March 30, 2023

Salesforce CMO on Leading Through Turbulence

In January 2023, Salesforce announced it was laying off 8,000 staffers, roughly 10% of its workforce. Smelling blood, five sharks of Wall Street—otherwise known as activist investors—started buying shares. It was a big blow for the brand that has been at the center of the tech world for the last 15 years, but one that it hasn’t been afraid to face head on.   

Welcome Salesforce President & CMO Sarah Franklin to Renegade Marketers Unite, here to share how Salesforce is committed to leading from the front, especially during turbulent times. Tune in as we talk about how to stay true to your brand values, why you need to drill down on customer centricity, what AI will mean for the future of B2B marketing, and a whole lot more. 

What You’ll Learn  

  • How to lead during turbulent times 
  • The future of generative AI & marketing 
  • How to be more customer centric  
  • How to be your own best customer 

Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 338 on YouTube 

Resources Mentioned 


  • [3:30] Sarah Franklin traveling, running, living to 150
  • [5:16] Staying true to values amidst layoffs
  • [6:56] Navigating negative press cycles
  • [8:55] The Trailblazer Movement
  • [13:25] Customer centricity in a downturn
  • [15:07] Salesforce gets customer centric-ier
  • [17:49] Business impacts of the downturn
  • [19:11] Strategy for net new customers
  • [21:13] Generative AI + B2B marketing
  • [25:44] Can AI be clever?
  • [29:02] Speed round: KPIs, MQLs, budgets, Oakland Hills
  • [30:26] CRM best practices, common mistakes
  • [33:43] Salesforce uses Salesforce (Be your best customer!)
  • [37:39] Land, expand, educate
  • [39:51] Tips for marketing in turbulent times

Highlighted Quotes  

“If you look backwards, that's a regretful way of looking at things. If you look around yourself, that's based in worry. But if you have courage and you look forward, that's really where you need to look.” —@swbjoyce @salesforce Click To Tweet “Generative AI is not just about making people and systems smarter, it's about making them better, more productive, more human.” —@swbjoyce @salesforce Click To Tweet

Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Sarah Franklin

Drew Neisser: Hey, it’s Drew. And I’m guessing that as a podcast listener, you will also enjoy audiobooks. Well in that case, did you know the audio version of Renegade Marketing: 12 Steps to Building Unbeatable B2B Brands, was recently ranked the number one new B2B audio book by Book Authority. Kind of cool, right? Anyway, you can find my book on Audible or your favorite audio book platform.

And speaking of audio before we get into today’s show, I do want to do a shout out to the professionals that Share Your Genius. We started working with them several months ago to make this show even better, and have been blown away by their strategic and executional prowess. If you’re thinking about starting a podcast or want to turbocharge your current show, be sure to talk to Rachel Downey at and tell her Drew sent you.

Okay, let’s get on with today’s episode.

Narrator: Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite, possibly the best weekly podcast for CMOs and everyone else looking for innovative ways to transform their brand, drive demand, and just plain cut through. Proving that B2B does not mean boring to business. Here’s your host and Chief Marketing Renegade Drew Neisser.

Drew Neisser: Hello, Renegade Marketers! Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite the top rated podcast for B2B CMOs and other marketing-obsessed individuals.

