Unless you have ever been interested in the CRM software sphere, you probably have no clue what Salesforce is and what it can do for you. However, regardless of whether you are just curious about CRM’s top players or considering deploying the system in your organization, in a few paragraphs, we’ll make you an expert in questions like “What is Salesforce?”, “What is Salesforce used for?”, and “What are Salesforce benefits?”
Just dive into the topic with us.
What is Salesforce?
Salesforce is a massive infrastructure of software products that helps marketing, sales, commerce, service, and IT teams connect with their customers.
Although Salesforce started as a Software as a Service (SaaS) company, it has grown into a Platform as a Service (PaaS) company.
It means that their customers can buy not only a ready-to-use Salesforce CRM system but also build their framework components (Lightning components) and custom apps on top of the Salesforce Lightning platform (Force.com), become Salesforce partners and then market these software products on its app marketplace – AppExchange.
Also, Salesforce encourages users and companies to know their platform capabilities and features better and join their online training hub, Trailhead where they can get educational resources from learning modules like “Salesforce Platform Basics” or expert support from the Trailblazer Community.
To date, Salesforce has had over 150,000 customers worldwide and is behind the scenes of business behemoths such as American Express, Sony, and the Coca-Cola Enterprise.
Also, since 2015 the company has partnered with Apple to improve apps for businesses and started collaborating with Facebook in launching Facebook Analytics for marketers in 2017.
Now, Salesforce dominates the CRM market with a 20% market share, and its share prices will only increase.
In 2019, Marc Benioff, the Salesforce co-founder and CEO was named 4th in the list of America’s most innovative leaders by Forbes.
The company is famous for its company and product acquisitions. Among the latest and most significant ones are ClickSoftware, Mulesoft, and Tableau.
What makes this company so popular, and why do so many businesses, from start-ups to Fortune 500, jump on the Salesforce train?
To understand it better, we need to dig into the Salesforce and CRM market history and the history of the CRM market first.
A Bit of Salesforce & CRM Background
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a technology aimed at improving your company’s relationship and interaction management with customers and potential customers. CRM software helps companies stay connected with their customers, streamline processes, and improve profitability.
Salesforce revolutionized technology and the CRM world in 1999, being one of the first cloud computing companies. What was unique about it? Salesforce started delivering its software through Internet browsers instead of company-hosted servers, thereby reducing building, installation, maintenance, and support costs.
Also, Salesforce enabled users to access their software from anywhere, not only from the office building.
On top of it, one of Mark Benioff’s goals was to make using CRM as easy as using Amazon services. At that time, CRM solutions were bulky, non-flexible, and challenging to operate.
It always required external help from highly skilled developers (and that was exactly what our company has done since Ascendix’s founding in 1996).
In contrast, Salesforce offered a combination of simplicity, scalability, and online accessibility to data from any point on Earth in its software solution, making them an instant hit and a global leader in the market.
Ok, But What is Salesforce Used for?
Salesforce’s ecosystem hosts a number of various cloud platforms that allow you to interact with different data and service your customers in multiple capacities.
It helps you understand your customers better by providing a 360-degree view of your customer’s lifecycle, improved and centralized data management, streamlined workflows, and integrated systems in a zip.
Despite numerous products, CRM is still the lifeblood of Salesforce’s entire model, optimized for different business niches in Salesforce Clouds.
Let’s discover these significant products.
The Sales Cloud is a CRM platform that was Salesforce’s first and most popular product. This product is designed for the management of your organization’s sales. Initially, this Cloud was created for B2B (Business-to-Business) companies to guide potential customers through a defined sales cycle. However, B2C (Business-to-Consumer) companies can now leverage the Sales Cloud.
Its main built-in objects include:
- Lead (people that expressed an interest in your products or services)
- Account (companies that you want to track)
- Contact (employees of the companies you want to follow)
- Opportunity (potential deals that might result in a new business your sales team believes in)
So, Lead can be converted into Account, Contact, and Opportunity objects, and Opportunity, in turn, can be scaled by different stages and probabilities. What’s more, the Sales Cloud has out-of-the-box features like quoting and opportunity forecasting.
