Skip to main content
a cartoon character in a garment

How Salesforce Teams Prepared for a Record-Breaking Holiday Season

Sadie Evans

December 18, 2023

You see the perfect gift. You add to cart. You go to check out ... and the item disappears from your cart. The app crashes. The perfect gift sells out. This is a nightmare for both the buyer and the seller — a nightmare that Salesforce aims to avoid entirely.


Salesforce e-commerce customers utilize Commerce Cloud to build their digital storefronts and deliver seamless shopping experiences, boosted to the brim with AI capabilities. When Cyber Week comes around, these businesses need to prepare for the influx of traffic and orders to their site, secure their data from hackers, and ensure everything is running as smoothly as Santa’s Workshop. But they, like Santa, can’t have a successful holiday season on their own.


Enter: Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud Cross-Functional Holiday Readiness Program. This program kicks off months before the holidays — in May, to be precise. In fact, to minimize purchasing disruption and help customers scale to meet the high demand of the season, it’s all hands on deck for these Salesforce teams before Deck The Halls even crosses anyone’s playlist.


We took a closer look at all of the employees driving this initiative — and how they’re transforming the business and transforming the holiday season.


Want to learn more about our innovative teams driving customer success? Learn more about our Customer Success Group.


Making spirits — and shopping bags — bright

Astro holding a Cyber Week Sign


Sanjeev Balakrishnan, SVP of Customer Success at Salesforce, recognizes that a single, weeklong period in November — from the Monday before Thanksgiving to Giving Tuesday — is of utmost importance for buyers everywhere.


"Cyber Week determines key financial and success outcomes for the retail industry and other sectors. But, it is also in this most critical moment when customers might encounter a problem and need us the most."



They specifically need Naomi Fullam, Senior Director of Program Management, who is there behind-the-scenes driving success for customers and consumers everywhere. With a decade of Salesforce technical program experience under her belt, this year was her second time leading the Holiday Readiness Program.


“The Holiday Readiness Program is designed to maximize our B2C customers’ success by delivering sustained performance, stability, and required scale during peak selling period, as well as ensuring our Customer & Partner ecosystem is informed and enabled for a successful season,” shared Naomi. “We're mitigating risk months in advance to not let anything go wrong. And if something goes wrong, we're responding as quickly as possible so the issue doesn't impact volume for our customers.


Upholding our customer’s trust in Salesforce during such an important time is our ultimate goal.”


Deck the halls with Slack and teamwork

Naomi makes sure everything is running according to plan — but that plan involves multiple teams beneath the Commerce Cloud umbrella.


“What I love about this program is the multiple teams that you interact with. The people are amazing — they know what they’re doing, they do it well, and they know how important it is. We are all focused on making sure it happens for the sake of our customers at such a critical time.”


Naomi collaborates with hundreds of Commerce Cloud colleagues, including:


  • Commerce Cloud Engineering and Product Teams who deliver new features, feature improvements, and support for the platform's infrastructure year-round. This group ensures the Commerce Cloud platform is secure, performant, and scalable to meet customer demands during their peak sales events, Cyber Week included, and throughout the year.

  • Data Analysts keep everyone in-the-know with their insights and reporting (hello, Tableau dashboards!). They keep the pulse on commerce trends and develop critical forecasts to predict the scaling needed for customers.

  • Technical Account Managers (TAMs) are the quarterbacks of customer success; they work with many Commerce Cloud customers all year long to advise on how to best utilize the technology. When the customer starts preparing for Cyber Week, the TAM is there to recommend improvements to help the customer maximize business.

  • Technical Support Engineers (TSEs) are there to pick up the phone or swam a ticket to solve any technical problems that pop up for a customer. Support Engineers are always ready to step in and identify what’s going wrong and how to resolve it in the most efficient way.

  • Critical Incident Communications (CIC), in partnership with the TSEs, run “game day” exercises, tighten response processes, provide customers with preparation resources, and strengthen Salesforce’s support model.

  • Account Executives (AEs), similar to TAMs, are always connected to their clients to make sure they can get the most out of their Commerce Cloud licenses. If a need comes up, the AE is there to jump in and help. AEs are the trusted advisors that deeply understand their customer’s business needs and pain points.

Naomi works with representatives from all of these functions to build out their strategy for the season, communicating during weekly meetings with her smaller group leads, as well as asynchronously with leadership via Slack to ensure everyone is aligned and working toward the same goals.


Slack channels are paramount for collaborating with so many groups spread out across countries and time zones. Naomi utilizes a smaller, private channel for her core group of team leads, and also manages a public broadcast channel for all Commerce Cloud colleagues where she posts monthly, then weekly, then daily updates to share performance updates.


“There really isn’t a single person who works on Commerce Cloud who isn’t involved in preparing for Cyber Week. We make sure everyone keeps timing in mind, especially when it comes to security,” Naomi says. “Cyber Week is the most popular time for bad actors to try to hack into systems, and customers trust us to keep their data safe from those attempts. There's a whole moratorium that's put in place starting in November where we restrict changes to our platform so that we keep it a stable and secure as possible — so everyone's work has to be finished by then.”


Learn how cross-functional collaboration works better with Slack.


Rockin’ around a record-breaking week

Salesforce characters holding shopping bags to represent a busy holiday season
Max, Codey, Astro, and Blaze are ready to shop!

So how does this carol end? As a record-breaker. The 2023 Cyber Week brought in $298 billion in global digital sales around the world, a 6% YoY increase in digital sales, with Commerce Cloud processing over 50 million of those orders.


Naomi measures the success of the Holiday Readiness Program in three ways: disruption time, volume and severity of support cases that come in, and speed to resolution.


  • Minimizing Disruption: The team’s Service Level Agreement (SLA) for uptime was to have 99.55% uptime with minimal disruption — a lofty but important goal to strive for. Commerce Cloud’s SLA was 100%, meaning there was — literally — no downtime for any Commerce Cloud customers.

  • Setting Up Customers for Success: There were zero “Severity 0” and “Severity 1” multi-customer Commerce Cloud cases opened during Cyber Week 2023. This means that all of the collaboration that was done in advance — the guidance of engineers and TAMs, the Support Engineers helping customers at every step, and the insights provided by the analytics team — all worked in harmony to prepare the customers’ Commerce Cloud instances to the best of their abilities.

  • Speed to Resolution: Out of the handful of single-customer issues, meaning any instance where a Commerce Cloud customer opened a support case, over 95% were solved without escalation.

Sanjeev is singing the praises of all who were involved: “The success of this Holiday Readiness Program is a testament to our core values of customer success and innovation. There is immense value in the culture we have at Salesforce where employees are inspired to think outside the box, try new things, and come up with creative solutions.


This group put themselves not only in our customers' shoes, but in our customers' end-users' shoes, to deeply understand what may be needed and prepare to support those needs during a crucial moment. I'm incredibly proud and grateful to work with all the folks who helped make Cyber Week a success for our customers. They truly embody what it means to be Trailblazers, Together.”


So, as you continue your holiday shopping, remember: There’s a whole team of Trailblazers behind you when you click “Add to Cart.”

Interested in joining the # AI CRM that’s helping B2C customers like Gucci this holiday season? Apply today!

We can't wait to meet you!

Join our Talent Community and be the first to know about open roles, career tips, events happening near you, and much more.

Join our Talent Community
a group of cartoon characters