Everyone agrees.
There’s so much more we
could do with Salesforce.

Based on over 110,000 data points collected from 1,700+
customers, Bluewolf’s fifth annual The State of Salesforce Report
uncovers how the best companies are using Salesforce now.

0%
see innovation potential
with Salesforce
0%
think their company could
be doing more with its
Salesforce investments

Insights by Function

IT

All companies yearn for actionable insights within Salesforce. Integration and analytics are how to get them. The best companies are integrating clouds, processes, and back-office systems, and incorporating accessible analytics directly into their employees’ daily routines. IT professionals need to focus on specific customer and employee moments that can benefit from integration and analytics, and ensure all improvements align to business outcomes.
0%
of companies will be increasing their Salesforce budgets next year—13% by more than 50%
0%
of IT professionals believe their company is dedicated to making the most of its Salesforce investments

The Cognitive Era Is Only Beginning

0%
of IT sees great innovation potential in Salesforce
Increasing investments in making analytics actionable and accessible is the best way to move applications from smart to intelligent. While 52% of companies believe their core applications are already intelligent, 80% of companies’ data is dark and untouched—and with more companies adopting Salesforce IoT Cloud, the amount of data companies are collecting is poised to balloon in the coming year. Though the vision and perceived value exists, most companies are only beginning to adopt intelligent applications that help automate the next best action by consuming data, transforming it into insights, then transmitting them across a company’s Salesforce.

Rightsize Investments in Analytics To Increase Data’s Value

Increased Investment in Analytics Improves Perception of Data Quality
76%
Our data quality is a competitive advantage.
72%
Data is recognized as a strategic asset.
62%
Strong data quality, management, and standards are in place.
67%
I can access some data from other departments.
63%
Data quality is recognized as an issue.
41%
I do not trust our data and support for improving it is limited.
24%
Our data quality is a competitive advantage.
28%
Data is recognized as a strategic asset.
38%
Strong data quality, management, and standards are in place.
33%
I can access some data from other departments.
37%
Data quality is recognized as an issue.
59%
I do not trust our data and support for improving it is limited.
This year, 65% of companies are increasing their investments in making analytics actionable and accessible. The best companies are focused on analytics projects that reduce the effort of every employee’s most frequent decisions. Even if the data isn’t perfect, exposing data quality issues by using the data will ultimately improve its quality and value.

Integrate Clouds to Improve Employee Experience

0%
of companies have integrated or plan to integrate Salesforce clouds
Poor access to different types of data, including data outside of Salesforce, topped this year’s list as the number one barrier to deriving insights from Salesforce—and the best companies are focusing on integration to mitigate employees’ data challenges and improve their experience. Integrating clouds, or other on-premise systems, streamlines disparate customer data and allows employees to see a single view of the customer. Investments in integration and improving the employee user experience are paying off. Companies that have integrated or plan to integrate clouds are more likely to think Salesforce’s overall value has increased in the past 12 months than those that haven’t integrated.
MoreHide IT Insights

Sales

Salespeople see great value in Salesforce—79% think it makes their jobs easier. The best companies are building on the employee experience by providing Sales with universal access to information—whenever, wherever, on any device—and developing intelligent applications that reduce the number of decisions and actions required of salespeople everyday.
0%
of salespeople input data into Salesforce just to satisfy reporting requirements
0%
say they can run an entire sales cycle from their phone or tablet

Embrace Automation for Better Forecasting and Revenue Gains

1/3
of salespeople believe their core applications anticipate which opportunities to focus on, and automatically take or suggest the next best action
Efforts to automate processes like territory and opportunity management have paid off. There is a positive correlation between the use of intelligent applications and better forecasting, greater efficiency, and reaching revenue goals. When companies’ core applications are intelligent, 66% say their forecasting accuracy has improved in the past 12 months. Furthermore, better forecasting accuracy increases sales teams’ confidence: companies are more than twice as likely to believe they’ll exceed their goals when forecasting accuracy has improved in the past year. Once forecasting is automated, the best sales teams can focus on selling more intelligently, continuously working toward hitting their numbers, while improving the customer experience with small but memorable actions.