Hello, Renegade Marketers. For the last 15 years, one company has managed to put itself at the very center of the tech world. Its technology is used by much of Fortune 1000 and the Russell 2000. With roughly 20% share of the CRM category, it has a larger share than its four largest competitors combined. It’s 111 philanthropic model has generated more than 240 million in grants, 3.5 million hours of community service, and inspired many Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to have a similar program to do well and to do good. In 2018, its founder and CEO went on 60 minutes to share how the company discovered a statistical difference in the pay between men and women and fixed that with a $3 million pay bump for women across the org. And during the early days of the pandemic, the company lead with empathy, offering all sorts of content that supported the emotional health of employees and customers, a subject I covered in Episode 222 of this show back in January ’21. Words like “Juggernaut” and “Unstoppable” were regularly associated with this brand. And then came along 2022 and the whole tech world started to shake. Stocks swooned and layoff announcements dominated headlines. But still this one company seemed above the fray until January 2023. And that’s when the company announced it was laying off 8000 staffers, roughly 10% of its workforce, and smelling blood, the sharks of Wall Street, otherwise known as “Activist Investors”—five of them to be exact—started buying shares. That company, of course, is Salesforce. And honestly, I didn’t expect to be interviewing the President and CMO of Salesforce so soon after their layoff announcements. But I think it’s telling and it’s telling because I think Salesforce has always led from the front, so to speak, and never shied away from challenges.

So with that, I’m excited to welcome Sarah Franklin, President and CMO of Salesforce to the show. So hello, Sarah!

Sarah Franklin: Hey, how’s it going? Happy to be here!

Drew Neisser: So first of all, how are you and where are you?

Sarah Franklin: I am well thank you. And I am presently in Mexico, but I bounce around a lot, I live in Oakland, our headquarters is in San Francisco Bay area, I visit customers all the time. So a lot of people ask where in the world is Sarah Franklin. Right now I’m in Mexico.

Drew Neisser: Now, your PR people gave me lots of background on you and I gather from your CNBC interview that you are a runner. So my first question is, did you get a run in this morning?

Sarah Franklin: I did. I got in about six miles this morning.

Drew Neisser: So now, at the end of that same interview with CNBC, you mentioned that you wanted to live to be 150 and I was just going really? I mean, did you read Homo Deus? Are you a fan of that notion?

Sarah Franklin: I just never want to die. Life is so precious and so wonderful and there’s so much to appreciate in it, there’s a lot that’s hard in it too. Every day is something new to learn and so I want to be here, I want to see the future. I want to see us colonize Mars. I want to see us do things that we think are impossible. I want to see my children have children and their children, I have a lot of things that I still want to do in this lifetime and goals that I want to accomplish. So I do believe in science, it’s an amazing thing we have. And if I can live to be 150 and beyond, that will be amazing.

Drew Neisser: So let’s move from personal fitness to brand fitness. And if we can, let’s talk about the state of the Salesforce brand. How big a hit do you think the brand took from the layoff news? And are you tracking that?

Sarah Franklin: So what I’m most proud of with Salesforce is that no matter what happens in the world, we stay true to our values of Trust, Customer Success, Innovation, and Quality Sustainability. Even going through hard times we treat our people well, we’re open and honest, and we do what needs to be done. Many companies are in this boat right now, where last year was a big anomaly and what happened in the world. And so we’re making adjustments as needed. Everyone now knows, everyone’s talking about Salesforce, and they know that we treat people well and they know that we are strong. And you mentioned it earlier, how ubiquitous the plaform has become for everyone doing customer engagement, whether it’s across their sales, their marketing, their commerce, everybody uses Salesforce. And so the brand is just getting stronger.

Drew Neisser: While you’re saying that, a couple thoughts occur to me. One, definitely “check” on values driven. I did see some post of Salesforce employees who had been laid off, and they had nothing but nice things to say. And they were very happy with the severance packages that they got. And that was not a consistent theme across the tech layoffs. A lot of startups just weren’t that generous. But the brand is stronger – do you have tracking that shows that the brand is stronger?

What I’m trying to figure out is, what can other marketers learn who find themselves in this negative press cycle? Learn from your experience and you know, how did they get through that?

