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Thoughts On Innovation – Marie Rosecrans

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As senior vice president of SMB marketing at Salesforce, Marie Rosecrans focuses on empowering small and medium businesses with the tools they need to find more customers, win their business, and keep them happy for life. As a child of immigrant small business owners, Marie has always been interested in helping fledgling businesses grow. She’s held various leadership positions in her ten years at Salesforce, and her legendary commitment to both customers and colleagues lead to her nickname as the “team mom.” Before joining Salesforce in 2008, she held positions in customer support, professional services, product marketing, and program management at Oracle, Peoplesoft, Evolve, and Primavera. Marie lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and enjoys hiking and traveling with her husband, teen, and tween.


What is your definition of “innovation”?

Innovation is often thought of as the latest buzzword in technology, but to me, it’s simply about achieving positive outcomes in new ways. It’s one of our core values at Salesforce, and something we always think of in relation to our customers: What challenges are they facing today and how can we find new ways to help solve them? I’m constantly on the road meeting with small businesses, listening to their needs, and working with our team to develop creative ways to address them — it could be adopting AI or advanced analytics, but other times, it could just be finding ways to make their lives easier. Many small businesses don’t have IT teams or budgets for consultants, so we invested in making it easy to get started with CRM. Essentials is easy to set up and we’ve made support “coaches” available to provide a helping hand right when small businesses need it. We’re in an exciting time where customer needs and expectations seem to change daily, and we want to help our small business customers stay ahead of the curve.


Why is it important for companies to innovate and invest in modern technologies?

Today’s consumers hold all the power — they determine which companies lead and which fall behind. Innovating and investing in technology to provide better experiences to these customers is critical. But it’s not always easy! In fact, our most recent Small and Medium Business Trends report found that 53 per cent of SMB leaders feel they’re at a competitive disadvantage versus large enterprises when it comes to meeting customer expectations. But modern technology evens the playing field, helping companies of any size to engage with customers and build stronger relationships. One of our small business customers, Mission.org, which creates award-winning podcasts, was able to get started using Essentials in just a few hours. They use it to manage relationships with guests and sponsors and provide a better experience to both. Although they launched just last year, they’re already reaching millions of listeners! At Salesforce, we see many small companies that can take on large, well-established competitors when backed by the right technologies.


What advice can you give to Canadian businesses looking to make the most out of their investments in innovation?

Being a small business leader means wearing a lot many and not having enough hours in the day, so finding the right technology to make running your business easier is key. My advice is to think not only about what would help you now, but also what you’ll need in one, two, or five years down the road. It’s critical for businesses to choose technology that can grow with them. For example, products that give them the flexibility to organize teams and access to information as they grow, or let them easily add additional functionality (like marketing or customer service) as they need it. If their technology doesn’t scale in this way they’ll waste valuable time and money every time they outgrow a product. That’s why created Salesforce Essentials — our all-in-one sales and support app designed and priced for small businesses. Customers kept telling us they wish they could have started with enterprise-quality CRM at an earlier stage. Now they can.

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