Late Sunday night, I screeched when I got the unexpected news I’d been selected as a Salesforce MVP. I immediately told my husband, who said, “Cool!” and then, “So… what does that mean? And what do you get?” I then called my biggest fan and mentor – my Dad. “You can get that award even if you’re not a Salesforce employee?”
Truth be told, not many people outside the Salesforce ecosystem know about the MVP award. It’s a tremendous honor – mostly as a recognition bestowed by other peers in the ecosystem. But also as a special sauce insight into the unique way that Salesforce does business. This post of FAQs is dedicated to my Dad (and to anyone considering buying Salesforce for their organizations!)
- Salesforce MVPs are not Employees
If you’ve met me, I’ve likely told you the story of when I became a Salesforce evangelist. After spending two days/month on federally-mandated reporting for my organization, I implemented Salesforce and produced those same reports with a click of a button. Then I moved on to fundraising, and increased revenue 30% in one year. I was sold, and ten years later, I can’t stop talking about product – it’s flexibility, continuous development, and ecosystem – to anyone who will listen. We are not employees – we are customers, and partners, and developers who use the product for ourselves and our clients. In fact I’ve known many Salesforce MVPs who have seriously debated accepting a job offer at Salesforce – because they immediately lose their MVP award status as an employee!
Why you should care: Salesforce MVPs, and the millions of users in the ecosystem, believe in the uniqueness of the product. It has transformed the organizations we have touched, and that’s why we talk about it.
2. The Salesforce MVP Award represents an Ecosystem of Support
I use a project management system (not Salesforce) for billing and tasks. It works okay, but one day I ran into a roadblock that their customer support couldn’t answer – at least beyond saying “that’s a limitation.” I just knew it was a common issue, and that one of their thousands of customers had developed some sort of workaround. I desperately wanted to ask someone in the Community.
Salesforce has that Community – in fact, it has multiple communities of support – my favorite being the Power of Us Hub for nonprofits, where I regularly ask and reap the bounty of answered questions on behalf of peers and Salesforce.org product owners.
Salesforce MVPs are recognized for their expertise – but mostly for their responsiveness and accessibility sharing knowledge in the Community. Salesforce has a dedicated team whose job it is to support and foster that community, because they believe it is important. And the truth is, I’ve gained so much more than I’ve given – in relationships, in knowledge.
Why you should care: Buying a product that doesn’t limit you to the knowledge of support agents is priceless. A community of support, and a company that invests money to foster that ecosystem, increases the rate of organizational and personal change you can achieve.
3. Salesforce MVPs don’t get Paid
My husband’s question was a valid one – what do I get? Not much in tangible goods, actually. A laptop bag, a free ticket to Dreamforce – though I’ve already got one as a speaker. (Don’t get me wrong, Holly, I still want an invite to the Dreamforce party!)
For me, the true value is the recognition of a community of peers, who I deeply respect, and who are also invested in sharing knowledge beyond their organizations and their circles.
And it’s also the recognition that both Salesforce and Salesforce.org actively use community members to both get feedback on the product, and to actively drive its development. The Nonprofit Success Pack sprints, started by Salesforce MVP Ryan Ozimek and led by Product Manager Judi Sohn are a great example of this. After participating in four sprints, I’ve contributed (along with hundreds of others) core functionality and documentation that is now live in product releases for the whole ecosystem.
Why you should care: A product that bases its ongoing development on an established customer-led IdeaExchange, and involves Customers in key product decisions makes better decisions and develops awesomeness, faster.
Thanks fellow MVPs and Salesforce for the recognition – I am deeply honored and humbled by the award. And thank you Dad – for always helping me think about the next.