Best in Class Enterprise Community: Salesforce Trailblazers

At last year’s CMX Summit Erica Kuhl’Building Community is Smart Business presentation was my favorite. She is the former VP of Community at Salesforce and was responsible for the meteoric rise of their Trailblazer community. I loved it because she delivered one cold hard community impact measure after the other.

In summary, this is the impact the Trailblazer community has on Salesforce and its customers:

Customers report:

  • 82% Increased ROI 
  • 83% Improved Productivity
  • 90% Accelerated Innovation.
  • 93% Discover New Solutions in the Community

Salesforce perspective: active community members (minimum logged in once and 1 thumps-up) versus non-active have:

  • 2.5X Size of Pipeline
  • 2X Larger Deal Size 
  • 35% Faster Implementations
  • 2.5X Lower Attrition
  • Support case deflection: 83% of questions are answered by the community leading to $2Million savings per month. 

Member Perspective:

  • Create opportunities for a better life. “I tripled my income because of the community”. 
  • 1000 Trailblazer Community Groups organizing 300 monthly meetings (before Covid) 

Details further down. You may want to check out the video of Erica’s presentation first. 

Grateful that CMX is sharing Erica Kuhl’s Building Community is Smart Business video.

Because Salesforce’s solutions as well as their community is in the cloud, they are able to track in much more detail of how their Trailblazer community members influence Salesforce’s success. 

First the view from Salesforce’s customers. From their latest member survey with 700 responses, they derived the following impact of the Trailblazer community to Salesforce’s Customer success.

Trailblazer members report: 81% improved productivity; 80% increased adoption; 90% improved innovation at their company. 

82% also reported that the community increased their Salesforce ROI

My favorite statistic of them all 93% report that they found new solutions via the Trailblazer community.

The above were statistics of Salesforce’s customers that are active in the community. The following is showing the impact on the Salesforce business. 

They simply separated the community members into two groups: 

  • Consumers. They log into the community but don’t participate. 
  • Active members. Not even a high bar: they are counted if they post, vote, comment, ask or answer a question in the last 12 months. 

Active Trailblazers versus consumer members:

  • created 2.5 times more pipeline
  • deliver double the deal size 
  • implemented their solutions 35% faster
  • had a 2.5 times lower attrition rate.

These are amazing, falling off the chair numbers. Intuitively I always knew about the importance of an active community for business success. But to have these cold hard impressive facts readily available really makes a huge difference. 

As Erica Kuhl said in her presentation: one of the reasons for her having a decent size team are the above numbers. 

It is obvious, that smartly investing in your community is good business. 

There is more :-) 

Support case deflection: 83% of the 4.000 monthly questions are answered by the community; which are viewed 500K times; which leads to an estimated $2 million monthly savings. Every support call cost Salesforce about $50. If a question and answer pair on their community has been viewed 20 times, they count that as one support case deflection. I am missing one parameter, as my calculation ends up being $1.25 Million. But you get the gist of it and can adjust to your situation. 

85% of their traffic comes from Google. Hello, closed enterprise communities let the sunshine in. :-)

Networking: Nothing makes me happier than to hear the story of a member having improved their lives because of the connections they made in the community. 

Creating an environment that allows your members to put food on their and their families’ table is the greatest gift you can give them. 

Support the ability of your community members to acquire, test, and share their expertise by strengthening your training and certification offers. 

Salesforce also recently celebrated its 1000th Trailblazer Community Group. Before Covid-19 hit these groups would organize 300 meetings worldwide every month. 

The success of the Trailblazer Community for Salesforce is obvious as proven by the above Key Performance Indicators. 

They are the Golden Standard and north star regarding enterprise community impact on company success. Focus on these KPIs for your own enterprise community progress.

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