Sarah Franklin: We always track the brand. We track the traffic on our website, we track social media, we have third party reports like Interbrand, we’re a top five global B2B brand in the world. There’s a lot of things that we track. And as CMO, what we do is stay focused on moving forward. And if you look backwards, that’s a regretful way of looking at things. If you look around yourself, that’s based in worry. But if you have courage, and you look forward, that’s really where you need to look. And we ground ourselves in our customers and our customer success. We’ve had great announcements, partnerships, like we had with Walmart, for example, from a commerce perspective, that incredible partnership that we announced with Qualcomm, on the digital chassis for cars. And so just keeping laser focus from a marketing standpoint on our engineers are shipping innovation. We have Einstein GPT coming in just a few months, Marc tweeted that a little bit ago, and we have a lot of relevant innovation. So from a marketing perspective, you really can’t let yourself be distracted and stay laser focused on your true north. And for Salesforce, it really is the trust that we have with our customers, our community, and our employees, and our focus on making them successful.

Drew Neisser: So what I heard is, you overcome negative by announcing a lot of positive things. And I think that’s a really good strategy. If that, you mentioned Walmart, those are actual good news things. And so that’s the story that you keep pressing ahead. And eventually you get reassociated with the positive messages. And obviously, the Salesforce brand is ubiquitous, as you said, and very, very, very strong.

And one of the reasons this is – I think I mentioned to you before we started – I’ve talked to a number of marketing leaders at Salesforce over the last four years and there’s always a strong customer centricity theme to the conversation. But in your case is really interesting because you were part of building the Trailblazer program and I think the Trailhead Online Learning Center was yours. And so let’s talk about that and how you ended up being that person?

Sarah Franklin: Yeah, no, it’s a great question. And I was part of the building of Trailhead and our Trailblazer movement, it was an incredible time to be at Salesforce because Marc Benioff when he saw what we were doing, it’s actually a very interesting story from a marketing lens because he had, at one time stopped all marketing. He said, every creative brief had to go through him and our slides and our creative look and feel he felt was a bit boring. And you could put any logo on the slides. And it was just a blue cloud. And Cloud was a founding principle – a pioneering idea – that Marc and Parker had building the company, and, gone to the place where people on premises, said what? Why would you do that? And so, we came up with the idea of Trailhead, which was how do we skill people up at scale with the aspirations of changing the ratios in tech, empowering anyone to have an incredible career in technology, six figure in US dollar salaries, no matter your race, gender, socioeconomic situation, sexual orientation, background, etc. I can talk forever about that. But we created the platform with Trailhead, and then we gave people an identity with Trailblazer that really made them feel like if we rewind back to the feeling that young kids had when they put on a pair of Air Jordans, they felt like they could dunk a basketball just like Michael Jordan could. And we wanted people to have that feeling. Like I could do anything because Salesforce is behind me, because I’m learning these skills. And Marc completely pivoted the entire company behind the Trailhead creative look and feel, behind the Trailblazer movement, he even wrote a book called Trailblazer. And it became a very emotional, inspirational marketing message for Salesforce along with a bunch of real world impacts that we were having. And so you take that plus I built product, I ran our platform, I know our technology, I know our customers, I know our community. And the time came when the role was available and Marc and Brett said, Sarah, will you step into this and guide us into the future? And I did. And so that’s been the last two plus years now that I’ve been President and CMO here at Salesforce.

Drew Neisser: And what does the President designation mean?

Sarah Franklin: Yeah, like any company, you have your titles, and in another sidebar, I’m super proud to have been at Salesforce to build my career I got hired 15 years ago as an individual contributor. And I went from IC to Manager, Senior Manager, to Director, to Senior Director, to Vice President, to Senior Vice President, to Executive President, to President and CMO of Salesforce, and what is the highest title next to CEO, of course, but I’m on Marc’s staff, and part of our leadership team at Salesforce, and I’m very proud to be not just president, CMO of Salesforce, but to be a female President in the tech industry. We’re not a fortune 100 company. And so I’m very proud to be that what it means is I’m basically on Marc’s team.

