After this call to create new “digital ninjas”, we are only looking forward for you to feel an urge to know more, learn more and understand where your next steps are in the Salesforce ecosystem, according to your expertise and interests.
In this time of uncertainty, ISDI CRM has decided to share with all of you an approach to digitization. Using the title of this article, we shared knowledge for two days from the different ISDI CRM platforms. We started from the most basic concepts, especially for those who wanted to know more about the #1 Customer Relationship Management in the market.
Origins and evolution
Salesforce was founded in 1999 by two former Oracle experts, whose vision was an approximation of software without the need to install it or have to think about the common tasks that this type of technology required at that time. Thus, a new type of IT applications was created, because they were now selling Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), which means that the customer could immediately manage all its clients and the sales cycle, despite their location (with an Internet connection) without hardware requirements or additional software.
The tech banner that the company bears from its beginnings is the Cloud (in fact, its own logo is a blue cloud), so Salesforce’s growth, organic and inorganic, walk alongside that early vision.
When we talk about the Cloud as Salesforce’s tech banner, we can also agree that its business goal is to improve customers’ life. Not only through customers´eyes, but also through the clients of its clients (or customers of its customers). That is the main reason why Salesforce calls itself the Customer Success Platform because all of its innovation, new products, and new functionalities are aimed towards a satisfactory client experience.
We invite you to search in Google about Salesforce news, articles, acquisitions… Right from its origins, the company was looking for an improvement in the technical quality of its Cloud (more security, better availability, and better scalability) and to complement its portfolio with other functionalities and products. These products are mainly destined to the client using Salesforce, who will be able to better manage its own relationship with customers and therefore be more efficient (with less operative costs) and more effective (more sales).
It is worth mentioning that Salesforce has acquired new companies and added their products in its own portfolio, and those acquisitions are revolving around the millions fringe, i.e when Heroku was bought; for several billion dollars, as well as other external platforms, such as ExactTarget (Marketing Cloud), Demandware, Mulesoft or Tableau.
Portfolio, functionalities and what to choose
As previously mentioned, Salesforce’s vision for its functionalities and products’ portfolio aims to improve the relationship between the users of the tool and its own customers.
The concept of “client” includes those prospects new to the Salesforce products and services, as well as the ones who already acquired a license for one or several services.
By implementing the Salesforce product portfolio into an organization’s value chain, tasks, or activities related to customers’ contact management can be established and tracked by the Salesforce technology capabilities. Let’s see now a practical approach from a business or organizational perspective.
Potential customer acquisition
The foundation stone to attract new Salesforce clients, interested in its services or products, is Marketing Cloud, and behind its commercial name hides the base software acquired by Salesforce in 2015, ExactTarget. Its main asset is the capability to manage through every channel the communication with customers and potential customers, which have distinct data origins.
This tool, whose main license is based on the volume of “clients” in the cloud and the volume of communications (emails, SMS, etc.), is complemented by modules for social listening and interaction (Social Studio), an innovative and very powerful tool for data management (DMP), able to do profile segmentation through different channels.
It would be useful to know that clients who want to include Salesforce’s services aren’t obligated to acquire the Marketing Cloud platform, because it can be useless for the company business (in terms of functionalities). Furthermore, its low-code development Sales Cloud module allows creating web and mobile apps through drag-and-drop components for potential customers acquisitions, such as web forms or massive communication through e-marketing
And lastly, it is worthy to underline that Salesforce has its own product portfolio, but also other third party companies’ products. These other companies have created software that sometimes embodies a competition towards Salesforce, but they have also developed connectors and extensions within Sales Cloud, which can be browsed in its app market AppExchange.
Sales tracking and recruitment
All these sales processes and activities are covered by Salesforce’s core product, the one where the foundations of its own organic growth were built. These products are called Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, or Platform. These clouds allow identifying through different steps customers and potential customers, under an entity model related to the basics of a CRM (Lead, Account, Contact, Opportunity, Contract, Product, etcetera). All of these concepts present the hyper-flexible configuration capacities that the platform offers because this tool can be customized to your liking: from data validations to visualization customization, model expansions, automation to create data, or to communicate with the customer.
As we highlighted the customer acquisition processes, Salesforce implements procedures from the Sales Cloud module such as hiring with a digital signature, through third parties such as Docusign, with connectors and extensions
But not all companies have the same business model, where customers can be managed through a digital tool of this kind, so Salesforce acquired in 2016 one of the leading e-commerce platforms of that moment, Demandware, which was rebranded in its portfolio as Commerce Cloud. Therefore, any type of business or organization can manage now its sales process with one of the Salesforce products.
Once clients acquire services or products, inside the organization becomes necessary to develop activities associated with after-sales where several types of customer care channels can be offered. For this matter Salesforce offers its platform Service Cloud, mainly because all the interactions with customers are registered as “cases”.
Although Service Cloud, with its standard functionalities, allows offering omnichannel via email and web channels, it is very common for companies that have call center services to integrate Service Cloud with switchboard providers (Genesys, Aircall, NewVoiceMedia, etcetera), most of which will have connectors and extensions, and the entire operation will be performed from Salesforce.
If in the after-sales service you want to achieve an additional level of customer proximity, Salesforce provides in its portfolio with customer websites called Customer Community, a great solution for very large companies, since its license allows a high volume of income or users (more than 500.000). This enables you to develop your own app or web with Heroku, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) product.
In addition, one of the functionalities of the platform (with an extra license) is the capacity to transform every Customer Community into a native Android or iOS app, so that the after-sales service and the customer relationship management also goes to mobile channels.
Other processes and supply chain activities
As you may have noticed, we have made an overview through all those activities implying contact with customers, but Salesforce completes its portfolio with Mulesoft, its integration tool (acquired in 2018), which can integrate data from every source, application or organizational system (ERPs, DWH, websites, etcetera) following the best practices of API integration.
This environment creates value not only in operational tasks but also in reporting capabilities, aiming to offer high-value traceability features. For all that data managed inside Sales-Service Cloud products, there are reporting modules included which allow clients to create reports and dashboards in real-time in a very intuitive manner. But for those organizations with much higher data processing volumes, from different origins and a need for predictive and analytic capacities, Salesforce offers its Salesforce Analytics product, which was brought to the market in August 2019 with the acquisition of Tableau.
And now what?
In this article, we have explained the main Salesforce features that make process optimization simple and effective within our organization, so we understand that every reader will choose to dig deeper in one of their choosing. To conclude, we would like to underline, as it was mentioned at the beginning of this article, this is a mature tool within the market, so a large community has appeared and it can be useful to obtain further information and certifications. The Trailhead programme is a good example of this and in Spain, ISDI CRM is the only educational center certified as Trailhead Academy.