Based on Bill’s experience, what made a company like Salesforce successful over the years was its ability to evolve and stay ahead of the times—sometimes successfully, as happened during the No Software era, and sometimes with a few hiccups as he discussed during his interview on The Humans Strike Back.
As the market changed and competing CRMs rose and fell, Salesforce leaders experimented with different approaches. Did employees always appreciate these shifting priorities? No: the constant change to meet new market conditions was both what employees loved and complained about the most. The two camps had equally strong (and mutually exclusive) opinions about the strategy—but Salesforce kept conducting end-of-year employee surveys (see?, more feedback!) to make sure everybody had a chance to speak, and built an $8.4 billion company in the process.
How much and how often you evolve will depend on your organization, your market, and your culture. And that’s where your ability to listen to customers and prioritize their needs plays a crucial role. To know what to change, Bill recommended focusing on metrics such as Net Promoter Score® (NPS), looking at customer pain points, and finding answers to questions such as:
- Why are customers frustrated?
- Why are they refusing to recommend certain companies (including yours) to their friends?
- What would win them over?
You can do it through different methods—sending out a survey, conducting phone interviews, even meeting up with your customers in person. For example, this is an email we sent out last year to meet some of our users ‘in real life’ and discover more about them: