How to build out your Salesforce strategy to underpin growth

This success story celebrates the progress of one of our long-standing clients in financial services. It is a great example of how a traditional financial services organisation can use Salesforce as a strategic platform to drive growth and modernisation. Use this post as inspiration for how to build out your Salesforce strategy to underpin business growth.

Salesforce has revolutionised customer experiences

Creating frictionless customer journeys using the Salesforce platform has been part of the secret to success for this organisation when it comes to digital business transformation. 

Internal teams are using Salesforce as a platform for business growth. They’ve left spreadsheets behind and have automated business processes to become faster and less prone to human error. 

The use of Experience Cloud for easy self-service in a highly-regulated environment has been a critical part of the jigsaw. It means customers can interact when it suits them. Accessibility for customers has been a game changer, putting control and information in their hands. 

Across multiple business units, automated processes now do a lot of the heavy lifting to onboard customers and handle their business requests. This focuses business effort on adding expertise and removing bottlenecks. 

In the old world, physical availability of employees to carry out tasks was a constraint. Prioritisation of effort was cumbersome because employees were working out of inboxes – and auditing was time-consuming. 

Now, Salesforce enables business transparency, with visual dashboards. Predictive analytics are part of the story too.

How to build out your Salesforce strategy to underpin growth
  • Users: from 300 to 890+
  • Adoption: 57% to >90%
  • Salesforce now ‘Business Critical’
  • New Centre for Enablement now employs 10
  • Foundation for growth over next 3 years

A familiar backstory for a traditional financial services company

The company in this case study operates in a complex and heavily-regulated environment. It is made up of a group of companies built up over a long time through mergers & acquisitions. 

The Director of CRM Technology, who contributed to this story, joined eight years ago. At that time, their Salesforce footprint was Sales Cloud and Pardot. They were using the technology inconsistently, which resulted in mistrust of data quality and benefit.

Salesforce was implemented years before, across a fairly diverse group of business units. The business had undertaken this purely as an IT project. They had built a system that ticked all the perceived boxes without much engagement with users or the business. Therefore, it was misaligned with how the company sold, marketed, or dealt with clients. Naturally, this led to low Salesforce adoption – only 57% of users even logged into Salesforce in 2013. Organisationally, there was only one person (an Admin) owning the solution.

Building the foundations for success

When BrightGen started working with the company in 2013, the immediate focus was on consolidating orgs and onboarding new business units onto the platform. Alongside this, we worked on incremental improvements to drive adoption and usability. 

“We needed to bring the org up to a standard where people were happy to use it regularly and see benefits.”

Financial Services Lead, BrightGen

Conducting this initial work enabled us to fully understand the business and technology landscapes. We were able to build good relationships across the company and onboarded seven business units onto the group org.

Accelerating growth

Once we had done the foundation work, the customer could now plan to make Salesforce into a strategic platform to underpin growth. 

To enable this transformation, BrightGen, Salesforce and the customer conducted a Salesforce SPARK initiative (also known as Ignite). Business leaders defined:

  • Who are the personas we’re trying to sell to?
  • Who’s involved in the sales cycle?
  • Do we have the right product strategy?


Out of the SPARK initiative came three clear strategic objectives: 

  • Develop customer analytics & 360 to build insight and enable cross-group collaboration
  • Digitise quote-to-cash and connect sales with finance
  • Deliver world-class service through self-service and process automation

We worked closely with Salesforce to align these objectives to divisional roadmaps. We used them to build a programme of work to extend the Salesforce footprint to underpin growth and support the business.

On an operational level, the company was able to improve the value they received from Salesforce with increased adoption rates. From only sales and marketing departments originally using Salesforce, their users now include a full variety of departments, serving the entire customer journey. They now see 95% of their users regularly logging into Salesforce, up from 57% in 2013. 

At a broader business level, Salesforce is now seen as a strategic platform for growth. They attribute one of their key measures for growth having been achieved, in part, because of this initiative.

“BrightGen really knows our organisation just as well, if not better than us.” 

Director of CRM Technology, Financial Services organisation

Five signals of success

  1. Diligence and patience: The SPARK programme lasted 11 months from start to finish. BrightGen’s time and resource investment demonstrated the credible and trustful partnership to the customer. It set the precedent for the way in which the company’s leaders should in turn invest their own time and resources into the programme. 
  2. Values: We understood the company’s corporate values and the way they like to work. A key theme of that is excellence. We demonstrated day by day, not only a deep understanding of the technology, but also of the business and technology landscape at the company.
  3. Partnership: BrightGen and Salesforce formed a single badgeless team. It became a mandate and a collective effort for everyone to drive success for the programme.
  4. Trust: By putting in place key programme governance, it was easier to be transparent in terms of progress. It set up a sense of enablement, and a clear working model of how everyone would engage. 
  5. Agility: The project pivoted towards the changing priorities and business needs of the company over time. It was critical to be able to align to where the demand was and where their market was going. 

Getting the company’s clear business definition on where they wanted to go and what they were hoping to achieve was crucial. It has made it possible to continue driving excellence and innovation for the company.

Do you want to see similar results from your Salesforce strategy? Get in touch!