Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past 15+ years, you know Salesforce (www.salesforce.com) is the leader in sales force automation. But, we midwesterners can be thoughtfully cautious in our adoption of new technology and as a result Salesforce is only now entering the mainstream in Wisconsin.
As a Salesforce customer and now a registered Salesforce partner I’ve had a chance to interact with many of their employees and have been exposed to their culture.
Let me tell you, I’m impressed. And what’s most striking is how closely aligned many of Salesforce’s values are to those we hold dear in Wisconsin.
As a Wisconsinite I know there’s nothing more important than trust. We work with people we trust. It’s why we believe in building long-term business relationships and why we love to buy local. It’s why our favorite sons of Wisconsin business – Harley Davidson, Trek Bicycles, Kohler, and SC Johnson to name a few – all convey trust in their brand. It’s part of our heritage in Wisconsin and it’s also one of Salesforce’s 8 values.
Salesforce believes in transparency and keeping your information secure. The fact that Salesforce is a multi-tennant solution demands trust since your data is held entirely by Salesforce. Trust is so important at Salesforce they have their own website 100% dedicated to system status (heck, the URL is even ” trust.salesforce.com” – how’s that for trust as a value?)
Trust is the cornerstone of every productive business relationship I’ve every experienced. Every successful Wisconsin business I’ve ever engaged with has looked for trust in their partners above all else and Salesforce holds trust most dear.
Helping your Neighbor
Ever been to Wausau? It’s a picturesque town in north-central Wisconsin positioned squarely on the Wisconsin river and the downtown can be a little confusing to navigate. How about Minocqua what with it’s breathtaking beauty, lakes and active summer tourism. La Crosse? There you’ll find exhilarating bluffs and the mighty Mississippi river. You know what else you’ll find in these towns and every other Wisconsin town if you’re there for a visit and run into a problem?
That’s right if your car breaks down in the -10 degree dead of winter you can take it to the bank that SOMEONE will stop and ask if you need help. If you appear lost while trying to find Holy Hill near Hubertus someone will stop and ask if you need directions. You won’t have to ask – a Wisconsinite just inherently knows when someone needs help and will give it.
Likewise a decade before corporate social responsibility was a thing, Salesforce pioneered it with their 1/1/1 model. With that model Salesforce donates 1% of their time, product and profit to those who need it. You probably never heard of it and that’s because, just like Wisconsinites it’s simply part of Salesforce’s DNA to help.
I grew up in Tomahawk, WI a small town of about 3,500 in the northern part of the state about 180 miles due north of Madison. Anywhere outside of Tomahawk (and, curiously France…) the name “Theiler” is mispronounced. I’ve heard “THEE-ler” and “THIGH-ler” and even “TEE-ler” but in Tomahawk everyone knows it’s actually pronounced “TY-ler”. Heck, when I was in graduate school at UW-Madison I got in the habit of responding to beginning of semester roll-call with “It’s pronounced “TY-ler” just like T-y-l-e-r except spelled differently” (much to the amusement of some of my classmates who to this day call me “T-y-l-e-r”…)
In Tomahawk everyone is family. I’ve spent time in Eagle River and Medford and Lake Mills and Green Bay as well as countless other communities in Wisconsin. I’ve lived in Tomahawk, Stevens Point and Waupaca, Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, Greenfield and New Berlin, Middleton and Madison. In every single one of these Wisconsin communities, family comes first.
The Salesforce culture – one of work-hard, play-hard – is like a family too. Co-workers frequently gather for post-work drinks or dinner and the atmosphere is one of brother or sisterhood. In fact, Salesforce uses the word “Ohana” (which means “family”) to describe their culture and if you’ve ever been to a Salesforce event it’s like a high-tech, high-energy family. The Salesforce ecosystem feels more like a family than any other organization I’ve been exposed to and that family value is shared with Wisconsinites.
Ever been to a Packers game? If you have you know that football and tailgating go together in Wisconsin. Oh and by the way Brewers games are the same. And Badger football games. Tailgating is a Wisconsin tradition and do you know why we do it? Because it’s just friggin’ fun! What could be more fun that drinking beer, grilling brats and spending time with your friends and (surprise, surprise) family?
Ever been to Wisconsin Dells? That’s fun too (ironically many Wisconsinites avoid the Dells because of the swelling number of tourists…see the connection between trust and family there?) Giant water slides, wacky go-carts and make-believe zombie apocalypse escape..what could be more fun than that?
Wisconsin is home to the World Championship Snowmobile Derby (Eagle River), one of the longest cross-country ski races in North America, American Birkebeiner (Cable-Hayward), The EAA AirVenture show (Oshkosh), The J.R.R. Tolkien Collection (Marquette University – Milwaukee), and Summerfest, “The Worlds Largest Music Festival” (Milwaukee) to name a few. Is that fun enough for you?
Fun is also at the core of the Salesforce culture. Dreamforce is Salesforce’s mammoth gathering of 170,00+ people from the ecosystem held in San Francisco in early fall each year. This year (2016) if you’re an attendee you also get to see U2 in concert. How fun is that? But it doesn’t stop there! Salesforce holds many other events around the world such as the World Tour (I’ve been to the Chicago World Tour 2 years running…what a great time!) and their CEO Marc Benioff holds company events in Hawaii. How fun is that?
Besides that the halls of the Salesforce office in Chicago is open and collaborative where you’ll find basketball hoops and jeans vendors hawking their wares. You’ll also find a lot of energy, a lot of smiles and a whole lot of fun.
It’s true as a west-coast company, Salesforce and Wisconsin are just getting to know each other. As your company makes your next technology play consider your values first. Salesforce has always been the leader in sales automation but today they’re so much more and what makes them most attractive, fellow cheeseheads, is that their value system is the same as our own. Now THAT’S a company to build a long-term relationship with.
Emelar Consulting Group is a Wisconsin-based registered Salesforce partner. Emelar’s ownership team is made up of 100% Wisconsinites…and proud to be both Badgers and Wisconsin’s premier Salesforce partner!
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