Solving for Trust: Salesforce Data + AI + CRM

As a marketer who loves a good headline and a practitioner with an analytical mind, Salesforce’s positioning and headline for 2023 resonates with me.

Data + AI + CRM = Customer Magic

That said, it wasn’t until last week, when I saw the headline coming to life in downtown San Francisco for the annual Dreamforce conference, that I paused to digest and assess what the headline actually means to me as a marketer.

My high school calculus teacher, Mr. Wilson, had a unique talent when he sought to get the class’s attention: he’d write an entire math problem upside down and backward on the whiteboard. Impressive as it was, this skill always put the solution at the top. So, that’s where I’m going to start.


People do business with people and companies they trust. As marketers, we are commonly forced to trade trust for efficiency. Each new data offering, targeting tactic, and measurement solution represents that trade-off. 

The race to develop and implement an AI strategy is no different. Underlying AI is an amalgamation of large-language models hoovering the internet to develop increasingly accurate predictions that promise to deliver operating efficiency. 

Salesforce is placing its AI bet on Trust. When the equation solves for trust, the efficiency trade-offs are minimized, and customer Trust remains at the center of decision-making.


As the world’s #1 CRM, Salesforce has pioneered what it means to be a customer-centric company. Salesforce has also given its customers the tools to organize, protect, and activate trusted customer data across platforms and touchpoints. This customer-centric data architecture is the core of solving for trust in AI.


Whether known by its various monikers, CDP, Einstein, or Data Cloud, Salesforce’s data tools are worth understanding. As marketers, we love relying on the adage: right place, right time, right message.

As a non-technical brain, this is how I’ve chosen to understand Data Cloud capabilities. When executed correctly, Data Cloud enables the “three rights” by connecting and harmonizing data to deliver customer magic at the enterprise scale. Formula 1 is an excellent example of Data Cloud in action and, frankly, a marketer’s dream!


Salesforce has called all trAIlblazers to Dreamforce 2023, so it is safe to assume that this year’s event will include more AI-based product enhancements (to add on SalesGPT, ServiceGPT, and MarketingGPT announced this summer).

In preparation for this week’s announcements, get to know the Trust Layer. This innovation is at the heart of Salesforce’s product innovations and represents a critical differentiation in its solutions and a catalyst for the latest projections of the Salesforce economy over the next five years.

Mr. Wilson taught us to always show our work (right-side-up or up-side-down). When an efficient tech stack is a marketer’s #1 challenge, understanding the nuances of Salesforce’s AI value proposition is critical to surfacing the opportunities to reduce the trade-offs between Trust and efficiency.

We can all solve for Trust when we have the right tools for the job. 

Enjoy Dreamforce!

Picture of Ira Maher