A beginners guide to the world of Salesforce

This guide is useful if you are considering adopting Salesforce as your Customer Relationships Management (CRM) system, or if you are a new user of the Salesforce platform. 

Lauren Tovey, our Business Development & Marketing Executive gives you the lowdown.

As in the name, Salesforce was developed to revolutionise the way in which organisations conduct their business, offering a secure, cloud-based solution to monitor the sales process end-to-end alongside one of the first enterprise software app stores. Salesforce is a Customer Relationships Management (CRM) platform, a type of software designed to develop leads into clients and maintain them as patrons. Before CRM technology was popularised, business deals were erased when a rogue post-it note was shredded, managers agonised over nonsensical databases and hundreds of prospects were carried out of the door in the notebooks of sales reps moving on to higher-paying competitors. 

How is Salesforce different from other CRMs?

A CRM system is the best way in which to track and master the sales process holistically, using the insights to work smarter, but why is Salesforce the world’s leading CRM? The answer is that they diversified and built a platform on which organisations can manage every aspect of their business in one place. The experienced business owner understands that each facet of a company supports a sale, whether it be customer facing departments such as service and marketing or operational functions such as quality assurance and sustainability. Salesforce recognises this and enables organisations to build a custom system which captures what they refer to as the ‘360 degree view’ of every customer. 

Salesforce’s core benefit is that this diversification abolishes the constant ‘swivel chair’ movement between all of the various applications and platforms employed by a business. Salesforce offers an extensive menu of functionalities, and any activity not covered by a Salesforce product can be integrated via a third-party application available on their AppExchange. The challenge for users is that Salesforce has now grown so dramatically that it can be overwhelming and rather difficult to know where to start. Alongside the various ‘clouds’ that offer a vast range of functionality and a sea of integration options, Salesforce also issues three release updates a year to improve and develop the platform. This constant evolution can be daunting at first, but a brilliant place to begin is by getting to know the main offerings available from Salesforce, you may have heard of these products before as they are referred to as ‘clouds’. 

A Salesforce Cloud is a tailored version of the platform built to optimise a function of the business; Sales Cloud, for example, is focused on converting leads to opportunities and securing their patronage. Alongside a number of specialist clouds such as Sustainability Cloud and Nonprofit Cloud, there are five core products of the Salesforce platform, these are: 

Sales Cloud 

As mentioned above, concentrates on tracking a lead all the way through to the close. Users can collaborate and keep each other updated using the chatter feed and record every communication with a customer using the ‘Activity’ function. 

Service Cloud

Service Cloud focuses on customer retention, generating cases which can be managed and resolved within allotted time frames under service-level agreements. Users can guide and support customers through interactive chatbots, manage entitlements for different customer groups and direct enquiries to the correct departments. 

Marketing Cloud 

Marketing Cloud acts as a hub for all activity related to attracting business. Users can manage direct marketing such as email campaigns, exploit insights from advertising and create custom content and web personalisation. Customer behaviours are analysed to intuitively tailor comms and marketing efforts. 

Commerce Cloud

Commerce Cloud is mainly deployed as a business to consumer solution, boosting order management capability. Consumers gain a personalised experience with the ability to shop and interact with any brand on any platform, social media, in-store or online. 

Experience Cloud 

Experience Cloud works to enhance customer engagement, enabling businesses to create communities where their consumers can interact and share thoughts. The software supports the creation of supplier/partner portals and extends to maintaining landing pages such as those for upcoming events. 

Although the above offers only a small synopsis of what the main clouds encompass, these products are often viewed as the starting points of building your Salesforce system and can be customised to align with any business model. 

Performa IT Top Tip

Salesforce gives free access to its online learning platform, Trailhead, which offers a rich library of courses spanning guidance on generalised topics such as cold calling to complex modules on Apex coding. Salesforce has its own ecosystem of offerings, but the right tools are out there to help you get exploring. 

To find out what Salesforce can do for your business or if you think you would benefit from a call with Performa IT, you can book it here – no strings attached!

Book a call with Lauren