Drew Neisser: Got it. Okay. So, a lot of companies a lot of CMOs, think about building community, and that’s on their list we’re gonna build community. What’s so interesting here, the insight here is name it and name it in a way that there’s aspiration right into it by calling yourself a “Trailblazer”.  Like who doesn’t want to be a trailblazer? So there’s a lot to naming the community and then there’s a lot to supporting the community. It isn’t just like, you could build a community, say you have it and come up with a great name, there’s a lot of work to do it.

Anyway, that’s just me talking. But I do have a question. So we talked a little bit about being a customer centric company. And I’ve talked a lot, it’s in my book, after employees, I feel like customers are the number two target of any organization. But I get the sense and we’ve been talking about this a lot in general with CMOs, it’s even more important to be customer centric in a downturn. And I’m just curious if you share that opinion, and if so, why?

Sarah Franklin: I do share that opinion. It’s always important to be a customer company, but especially in a downturn, because not only do you need to grow your customer base and get more revenue, you also need to keep the customers that you have happy, successful, getting value from your products. And it’s why when you’re customer company, you’re focused on getting new customers, but also the success of your existing customers and building more trust of them, building more relationships with them. And hopefully, they’ll want to do more with you. And so it’s never been more important than in good times and hard times. And your customers know that you’re there for them. And also to sense of community – from a marketing standpoint – it’s really about connecting and not just a tactical, “what is my product value provide for you”, but also at an emotional level where people and your customers feel connected to who you are, what you stand for, not just what you do, but how you do it. And that is why it’s so important to create, not only sense of customer success, but that sense of community amongst your customers.

Drew Neisser: Let’s talk quickly about some specific things that you’re doing at Salesforce to be even more customer centric than you’ve already been in the last 10 years, let’s say.

Sarah Franklin: So what we’re doing is a lot of focus on – we’ve already talked about customer success – but helping people learn our technology, so they can skill up people within their employee base on how to use and implement and the best practices of our technology. Also connecting them with each other, that’s one of the most powerful things that you can do as a marketer, is not talk to your customers directly, say, “I’m gonna put my customers in touch with each other and let them talk to each other”. Let them share what’s working. Let them share what’s not working. And then I’d say third, is very simple, it’s just listen. We do a thing called our listening tour. Where I myself, our executives, our product teams, our marketing teams, we go around the world and we get our customers together. And we don’t talk, they talk. And we ask them, “tell us what’s working, tell us what’s not working, give us your honest feedback”. And a lot of people do this with like advisory boards and things like that. But this is very different. It’s a way to really create those forums where you have the feedback loop going. And that is another way in which people really feel that, okay, I’ve got not just a business relationship, but I’ve got a personal connection to you, to your roadmap, to your teams. And that’s a really great way to create that connection.

Drew Neisser: It’s funny, as you were talking, I was thinking about years ago, I interviewed Beth Comstock, when she was CMO at GE. And she actually is the last chapter in my first book. And one of the things that really struck me and I quote in the book was she spends 25 – or did -spend 25% of her time talking to customers. And it wasn’t upselling, it was listening. And that was the whole point of that section.

All right. Speaking of listening, it’s time to take a break. We’ll be right back.

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Drew Neisser: Okay, we’re back. And as you may know, Sarah, I talk to a lot of B2B marketers every month via CMO Huddles, and it’s a really strange time. We had a Huddle yesterday where two of the CMOs were looking at 60% growth this year, while others were seriously retrenching. And in business we describe this as like there’s micro recessions in some places and boom going on in others and I’m wondering if you’re seeing that kind of huge variation among your customers by industry? And if you’re adapting to that in any way?

Sarah Franklin: Yeah, it’s very real, that different industries are impacted in different ways. And this isn’t new, we saw during COVID like travel, transportation, hospitality was like “meh”, but online fitness and retail was through the roof. And now you’re seeing different trends, you see government spending, the public sector, a nice place where we’re seeing growth while financial services has struggled a touch. And so you definitely are seeing various things in the industries. But what you see across the board, is every industry is looking to transform. And so for digital and for tech it’s good.