Besides, all standard objects can be enhanced with custom fields relevant to your business. For instance, if you sell multiple services or products, you can wish to create an area to track the product interest of your Leads.
Task tracking and workflow automation in Sales Cloud can help you automatically create a set of tasks based on specific criteria. For example, whenever you create a new Lead, the system can generate a sequence of tasks for you to call or email this Lead.
Also, a significant advantage of the Sales Cloud is that you can access all the functionality via mobile application (works for iOS and Android) and utilize sales data from any location. To get a comprehensive understanding of Sales Cloud capabilities, watch this demo:
Further, Salesforce Sales Cloud can be enhanced with CPQ & Billing, Salesforce Anywhere, Sales Cloud Einstein, High-Velocity Sales, Inbox, Lightning Dialer, Lightning Scheduler, and Salesforce Maps.
Our Salesforce consultants provide advisory services on the best practices of the Sales Cloud implementation. With Ascendix’s expert guidance, you will enrich your organization’s productivity by employing a well-optimized CRM solution with functionality tailored precisely to your needs.
CPQ and Billing
Salesforce CPQ, which stands for “Configure, Price, Quote,” was acquired through the Steelbrick purchase back in 2015. Customers may sell intricate sets of Salesforce goods because of its ability to go beyond Opportunities Products & Quotes’ basic capability.
Product and pricing rules, as well as a quote-generating engine, are components of CPQ that assist salespeople in creating proper quotations with complicated product sets.
Billing, on the other hand, is a Salesforce CPQ add-on. Billing takes over the process and takes care of billing, payments, and revenue recognition once the quote has been finalized.
The Service Cloud is a service platform from Salesforce for your company’s customer service and support team.
It is designed to speed up customers’ case tracking and resolution via multiple channels like email, live chat, or phone to encourage efficient communication.
In addition, the product enables users to create self-service customer service portals and offers pre-prepared communication via automated responses for specific outcomes.
Cases and Solutions are fundamental objects of the Service Cloud. Its standard features include:
- Ticket Assignment
- Queue Management
- Live Chat
- Knowledge Base
The base functionality can be optimized with social networking plugins for effective online brand reputation management that help to monitor and respond to customers’ posts. Also, Service Cloud is telephony-friendly and allows integration, which is particularly useful for large enterprises with significant customer service centers.
You can boost Salesforce Service Cloud with Field Service, Service Cloud Einstein, Digital Engagement, Customer Lifecycle Analytics, Service Cloud Voice, Salesforce Anywhere, and Salesforce Surveys Response Pack.
If the standard set of the Service Cloud features doesn’t meet all your technology requirements, you may request the help of our team of Salesforce consultants, who will assist you with the customization and configuration of your CRM software to get the most out of it.
Salesforce Field Service offers a thorough perspective of workforce management as an extension of Service Cloud. Field Service technicians can benefit from features including appointment scheduling, dispatching technologies, territory management, and a mobile app.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud
The Marketing Cloud is a powerful digital marketing platform for B2C marketers where you can connect with your customers, track the customer journey across multiple communication channels, and manage your social media presence, email promotions, digital advertising campaigns, content creation, and data analysis.
Its broad spectrum of features allows you to market to your customers via email, SMS, social networks, and digital advertising platforms and to interact with your customers and particular pieces of content.
Also, the Marketing Cloud offers capabilities like Lead filtering and management, customizable qualifiers, and visitor reporting. However, among the most valuable functionality for marketers is probably, marketing automation.
The Marketing Cloud can be seamlessly integrated with the Sales or Service Cloud to consolidate all the data under one tool.
Moreover, users can customize their marketing efforts via various built-in creation studios within the Marketing Cloud. Social networking posts can be drafted, scheduled, and analyzed through the Social Studio, while mailshots can be created and distributed through the Email Studio.
Likewise, the Advertising Studio will identify the most effective forms of digital advertising for the user and suggest ways to tailor campaigns to maximize return.
