Building Community is Smart Business | Erica Kuhl

Building Community is Smart Business | Erica Kuhl

Community has come a long way but most organizations are still struggling with measuring the value and proving ROI. Erica Kuhl, former VP of Community at Salesforce, and Founder & CEO of Erica Kuhl Consulting, shares the evolution of Community becoming a strategic differentiator in the market and also how they were able to prove direct value of community to their customer’s organizations - in ways that will both shock and delight you.

As the VP of Community at Salesforce, Erica Kuhl ran a 3 million+ member community where members (called Trailblazers) go to connect, learn, have fun, and give back. She also ran community programs that fuel vibrant engagement: Salesforce MVP program, community group program, Salesforce student programs, and Trailblazer placement program. Erica is the Founder and CEO of Erica Kuhl Consulting.

Check out Erica's full talk at CMX Summit 2019!

building community

This post is a high level outline created by the CMX Community in the CMX Summit 2019 Collaborative NotesYou can find all the CMX Summit 2019 talks here.

The power of community is that it envelops a business in its surroundings.

Building Community at Salesforce

In order to make a change, you have to be an intrapreneur. Intrepreneurs are like entrepreneurs, but they are working inside an organization. They focus on innovation and creativity, and they transform ideas into profitable ventures.

The Trailblazer community program has become a differentiator market when buying the main product. They did what Erica calls, "Market-tecture" and designed the system so the community is at the centre of the organization.

You must ask the permission of your customer to play with them. A community is a fun, helpful channel in your organization, but you can't expect or assume customers will play a part. Asking permission, and inviting your customers to turn into community members is big.

building community

Three flavors of Community Metrics

Customer success

What Trailblazer community members do for their companies:

  • Improve their organization’s productivity
  • Improve ability to increase adoption
  • Accelerate innovation

Business growth

(Erica's team measured this by comparing community members that engage with the Trailblazer platform –vote, post, ask a question, answer a question, etc. – with customers who weren't engaging in the community. There is a correlation, but they were not able to identify causation).

  • More pipeline – 2.x more deals generated by community members
  • Bigger deal size – 2 times larger deals generated by community members
  • Higher Product Adoption – 35% faster than those who were not engaged
  • Lower Attrition – 3 times less likely to lose them as a customer, than those who were not engaged
  • Answers save millions in Support Deflection
  • $50 for every deflection (calculated as 20 views of an answer = 1 deflection is worth $50)
  • 85% of traffic to their platform comes from Google
  • 4000+ questions asked and answered per month
  • 83% of questions are answered by the community
  • 500k views on answer pages
  • $2 million monthly support savings (est.)

Personal growth

The Trailblazer is a lifelong learner, an innovator, a disruptor. They pave the way for others to do it with them. People helping people leads to better careers. Our community builds professional networks, and builds personal brand.

Community changes lives.

Check out all the talks from CMX Summit 2019. Get ready to CMX & Chill.*This post was authored by the CMX Community in the CMX Summit 2019 Collaborative Notes

About Author

Beth McIntyre

Community & Events Marketing Manager at Bevy! Passionate about building our community and connecting with members. When I'm not writing for the Bevy Blog, I'm writing about my global travels!

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