Drew Neisser: Which gets us to that we’ve talked a fair amount about customer marketing, but you still have a board of directors, they’re still looking for growth, that often means net new customers, unless you can sort of scale up your current customers to make up for the lack of new ones. What is your approach to getting net new customers? Given your ubiquity and are you doing anything different this year, from a messaging standpoint or a marketing mix standpoint?

Sarah Franklin: We’re really doing a lot of going back to basics with marketing. Really going back to what is the value proposition to your customers, what is the demonstration and the vision that you’re going to paint for your customers and prospects. And really being clear on what pieces of the portfolio match those transformations. We’re launching Suites, which are ways for customers to use multiple sets of our products together in a way that’s packaged and integrated and priced in a way that they get value from. And we see this also impacting our customers storytelling, because – from a back to basics standpoint – whether you’re talking to L’Oreal, they’re an incredible customer, their use of our service cloud, their use of our commerce cloud, their use of our whole portfolio. And they really are using a lot of AI to generate recommendations for their customers. And that next level of AI, that’s a huge area, we’re entering to the generative era of of content and code and experiences. And as a marketer, really leaning into that, I think, is so important.

Drew Neisser: Interesting. So what I heard was, as a company that’s as established as yours, you have to sort of be in the business of creating news to get new kinds of attention. So I heard Suites as a way of attacking because you have so many different products in the platform. So rebundling that. Of course, generative AI is the news story of 2023. It’s unbelievable. I don’t think there has been anything like ChatGPT that got the almost universal awareness in a couple of months. I mean, it’s unbelievable. And I was going to talk about that later. But let’s get to it now. We did a bonus Huddle a week ago with just a really brilliant guy who’s been playing in the space for quite a while. And I had been thinking about it and playing with ChatGPT, on a very basic level, he pointed out about five different use cases that I hadn’t thought about at all. And everything from creating really wonderful, quick briefs for customers for STRs. Or looking at, another example was, let’s say you do market research, and you’ve got 500 verbatims. You can tell the thing, take the verbatims and sort them. And oh, by the way, this was an insight, sort them, but tell them if they don’t know which category to put it in, don’t put it anywhere, which is a problem evidently generative AI, it’ll just do it even if it doesn’t know the answer. So where does this fit? I mean, obviously, you all don’t want to miss this news cycle. But what are you seeing in terms of the real application power of generative AI for marketers in particular?

Sarah Franklin: It’s something that I think is so powerful about the role of marketing, because the role of marketing is to create markets – it’s what we do. We think that product people build product, they do, but marketing is where we really create the markets, where we bring the ideas to life in people’s mind, where they can do what you just explained, start to comprehend something that seems completely unreachable and impossible. And that’s what marketing does. And generative AI is going to supercharge marketing in 2023 and beyond for the next decade. And so what I see with this is a world of possibilities. You mentioned a few like STRs, can have better emails and service representatives can have better conversations, we can have code that’s generated for developers to make them more productive. And it’s not just about making people and systems smarter, it’s about making them better, more productive, more human. And that is so powerful. And it’s a marketing dream, to be able to look at all the possibilities. And this innovation, it’s not just headlines, it’s real. This is real innovation that we have at our fingertips now. And I’m excited what it means for customer engagement. And it’s not just about having generative emails, it’s also about having models that are publicly trained, pre-trained, but also being able to have an open and extensible system to bring your own models, and to train it with your first party data so that you can use your customer data for the models to learn and being able to have multiple languages that you’re speaking multiple generational languages that you’re speaking. I mean, I’ve had to learn what Gen Z language is, and it’s a whole nother language. Like, I’m not even going to try to speak that language  because I can’t and I’ll sound dumb when I try to speak it. So it’s really when you talk from a customer engagement standpoint, it is like next level ability and I just put myself into this fantastical dream world of marketing, where your websites create themselves, your content and your creative is automatically exactly what your prospects and customers are looking for. You can have avatars in any clothing, in any location, speaking any language, you can have product doing anything, the future is incredible for marketing. Or think of from a creative standpoint, you maybe bid out some work and maybe get three to four concepts back that you give some feedback on. And you’ve got a few months in the cycle until you get a concept that you execute upon. Imagine getting endless concepts that you can mix and merge real time. And the creative lens that you get to apply now as a marketer, with the advent of generative AI. It’s just mind blowing.