Suppose you have difficulties with the Salesforce Marketing Cloud customization. In that case, we at Ascendix are always ready to come forward with the best CRM optimization and app integration solutions to make your software your “right hand” rather than a headache.
Likewise, we can suggest the best ideas for marketing automation.
As has been mentioned, the Salesforce Marketing Cloud unifies several products, so let’s discuss them separately:
Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (AKA. Pardot)
Pardot is Salesforce’s B2B email marketing automation tool topped up with the ability to build landing pages and forms. It is used as an email marketing platform for sending emails to prospects on behalf of sales reps and qualifying leads that get passed to sales reps. Pardot fits better for smaller databases with higher-value sales and can be integrated with Sales Cloud or any other CRM solution.
The key functionality of Pardot can be elevated with Salesforce Engage, Engagement History Dashboards, and B2B Marketing Analytics Plus.
Journey Builder is another Salesforce Marketing Cloud family member designed for the B2C marketing segment. This tool lets you visualize your strategies with journey mapping and steadily adjust customers’ journeys based on their ongoing and forecasted behavior.
Thanks to it, you can trigger customers on journeys based on real-time events like purchases, closed service cases, or mobile app downloads.
Email Studio empowers you to craft refined, individualized emails with customizable dynamic elements and scripting languages. This solution helps to fine-tune and automate email journeys and build more personalized relationships with your clients.
Mobile Studio is similar to Email Studio but focused on generating marketing content for mobile devices. This tool enables you to craft messages that can be delivered via SMS, MMS, Chat, and Push notifications.
Marketing Cloud Customer Data Platform (AKA. Customer 360 Audiences)
Customer 360 Audiences, previously known as Salesforce DMP, is another part of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud products ecosystem.
It is a data-first digital marketing platform for unifying all of your customer data, humanizing every interaction. Customer 360 Audiences allows building segmented lists of your customers and tailoring communication to the exact audience segment you want to target.
Marketing Cloud Advertising (AKA. Advertising Studio)
Advertising Studio is another marketing enhancer for centralized digital advertising. This platform unifies the management of Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Google Ads advertising campaigns.
Marketing Cloud Personalization (AKA. Interaction Studio)
Marketing Cloud Personalization, like any other marketing automation product, elevates customer engagement to a new level. It helps you understand what your customers want, make the best decision automatically, and modify the AI algorithms powering your personalization strategies.
It helps deliver cross-channel personalized experiences at every step of the customer lifecycle with campaign management and aligns your message across every marketing channel.
Marketing Cloud Intelligence (AKA. Datorama)
Marketing Cloud Intelligence enables connection, analysis, and taking action on all your data in one marketing dashboard to drive ROI, speed, and growth across your business.
Marketing Cloud Advanced Cross Channel (AKA. Advanced Cross Channel)
Advertising Studio: campaign management and CRM targeting solution for digital marketing campaigns. Distributed Marketing & Marketing Cloud Connect: bridges the gap between corporate marketing, employees, channel partners, and your brand to deliver consistent experiences across corporate marketing and partner networks.
Corporate marketers build and share on-brand, collaborative content in Marketing Cloud. Distributed teams of advisors, partners, and more can view, personalize, and send this content directly from CRM experiences.
Distributed Marketing provides a managed package that is installed in your CRM environment.
You can install Distributed Marketing content blocks in your Marketing Cloud environment to easily enable powerful content collaboration. All send use the power of Marketing Cloud to help teams of all sizes engage with their books of business reliably and at scale.
Einstein for Marketing: Give your marketers the tools to make every customer journey and interaction effective. Understand customers better with predictive insights, create personalized messages and content, receive suggestions on when and how to engage with a customer, and more with Einstein for Marketing.
Salesforce announced the introduction of loyalty management in January 2021 with the goal of assisting businesses in engaging and rewarding their consumers.
The technology enables companies to create scaleable loyalty programs using clicks rather than coding. Numerous systems, such as tiered memberships or points-per-purchase, might be developed.
