Take a Customer-Centric Approach to Discovery

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain the Salesforce customer-centric discovery model.
  • Apply best practices to start a design thinking approach with customers.

Get to Know Salesforce Customers-Centric Discovery

Salesforce seeks to be customer-centric in the way we work with our customers. We partnered with Somersault Innovation to help us design our model for discovery and use the principles of design thinking. Our customer-centric discovery (CCD) begins with know the customer. In this stage, we use our existing tools such as 10K advisors reports, LinkedIn profiles, and industry reports to orient ourselves toward our customer’s business.

Then, we seek ways to be the customer by finding ways to walk in our customer’s customer shoes. This can involve visiting a physical or virtual store, calling into customer service lines, or interviewing businesses who buy from our customer. We use these perspectives to connect with the customer and show them our genuine interest in their business. We work with them to create a vision they care about before we move ahead and co-create a path forward.

Use CCD for Your Business

These principles can apply both in business to customer (B2C) and business to business (B2B) organizations. After all, every business has its customers. You can likely identify several different types of end customers and then decide which ones to focus on to conduct your discovery. Sellers use practical criteria to determine where to focus, such as which customers they can easily access, as well as creative criteria such as which end customers would be the most interesting to experience and learn from.

Check Out CCD in Action

One account executive applied CCD to a retail greeting card company that she knew, from its 10K report, was interested in growing its business with millennial customers. She visited its stores, and she downloaded the company’s app, seeking to make online purchases. She learned a number of insightful things that millennials would find important and used these insights to gain the interest of the greeting card executive team.

Together, they plotted a plan for a successful partnership that became a multimillion-dollar deal.

Another client executive focused on an insurance firm’s B2B business by engaging with brokers who sold the insurer’s policies. She exchanged insights with a variety of brokers, and this led to introductions to executives in new parts of the insurance company. This series of new connections led to new opportunities they could pursue together.

Focus on Your Interests and Iterate

When it comes to thinking practically about the customer accounts, we suggest you focus on customers you’re genuinely interested in. Whether it’s a B2C or B2B customer, which customer accounts do you believe that, if you took a more customer-centric approach, you could find new opportunities and establish more connections?

Pick one or two customer accounts to practice with and get started. If for whatever reason you’re not able to make progress, choose another customer account. Keep iterating in your practice of applying customer-centric discovery to find the approach that works best for you, for your business and, most of all, for your customers’ businesses!


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