MVP

This is a post about marketing – though it may not seem like it at first.

Last week I was at the Salesforce MVP summit. It’s a chance for 150 or so of Salesforce’s “most valued professionals” to get together, engage with Salesforce, and eat good food. While at the conference, I received an email from someone, and in order to answer I responded with a question. I admit, I was rather terse – no “hello, glad to hear from you” – just a question to help clarify things.

The response surprised me. Not only was it was interpreted as me being upset (which I wasn’t), but in that it was taken as me not remembering who the person was or thinking the question was important – that I only remember and care about other MVPs, VIPs and authors.

I apologized of course. I do get a lot of email and when I’m busy I sometimes cut out the niceties, but in terms of me not remembering the person (which I didn’t), I assured him that my forgetfulness is very democratic. I forget other authors and MVPs quite often, as I see them rarely. Remembering names and faces is empathetically not one of my strengths.

The interesting take-away for me was the perception that MVPs are somehow special, or that I would think them more special than those who are not. This is completely untrue.

MVPs are not smarter than other professionals. We are not wiser. We don’t necessarily have greater experience or ability. Why we are chosen remains a bit of a mystery, but we all have two things in common:

First, we are advocates for the Salesforce platform. Obviously we advocate for it publicly, but we also advocate for it internally – we are the platform’s toughest critics. In fact, a critical part of the MVP summit is us giving feedback to Salesforce based on our real-world experience so that they can improve it.

Second, we contribute to the Salesforce community. This takes various forms. Some speak at or run user’s groups. Some answer questions on forums. Some create content – blogs, books or articles – I suspect that’s what got me selected.

See what I mean? Neither of these have anything to do with being “smarter” or “better” or “more important”. Being an MVP is a reflection of the choice to invest time and energy contributing beyond our own jobs – which can be an interesting juggling act when you’re the CTO of a hot startup, but I digress.

So what does this have to do with marketing?

Well, think of it from Salesforce’s point of view. Wouldn’t you like to have dozens or hundreds of people out there who are knowledgeable about your products, helping people solve problems using your products, answering their questions, advocating for your products and providing feedback on how to improve them that you probably won’t find anywhere else?

Why don’t you have an MVP program?

For more information on the Saleforce MVP program see http://www.salesforce.com/mvp/

Dan Appleman

About Dan Appleman

As Full Circle Insights’ CTO, Dan Appleman brings a broad technology experience to our customers. In addition to having supported over 30 Salesforce.com implementations with technology solutions, Dan is also the author of the book "Advanced Apex Programming for Salesforce.com and Force.com" and has been a speaker at Dreamforce since 2012. Previously, he was the founder of Desaware, Inc. a developer of add-on products for Microsoft Visual Studio, a co-founder of Apress publishing, and the author of numerous books and articles.