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“Everybody that's working in an organization needs to have trust at the top of their value system and their priorities list. Customers are watching.” — Jim Alkove

Every once in a while, a webinar can actually inspire you. We were lucky to have two stellar panelists who generously shared a wealth of knowledge—Jim Alkove, former Chief Trust Officer at Salesforce, and Hilarie Koplow-McAdams, Venture Partner at NEA and former President at Salesforce.com and New Relic.

The discussion, moderated by SafeBase CEO Al Yang, went deep into the definition of customer trust, its importance, how companies can build trust through transparency, and how to put trust at the center of an organization’s principles. We also had the chance to hear about the development of Salesforce’s groundbreaking Trust Center from the Chief Trust Officer who brought it to life.

Here are our top 6 takeaways from this webinar:

1. Prioritizing customer success is great, but prioritizing customer trust is even more important, since it impacts every facet of your business.

“Trust is the most important decision in a company. So originally that value was customer success… We actually upped the ante by redefining it as ‘trust’ because we realized that customer trust was a higher-level value than customer success.” — Hilarie Koplow-McAdams

2. Discussions about customer trust are happening more often than ever, and these discussions extend far beyond traditional information security.

“You're seeing this trust concept come to the forefront… information security, but also privacy, ethics, and integrity, humane use of technology—there's a lot more of these conversations coming to the forefront, driven by customers. But also you're starting to see regulators and governments push this agenda as well.” — Jim Alkove

3. Software customers and users have the right to ask about a vendor’s  trust program, and it’s crucial that the vendor provide them with the answers they need in a transparent manner.

“The consumers of [software] services have more power in this equation than they did 15 or 20 years ago. And therefore they have the right to ask any questions about the security model, and the resilience model as well.” — Hilarie Koplow-McAdams

4. The role of a Chief Trust Officer is important, but one person cannot be entirely responsible for an organization’s trust program.

"Trust is a partnership. Everybody is responsible for trust at the company. Customers are watching every single interaction that you have with them everyday, whether it's AE or an SE that's calling on that customer, or customer success representative, who is supporting that customer, the behavior in those interactions, and whether you're putting trust and customer success first is going to be measured by those customers every single day.” — Jim Alkove

5. When you’re selling to a large company, transparency is key, even if you’re an early stage startup.

”Nobody's expecting a startup to go from zero to one and have hyper-scaled company security from day one. What we want to understand is that you value it, that trust is in your C-suite mentality… That's the kind of transparency that gains you favor with a large company CISO.” — Jim Alkove

6. When you prioritize trust as an organizational value, it should also be prioritized from a budgeting and resources perspective. Successful enterprise companies build in trust from budgeting day zero.

”The very first area that would be funded from a product and service delivery perspective was trust. So there might be some amazing new feature, some incredible technology that we'd want. But we'd actually make sure that we had full funding on our trust initiatives before anything else.” — Hilarie Koplow-McAdams