Artificial Intelligence / Career / Users

What the C-Suite is Thinking About Salesforce + AI

By Lucy Mazalon

The C-suite are talking about how they are going to incorporate AI, oftentimes with further encouragement from board members. It’s an interesting time for Salesforce professionals, who are perfectly suited for the impending transformation. It boils down to how each organization’s Salesforce org differs from one to the next in terms of the business, particularly the workflows of our users, data, and system architecture (including integrated systems).

During a panel, Salesforce executives shared that generative AI innovation is fueling a new buying cycle. Pre-pandemic and during, what was on top of customer agendas was to fuel growth and survival; achieving productivity with automation, and simplification. Now we’re on a generative AI wave. 

What to Know

“A majority (67%) [of senior IT leaders] are prioritizing generative AI for their business within the next 18 months, with one-third (33%) naming it as a top priority.”

Source: Salesforce Research

Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in the C-suite at the moment.

  • Is there tension in the C-suite? Traditionally, different C-suite personas have interests that lie in growth (e.g. CEOs), or in efficiency (e.g. CIOs, CFOs). The productivity gain that generative AI promises is being proven by an increasing number of case studies, which appeals to both those interested in growth or efficiency. In freeing up time, employees are able to focus on higher value activities, the human connection, and in turn, drive more growth. 
  • Decision making is becoming more spread across the C-suite: Previously, technology products have been targeted to specific C-suite personas – the CMO for marketing automation, the CRO for revenue intelligence, etc. We can see this reflected in Salesforce’s product suite of ‘clouds’. Consider that generative AI is a layer that touches all business functions – investing in AI requires that organizations be clear about the return on investment, and the timeline to reach it. To summarize this, the AI conversation is also an ROI conversation.
  • Emerging C-suite roles: To deliver effective and responsible AI usage in our day-to-day, there are a number of existing and emerging roles. Chief Data Officers, Chief Ethics Officers, Chief UI Officers – and even Chief AI Officers whose responsibilities would blend aspects from the other roles listed. The drive for ethics – understanding how users are exploring, interacting with, and deploying AI – is an obligation that organizations have to their users and customers, which Salesforce says that they recognize is their obligation, too. 
  • The appetite to experiment: Heard from many C-suites is the difficulty of knowing where to get started: which processes to automate? Can the data be trusted? How have the large language models (LLMs) been trained? Plus, the aspect of change management – how organizations implement and adopt changes, and then iterate upon them over time – is another stumbling block for getting started. Those that are ‘close’ to their Salesforce org will be prime stakeholders in delivering successful experimentation. 
  • Hiring skilled professionals: As the need for generative AI skills in the workforce skyrockets, unsurprisingly the talent pool will take time to catch up. 

According to Salesforce’s research, “over half of U.S.-based senior IT leaders say their business is currently using or experimenting with generative AI, [and] 66% say their employees don’t have the skills to successfully leverage the technology.”

“Nearly all (97%) global workers believe businesses should prioritize AI skills in their employee development strategy.”

Source: Salesforce Research: New Study Reveals Only 1 in 10 Global Workers Have In-Demand AI Skills

The Role of Consulting Partners

Salesforce has nurtured an abundant consulting partner network, whose specialists support organizations in tailoring Salesforce products to customer organizations. This reflects back to the appetite to experiment covered above: to establish early experiments, conduct them in a safe way, assess the results of the experiments, and perform change management at each step of the way. 

So far, Salesforce has announced the next phase of their partnerships with Accenture and Deloitte. Being a technology that’s experienced explosive growth, the consulting market will take some time to catch up, however, we’re seeing the drive to upskill consultants and identify generative AI services to offer. We will be compiling an article on the Salesforce consulting landscape and generative AI in the coming months. 


Overall, it seems that the word in the C-suite is that AI is a positive development. With opportunities for both growth and efficiency, harnessing AI’s capabilities for common business processes is a strong and sensible next step.

It will be interesting to see where the developments go from here.

The Author

Lucy Mazalon

Lucy is the Operations Director at Salesforce Ben. She is a 10x certified Marketing Champion and founder of The DRIP.

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