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Salesforce’s Polly Sumner Helps Kick Off FUNcon ‘18

October 29, 2018

Culture FUNcon

The third annual Fonteva Users Network Conference (FUNcon) got underway with recognition of three-time attendees, prize giveaways, and a big thank you the customers and partners who put the FUN in FUNcon.

Following opening remarks from Fonteva co-founders Jerry Huskins and Paul Lundy, Polly Sumner, Salesforce’s Chief Adoption Officer, was welcomed to the stage as our keynote for FUNcon ‘18. With a focus on customer success, Polly makes sure that each and every customer gets maximum value from Salesforce’s products and services. Polly has served at Salesforce since 2008 following a 20-year career of executive management in the technology industry.

As she opened, Polly discussed the importance of connecting with customers in a whole new way by specifically putting the customer at the center of the way an organization thinks. This is a major shift from how many organizations and business have operated over the last 40 years in the technology sector.

She brought us back to the beginning of the technology boom—before Salesforce, Apple, Symantec, and Facebook. What was the mindset of the CEOs then? How did they approach business? Were they innovators? And now, who is left standing? In times of change, it’s the learners who continue to grow. She challenged us with a personal question: “Are you going to continue to learn, grow, and evolve as technology changes at warp speed or are you going to get stuck in the past?”

She also challenged us with a must-do for client experience—as innovators and trailblazers, we need to motivate our teams to build and use technology in a way that increases trust. Many of today’s technology companies have failed at building that trust, creating a gap between customer expectations and the product or service delivered. As Polly noted, those who are brave enough to change the way their business operates will rise to the top. She reminded us that technology is not the differentiator, it’s your operations and culture that distinguish your organization. Putting the customer experience first is what builds trust, the basis for success.

At Salesforce, Polly shared, success is not defined by traditional metrics. There is significance in the unseen factors – customer success, innovation, equity, and trust. This includes focus on culture, the human component of unwritten rules, assumptions, behaviors, and values. They are creating a culture of full stakeholder engagement to put the customer at the center—to build trust. Think about it, there is only one Salesforce, one Google, one Apple. It’s a business’ adaptation of technology that allows them to thrive.

Salesforce believes in leading by example for that change, which is why they’ve adopted a 1-1-1 model to put their values and beliefs into action by giving back one percent of their time, equity, and product to the community. It’s not just about the technology or the revenue, it’s also about the happiness of customers and employees. They want to encourage everyone to invest in those around them to foster an innovative, supportive mindset. Through employee feedback and surveys, Salesforce has found these values to be a top reason employees come to work for them and end up staying. They give everyone a piece of the mission, creating a sense of pride and ownership of the larger mission of the company. Talented employees want to be part of a company with a purpose with which they identify, and a choice in the direction of the company’s journey.

Your organization’s digital transformation depends on your people, your innovation, and the culture of trust that supports you. Be trailblazers in your industry.