This Hiring Strategy Overview is focused 100% on the Salesforce stack / team and does not touch on the broader Business Systems environment.
The Salesforce team at Sonos isn't necessarily a massive org by the numbers - a total of 17-18 people - but their accomplishments and the direct business impact is astounding.
An unfortunate theme of 2020 was the pandemic's impact on Retail and the need for businesses to undergo digital transformations at record speed to pivot to eCommerce - but what does that actually look like within a Salesforce org?
Sonos lost 90% of their sales overnight when the brick and mortar retailers they rely on to sell speakers shut down. At the time, only 10% of total sales came from eCommerce.
Successfully transitioning from a Retail sales model to eCommerce sales and a direct relationship with the customer is not as simple as just standing up an eCommerce site to reroute your buyer's journey - although starting with a straightforward Commerce Cloud deployment is a necessary step and for Sonos, it powered an online sales jump from 10% of total to 21% nearly overnight. So, it was a start.
However, these kinds of shifts have large downstream effects on the business. For example, Retail partners absorbed a significant percentage of customer interaction (for purchases and post-sale support), so moving to a direct customer relationship via eCommerce also meant Sonos would see a dramatic increase in customer support volume - a 24% increase to be exact. Enter Service Cloud, Chatbots, and AI-powered 'Next Best Actions' to drive service times down to a manageable level.
Establish a direct relationship with customers: Check
Deliver support to those customers post-purchase: Check
At this stage, identifying how to drive online sales is the critical step to ensure the eCommerce model is viable long-term and not simply a stopgap during the Retail disruption.
Building a true interactive digital experience around the Commerce Cloud store through deep integrations to Marketing Cloud and an adoption of Salesforce Customer 360 helped increase sales for Sonos 300%. That's a mouthful of jargon, so what does it actually mean?
Changing a buyer's psychology starts with marketing. Historically, a Sonos customer wanted to start the purchasing journey in a physical store - after all, Sonos is a listening product - so, identifying a way to build an emotionally connected experience was an important step in replacing the IRL interaction. Using behavioral data captured about a consumer's music habits and listening preferences, analyzed within Marketing Cloud, Sonos built highly personalized marketing campaigns to deploy across email, mobile, and social channels that helped replace the in-store experience and drive direct sales online.
The speed at which Sonos had to run an end-to-end digital transformation is a prime use case where Salesforce Consulting Partners or Salesforce Freelancers are the right solution. You are looking for a high degree of specialization, which isn't typically found on the internal team as companies look to deploy new products.
NeuraFlash is is the expert in AI-powered Salesforce experiences and identifying this type of specialized vendor for a unique use case is the right approach.
Over the course of 2020, there was massive change to the Salesforce org at Sonos, which has resulted in additional hires across the board. The current team is ~18 people, including Administrators, Developers, an Architect, Business Analysts, and several Product Owners.
Disclaimer: this does not include the headcount in Marketing that uses Marketing Cloud for campaign strategy & execution on a daily basis; however, it's important to note that this also requires specialized knowledge - even just to be a user.
It's now left to the internal Salesforce team at Sonos to evolve what was implemented throughout 2020. The key difference between external resources (i.e. a Consulting Partner) vs. an internal team (FTEs) is that an external group is building for the state of your business today and the internal team needs to have an eye for the future, designing solutions that the business will grow into years down the line.
Building an internal competency around Salesforce that enables this type of proactive, forward-looking product strategy is the only way to maximize a company's investment on the tool. The most difficult step in an enterprise company's digital transformation journey is getting started. It can be a painstaking process to get executive buy-in on the technology switching costs, particularly when the perceived benefits are all projections and estimates.
Sonos ran a relatively lean Salesforce team until they were forced into digital transformation when the pandemic hit - in the long-term, this will benefit the organization immensely.