Drew Neisser: It is. And I have to say, I have really enjoyed playing with it. Though one thing is funny, because the one thing I’ve noticed that it can’t do, and this is mainly focused on ChatGPT for the moment but is, it can’t be clever. Which is so interesting. You could say, “Hey, give me a tagline for Salesforce eight words or less” and it’ll come up with 100 taglines in a second, but there won’t be a single clever one in it. They’ll be accurate, and they’ll be dull.

Sarah Franklin: Well what was fascinating now I was playing with some AI last night.  We have a few models that we have in the lab. And I actually was asking it, to write a tshirt for me. I love to wear tshirts that are kind of fun and funky. And I was like, I want a tshirt on GPT that’s, you know, hip and fun. And it wrote me some you know, they were a little bit long, and I said my favorite two words. I said “Less words”. And it came up with some and then I asked him I said “Make them wittier”. And the AI did and it came up with some pretty punchy taglines for a tshirt that I think I might have one for our upcoming conference Trailblazer DX, which it actually was able to have some humor and even wrote me a joke when I asked.

Drew Neisser: So can you share that because I didn’t use the word “wittier”, “make it wittier”. I said make it more clever. Maybe “wittier” is the prompt. But I love that possibility. I mean, and by the way, having 10 as if you are in the business of rebranding, and you’re looking for language, or just headlines, it’s a great place to start. And that was quite useful exercise, even if it doesn’t give you the answer.

Sarah Franklin: Yeah, no, I’m bringing it up on my phone right now. Like the first run was I let AI generate my tshirt test, which is pretty bad. This one’s a little cheeky I will say but it says, “My algorithms are bigger than yours”.

Drew Neisser: There you go. Right.

Sarah Franklin: This one I liked it said “AI powered wordsmith”. The one I really liked. It said, “Never stop learning”, which I thought was really good. So they were kind of witty. That was some real time conversing with AI and helping me get some tshirt text.

Drew Neisser: All right, we’re gonna take a quick break. And then when we come back, I’ve got a rapid fire challenge for you where we’re going to answer seven questions in under a minute. So stay with us.

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Drew Neisser: Okay, we’re back and it’s time for the speed round. And these are like just off the top of your head. So first question, and these are not easy. One KPI every CMO should care about?

Sarah Franklin: Revenue.

Drew Neisser: Is MQL still a relevant metric?

Sarah Franklin: Yes, but balance with multi-touch attribution.

Drew Neisser: Ideal mix between people, programs, and technology?

Sarah Franklin: 60/40 people programs.

Drew Neisser: People 60, programs 40. And if we look at 100% of the budget and include tech, then what percentage is tech?

Sarah Franklin: About 15.

Drew Neisser: Okay, last thing to cut if you have to cut your budget?

Sarah Franklin: Last thing to cut if we have to cut the budget is our tech.

Drew Neisser: Spoken like a tech person. First thing to cut in your budget?

Sarah Franklin: First thing the cut is swag and peripheral creative.

Drew Neisser: Oh, I’m missing those tshirts already. Um, where should the STR sit? marketing or sales?

Sarah Franklin: Sales.

Drew Neisser: Oh, interesting. Okay, and favorite place to run?

Sarah Franklin: Oh, favorite place to run is Oakland Hills.

Oakland Hills. All right.

Drew Neisser: So let’s talk about CRM. I mean, you’re in that business. And it’s the cornerstone of things. When customers are really using your platform well, what are they doing that others aren’t?

