Unveiling the the master-plan behind Salesforce growth: Salesforce Trailblazer Community

Community Building

Definition of Trailblazers

Trailblazers are the pioneers, innovators, and lifelong learners who will help to make the world a better place, by propelling the future of technology, and give back to their communities.

Who is a Salesforce Trailblazer?

A Trailblazer is an individual who uses their Salesforce skills to blaze a new trail to success in their career, company, and their local community. Imagine a place where you can meet people who have similar interests as you and help each other. A place where you can exchange ideas on how to get better with Salesforce, and use it as a platform of change. A place that also helps you become a better leader.

Trailblazer Community engagement has an exceptionally strong impact, especially if you want to expand your network, increase your brand’s prominence, and boost the chances of advancing your career.

The Salesforce Trailblazer Community (SCTC) is a global network of talented professionals who are guiding the future of Salesforce. It was first called “Success Community”.

These are the people inside SF’s customers companies, that are innovating with Salesforce, using SF platform to transform that company.

In other words, Trailblazers are Salesforce way of treating its hardcore fans, where not only creates jobs for them in startups/companies/organizations, but also helps them be valuable to the society and to the corporate business world.

Note: The Trailblazer Community was at first called “Success Community”.

What is Trailhead? (Trailhead vs. Trailblazer)

Be careful to not confuse Salesforce “Trailhead” with “Trailblazer”. The “Trailhead” is the Salesforce’s free online learning platform. With Trailhead, Trailblazers can learn the skills they need to succeed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Trailhead is free and includes not only technology skills, but business skills, too.

Salesforce Trailblazer Resources & Links

  • Here are some important links related to Trailblazer community:
    • Trailblazer Community Feed, community members connect with fellow Trailblazers. Ask and answer questions to build their skills and network.
    • Trailblazer Groups, members can join groups to meet and collaborate with other Trailblazers based on location, role, or interests.
    • Trailblazer Stories, community members tell stories from people who use Salesforce to innovate and be a pioneer in their industry.
    • Trailblazer IdeaExchange, community members share ideas with the Trailblazer Community and Salesforce product managers. With continuous voting and special prioritization cycles, members get to vote on ideas that matter most to them.
    • Salesforce MVPs are passionate product experts who share expertise to help others learn Salesforce and connect to the Trailblazer Community.
    • Trailblazer Events, members can join different types of events such as online live meetings, webinars, conferences and more.
    • Trailblazer Ranks, members can unlock new ranks for their profile by challenging themselves to earn more points and badges.
  • They also have 3 podcasts, that play the role of generating regular audio content for the community:
    • Admins Podcast
    • Developer Podcast
    • The Trailblazer’s Guide to Careers

What was the “Why” behind creation of Trailblazer community?

  • About 18 years ago, Salesforce had 5-day classes in San Fransisco called “Admin Workshop” where they’d teach admins how to setup and configure Salesforce. These people from all different industries and backgrounds collaborating and sharing knowledge in those 5 days at Salesforce San Fransisco office, and then after the 5th day they’d leave, losing all those connections.
  • That’s when Erica Kuhl (more info about her in “Key Person” section) thought wouldn’t it be great if they had a place to keep collaborating after the class. The idea didn’t happen immediately those years, but years later Erica brought it to reality at Salesforce.
  • One of the other reasons Erica came to the idea was that she figured out that most of these admins are change-makers & innovators, who sometimes have radical ideas which results in big changes in their companies. Some of them were big ideas in Salesforce environment, for example how to deal with spreadsheets in Salesforce dashboard (back in 2000s). And she was looking for a way to make them help each other to be even more successful.