For client signup and content delivery, Loyalty Management can be set up to work with Experience Cloud and Marketing Cloud, respectively.
Salesforce Community (Experience) Cloud
The Community Cloud is a social platform for external collaboration and custom portal creation. This tool can help your organization centralize and facilitate communication among your employees, partners, and customers. In addition, the Community Cloud allows you to use this platform to exchange documents, images, and other data in real-time.
Community Cloud can be easily integrated with Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and App Cloud and customized to fulfill your business needs. Community Cloud lets you automatically source data and images from your Salesforce and significantly reduce time on content management.
Salesforce Financial Services Cloud
The Financial Services Cloud is an integrated platform tailored to any financial organization’s relationship model to drive stronger client relationships. Powered by Lightning, this platform makes it easy for financial institutions like financial planning firms, insurance companies, or banks to deliver exceptional service by making it consumer-centric.
In addition, an enhanced set of engagement and productivity features allows financial advisors to provide holistic advisory services and spend less time gathering client information.
Our in-depth expertise in various financial domains enables us to configure your software solution so that you can better understand your customer’s financial data and could have lightning-fast access to them. Learn more about our financial institutions in focus.
Salesforce App Cloud
The App Cloud platform provides you with a collection of development tools that you can utilize to develop custom apps that will run on the Salesforce platform.
Some of the tools in the App Cloud include:
- Force.com (also known as a Lightning platform) enables admins and developers to create custom Lightning Components and applications using the open-source Aura framework, Apex (Application Express), a propriety Java-like language, and Visualforce framework with XML syntax, generally used to generate HTML. Even though it may sound too complicated for a non-tech-savvy mind, Salesforce tried to simplify its use to a point-and-click interface for powerful process automation.
- AppExchange is Salesforce’s online application marketplace for third-party applications from independent software vendors hosted on the Force.com platform. Its concept is identical to AppStore and Google Play: you can download and install apps to improve the functionality of your device. Only in this case you will optimize your software solution. So, suppose you have a software idea that can benefit not only your organization but can significantly facilitate working processes for other Salesforce users. In that case, you are welcome to bring your vision to life with our AppExchange app development services. Our expertise in creating and successfully marketing our AppExchange apps, Ascendix Search, and AscendixRE CRM enables us to design a deployment and marketing strategy for your software solution.
- Heroku is a cloud platform that lets companies be flexible in building, delivering, monitoring, and scaling apps using their preferred programming languages and tools. Heroku offers the fastest way to go from idea to URL, bypassing all the infrastructure headaches.
- Salesforce Thunder is a big data and rules-processing engine designed to take in the massive volumes of data generated by devices, sensors, websites, apps, customers, and partners that can capture, filter, and respond to real-time events.
- Salesforce Sandbox is a copy of your organization that allows developers to test ideas and allows users to get training in a safe, isolated development environment without affecting your Salesforce production organization.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud
The Commerce Cloud offers best-in-class features and functionality to provide excellent customer service and experience irrespective of your customer’s presence (online or offline). It also frees your business from the demands of managing a technical roadmap and enables customer data integration to give your consumers a better experience.
If your focus is on providing your clients with a positive, engaging customer experience, then Commerce Cloud will be the best fit for you.
Salesforce Analytics Cloud
The Analytics Cloud is a business intelligence platform for considerable data file elaboration and data and reports visualization. It is optimized for mobile access and can be integrated with other Salesforce clouds.
Data must be at the core of any business’s strategy due to the volume of information that all firms gather. Salesforce has a few products that provide deeper insights into your data than the typical Lightning reports and dashboards.
CRM Analytics (AKA. Tableau CRM)
CRM Analytics, formerly known as Tableau CRM, is built directly into the Salesforce platform. You can integrate analytics into Salesforce using both Salesforce data and any data from outside sources. Salesforce licenses are required for users to view this information.
Salesforce purchased Tableau back in 2019 to enter the wider business analytics market. Tableau is still an off-platform solution and is better suited for business-wide data analysis. There is an option to run Tableau on-premise, and users do not need to have Salesforce licenses.