Sarah Franklin: Customers that are using our platform well, are using the full breadth of the platform, and they’re using the integrated Suite. So when you are just setting up a Sales Cloud, and you only use it to track leads, but then you do all of your analytics somewhere else, and you have some other tools to do everything, and you get very swivel chair. You look at it like, “Oh it’s just a backend database”. When you’re not using the built in flow, automation, all of the pipeline, forecasting tools, all the analytics that you get, that’s when you really start to get the value -when you really have everyone at the company, using it, and using it to help give you insights. And then using it together with some of the other pieces of technology we have. And also applying best practices. And I would say one more thing is that using out of the box functionality is often a homerun. When you get too over customized, it makes your implementation a bit brittle and fragile and hard to bring in other pieces. So that would be my thing is like using the most out of the box functionality that you can and getting the most value out of it with using all of the underlying platform pieces as well.

Drew Neisser: So my next question was going to be the common mistakes made in CRM implementations. And sounds like one of them is too much customization. And I imagine it’s just happens that if you do another iteration, and you’ve gone down a rabbit hole, you may end up sort of off the trail, so to speak. And even if you’re a trailblazer, you don’t necessarily want to go off the trail.

Sarah Franklin: Yeah, when you get too much customization, it gets complicated. And so we’re definitely seeing ease of use for your end user is very important. Because if you’re in marketing, and you have your CRM set up, you need that data. You’re operating from data, which is only as good as what’s input into the system from your salespeople. And whether your plays that worked, the campaigns that were driving leads and interest, the messaging that worked, the competitive deal wins that you have or not. And that’s really important that you have good data coming in. And so you want your salespeople to be inputting the data well, and also being able to pull in data from lots of other sources. And having it – something which I love – I’ve grown to be super dependent on this, which is having your spend data correlated against your campaigns and correlated against your paid media. So you can see the full effectiveness of your marketing spend. Because getting back to an earlier question you had on talking to your board, being able to really show the the cost per lead or the cost per revenue, that’s something that we measure a lot. And it’s not something that gets talked about that much.

Drew Neisser: So the biggest complaint that CMOs often have with any of these systems is salespeople putting in lousy data. And I’ve heard many saying sales aren’t even allowed to put the data in. That’s why RevOps has become a thing just so that there’s a central place to do it. And obviously bad data in is bad data forever. But I’m curious, as I’m hearing you talk about it. Do you think you’re your best customer? I mean, are you using your platform better than anybody else?

Sarah Franklin: So this is something I’m very proud about is that within marketing as a CMO of Salesforce, I aspired to be the exemplar implementation of Salesforce and our customer 360. We’ve spent the last two years setting up our data cloud, which we have over 60 streams of data coming into that’s from multiple Salesforce orgs. It’s from multiple external data sources, internal data sources, our budgets, everything, and then we map that all to our canonical, which we then use to get down to unique profiles that then we can do real time segmentation, audience building, and activation in market with paid media with email campaigns, SMS is etc. And provide a single view of the customer to our teams. And so that is my goal. And what I love about that also, is that when I have needs, like, for example, if I want to reconcile my AdWords spend against my opportunities that we’re creating in the system, and without having to move data around, I went back to the product team, and I said, “I need to do this. I’m sure all of our customers need to do this.” They said, “Let me build that for you. Let me talk to Google.” And then we have the partnership, the technology, the integration, the mapping, the analytics prebuilt. And that’s now out in market as a package product. And so that’s also been very fun to influence our roadmap that way.

Drew Neisser: Yeah I gotta say, I hope everybody who makes a product that you can use if you’re in MarTec, at all, heard that very, very carefully. Because if you aren’t your best customer, you aren’t the person who can drive the roadmap. As you were talking, I’m thinking about tech stacks. And  Salesforce is obviously in the center, and it plays multiple roles in this thing. But I’m wondering if there’s something else on your tech stack that isn’t Salesforce, that you go, “That’s cool.”

