Digital Strategy

The Customer-Centric Mandate: Key Takeaway from Salesforce PKO 2020

March 2, 2020

The opportunity ahead for product manufacturers to transform their technology, cultures, and business models is undeniable. Moreover, it’s what customers want.

Hundreds of system integrators, consultants, agencies, and independent software vendors (ISVs), including Propel, descended on Las Vegas last month for Salesforce’s Second Annual Partner Kickoff (PKO).

Salesforce highlighted several key trends transforming our industry, including the evolving workforce and smarter organizations. Top of mind, of course, was digital transformation – a theme that was ever-present throughout the event.

As businesses deploy digital experiences, Salesforce noted, they open themselves up to far more opportunity than risk. Additionally, the insights and analytics gained from these changes greatly increase cross-organizational intelligence, and ultimately, drive better business outcomes.

We all know this to be true in theory. (Salesforce also shared that, according to McKinsey, 75% of companies have prioritized digital transformation, but only 4% have already done it.) Yet, in practice, many industries are still suffering through the painful inefficiencies of traditional cloud or on-premise solutions. They have focused primarily on departmental efficiency at the expense of overall customer experience and success.

Take single-tenant SaaS PLM and QMS, for example. PLM has been designed to help engineers collaborate with each other, while QMS has focused on helping QA teams manage their own quality processes. While there are many good PLM and QMS systems out there, product and quality information need to be managed together. 

How can companies deliver a customer-centric experience when engineers aren’t tuned in to the latest customer feedback? Or if QA isn’t in sync with the latest engineering updates? 

Furthermore, on-premise solutions require additional infrastructure and technical resources, making an already clunky system even clunkier. The time, money, and expertise needed could have teams bogged down in implementation projects that seemingly never end, all under the guise of “true digital transformation.”

DOWNLOAD | 4 Principles for Digital Transformation

When it comes to deploying actual digital experiences, it helps to remember the goal. To deliver product success, there’s an operational mandate, of course, but even further, there's a customer mandate to identify and eliminate process pain points. Improved performance, then, should result in better products and more satisfied customers, which in turn, makes you more competitive and decreases costs.

RELATED | Why Delivering Products at the Right Speed is Key to Success

But how do you get there? 

On the technology side, aim for integrated solutions that focus on the customer and fill the gaps in product lifecycle, commercialization, and quality. Many solutions are still playing catch-up here, so the product gaps should be glaring. 

On the culture side, aspire for collaboration. Consider how all stakeholders in the product value chain will work together effectively and efficiently for the sake of improving the customer experience. If your workflow is poor, for example – say, your company has a series of sequential approval steps and only a single group or team can approve each step, or even worse, it’s a workflow process only within a department – imagine the barriers to simply getting things done. The consequences would be grave. 

And, finally, all roads lead to the cloud. This should be table stakes in a solution, not an afterthought. As a Salesforce ISV, Propel is built completely on Salesforce, which means we have all the business and technical benefits of their top-rated cloud CRM, including:

  • Easy integrations across customer, product and quality processes 
  • Fast and flexible configurability no matter your business model
  • Future-proofing as your business or market changes
  • World-class data protection
  • Complete knowledge capture and data continuity

DOWNLOAD | Benefits Of Propel + Salesforce For Product Manufacturers

The opportunity ahead for product manufacturers like you to transform your technology, culture, and business model is undeniable. Moreover, it’s what your customers want. 

My key takeaway from Salesforce’s Partner Kickoff is that putting customer success first is more than just a winning strategy, it’s core to who Propel is.

To learn more about the benefits of Propel’s Product 360 Platform and Salesforce’s Customer 360 Platform, download our datasheet here.

“We needed a solution that could adapt to us versus us adapting to them. With Propel we are able to mistake-proof our processes to gain business efficiencies and at the same time ensure compliance.”


Brent Lewis
Director, Enterprise IT Quality and Compliance Systems
Advanced Sterilization Products Services (ASP)

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Be'Anka Ashaolu


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