• Callum Mcleod

What is Salesforce: A Beginner's Guide to the Platform - Part 1

We’re often asked by customers about Salesforce and whether it’s something they should consider for their business. Sometimes it can be daunting choosing a CRM system. Will it take up a lot of time to set it up, will it be easy to use and what products will I need?

So, whether you’re just starting out on your CRM journey, you’ve just got your licence and you’re looking to integrate it, or you’re struggling to use the platform to its full potential, this is where we can give you a helping hand, with our simple guide to Salesforce.


What are the benefits of implementing Salesforce into your organisation?


When it’s implemented properly, the benefits of Salesforce to your business are vast. It can help you drive more visitors to your website, allow you to personalise your marketing, manage your pipeline, log sales activity and increase conversions. The list is endless.


If you’re not familiar with Salesforce, then you certainly will be by the end of this blog, where we’ll be covering what Salesforce is and its possible uses within your organisation.


What is Salesforce?


Salesforce is a cloud based Software as a Service (SaaS) & Platform as a Service (PaaS) Provider that specialises in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) services. In other words, it's a cloud based platform that provides software and services for companies to streamline their sales and marketing to create relevant customer experiences.


These CRM services allow companies not only to connect with their customers but to track, analyse and report on them, from anywhere in the world, using the power of the cloud.


Fully integrating Salesforce within your business will help your business to grow alongside you. The flexibility of the Salesforce platform means that as your company grows, the platform can scale and grow alongside you, ensuring that your needs are consistently met.


Although Salesforce offers individual platforms and services depending on your needs, the flagship CRM service is Salesforce 360. Salesforce 360 gives you access to the full Salesforce ecosystem, giving you a full 360° view of your customer, no matter what stage of the buying cycle they’re in. Individually, the Salesforce “clouds” can be very useful, but when brought together, this is when they can have the greatest effect on your company.


Salesforce 360 gives you access to almost all that Salesforce has to offer; these include:


  • Marketing Cloud: Originally designed for B2C marketers, Marketing Cloud now provides both B2C and B2B marketers with a 360° view of every potential customer within their company. Not only can you see all your customer & potential customer data in one place, but you can also segment this data. This customer segmentation, together with the innovative personalisation tools in the marketing cloud, allows you to provide truly personal, targeted marketing campaigns. This 360° view of your customer allows you to manage every interaction between your customer and your company including social media, email and web content.

Screen shot of a Salesforce account showing social media interactions

  • Sales Cloud: It doesn’t matter whether you’re a B2B or a B2C salesperson, this will probably be one of the most important tools in your arsenal. A really useful feature for sales is its contact management capabilities. With the Sales Cloud, you can organise all of your potential deals and contacts within one central system, allowing you and your colleagues to have access to all information and notes whenever needed. Sales Cloud also provides you with a full view of your sales pipeline so you can track deals from conception all the way through to completion within one simple system.


Finally, we all know one of the most tedious parts of working a sales job is producing your sales reports. Using Sales Cloud, you can automatically produce reports and dashboards around any area of your sales pipeline.

Sales dashboard showing data including average sales cycle, opportunities and sales activity

  • Service Cloud: This is key to providing great customer service and support for your customers. It gives you a full view of your interactions with your customers. And if there’s one thing customers hate, it’s having to repeat themselves. Service Cloud shows you all your past interactions with a customer in one place, so you can see any information they’ve already provided. Its omni-channel capabilities allow you to speak to customers on whatever channel you choose, and if you need to change channels, no problem, this can be done with ease.

Example of lightning service dashboard showing customer queries and agent responses

  • Commerce Cloud: This is the platform for building great digital commerce experiences for your customers. Here you can build your e-commerce pages, design, schedule and publish them, without the need for code. Another useful feature is the ability to launch multiple pages at the same time and conduct A/B testing to discover the most effective page layouts for your commerce journey.

example of an e-commerce page for the alpine group. Bigfooot bar product page

  • Tableau Analytics: Anyone in charge of analysing data should be familiar with Tableau. Not only does it help you to easily clean and prepare data, but this data can then be effortlessly uploaded to other Salesforce applications. As well as cleaning it, Tableau also provides you with AI powered insights into the data and allows you to analyse it and create fully customisable reports and dashboards to highlight any variables within your data.

screenshot of data analysed to show change in churn

  • Salesforce Lightning Platform: Once you’ve got to grips with Salesforce, you may find that your requirements aren’t met out of the box. This is where Salesforce Lightning Platform comes in. With the Salesforce Lightning Platform, you can create your own apps to use within Salesforce, with little to no code. Using their innovative lightning experience, building your own custom apps is as easy as just dragging and dropping boxes on a screen. Providing a truly customisable experience to anyone, no matter how tech savvy you are.

Screenshot showing lightning app builder

So what's next?


These are just some of the valuable services offered within the Salesforce 360 platform. To learn more why not check out the full list of services provided here.


Hopefully, by this point you can see that integrating Salesforce into your company is definitely something to consider.


In our next blog, we’ll give you some helpful tips on how to go about integrating Salesforce either with, or without, the help of an external consultant.


Are you looking to refresh your customer experience? Can’t tell the difference between your SaaS and PaaS? Then you should head over to our Glossary page for info on these and other CRM, CX and Digital Transformation terms.



 


Get in touch with us now to see how we can help you to establish the needs of your business and get Salesforce implemented into your organisation. You won’t regret it!