Brett Taylor of Salesforce speaking at Salesforce Connections conference this week

Salesforce Connections might not be as big as Dreamforce, but it’s meant to give the Salesforce Marketing Cloud its own special time in the sun. The conference took place in Chicago this week and in many ways felt like Adobe Summit, a place to discuss marketing strategy and how to deliver the perfect message to the consumer at the right time.

That means understanding what the consumer is interested in at any given time, whether that is an individual or a business. Regardless, Salesforce wants to deliver a compelling experience, and experience is the word of the hour.

Managing customer experience is all the rage these days and it’s why companies are trying to control every aspect of the customer interaction, whether that’s while shopping, the purchase or interacting with customer service because you need help or are unhappy.

Customer relationship management tools (CRM) were about collecting nuts and bolts customer information, almost an electronic Rolodex, although significantly more sophisticated now. Knowing who your customers are, however, is just the first step and it’s not a coincidence that Salesforce offers Sales, Marketing, Service, and Commerce clouds, giving their users the option of a soup-to-nuts customer journey.

Making connections

Salesforce made a number of announcements at Connections around solidifying that customer experience and how data moves between internal and external systems. For starters, it announced some data sharing agreements with Google to move data between Google Analytics 360 and Salesforce Marketing Cloud. There is an obvious connection here between data collected on the web by Google and data collected and used inside Salesforce. The agreement allows aggregated data or metadata to move between the two.

The company also announced data sharing between the Commerce Cloud (from the Demandware acquisition two years ago this month) and Marketing Cloud. Again, marketing and sales should be sharing data, but it doesn’t always happen easily or well inside organizations. This will offer a way for machine-to-machine data exchange, making it much simpler for marketers and sales to work together.

The company also announced the integration of Cloudcraze, a company it acquired last March with the hope of providing a consumer-like experience (remember that word isn’t chosen lightly) for business-to-business transactions too.

Finding the optimal experience

All of this is about finding the optimal way to meet the customer, while using data from across systems to help facilitate that, says Brett Leary, owner at consulting firm CRM essentials. “Digital customer journeys can almost be treated like Waze treats travel by taking current traffic into consideration when deciding which pathway to give you,” he said.

All of this including the partnership with Google is about competing with the other big players out there such as Adobe and Microsoft, who have also partnered to compete more directly with Salesforce. Along with Oracle and SAP, they are the biggest players in a lucrative market, and all are basically selling a similar vision.

It was just Salesforce’s turn to show it off this week.

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Photo: Salesforce

Posted by Ron Miller

Ron Miller is a freelance technology reporter and blogger. He is contributing editor at EContent Magazine and enterprise reporter at TechCrunch.

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