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Amazing product management at SalesForce.com

I admit that I do have a slightly biased opinion towards SalesForce.com. You can say that I am drunk on Marc Benioff’s cool aid, to which I’d respond that I think they have one of the most amazing technical platforms in the world. But what I’d like to share today has nothing to do with SalesForce.com platform. I want to share a little story about an amazing customer service and the ability to listen to the customers and turn around on the dime.

Please follow the timeline:

December 13, 2011: SalesForce.com announces Analytics Edition on its blog: http://blogs.salesforce.com/product/2011/12/introducing-the-analytics-edition.html. The edition includes features such as:

    • bucketing, a feature which lets you group data and place them in categories – buckets. For numeric data, you can say that deals under $1000 are small, and over that are large

    • cross-filtering, that allows you to filter on related objects, for instance, in a report on accounts and contacts, to show all contacts in accounts that don’t have a closed opportunity.

    • a new report format – joined reports – where you can join reports together, to report on multiple children of the same parent, for instance, meaning you can have a report showing the products, and team members on each opportunity in your team.

    • higher limits on snapshots, scheduled reports and dashboards, and dynamic dashboards.

However, analytics functionality is priced at an extra $40 per user.

Late December, January 2012: SalesForce.com user community passionately cheers the arrival of analytic abilities, especially joined reports, however, the users are outraged with the cost and the fact that every user in the organization has to pay an extra $40 per month.

User community starts rallying against price increase. Here is just one place on SalesForce forum – http://success.salesforce.com/ideaView?id=08730000000gDktAAE

Some quotes from LinkedIn Groups:

…I am sure that almost every other salesforce.com user out there would agree as well. Let’s make our voices heard. Please go vote on this idea: http://success.salesforce.com/ideaView?id=08730000000gDktAAE..

Marc speaks eloquently of how Netflix, BOA, etc, have had to reverse proposed pricing changes. The Salesforce community needs to raise it’s voice – Please go vote on this idea: http://success.salesforce.com/ideaView?id=08730000000gDktAAE

and guess what… it worked:

January 31, 2012: Blog post on SalesForce.com Product blog “Responding to customer feedback“:

…We got it wrong, and we sincerely apologize to our customers.

Today we are announcing that, as part of the Spring ‘12 release, our new enterprise analytics features will be included in Enterprise Edition and Unlimited Edition at no additional charge.

As a social enterprise, it’s essential we listen to our customers and what they expect around continuous innovation and enhancements on their existing products. We welcome your feedback.

George Hu,

COO, salesforce.com

@georgehusf

All I can say is it takes guts to admit mistakes. There is a legend that when an executive at Google made a mistake that cost Google a few million dollars, Larry Page thanked the employee and continued by saying that it is ok to make these mistakes. If you are not making mistakes then you are not taking any risk, you are not innovating.

If you don’t innovate – you die… just plain and simple. One of my most favorite quotes is a quote from Alice “…it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”. I recently published another blog post about that. Check it out – http://infotrustllc.com/blog/education/leadership-and-capability

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Article written by Alex Yastrebenetsky
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