Empower Sales to Sell, Not Enter Data

Employees’ Top Data Issues
18%
Poor or inconsistent data quality
34%
Accessing different types of data, including data outside of Salesforce
26%
Reconciling data from different sources or across different Salesforce orgs
14%
Not enough time/resources to deliver reports
6%
Lack of easy-to-use visualization tools for Salesforce data
2%
Lack of data analysis skills
44%
Poor or inconsistent data quality
23%
Accessing different types of data, including data outside of Salesforce
13%
Reconciling data from different sources or across different Salesforce orgs
10%
Not enough time/resources to deliver reports
6%
Lack of easy-to-use visualization tools for Salesforce data
4%
Lack of data analysis skills
28%
Poor or inconsistent data quality
22%
Accessing different types of data, including data outside of Salesforce
28%
Reconciling data from different sources or across different Salesforce orgs
14%
Not enough time/resources to deliver reports
5%
Lack of easy-to-use visualization tools for Salesforce data
3%
Lack of data analysis skills
31%
Poor or inconsistent data quality
24%
Accessing different types of data, including data outside of Salesforce
24%
Reconciling data from different sources or across different Salesforce orgs
11%
Not enough time/resources to deliver reports
7%
Lack of easy-to-use visualization tools for Salesforce data
3%
Lack of data analysis skills
31% of Sales cite access to different types of data, including data outside of Salesforce, as the biggest barrier to deriving insights from Salesforce. 79% of salespeople regularly spend time during their work day inputting the same data into multiple systems, which increases the risk for human error to affect companies’ data quality. The best companies are making investments in data quality, significantly improving salespeople’s mobile access and Salesforce’s overall value. When data quality is strong, salespeople are almost twice as likely to believe they’ll achieve their 2016 goals.

Make Opportunity Management Intuitive, Not Mandatory

0%
of salespeople who can log in to Salesforce from anywhere, anytime, on any device also think Salesforce makes it easier to do work
While the majority of salespeople believe their company is dedicated to making the most of Salesforce, 27% only enter opportunity data into Salesforce to satisfy reporting requirements. Being able to access Salesforce from a mobile device affects Sales more than any other department, but only 34% of salespeople say they can run an entire sales cycle from their phone or tablet. Investing in improving the mobile user experience drives business outcomes: when salespeople believe they can run an entire sales cycle from their phones, companies are almost three times more likely to see cost reductions and twice as likely to see revenue gains as attributable to Salesforce. The best companies are integrating clouds and applications, focusing on creating a more multi-device, multichannel employee experience.
MoreHide Sales Insights

Marketing

The best marketers are focused on uniting disparate platforms, data, and channels. Marketers, more than any other department, are hindered by the complexity of their own technology. Every channel has a specific platform that requires a different set of technical skills, yet unintegrated platforms mean that customer information can live in many different systems. To take advantage of emerging intelligent capabilities, marketers need to lead data and integration initiatives as well as demand more from the technologies on which they rely most.
0%
of marketers use Salesforce for reporting or lead routing only
0%
of marketers say their companies have integrated back-office systems with Salesforce in the past year

Integrate to Prove Campaign ROI

0%
of marketers believe there is a significant opportunity to improve how they use mobile to achieve their goals
Marketers still have a long way to go to close the loop on campaign ROI. The biggest barrier? There’s no single shared platform, and data lives in different applications. Many B2B organizations have designed marketing automation and CRM implementations in silos—thus not enabling a consistent demand funnel. The best marketers are leading integration and data projects that turn Salesforce into a hub of customer and prospect information.

Marketers Struggle With Too Many Platforms and Applications

When it comes to determining the next segment of leads to whom you should market, how does Salesforce help you?
10%
Salesforce anticipates which opportunities I should focus on and begins nurturing my prospects.
20%
Salesforce anticipates which opportunities I should focus on and suggests the best action.
21%
Salesforce shows me a selection of suggested opportunities; I then have to decide which ones to focus on and the best message to deliver.
22%
Based on historical data in Salesforce, I am able to determine the best opportunities on which to focus.
27%
I enter opportunity data into Salesforce to satisfy reporting requirements.
Marketers are dealing with more platforms and applications than any other department. Whether at a B2B or B2C company, a marketer’s tech stack is complex, and those seeing success are already moving towards an integrated and intelligent core platform. Today, only a fraction of marketers believe that Salesforce helps them automatically segment and market to the right leads; meanwhile, 34% use Salesforce for reporting or lead routing only. Disparate applications and bad data are preventing the majority of marketers from thinking beyond the basics of Salesforce. Marketers who partner with IT to integrate their own technology with Salesforce, as well as data from other departments’ core applications will see a significant increase in the value of Salesforce.

