CRM is evolving in a way that makes it possible to provide personalized service at scale. Powerful AI and predictive analytics capabilities have largely replaced the spreadsheets and manual reports of the past, allowing you to know your customers’ preferences as well as they do.
“There’s one voice that matters more than any other: the voice of the customer. Customers are the number one source of your organization’s prosperity, profits, and productivity. Great customer experiences—and customer success—are built on listening and designed for engagement,” says Karen Mangia. She works with clients all across the world to help them solve complex, strategic business challenges and position themselves for future success. She has a profound grasp of the customer experience, both inside and out, as a result of her expertise in directing worldwide Voice of the Customer portfolios for Fortune 50 organizations and working directly with customers across numerous sectors and segments for more than 20 years.
Karen is currently the VP of Customer and Market Insights at Salesforce, where she engages current and future customers to develop strategies to address their most pressing business issues.
Best-of-breed companies, Karen says, proceed from deep listening to deep insights to disciplined actions. Organizations can win more mindshare and more market share by regularly refreshing their approach to customer service and customer success, she coaches.
Here are the highlights from our conversation:
Tell us more about your background and what you did before you joined Salesforce.
Prior to Salesforce, I held a variety of leadership roles at Cisco in sales leadership and customer experience. One of my most rewarding experiences was leading the transformation of the way we listened to our customers from providing research results to offering our customer listening skills as a service to the organization. We also lead the company through a growth journey to invest more time and money in diverse owned and operated businesses. And I started my career at AT&T, first in project management and then in a variety of sales roles. Customer engagement and advocacy (giving people a platform and helping to amplify their voices) have been constants throughout my career.
Tell us more about Salesforce.
Salesforce builds bridges between companies and their customers because businesses succeed when they create meaningful connections. With Customer 360, the world’s #1 CRM, we help unite every department to better focus on customers. We allow everyone, on every team, to share a single source of truth with integrated collaboration capabilities that guide essential conversations and decisions right where people work. And with Tableau, we help companies uncover deep insights and take data-driven actions to better serve their customers. Every product we offer plays a part in building the connections that drive success – and that success can be harnessed to create positive change.
Salesforce believes business is the greatest platform for change. We strive to bring out the best in one another, deliver success to our customers, and inspire the entire industry through our actions. Our five core values guide everything we do as a company and as people:
- Trust: We act as trusted advisors. We earn the trust of our customers, employees, and extended family through transparency, security, compliance, privacy, and performance. And we deliver the industry’s most trusted infrastructure.
- Customer Success: When our customers succeed, we succeed. So, we champion them to achieve extraordinary things. We innovate and expand our business offerings to provide all our stakeholders with new avenues to achieve ever greater success.
- Innovation: We innovate together. Our customers’ input helps us develop products that best serve their business needs. Providing continual technology releases and new initiatives gives our customers a competitive advantage.
- Equality: Everyone deserves equal opportunities. We believe everyone should be seen, heard, valued, and empowered to succeed. Hearing diverse perspectives fuels innovation, deepens connections between people, and makes us a better company.
- Sustainability: We are taking bold steps to address the climate crisis. We are committed to bringing the full power of Salesforce to accelerate the world’s journey to net zero.
How do you assist businesses in connecting with their primary audience?
We help companies see the world through their customers’ eyes. Our solutions enable organizations to get a single, shared view of their customers. And with knowledge of customers’ history, interests, and even frustrations, companies can begin to serve up experiences better tailored to customers’ needs and elevate how they see your brand.
What are your responsibilities as the Vice President of Customer & Market Insights? What gets you up in the morning?
My alarm clock if we’re speaking candidly. What gets me excited about getting up in the morning is discovery. Each day I’m fortunate to spend time with individuals and organizations all over the world who are changing the world, who are innovating in unlikely ways, who are reworking work and who are redefining success. When I have the opportunity to use my platform to showcase their ingenuity and innovation, I feel excited. Sharing thought leadership is core to my role. And I’ve been fortunate to write four books, hundreds of articles and blogs, and deliver a myriad of keynotes and workshops. Giving others a platform to share their voices inspires me. I also serve on our company’s Racial Equality & Justice Taskforce, Purchasing Subcommittee which is the most meaningful work I’m fortunate to do.
What is the best way to build a great team?
Leadership is listening. Everyone wants to feel seen, heard, and valued. The three most powerful words in leadership are, “I hear you.” When it comes to designing the future of work, customer experience, or employee experience, one size fits none. Discovering success is not about a hybrid model or offering remote work options or surveys versus skip level metrics, or comparing one metric to another. Individuals and organizations are looking for more freedom. The freedom to choose the model that makes the most sense. The freedom to choose their own values and the freedom to pursue what matters most. Stepping into that freedom begins with listening.
What does “performance culture” mean to you?
Performance cultures are outcome-oriented. Outcomes are the new experiences. Yes, experience still matters. What’s changed is that those experiences must now correlate with customers’ desired outcomes. In other words, experience becomes the method by which outcomes are obtained. Shifting your organization’s focus from experiences to outcomes—which may seem intuitive is easier said than done. What separates organizations that acknowledge this inflection point from those organizations that act on this inflection point is full executive sponsorship and support.
What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
Success is personal, and when you discover and define what success means to you, then you can invite success to show up moment by moment. What I’ve discovered is that when I’m clear about what success means to me, I’m free of the influence of others’ expectations. It’s easy to buy into the belief that success is about approval, acceptance, or accolades. Success comes from the inside out. When you accept and approve of yourself, others will too. Or maybe not and you’ll still be OK either way.
What are your future plans to sustain your and the company’s success?
Salesforce has over 74,000 employees now, so sustainability and success are not entirely up to me. With that said, I believe success is service. Listening with a beginner’s mind is service. Acting with pure intentions in the best interest of our customers, ecosystem, stakeholders, and planet is service. Reconsidering beliefs that may no longer serve us or others is service. And that’s the kind of service that leads to sustained success. In alignment with these intentions, I aspire to continue to be of service to others and, in so doing, make it possible for everyone to succeed. “Together we rise” is one of my mantras.