MuleSoft’s technology allows you to quickly connect to any system using a variety of out-of-the-box connectors, making it a crucial purchase for Salesforce in 2018.
MuleSoft is replaced by the Anypoint platform, which enables you to manage your API connections, carry out integrations, monitor, and generate reports all from a single cloud-based platform. MuleSoft’s hundreds of pre-existing connections are among its key selling points since they allow you to link with mainframes, ERP systems, and SaaS apps utilizing tried-and-true templated solutions.
A lightweight, Salesforce-integrated version of MuleSoft called Salesforce MuleSoft Composer was also recently introduced by Salesforce.
Salesforce Platform (AKA Force.com)
The Salesforce platform, formerly known as Force.com, serves as the foundation for both the Sales and Service Clouds and enables you to powerfully customize default Salesforce products.
With the help of custom objects, Flow automation can be started, and the Lightning App Builder can be used to create unique user interfaces.
If you want a truly unique experience, you can buy Salesforce Platform licenses (which are significantly less expensive than, for example, Sales Cloud) and create entirely unique apps on the Salesforce platform.
Traditionally, Salesforce has operated in a multi-tenanted environment and housed all instances of its products on its own servers. Thanks to the release of Hyperforce, Salesforce now lets you store your data in public clouds like AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure.
Heroku is a cloud platform-as-a-service (PaaS) tool, which is used to grow, manage, and deploy modern apps. Besides that, Heroku is used to develop customer-facing Apps, whilst the Platform may be used to create Apps for your users within Salesforce.
Salesforce Surveys & Feedback management enables the production of surveys that may be distributed directly from Salesforce, as the name implies (depending on the trigger). The information is then transferred back into Salesforce where reports, dashboards, or even Tableau can be used for analysis.
Salesforce Shield is a tool made for businesses that are particularly concerned about security and compliance. In order to further safeguard the current Salesforce products, Shield is made up of four products that sit on top of them. These consist of Platform Encryption, Event Monitoring, Field Audit Trail, and Einstein Data Detect.
Industry Cloud (Vlocity)
By acquiring Vlocity in 2020, a company that concentrated on many additional Industry-specific clouds to meet the needs of specific industries.
The scope of industry categories that Salesforce is ready to support is quite impressive:
- Healthcare & Life Sciences
- Consumer Goods
- Transportation & Hospitality
- IoT (Internet of Things)
Don’t see your industry on the list? Check AppExchange, the Salesforce marketplace, where Salesforce Partners publish and sell their tools. For example, our company sells AscendixRE, focused on commercial real estate companies.
Besides industry-specific solutions, there are other platforms like:
- Chatter — a Salesforce collaboration platform that is created to connect users wherever they are and to boost knowledge and data sharing between departments within the organization, and communicate with people outside of your organization.
- Salesforce Einstein — is an artificial intelligence (AI) technology employed in CRM to simplify the analytics workflow and produce more accurate forecasting. Einstein is available in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, App Cloud, Analytics Cloud, and Community Cloud.
- Salesforce1 – is the platform that enables you to develop applications and exchange data via Application Programming Interface (APIs) and prebuilt programming code components.
Being an innovative technology leader, Salesforce is constantly evolving and improving its products with new releases three times a year: in Winter, Spring, and Summer releases. You can find all the necessary updates regarding the summaries of seasonal releases in our blog resources.
Zero Net Cloud
Net Zero Cloud, one of Salesforce’s newest offerings, is a carbon-accounting platform that enables you to accept responsibility for your company’s carbon impact.
It enables you to submit data from supplier chain contributions, company trip expenses, and gasoline, electricity, and gas bills. You may quickly find the key areas of concern, trends, and potential action areas with the use of out-of-the-box dashboards.
Salesforce’s formal entry into Web 3.0 technology is the NFT Cloud. Salesforce’s own event, Connections ’22, where NFT Cloud was introduced, gave us an early peek at the brand-new platform.