It’s Time to Rethink What Marketers Need from Data

0%
of marketers believe their data quality is a competitive advantage or strategic asset
Working with multiple applications and no single platform, marketers are inundated with data. Managing unintegrated data tools, from e-commerce platforms to data enrichment services, requires very specific skills, and the time spent transforming data and configuring technology is preventing marketers from focusing on marketing. Marketers need to be champions for data governance within their organization. Governance and an improved partnership with IT will bring together disparate applications and data, and set up marketers to get more out of intelligent applications, including Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s Journey Builder.
MoreHide Marketing Insights

Service

Service professionals continue to improve omni-channel and self-service offerings, bringing in more customer data. But the lack of automated, intelligent applications can make agents’ daily tasks feel disconnected and ineffective. Robust customer data in one place in Salesforce is a differentiator. To get such data, 61% of service organizations are increasing investments in actionable analytics within Salesforce, focusing on integrating systems, reducing duplicate data entry, and implementing proactive self-service.
0%
of Service say they have some form of intelligent self-service
0%
as many service agents think Salesforce makes their jobs easier when their companies have integrated or plan to integrate clouds

Make Customer Service Smarter

0%
of service agents say their systems anticipate when customers need help
For Service, intelligent applications can do the most to improve self-service offerings. 86% of companies believe their organization lacks intelligent self-service, whereby applications automatically answer customer questions without agent involvement. Today, companies are looking to streamline self-service to decrease costs and improve the employee and customer experience.

Duplicate Data Entry Is Slowing Service

The Frequency of Duplicate Data Entry
8%
Always
23%
Very frequently
40%
Occasionally
17%
Rarely
6%
Very rarely
6%
Never
4%
Always
29%
Very frequently
47%
Occasionally
12%
Rarely
3%
Very rarely
5%
Never
Service tends to be the hub of all customer interactions and all the data that comes with it, including data from Sales and Marketing. When overall data quality and departmental communication is poor, Service bears the brunt of the impact. Today, 80% of Service organizations spend time entering duplicate data into multiple applications to effectively do their jobs. Poor data affects every aspect of the frontline employee experience—and the customer experience. Customers have high expectations that the agent will know everything about them, and when those expectations aren’t met, customers will start considering competitors. The best companies have integrated systems and data to streamline processes and to set up agents to better serve the customer, no matter the channel.

The Omni-Channel Balancing Act

0%
believe that their customer has a consistent experience with their company, no matter the channel
While all companies work toward a consistent customer experience across every channel, fewer than half of companies surveyed believe they are successful. Many think they are checking the box for omni-channel service simply because they have multiple channels open, but they aren’t providing consistent service across all channels. Find where your customers are already communicating and ensure you’re supporting them on those channels first, then confirm where other parts of the organization are already engaging customers. It is important to integrate channels across departments and systems to allow agents to better track customer interactions and provide a more consistent customer experience.
MoreHide Service Insights

Defining a Salesforce Innovator

This year, Bluewolf leveraged the power of IBM Watson to gain insight into the sentiment of leading executives at companies using Salesforce now. With Watson’s Alchemy Language and Personality Insights APIs, Bluewolf analyzed more than 10 hours of text interview transcripts with executives on the opportunities, challenges, and innovation potential with Salesforce and defined the top characteristics most commonly associated with these innovators. Choose one below to read more on our featured innovators.
Intensity refers to the ability to experience emotions and maintain emotional stability. High intensity is a characteristic of dynamic individuals. Salesforce innovators invest more emotion into their work. For them, it’s about their employees and customers, not just about the technology.
“Innovators are people who are willing to look beyond the ordinary.”
“Innovators are people who are willing to look beyond the ordinary.”

