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Solving complex business problems and providing a better user experience with Salesforce

11th June 2020

Author Charlotte Hailey

A Q&A with Charlotte Hailey, Senior Manager Salesforce, Wellington

We are very excited to have Charlotte join as a Senior Manager in the Business Applications team in Wellington, bringing her skills, knowledge and passion for Salesforce to the coolest little capital. Charlotte’s unique blend of customer engagement, Salesforce architecture and Agile delivery helps us realise our goal of bringing our customers closer to their customers and her collaborative approach will go far in developing our team and connections in the Wellington Salesforce community.

 – Scott Sullivan, Wellington Salesforce Practice Lead


We catch up with Charlotte one month into her new role to find out more about where she has come from, what brought her to Davanti (and New Zealand), what gets her out of bed in the morning and what she’s looking forward to in the role.

Charlotte HaileyWhat does your Senior Manager Salesforce role with Davanti entail, and what are you looking forward to getting stuck into?

My role performs many functions – it’s not just limited to solution design from a Salesforce perspective; it’s really about working with clients, engaging with them to discover what they need and how we can help facilitate that from a delivery perspective as much as from a Salesforce solution perspective.

The thing that I absolutely love to do is work with clients on their really complex business process challenges and work through those by redesigning a much more efficient, streamlined solution that provides a better user experience, utilising Salesforce.


Tell us a little bit about your background.

I have been living in Australia for the past 20 years, but am originally from Auckland. I moved to New Zealand – and Wellington – in the first week of May (but more on that particular journey in a bit!).

I’ve been working with Salesforce for the past five years, and prior to that I was in the call centre world, building proprietary CRMs from scratch. These systems were very niche and focused on selling or marketing a particular product – really old school waterfall project type approaches, where customers would come to us and say we want to sell this or we want to do this with our products and we would integrate into telemarketing systems and create internal CRMs that guided users through the process of selling that product to customers over the phone. And in addition to that, the systems were responding to mail and inbound email requests and whatnot – super old school call centre telemarketing stuff!

Having that background designing things from scratch gave me a great foundation in showing me what the usability features are and the heuristics that you have to apply from an internal user’s perspective to ensure that things work; you start to build a bit of a repertoire of tricks that you constantly use in each sort of campaign or platform that gets built.

Then when I discovered Salesforce, it was a revelation – I thought: Somebody’s already built most of this stuff and now we can focus on the cool things. We don’t need to build from the ground up anymore.

I think my CRM design background has made me really understand at a deep level why Salesforce is the way it is and why it works the way it works.


And what drew you to Davanti?

Before moving to New Zealand, I wasn’t very familiar with the Wellington market from a Salesforce perspective. I put feelers out with a few people that I know through the Salesforce community to get an idea of who’s doing cool stuff in Wellington, and Davanti’s name came up a lot. After I had a good chat with Scott and Martin here in the Wellington office, we just really hit it off talking about the things that make us really passionate and excited about Salesforce.

Deep down I’m a Salesforce nerd, and I’m not afraid to admit that! The types of ideas, concepts, approaches, design techniques and project management and implementation strategies that I’ve spoken about with both Scott and with Martin really made me feel connected to Davanti as a company and a brand.


You mentioned your passion for Salesforce… Can you tell us a bit more about that, and what gets you out of bed in the morning?

Salesforce is an amazing platform with a tonne of features and functionality. But I think one of the things that I really connected with in my conversations with Scott and the Davanti team before I joined is the recognition that it’s not all things. It does a lot of things fantastically, but the important thing is being able to work within a consultancy, like Davanti, that understands the limits of the platform and doesn’t try to solve every single business problem with Salesforce simply because that’s what they’re wedded to.

It’s about taking a more holistic approach to business process challenges, where Salesforce is one of the tools in the toolkit that enables transformation.

What I’m most passionate about with Salesforce is really being able to understand the limits of what it can do, particularly out of the box. Every single day there are people finding new ways to use the platform, using really creative approaches, and for the most part they’re innovating using a clicks-not-code approach.

I love understanding what the limit of that clicks-not-code approach is, and then helping customers to understand this – because a lot of the times you get into a customer’s organisation and everything’s code; they’ve customised everything within an inch of its life without having a full understanding of what the ‘out of the box’ technology is actually capable of.

The core Salesforce functionality can set those customers free to a certain degree, because they are no longer living in fear of upcoming release cycles, wondering what the next release is going to break. They can look forward to what’s coming next and what enhancements Salesforce is bringing out. They can start utilising that in their solutions, because they haven’t gone over the top with customisation.

A focus on the user experience and Human Centred Design is super important, having design and discovery workshops upfront – because the technical aspects of the platform should inform the limits of what’s possible and at what point we switch over to custom code, but it’s the actual usability of something that should really drive what we deliver from a technical perspective.

This is critical because coming at a problem purely from a technical perspective is never going to truly solve anyone’s business challenges. 99% of the time if someone explains to you what their problem is, what they envisage would work for them, they have a very clear picture in their mind of how this might look. If you just deliver a technical solution that doesn’t look and feel the way they imagined it, they’re never going to be fully satisfied.


A little birdy tells us you have a goal to be New Zealand’s first female CTA. Tell us more…

That would be wonderful! I know there is a huge amount of talent in New Zealand, so while it is most definitely a goal to become a CTA, being the first female in New Zealand to achieve that would only be a bonus. Seeing so many strong technical and business minded females working in the ecosystem only encourages and inspires me; if someone was to beat me to that title, I would only have more admiration and drive. We are all in this Ohana together and connecting with other professional females (and males!) on the journey to CTA is what is needed by all of us as we grow in our careers.


You’ve certainly joined Davanti at an interesting time, with everything that’s going on in the world. Tell us about your intrepid journey to get here.

It was a crazy time to join! Moving countries and starting a new job is difficult at the best of times, but throw in the mix international travel restrictions, quarantine requirements, border closures, all that sort of stuff – it was an absolute miracle that I actually made it over here!

I arrived in Wellington on May the fourth, having spent the previous two and a half weeks in Auckland at a hotel doing my mandatory isolation. I felt a bit like I could rule the world from behind my laptop; I managed to get a lease, buy a car, start a new job; everything sort of fell into place.  I was also able to bring my dogs over from Malaysia (whose quarantine period was shorter than mine!) during this global pandemic!

My induction was done completely remotely during the lockdown period. It’s always difficult in the first couple of weeks of any job to connect with people’s names and faces and what they do; the whole digital experience has made it a bit more challenging! Since level two (level one now!), it’s been really nice to come into the office and meet people.


Now you’ve settled into Wellington, what are you looking forward to, as a ‘new normal’ takes shape?

My partner is still stuck in Australia due to travel restrictions, so as soon as the borders open and this trans-Tasman bubble pops, that’s the first thing on my list – getting him over here! Then we are very keen to take a holiday to the South Island.

I’ve already been doing quite a bit of exploring around Wellington with my dogs; they are loving all the walking tracks and green spaces. I particularly like hiking and walking. It’s great to see the hospitality sector starting to pick again up here. Hopefully I get some time to check out some of the fantastic coffee shops and restaurants I have heard so much about.


Charlotte Hailey is Senior Manager Salesforce, Wellington

Charlotte’s unique blend of customer engagement, Salesforce architecture and Agile delivery helps Davanti realise our goal of bringing our customers closer to their customers.

Charlotte Hailey