Improving collaboration, sharing data across platforms, and developing more agile operations are major topics for sales and marketing teams these days. So it’s not surprising that “together” was the key driving message that Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff emphasized during the opening of his Dreamforce keynote address on Tuesday.
Benioff mentioned how the word continually comes up in discussions with customers and that the company, its accomplishments, and the industry as a whole are being built by people together. As many of those gathered at the Moscone Center could attest to, the idea also lends itself well to their efforts in creating connections with their customers based on unified omnichannel experiences across digital and retail channels.
Even the format of the address itself was a collaborative one that included remarks from Salesforce team members, partners, and customers. The discussion covered a wide array of topics, with the underlying focus being Salesforce’s Customer 360 platform and the importance of data in creating a complete view of customers.
A 360 view of customers and their sales journey
The advantages that C360 can provide were on display with a real-time success story from insurance company State Farm. Using the tool, the organization was able to look at their data and gain insights on how to improve sales rep strategies. Salesforce’s Sarah Patterson, SVP of Product Marketing and Strategy, compared this to athletes watching the recording of their performance. State Farm sales managers were able to pinpoint which products were driving the most sales and help field reps craft effective responses to customer issues during face-to-face meetings.
A central component of C360’s power to provide advantages is Salesforce’s Einstein, its artificial intelligence platform, which is featured in each of Salesforce’s clouds. Stephanie Buscemi, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer at Salesforce, discussed how speed is the most important element in customer service. She walked through a detailed example of a State Farm agent on a call with a customer during which the agent was able to access helpful information from Einstein without needing to put the caller on hold. During the call, Einstein gathers data on the customer’s decisions and preferences as a basis for further personalized service in a future call.
Email still a powerful marketing channel
Creating this kind of one-to-one relationship with customers is at the heart of another marketing innovation within a familiar channel. Email campaigns are a great way to deliver news, sales info, and content links, but new interactive emails take the format to a new level. An initial email can trigger subsequent messages customized to customer answers, and best of all, they draw a greater amount of data that a standard campaign could provide and better enable businesses to know their audience.
Data integration is key to frictionless customer experiences
One brand that’s an established leader in knowing its audience and providing a unified omnichannel experience to them is Louis Vuitton. As outlined by Bret Taylor, President and Chief Product Officer at Salesforce, the brand’s online storefront was created through the Commerce Cloud, which also enables in-store staff to access a customer’s account and offer recommendations based on her purchase history. Getting to know customers on a first-name basis happens practically as soon as they enter the store based on having a single integrated overview of that customer’s data.
This unified data that helps a company know its customers is something Marc Benioff referred to as the latest wave of computing and is part of a larger effort to create a single source of truth. Having already achieved computing systems of record, engagement, and intelligence, building a single source of truth is the next goal to conquer and is forcing Salesforce to evolve its services. At the heart of this evolution is the data integration software, MuleSoft, which enables developers to connect disparate data sets when creating an app or when connecting siloed data with Salesforce. As customer demands become more sophisticated and data resources become larger, MuleSoft’s application programming interface (API) capabilities will play an enormous role in helping businesses operate with a complete, unfragmented view of their target audience.
Einstein-powered analytics available from smart speakers
And hand in hand with data is analytics. Being able to draw insights from data is a crucial step but also a complicated one, and the team at business intelligence company Tableau are aware of the challenges involved. Their goal is to help companies make their data analytic tasks easier and make better decisions faster. As Tableau’s Francois Ajenstat put it, their tools provide “analytics at the speed of thought.”
The session ended by bringing together the themes of AI, new kinds of interaction, and building on established ideas with something fun. Salesforce users are familiar with the Einstein character, but today it appeared as an interactive device, similar to Amazon’s Alexa. A plastic model of the character was shown equipped with a smart voice service that could respond to questions, provide sales predictions, and allow users to essentially speak to their Salesforce service. Being able to know the potential for hitting a quota would only be a matter of asking a nearby Einstein-equipped device, rather than sorting through data.
From the various topics and products on display, how businesses operate and how consumers interact with them will continue to change, allowing everyone in the process to have a quicker, more streamlined experience. Creating a lasting relationship with customers based on trust and enthusiasm is a common goal for any sales or marketing team, and as Dreamforce 2019 continues this week, further innovations and cutting-edge ideas will be shared, showing how teams, departments, and the Salesforce community is working to achieve new accomplishments based on collective expertise, insights, and ambition--in short, together.
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