Tom Bernstein

Administrative Manager

Midwest Operating Engineers Fringe Benefits Funds

Industry: Construction

Q: How does Salesforce help you meet your customers’ needs?
A: We're constantly interacting with our members. We know that if they’re having trouble understanding their benefits, we've got to communicate better. Our customer service reps depend on the knowledge stored in Service Cloud to get accurate information to our members. With our new customer community portal, members can log in, read up on benefits, submit questions, and easily get a response from a customer service rep. With Salesforce, we’re able to provide a self-service portal to our 27,000 members, so they have information at their fingertips, meeting the needs of both our members and our business.
Q: Has Salesforce influenced you to redefine your company’s business outcomes?
A: In the past, the construction industry was very much tied to systems that were regimented and precise, but not very flexible, not very forgiving. Salesforce has allowed us to reimagine how we work and to do it better and more efficiently. We’re now able to accomplish projects in a short period of time, which is something that, in the past, we could only dream about. Today, when we have a big idea that we think will bring value to our members, we know we have a tool that will help us bring it to life.
Q: What roadblocks to innovation have you experienced, and how have you pivoted to overcome them?
A: Innovation has always been tied to technology. When I first started [at MOE Funds], there was a system in place, but it was rigid and difficult to extract any information that made sense. When you're trying to innovate, data cannot be locked away; you need it to be available and easily accessible, like it is today in Salesforce. It is so much easier to understand our business. Before Salesforce, we’d always hear, "That's a great idea, but we're running into problems with the current technology that won't allow us to execute it.” Salesforce has opened up the doors to where everything that we dream of can now be possible.
Midwest Operating Engineers (MOE) Local 150 is a labor union representing approximately 27,000 men and women working in a variety of construction industries. Tom and his team at MOE Funds were one of four recipients of the 2016 Bluewolf Innovation Awards.
Individuals with high altruism scores are cooperative and have trusting and helpful natures. Employees trust these Salesforce innovators to have their best interests in mind.
“We have a strong litmus
test for technology.”
“We have a strong litmus
test for technology.”

Beth Abbott

Vice President of Marketing and Communications

Silverado

Industry: Health Care

Q: What new Salesforce products are you most excited about?
A: Health Cloud and Field Service Lightning. Before Health Cloud, we were working in dozens of systems. Now, we’ll be able to house all of our patient information on one platform. Health Cloud will allow us to better track what’s going on in our business—any activity or engagement by our residents or caregivers, along with medical records updated by our clinicians—all in one place.

Field Service Lightning will be a game-changer for how we staff our business. We have a workforce of almost 4,000 people, all over the country, who serve 2,500 lives, both in our communities or at home. The staffing is complex, but it’s a big thing for us, when we are dealing with seniors’ health and livelihood.
Q: How do you cut through the noise of new technology and stay focused on your business?
A: At the end of the day, our job is to care for people’s loved ones, period. So, when new products come out—these “shiny objects”—we have to ask, "Is this the best for our families? Will it help us reach more families who are in need?" Silverado is lucky because we have a strong litmus test for technology. But our primary focus, always, is the quality of care for our families.
Q: How has Salesforce transformed the way you serve your customers—those in your care and their families?
A: Our customers want more transparency around what is happening with their loved ones, and technology offers easier ways to interact and connect, no matter where they are in the world. Salesforce has allowed us to strengthen the ways we provide care to our families. We are leaner, more efficient, with better customer service and employee experience. Our teams, especially those in the field, will be better able to provide automatically triggered updates to families and physicians. Our associates now spend less time with manual updates, and more time caring for the individuals that we have in our communities across the country—and soon, across the world.
Silverado enriches the quality of life and human spirit for seniors through three key areas of service: At Home Care, Memory Care Communities, and Hospice Care. Beth has been with Silverado since 2012.
Individuals that score highly on self-efficacy strive for achievement through self-discipline, organization, and reliability. Salesforce innovators with this trait prefer planning over spontaneity, and work to align executives, communicate timelines, and achieve defined business outcomes.
“Innovation is everyone’s responsibility.”
“Innovation is everyone’s responsibility.”

Amrita Sidhu

Group Sales Director

Australian Associated Press

Industry: Media

Q: How has Salesforce influenced you to redefine your business outcomes?
A: We have very much put the customer and customer value at the center of our business outcomes. When I started on the executive team at AAP, I wouldn't say that that was necessarily a way we were benchmarking our success, or how we focused our vision. Salesforce gave us the insight and visibility into client trends, marketing initiatives, and overall customer engagement in ways we never had before. With Salesforce, we have a very clear picture of how a particular product or line of business is resonating with our customers—knowing what works best for them and how we can improve. It has become a business enablement tool for us, allowing us to transition to having that single source of customer data, intelligence, and transactions.
Q: What roadblocks to innovation have you experienced, and how have you pivoted to overcome them?
A: The key was realizing that innovation is not a role or a function; it has to be a core part of your company’s DNA and culture. Innovation is everyone's responsibility—AAP succeeded when we recognized and communicated that to our team. Now, we are all looking at our work and processes, constantly reevaluating the present state and being prepared to change what we do, even if things are working well, in order to be ahead of the curve.
Q: How would you define an innovator in the Salesforce ecosystem?
A: You need to to challenge the status quo even when things are going really well. It's easier to drive innovation in good times than when business is going down. People may ask, “Why? The service is doing so well. What needs to change?” And in my mind, a true innovator will say, "We just need to keep doing it. That's what innovation is. That's what the market is going to be expecting from us in a year's time. So why not do it now?"
For over 80 years, Australian Associated Press has been at the forefront of delivering impartial, independent, and accurate news to the nation’s leading media outlets. Amrita has been with AAP since 2009.
Sympathetic individuals are compassionate and well-tempered. They understand and relate to the feelings and emotions of others. Salesforce innovators empathize with their employees and customers, and can drive change with their organizations to improve the whole experience.
“We’re improving business relationships with more intelligent functioning.”
“We’re improving business relationships with more intelligent functioning.”

