Historically, every business function has had its own collection of independent tools. The tools within a given department didn’t always integrate well with each other, much less with those outside of a department. That meant aggregating data was a manual, challenging process.
When businesses started unifying around the customer, this practice was no longer acceptable. Each organization needed to get to a single view of the customer and their unique journey, and the only way to do that was with tools that could connect and share data, across products, departments and customer support functions.
This is why Salesforce developed its Customer 360 platform, offering tools that unify business functions around the customer – not only supporting the key disciplines of Sales, Marketing, Commerce and Service but also building an app development platform/ecosystem – enabling drag and drop integration (APIs), integrating analytics, and collaboration tools. Understanding that each industry is unique and has critical legacy platforms, Salesforce is developing industry-specific solutions, partnering with industry leaders to ensure enterprise integrations will support the single view of customer model.
Ultimately, getting to a unified view of the customer is a lofty goal. There are many, many ways to approach this but let’s start by simplifying the customer journey into three phases: acquisition, communication, and service, and take look at the role of data and analytics across these three phases.
So let’s start by defining these simplified phases of the customer journey:
Acquisition: Typically, a brand uses owned, earned and paid media to drive prospects into the acquisition funnel. Prospects start on a landing page or the phone and are encouraged to take a desired action, either to purchase or some precursor to purchasing. For higher consideration purchases, an email-based nurture series will likely be used to help encourage this prospect to convert.
Communication: Once a prospect converts, they are greeted with some form of an online/offline welcome communication program. If they have an ongoing business relationship, they’ll receive monthly bills and other forms of ongoing communications.
Service: When a customer contact reaches out, they might do so via the phone, in person or online (via the site, using chat, using text or through email).
Every one of these three phases requires myriad sets of unique platforms. And several different departments, external agencies, and responsible stakeholders get involved. They rely on data and analytics provided by these different platforms, which can make it both challenging and resource-intensive for analysts, and frustratingly time-consuming for business leaders looking to find insights to drive their decisions.
Integrating Platforms Through Salesforce
With regard to platforms and products, Salesforce is primarily known as a CRM company, as reflected by its stock ticker (CRM). But CRM is so 1999. Today, each of Salesforce’s primary products are known as clouds: Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, Commerce Cloud, etc. Also, Key industries each get their own cloud (Health Cloud, Education Cloud, etc.) which are integrations of customized products built for specific industry needs. Health Cloud, for example, is a patient relationship management platform made up of tailored versions of Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Communities and a data/security platform called Salesforce Shield.
Knowing that, let’s look at the tools necessary to acquire, communicate with, service and analyze across the customer journey, and where Salesforce has products integrated to help customers and the brands that have relationships with them:
Because Salesforce is focused on giving their users a unified view of the customer, APIs between these platforms are built into Salesforce already, available via the Salesforce ecosystem or can be built using drag and drop architecture provided by MuleSoft, a company Salesforce purchased in 2018.
Salesforce has worked hard to make these integrations pay off in terms of both a single view of the customer and the consolidation of data and analytics.
The example below for a fictitious insurance company using Salesforce and Guidewire shows how key customer life events, interactions (agent, customer service), retention analysis and next best product recommendations are available to an insurance agent within the Financial Services Cloud. This Cloud enables that agent to have an efficient, informed and data-powered discussion with a customer. There’s no need to put the customer on hold or transfer the customer because all of the information is available on one screen. In this example, the agent is able to change the customer’s coverage and issue a new policy, all while staying within the Financial Services Cloud interface.
Key Life Events: What has happened (graduation, marriage, new job, new car) and when it happened.
Insurance Activities Log: Guidewire (policy), Agent, Service interactions with the ability to drill into each.
Retention Considerations: Einstein-powered retention analysis based on policy (contract duration, annual premium) and segment (marital status, marketing engagement level).
View into Household: Other customers and policies within the customer household.
Quote / Vehicle Info integration: Vehicle (VIN) information pulled in from Guidewire, answers provided by the customer (level of coverage, term, etc.), no need to re-pull credit or other rating information.
Coverage Updates: New policy has been bound and issued all within Financial Services Cloud.
In short, Salesforce might be a good option for organizations who have difficulty obtaining a unified view of the customer, who are interested in finding operational efficiencies, and also providing a more seamless experience for customers. Knowing that shifting platforms is a big investment, checking in on the performance of your current CRM implementation may be a good first step.
To learn more about Primacy’s Salesforce capabilities or other platform integration options, click here to have Jeremy follow up with you via email.