You can build, sell, and manage NFTs using the Salesforce platform with NFT Cloud, producing digital assets to boost client engagement.
The largest acquisition Salesforce has ever made was Slack, which they purchased for $27.7 billion in December 2020.
Slack is a business-oriented messaging service that lets you send direct messages to your coworkers or use channels that have been set up just for that purpose. You may utilize a channel, for instance, for a project or your regional office.
Slack was acquired by Salesforce in an effort to transform company communication in the increasingly dispersed workplace. Check out some of the early connectors that Salesforce has made available to connect the two systems.
In 2016, Quip was purchased, and as a result, the firm now has Bret Taylor as a co-CEO. Quip is a combination of Google Docs and Slack. It offers robust spreadsheet and word-processing capabilities with a focus on collaboration.
The platform has tools like Quip Chat, Quip Slides, and Salesforce Integration to integrate real-time data into the document.
And What Salesforce Benefits Make You Choose Them?
Based on Salesforce statistics, companies using Salesforce generally see a 34% increase in customer satisfaction, a 32% increase in lead conversion, and a 27% increase in sales revenues. What are the key elements of platform success among its customers? Let’s take a closer look.
Salesforce poses itself as an innovative CRM leader and justifies its title by constantly improving its products regarding user-friendliness, customizability, and new features. The platform is fully customizable and can meet the requirements of any business. That’s why over 150,000 companies around the globe have selected it as their CRM solution.
Since Salesforce is a holistic ecosystem with its development platform, AI technology, big data processing engine, collaboration portal, and app marketplace, the platform is enabled to meet all the technology needs of your CRM system while integrating other Salesforce-friendly third-party tools.
Your business is evolving and expanding, and so should your Salesforce. Salesforce platform architecture and functionality allow your CRM to grow with your organization without disrupting your software.
The world is becoming increasingly mobile. It is when Salesforce comes in handy and allows you to access your product anywhere. The Salesforce Mobile App enables you to get an equally full version of your product on your phone or tablet to what you have on your desktop.
Yes, it may sound weird, but the more popular this platform becomes, the better it is for you. Why? So, you don’t have to spend hours searching for tools that can be integrated with your product — plenty of offers already exist. Also, you can easily find any Salesforce expert that can deploy, optimize, configure, or customize your software because there are already many specialists.
Of course, all the benefits are not limited to the above-mentioned, and each Salesforce user can find something special for themselves. Just see what our clients say about positive changes in their work processes after we helped them implement Salesforce-based software solutions.
The Bottom Line
If you are about to welcome Salesforce CRM into your company and you are a big fan of simplicity, then our Salesforce consulting services will be the best fit for you.
Our consultants will make complicated processes easy for you. We at Ascendix are ready to take on any Salesforce-related challenges and successfully overcome them.
Our broad range of Salesforce services, industries in focus, years of experience, and the number of happy clients speak for themselves. And all you need is to contact us and share your project ideas or difficulties, and we will be glad to share our expertise with you.
What is Salesforce?
Salesforce is a Software as a Service (SaaS) company and a Platform as a Service (PaaS) company that sells software products and components that help marketing, sales, service, and IT teams connect with their customers. Its best-selling products include Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Pardot, and CPQ Cloud.
What is Salesforce used for?
Salesforce is used for streamlining sales, service, and marketing activities via industry-specific products and seamless software integration. It offers solutions for various needs such as Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Community Cloud, Field Services, CPQ and Billing etc.
Anzhelika specializes in B2B content marketing and has in-depth expertise in promoting the company's products and services through high-quality content. On the Ascendix Technologies blog, Anzhelika shares her insights of Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM tips & tricks as well as overviews of new CRM tools and technology trends on the market.
Leave a comment
Detailed Guides on Calibrating Your Salesforce Platform from Our CRM Consultants
Learn how to boost your Salesforce Org features with our CRM Academy! Subscribe to our newsletter and get fresh Salesforce e-books, checklists, and tips & tricks right to your inbox!