Tony Stewart

Chief Data Officer

Xero Limited

Industry: Software

Q: What are the biggest opportunities you see with Salesforce today?
A: Salesforce has allowed us to roll out global sales processes for the first time—more than anything, it's enabling us to scale and to do so intelligently. We're a fast-growing business; with Salesforce, we can deliver the same intelligent, automated features to our employees as we do to our customers, increasing our sales capacity without increasing our staff numbers. We’re moving away from just using the system to record accounts and enter data; now, we’re helping our customers and employees improve business relationships with more intelligent functioning.
Q: What is the biggest roadblock to innovation in your industry?
A: The lack of belief that something can be done in an acceptable timeframe. People who are generally enthusiastic about innovation tend to freeze up when you talk timelines. They say, “Oh, it's going to take longer than we think, and it's going to be more difficult than what we think.” It’s important to remind people that, of course, it’s difficult to predict timelines and resources—you could come up with a thousand reasons not to start a project. But you have to keep pushing against that and inspire people to keep innovating.
Q: How do you drive innovation at Xero?
A: As someone in a management position, you’d think I’d be the one saying, "Make sure you make the money. Make sure you meet budget. Make sure you meet the timeframe." But to innovate, it's actually the complete reverse. As a manager, you need to say to your team, "Don't worry about that. Keep going. Keep thinking." So much of innovation is about feeling. It's not about relying on facts and figures and timelines. It's about understanding what’s important, then being able to translate that and understand how it can be used to bring about change.
Xero provides cloud-based accounting software for over 700,000 small businesses worldwide and, by enabling online collaboration, helps accountants and bookkeepers to build trusted relationships with their small business clients.

How We Define the Best Companies

0%
They’re investing in analytics and intelligent applications.
75% of companies increasing investment in analytics can cite revenue gains as a measurable business outcome attributable to their use of Salesforce.
0%
They’re integrating multiple Salesforce clouds.
80% of companies that have integrated one or more clouds say they see greater value in Salesforce today than they did 12 months ago.
0%
They’re not stuck to the status quo.
52% of companies are releasing changes to their Salesforce instance at least monthly.
0%
They’re focused on user experience design for customers and employees.
69% of companies say it’s easier to use their Salesforce instance today than it was 12 months ago.

They’re investing in analytics and intelligent applications.

View now →

They’re integrating multiple Salesforce clouds.

View now →

They’re not stuck to the status quo.

View now →

They’re focused on user experience design for customers and employees.

View now →

Thank
You

A Bluewolf expert will reach out to you shortly. In the meantime, continue to explore the data.
The State of Salesforce
by the Numbers

We conducted a survey of more than 1,700 Salesforce customers.
Explore the data by

  • Function
  • Role
  • Country
  • Industry
  • Company Size
  • Business Model
27%
IT
19%
Marketing
18%
Sales
13%
Other
10%
Operations
6%
Service
4%
Engineering
3%
Finance
8%
C-Level
7%
VP
20%
Director
28%
Manager
13%
Administrator - Technology
6%
Administrator - Business
5%
Account Executive
5%
Coordinator
8%
Other
84%
USA
5%
UK
3%
AUS
3%
CAN
5%
France, Germany, India, New Zealand, Switzerland, and others
23%
Technology
12%
Financial Services
9%
Business Services
9%
Manufacturing
7%
Healthcare
3%
Retail
3%
Insurance
3%
Telecommunications
2%
Government
18%
Other
6%
Media
5%
Education
15%
10,001+ employees
12%
3,501-10,000 employees
22%
501-3,500 employees
25%
101-500 employees
26%
1-100 employees
60%
B2B
20%
B2C
20%
B2B2C

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