’ve worked with…"), ask open-ended questions to get your customer’s opinion, share quotes that your customer originally said
  • Ask the right questions to connect the details:
    • Organize the business’s issues/challenges into three levels of issues:
      • Level 1: Tactical/technical issues - system errors, missed customer calls
      • Level 2: Overall business consequences - being behind in industry standards
      • Level 3: Personal impact on customers/employees - causing attrition/high turnover rates
    • Analyze each issues/challenge with the 5W1H questions:
      • Who is most affected?
      • What is the result?
      • Where does this happen?
      • When does this happen?
      • Why does this happen?
      • How-what conditions cause this to happen?
  • Connect it at the Whiteboard
    • Write your ideas on a whiteboard, add more ideas on sticky notes which can move, draw diagrams, organize by importance
    • Invite the customer to join in
    • Consider other ideas besides whiteboarding for brainstorming, including mind mapping tools, role play, etc. Whatever gets ideas flowing.
    • Record any key takeaways - take photos of the whiteboard/save screenshots

  • Customer services issues are most likely a level 3 issue
  • The most important thing to do with your customer when whiteboarding is to record the results of the whiteboarding session

Create with Your Customer

Create a case for change for your customer. Present your customer strategy through storyboarding.
  • Step 4, “Create with your customer,” involves reviewing the challenges, storyboarding your customer’s vision, and drafting a plan with recommended next steps
  • Re-create your customer’s story -
    • Specifically, review the:
      • Problem-start with top priority
      • Business impact-how the issue/challenge affects customers/employees/bottom line
      • Problem levels-factor in whether this is a tactical (level 1), business (level 2), or personal (level 3) challenge
      • Metrics-determine the best way to measure the results of the project
    • This is the stage when its appropriate to make sure everyone’s aligned:
      • That this is the right challenge to work on now
      • That we know the KPIs the problem impacts
      • Overall goal
  • Storyboarding - a process for mapping out the connection between customer’s current challenges and goals for the future with next steps
    • After all this learning, come up with detailed recommendations:
      • On a clean whiteboard, write the challenge. On the other end, write the goal. Connect the two with ideas/solutions.
      • Multiple approaches to storyboarding:
        • Persona-based/“day-in-the-life” - focus on a character who is a customer/employee. Show the problem and map a solution specific to them.
        • Process-based-compare a current, inefficient process to a new, improved process
    • Co-create a Plan- return to the list of solutions and:
      • Share next step ideas
      • Brainstorm any additional next steps
      • Agree on next steps and deadlines

  • After finishing the “Create with Your Customer” step, as implementation consultant, the most important thing to focus on to create a case for change is business impact
  • During the “Create with Your Customer” step, the consultant/customer team’s next step is to create a storyboard