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 times of quarantine confinement, from ISDI CRM we have 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 stated from the most basic concepts, especially for those who wanted to know more about the Customer Relationship Management platform which is global leader in its market.
Origins and evolution
Salesforce is a company that was born in 1999, created 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 now manage the sales cycle and all events from its clients wherever he wanted (with an Internet connection) without hardware requirements or associated 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, walks alongside that early vision.
When we talk about the Cloud as Salesforce’s tech banner, we can also agree that its business banner is to improve customers’ life. Not only through the eyes of the customer, but also to think about 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.
The customer who uses Salesforce will be able to easily manage its own relationship with customers and therefore be more efficient and more effective.
We invite you to search in Google about Salesforce news, articles, acquisitions… Right from its origins, the company was looking for an improvement of 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 inserted their products in its own portfolio, and those acquisitions are revolve around the millions fringe, like when Heroku was bought; to several billion dollars, like the cases of ExactTarget (Marketing Cloud), Demandware, Mulesoft or Tableau.
Portfolio, functionalities and what to choose
As we mentioned in the previous section, Salesforce’s vision for its functionalities and portfolio products is to improve the relationship between the users of the tool and its own customers.
When in this organizations’ value chain the product portfolio from Salesforce gets introduced, every task or activity that manages a possible contact with a customer can be done and tracked by one or some of its products. In order to focus this article in a practical manner or analysing a product at a time (how it works and what are its capabilities), we will explain it 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); and an innovative and very powerful tool for data management (DMP); and also another one for profile segmentation through touchpoints (Audience Studio).
But is interesting to know that clients who want to include Salesforce’s services aren’t obligated to acquire its tool Marketing Cloud, because it can be unnecessary for the company business (in terms of functionalities). Furthermore, its module Sales Cloud has low code capacities for potential customer acquisitions, from web contact forms or massive communication through email marketing (with limited daily dispatches).
And lastly, it is meaningful to underline that with Salesforce you have to consider that it 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 was built. This product is called Sales Cloud, or Service Cloud, or Platform. This cloud allows to identify 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 hiper-flexible configuration capacities that the platform offers, because this tool can be customized to our taste: from data validations to visualization customization, model expansions, automations to create data, or to communicate with the customer.
Any type of business can manage its sales process with a Salesforce product.
As we highlighted about the customer acquisition processes, Salesforce, through third parties such as Docusign, with connectors and extensions, makes processes possible from the Sales Cloud module such as hiring with a digital signature.
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 to offer omni-channel 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 in its portfolio provides with customer websites called Customer Community that due to their license (by volume of income or users), makes it possible for very large companies (with more than 500 thousand users), to develop your own app or web with Heroku, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) product.
In addition to that, one of the functionalities of the platform (with an extra license) is the capacity to transform into a native Android or iOS app every Customer Community, 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 in which the contact with customers are implied, but Salesforce completes its portfolio with its integration tool Mulesoft (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.
And finally, this environment creates value not only in operative tasks because, in order to have traceability in all of them is of key interest to have reporting capacities. 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 of 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?
Through this long article we have explained the main modules that we can get from Salesforce in order to manage processes and activities within our organization, so we understand that every reader will choose to dig deeper in one of their choosing. So finally, we would like to underline, as it was mentioned since the beginning of this article, that this is a mature tool within the market, so a large community has appeared and it can be useful to further obtain information and certifications. Trailhead programme is a good example of this fact and in Spain, ISDI CRM is the only educational centre certified as Trailhead Academy.