By Akshat Singh
Salesforce is the most important platform we utilize. We run our business from this platform — from presales, to customer requests, to implementation and delivery. In essence, we’re successful because Salesforce gives us the ability to do hassle-free business, stay organized, run analytics, and stay engaged. Recently, we sat down with eight Salesforce MVPs to ask them what makes Salesforce the world’s top CRM, and to find out what innovations we can look forward to seeing from Salesforce in the coming months.
Meet the MVPs
A Salesforce MVP is a person who is knowledgeable and passionate about helping others learn about Salesforce. They do this by contributing to the worldwide community of Salesforce users, developers, administrators, and executives.
Adam Olshansky, Software Engineer, eTouch Systems
Geraldine Gray, CEO & Principal Consultant, Endiem
Mike Martin, Client Partner, Appirio
Abhinav Gupta, Salesforce Architect, Concretio
Sharif Shaalan, Technical Architect Manager, Agile Cloud Consulting
Jarrod Kingston, Solution Architect, Appirio
Ben McCarthy, Managing Director, Empaua
Jeff Grosse, Salesforce Service Cloud Practice Lead, Appirio
- Why Salesforce? Why do you suggest it to your clients?
JG: I’m not a betting man, but if I were, I’d take the advice of many who say, “You have to bet on the winning horse.” Salesforce has proven to be robust, flexible, secure, and drives efficiency in all areas of business.
GG: Salesforce is the whole package when it comes to CRM — they continuously provide their clients with constant improvements and enhancements to the product. Like all good businesses, you have to continue to grow and deliver what customers need in order to scale for tomorrow — not just solve today’s problem.
BM: Salesforce makes it easy to connect and arm every department in your company with some of the most powerful business tools available. Being able to give employees access to a complete 360-degree view of their customers so they can make the right decisions is extremely important.
AG: Salesforce is not just a CRM, it is a business apps platform, where anyone can go beyond CRM to manage accounting, hiring, production, or ERP. The AppExchange marketplace is also quite amazing — it’s full of amazing partner solutions, which gives you more ROI on your Salesforce investment.
- What are some major challenges your customers were able to overcome after a Salesforce implementation?
BM: Transparency, speed, and connectivity. Transparency: to see everything that has previously gone on, and will go on in the future, with a customer. Speed: to be able to close deals faster and develop changes quicker. Connectivity: to be able to integrate all your systems into one, for one source of truth.
GG: We’re able to give our clients visibility into their business; they can see what’s in their pipeline, what their challenges are, and what’s not working — so they can work deals smarter and faster.
SS: Getting a 360-degree view of their constituents. In this day and age, organizations want to have one view into all of the interactions with a constituent. Salesforce makes this possible.
MM: I’ve found that many of my customers are moving from old, antiquated systems (or no systems at all). Salesforce allows customers to follow the MVP model (Minimum Viable Product), where we set up the minimum amount of functionality to meet success criteria, and then iterate through enhancements once that has been met.
- What limitations do you face with Salesforce?
AG: None as such from a business standpoint, however developer tooling could be more streamlined and solid.
SS: There are some LDV limitations, but they can be overcome with smart planning and architecture.
JK: The only real limitation I’ve ever faced with Salesforce is the platform’s inability to edit some of the built-in functionality. Even then, it usually only comes up every so often.
- How do you see the Einstein AI helping organizations in the future?
MM: A I or Machine Learning is the future. I think Salesforce’s ability to integrate this type of functionality within their existing product set is key. Salesforce has historically provided simple configuration-based solutions with new product offerings, and I see Einstein as a similar launch.
AO: I see Einstein as being able to interpret data that can’t be processed by humans. If it can detect patterns in large quantities of data and make smart decisions accordingly, I think that will be tremendous in helping make decisions for your business.
JG: Einstein has the ability to drive meaningful work to the workplace. It helps you sift through the mundane and recognize trends and values in data that are important the business. It promises to bring our attention to where it needs to be day to day, to lead your team to greater success.
JK: AI looks to be a big help. Instead of building a custom app to prompt/help users with next steps or provide relevant information, AI can take over and do so much more.
- What was your biggest takeaway from Dreamforce this past year?
JG: Trailhead is ready for prime time. The ability for anyone in the organization to learn about Salesforce and its features is simplified and made fun in so many ways with Trailhead. This invaluable tool is a truly unique feature no other CRM has to build the smarts of it’s user base.
AO: My biggest takeaway was how all of the different Salesforce products are going to start working together more intelligently to really provide the maximum possible value from the platform.
GG: Dreamforce is all about making new connections and our good relationships never die — even if we only get to rekindle them in person once a year.
- What do you think we’ll be talking about a year from now?
MM: You should ask Einstein! I think Lightning Experience will be ready for prime time this coming year, and there will be some success stories from large organizations that have made the transition from Classic to Lightning.
SS: I think it will be on the same theme of AI and IoT, and how to make these these features available for smaller-scale customers.
JK: I think we will see a fuller Lightning Experience, more Einstein embedded throughout the app, and even richer communities with more templates.
BM: With the Quip acquisition just before Dreamforce, it was very timely to see this amazing product in action. I believe it’s going to be slowly integrated into the Salesforce suite. When this happens, the way we work is going to completely change. Being able to pull data from Salesforce and put it directly into a word document or spreadsheet is just game-changing.