Sarah Franklin: So within marketing, I use our marketing cloud, I use interaction studio use our Genie Data Cloud, we obviously use our Sales Cloud and Service Cloud together as well, in the other departments where they’re all integrated. And the other thing I really use a lot, and this is before we had the business, is Slack. Because a lot of the interaction and engagement that we do is communication with ourselves and with agencies. And so being able to have those communications then tied into, we use cloud solutions, like Koopa, for our budgeting and things like that. So it’s really, there’s the MarTech stack, but then there’s a bunch of things that we use around it for Agile. So we use Agile Solutions, and we use Budgeting Solutions, and Productivity Solutions. And then also things that you use for video management and those type of tools. So there’s a lot of ancillary tools that you use as well, within the marketing stack. But all of that feeding into having your dashboard, what’s going on, the newest one, which I’m excited about is having an Agile system, and being able to see real time, and we work a lot with Accenture on this, and they’ve helped us build some solutions that they have with their synapse platform to have that real time view into all of the creative work that’s going on.

Drew Neisser: One of the things that I think is so interesting, as you’re known for a core product, you offer many, many more. And maybe you’ve already answered this because of your new Suite products, but how does and how do you see the challenge of educating your customers that, “Hey, you’re using us for this, but there’s so much more you could be doing.” And what could other companies learn from your efforts to land and expand? But I don’t even want to put those words in your mouth.

Sarah Franklin: Yeah, I mean, land and expand, seed and grow. These are core Salesforce motions. And that’s something you need to be able to do as a marketer, when you have a multi swiveling product portfolio. It’s also really important because that can help you have multiple revenue channels. And what’s interesting is when we run a campaign, for example, our Sales Cloud, we talked about how you can do customer 360, always and it’s hand-in-glove with customer service. And so you feed a lot of the other product lines as well. And so a new product that we have now is our Data Cloud, which is getting huge momentum. And so what you do, and the important part for marketing is you just again, go back to the customer, what problems are they solving? What adjacency do you have with your solutions that you can provide? And when you talk to your customers about that, if they already have a trust relationship, they’re open to hearing what more you can do. I have this conversation all the time when I’m talking about personalization, I feel like everybody’s doing personalization, but a lot of people are not yet really doing personalization at scale, or ABM, for example, how are they doing that at scale? And then that’s a big crossover into, how do you provide great customer service? So my advice to marketers is look at your customers and see other problems that they have in other areas of their business that you can solve with other products. And if you approach it with that lens, in your words, you land a solution and you expand with other ways that you can help them.

Drew Neisser: Awesome. Okay, I want to wrap up. So we’re talking about the whole intro this show was turbulent time’s and sort of making the most of them or finding your bearings and succeeding. What’s your final words of wisdom for CMOs as they approach marketing in an economically turbulent time?

Sarah Franklin: My advice is to make sure that you see yourself as strategic. Marketing is the engine that drives growth and in certain times. We are the people that help drive demand. Marketers create markets, marketers create customers, they are the ones that are bringing the demand in. And so my advice is to focus on the positive, how you’re helping your customers, their success, and then how you can scale that success to be success for other prospects.

Drew Neisser: Very inspirational. I love it a perfect place to stop. I can’t add anything. So Sarah, thank you so much for being on Renegade Marketers Unite.

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Show Credits

Renegade Marketers Unite is written and directed by Drew Neisser. Hey, that’s me! This show is produced by Melissa Caffrey, Laura Parkyn, and our B2B podcast partners Share Your Genius. The music is by the amazing Burns Twins and the intro Voice Over is Linda Cornelius. To find the transcripts of all episodes, suggest future guests, or learn more about B2B branding, CMO Huddles, or my CMO coaching service, check out I’m your host, Drew Neisser. And until next time, keep those Renegade thinking caps on and strong!