Just a CRM

Last week I was in a meeting and someone said “Isn’t Salesforce just a CRM?” Salesforce started as a CRM but quickly evolved and gave users the ability to extend the platform.  The experience for internal users and external customers is crucial and Salesforce allows you to create a unified one so customers, sales users, service users, and management are all on the same page.  I came up with a new acronym for Salesforce, CUE (Connected Unified Experience).  We will review three topics that Salesforce allows you to unify creating a great experience for all users; E-commerce, Service, and Management.

Along the way you will meet Chris the sales rep and Jane the manager.  If Salesforce was just a CRM Chris and Jane would have a lot of manual work to ensure their business ran smoothly and their customers had good experiences.  The data they would be using in a disconnected environment would be stale by the time they completed their analysis or Chris may walk into a meeting without knowing the customers most recent interaction.

E-commerce

E-commerce was always trending up and to the right but the global pandemic accelerated that for both B2B and B2C transactions. Mckinsey & Company reports that e-commerce sales in the United States have increased by 3.3x and United Kingdom by 4.5x. 

Ensuring your customer has a unified experience takes administrative work off of your Sales Reps and allows them to be more of a consultant than your traditional sales role.  Having this built on top of your CRM and fully integrated allows you to personalize and tailor the experience for each user.  It could be negotiated pricing that only that company can see, or it could be tailored experience you want to create for a certain persona.  To build this personalization you need data from your CRM, ERP, and marketing platforms.  Chris the sales rep can now relax a little knowing his customer is getting the price they want and the experience they need to purchase the product/service he is offering.  No more calling customers, building out quotes, and combing through the price book/approvals.  The customer and Chris have everything they need at their fingertips all in one place.  Having all this data ingested into the experience allows you to build a guided selling flow and incorporate AI into that process.  If you use Salesforce here are some sessions from Dreamforce that help dive further into this topic; Accelerate B2B Commerce in Every Industry, Grow Faster with Customer-Centric Commerce, Set the Experience Standard with Headless Commerce

Service

Service is crucial both before and after the customer purchases your product/service, this is where customers see real value in your company.  Salesforce, Zendesk, and Hubspot allow for a connected and unified customer service platform that scales with your business.  These platforms make it seamless to support your customer on portals, chatbots, and embedded into your website.  All while ensuring your business users know exactly what’s happening with their customers the moment it takes place.  This connected experience allows Chris the sales rep to know exactly what is going on with his customers’ cases as he walks into a meeting with them.  Jane the manager can stay on top of her team and understand how many open tickets they have, and how quickly they are being actioned and resolved.  Managing that capacity is key to creating that great experience for the customer.  After having a positive experience with a company 77% of customers would recommend it to a friend and lack of speed in interactions is the number one pain point for customers.  Mentioned twice more than price.   The SaaS solutions mentioned above allow for AI driven deflection, alerting the right people quickly (Sales/Service/Management), and relevant tracking to stay on top of these ensuring a positive experience.

Management

Salesforce and other platforms allow you to manage processes such as forecasting, or subscription management to improve the customer experience.  These processes give your executives and account managers the data at their fingertips to manage a relationship or ensure your business is running smoothly.  Having the ability to forecast by product or by region helps companies identify where and how marketing dollars should be spent.  Making data-driven decisions with real-time data is a daunting task but these platforms make it easy as everything lives in the same place.  Coming in in the morning and looking at your dashboard could tell you if Chris closed that big deal yesterday or if you need some additional marketing campaigns in EMEA to reach your target.  Subscription management is more about your customer and giving them a simple way to see their history with your company and manage the current relationship.  It could be that they want to add capacity, upgrade to a new plan, or pull last year’s invoice for Finance.  This data all lives in your CRM and with a simple API can be exposed to your customers on your portal.  Since this is all coming from the same place this is something your business teams (Sales/Service/Management) can also easily see and pull for these customers.

Now with a solution thats more than “Just a CRM” Chris the Sales Rep and Jane the manager can focus more on the business and dont need to do so much administrative work to make it run.  This allows them to be more strategic and analyze data to make good decisions.  Without a connected experience this data would live in many locations and probably be dumped into excel and making pivot tables as even more data was being collected.  These connected and unified systems allow them to have data in realtime to make these decisions.  We used to say location, location, location was key to business success.  Now more than ever it’s about the experience, make sure you have a unified one between your customers and your business.  

Published by Chris Hunter

Founder of Wolf Digital Consulting, LLC. Love helping others, learning new things, and Golf. Salesforce & Boomi Certified, data nerd and integration lover

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