Our top takeaways from Marc Benioff’s keynote at Dreamforce 2021 and the Salesforce trust playbook

By Katie Dunlap, Managing Director

It’s not too dramatic to say that we are experiencing a crisis of trust in almost every facet of our lives. There are issues of trust with the environment, the pandemic, and race inequity, as well as a growing uncertainty about workplace needs. In the face of these challenges building and maintaining trust is more vital than ever. During his keynote at Dreamforce 2021, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff spoke about how to help organizations arrive at trusted enterprise status and how Salesforce trailblazers can leverage Salesforce’s trust playbook to become trustblazers. Below are Slalom’s top takeaways from both Benioff’s talk and the playbook, along with our recommendations on how to get started.

1.  Build customer-first systems

Transparency and access creates trust. In order to thrive in today’s world, companies should develop a customer-first approach to building solutions and lean towards direct, trusted relationships with their customers. Benioff offered the example of how Mercedes Benz developed a customer-first platform approach and created a single source of truth by leveraging Salesforce Customer 360 to connect its Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Commerce Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Tableau, and MuleSoft data. Another advantage: using the Salesforce Customer Data Platform (CDP) meant privacy and trust were already built in. Now everyone at Mercedes Benz is empowered to view and access data quickly—ahead of customer expectations.

Actions you can take: 

Salesforce recently announced that its European customers now have access to data residence and that their customers will as well. If global scale is critical and in-country performance is a concern, we recommend you look seriously at Salesforce Customer 360 platform and its availability with Hyperforce on the public cloud. Hyperforce meets the needs of customers locally and globally, providing data residency, compliance, regulatory requirements, and security. 

You should also seek AI support to tailor experiences and build personal relationships with your customers. Salesforce is layering in more and more intelligence with Einstein, enabling Customer 360 to natively provide solutions and insights as part of the platform. 

Finally, offer a genuine single-source-of-truth experience and ensure that information and conversations are connected and don’t get lost in translation. With Slack, we can now layer in and connect the conversations happening between teams, partners, and customers with Salesforce solutions. Look to Slack to complete a fully connected experience that isn’t separate from day-to-day activities and one that captures the important, relevant, and perhaps casual conversations that you’re having with partners, internal teams, and (of course!) your customers. When you’re part of the entire conversation, you can foster a positive, trusting experience for all. 

2.  Build a digital HQ with options for everyone

Because of the pandemic organizations are experiencing unprecedented numbers of resignations and a significant increase in relocation requests by their workforce. Many of us are now spending less than 15% of our time in physical business spaces. This is a massive and immediate shift from previous years. 

We’ve all seen the value of connecting customers, partners, and employees no matter where they are. Benioff talked about how IBM pivoted 385,000 employees to remote work on a day’s notice and how it now offers employees the ability to work from anywhere. 

In these circumstances, it’s more important than ever to take diversity into consideration, and bear in mind differences around race, gender, and ability. With a digital headquarters, everyone can be included, and we can create a bigger, more welcoming space for all. 

Actions you can take:

For connectedness, a progressive tool like Slack with its features such as huddles, clips, channels, and Slack Connect can be invaluable. Consider using Slack so that you can provide choice and flexibility around the what, where, and when of returning to a physical business space (if you choose to return at all). 

Slack also adds a conversational layer on to customer-first systems, helping to extend a single source of truth. This can be an essential building block for forming relationships of trust with customers. 

3.  Create healthy and safe environments

Benioff reminded the Dreamforce audience that we’re not experiencing the pandemic equally from gender, race, or ethnicity standpoints, and that has impacted trust … and we all know it. However, we also know the Salesforce ecosystem remains welcoming to all. It’s 15,000 trailblazers strong and includes 1,300 communities in over 90 countries. And it’s rising to the occasion. 

One specific example: New York City reopened safely by using Salesforce Health Cloud to manage its vaccine process and help rebuild trust. Efforts by the Department of Information and Technology allowed New Yorkers to return to an in-person world. With each passing day, they were able to support a return to everyday life. Communities across the city came back.

Throughout the pandemic trailblazers were supportive, challenged norms, and together they built solutions successfully. Solutions like vaccine management to support 108 million doses, contact tracing that monitors and tracks exposure for over 200 million people, and efforts like creating and releasing 60,000 million PPE supplies for essential workers. Slalom is proud to be a member of this vital and innovative community.

Actions you can take:

Consider Health Cloud as you look to create an equitable and safe environment for your employees, customers, and partners. Health Cloud 2.0 helps people come together safely through tracking and testing. It also offers the ability to scan and share a digital health certificate, something that Dreamforce 2021 attendees were able to do easily. 

4.  Pay attention to the environment and reduce your impact

In the past decade, our planet has gone from six trillion trees to three trillion trees. We’re also seeing the daily impact of climate change in fires, hurricanes, flooding, and erratic weather patterns. 

Salesforce is driving environmental trust through the release of Sustainability Cloud and commitments to organizations like the 1T.org for replanting trees, which is supported by funding from the Marc R. Benioff Foundation.   

In his talk, Benioff showed an app by the utility company ENGIE. Powered by Customer 360 and MuleSoft, as well as the Energy Utility console in Service Cloud and Field Service, it allows organizations to view energy savings when combined with Salesforce 360. The app can warn owners of increases in energy usage to help identify and locate issues. Tableau and Slack are also leveraged to increase communications and better locate where there are challenges.     

In addition, it was exciting to hear that Salesforce is one of the few companies to have already achieved net zero across its value chain and to use 100% renewable energy for its operations. 

Actions you can take: 

We’re experiencing either an energy transition or energy revolution and must change the way we consume and create. Consider evaluating Sustainability Cloud 2.0 and how it can support your ability to measure compliance, help you commit to the Climate Pledge, and track your progress towards reducing environmental impact. Sustainability Cloud 2.0 allows for organizations to provide investor-ready carbon reporting and net zero abilities as a service. You can also now connect Sustainability Cloud to your supply chain and surface key insights to help you in your own race to net zero. 

You can be a trustblazer  

Benioff made clear throughout the keynote that business can be the greatest platform for change. As we step forward into the next decade, it’s more important than ever to practice inclusive capitalism. True trust can only be built by connecting with communities, employees, and customers safely and authentically. Whatever actions you take, Salesforce and Slalom are ready to support you.  

Get our other takeaways from Dreamforce 2021