Salesforce strategy to make it a community of values

  • After they shaped the first version of Trailblazer community, which consisted of some simple pages with forms that enabled Salesforce admins in different companies and industries to talk online, one simple element of human nature started to show itself. And that was people putting time and energy to answer each other’s questions, for free.
  • When Salesforce staff talked to these community members, they understood that they enjoyed to give back and solve other members problems. So, Salesforce tried to amplify this culture through the means they had, such as voice-of-marketing, UI & UX of the community website, ….
  • They also tried to change everything from being “Salesforce”-centered, to more being “people”-centered. Because that’s what makes a human community where real humans create value for each other through a unified channel.
  • Consider it as pouring water into any type of cup, glass, jar, bowl, etc. Admins being the “water”, Salesforce tried to be their favorite “container”, and only contain the water, not shape the water.

What are the Trailblazer community values in brief, that HubSpot could consider making its own community?

  • Business as a platform for change
  • Sharing knowledge & experience, with each other in a problem-solving context
  • Creativity & passion, about what they do through Salesforce tools and software to make an impact
  • Celebrating each other’s successes

How is Trailblazer Community contributing to Salesforce branding & business?

  • Salesforce uses tools like content, events, humans’ hunger to learn new things, humans’ eagerness to belong, to keep Trailblazer community members engaged and highly active. Why? Because these people are the ambassadors of the Salesforce brand as whole. They are the ones who make sure there’s always a discussion, on a daily basis, in customers’ companies, around Salesforce products and services and how they help businesses.
  • Also keep in mind that Salesforce tries its best to utilize Trailblazer community as an initiative, to help those who are in need (of a job or learn a new skill). This creates loyalty at high levels. And then sends these people into the companies around the world.
  • Think of Trailblazers, as soldiers, to better understand how SF has strategized this community to its core business benefit, almost in every aspect.
  • On the other hand, the Salesforce Trailblazer community is dedicated to accelerating the creation of innovative solutions and impact through the effective implementation of Salesforce technologies and practices in mainstream business.

What is Salesforce’s strategy to encourages people to join the community, and stay engaged?

  • One of the backbones of Trailblazer community is the element of “sharing” and being exposed to what others share, which creates a loop of connections, feedback, learning, and correcting each other’s mistakes between the community members
  • Also, they treat Trailblazer community members as heroes and change makers wherever they are (take a look at Trailblazer’s homepage and you’ll see a lot of faces). Using the word “Trailblazer” to call the community members is part of this strategy, too.
  • The type of energy built to connect members, is of “family members” kind, who most of the times empower each other, and receive validation from other members when they do something impactful, or solve a problem.
  • These elements make members to “feel good” about what they do in Salesforce environment, and how they cause positive changes in their local surroundings
  • People are the most engaged and useful, when they’re not forced to do something, and rather they “want” to do something. That’s exactly how Salesforce creates an environment where members enjoy helping each other by sharing their passion, knowledge and experience, which results in being a pioneer in their company and/or local community
  • One of the examples that resembles this strategy, is how US. Army targets human emotions and patriotic feelings through creating and sharing scenes of soldiers coming back to their hometown, and surprising their family members, their pets, and their friends, being the hero in their local community. When the youth watches these scenes, they not only feel good about it, but also want to be in the same position. So it simply brings lots of new “passionate” people to join the army.

What do Trailblazer community members do in their companies to be the change-maker, and also expand the community?

  • They try to create their own local community around the values and innovations being constantly utilized on Salesforce platform.
  • Salesforce helps them along by creating the primary motivation for the members, through incepting the knowledge in their minds, that business transformation can happen in any organization; and Salesforce is the proper business platform for that transformation.

What is the shared goal of Trailblazer community members?

Creating culture-shaping technologies that will transform how people do business

Tools that SF uses to keep members engaged, active, loyal and connected

  • Events like Dreamforce as the major one, and also other internal events
  • Podcast Interviews
  • Webinars / Online classes
  • Courses
  • Badges & Certifications
  • Contests
  • Specific groups for like-minded members
  • Virtual meetings
  • Online community feed
  • Story telling
  • Content (audio, video, text)
  • Free programs to skill up in tech subjects
  • Social media activities
  • Charity / non-profit activities

How do community members connect online?

Salesforce has created a website called “Trailblazer Community Groups” in which you can join groups to meet and collaborate with other Trailblazers, based on location, role, or interests.

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