“Salesforce.com,” a name you’ll come across time and again in the world of CRM (Customer Relationship Management). Globally Fortune 500 companies, startups, and businesses, all prefer this most innovative and comprehensive CRM solution because it helps them to grow into a more streamlined, effective and efficient organization across all bases.
But, what exactly is Salesforce, and what does it do? Before we get down to these questions, let’s first understand:
What is Cloud Computing?
The practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer.
What is CRM (Customer Relationship Management)?
According to Salesforce, CRM is “a technology for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with customers and potential customers. The goal is simple: Improve business relationships. A CRM system helps companies stay connected to customers, streamline processes, and improve profitability.”
In simple words, it is the key to understanding the business side of your company. CRM is the biggest, fastest growing software market in the world. $40B is spent on CRMs annually, and almost all companies have one.
What is Salesforce?
Salesforce is a cloud computing service as a software (SaaS) company that specializes in CRM. Salesforce’s services have defined the ideal way as how to connect with partners, customers and potential customers. Salesforce has been able to leverage cloud technology and build a variety of applications for businesses to make a meaningful and lasting bond with their customers and provide them with key insights into their services through analytics and apps.
Salesforce impressed investors recently by crushing second quarter estimates, reporting second quarter revenue of $4.0 billion – up 22% for the year. This most popular CRM is worth $133 billion, owns nineteen-percent of the CRM market, and is used by eighty-three-percent of Fortune 500s. The company employs over thirty-thousand people, and Salesforce Tower is the tallest skyscraper in the San Francisco skyline.
To understand how Salesforce took over the world, let’s take a brief look at its history.
The Origin Story
Salesforce was founded in March ‘99 by ex-Oracle employee Marc Benioff, Parker Harris, Dave Moellenhoff, and Frank Dominguez. It’s one of the first global companies to successfully employ cloud-based CRM software. Before Salesforce, CRM solutions were hosted on a company’s own server. It used to take months (or even years) for companies to set up their own CRM solutions and the cost would go up to millions of dollars. Even after setting up, they were extremely hard to use. Salesforce provided a very feasible solution to this problem, by building affordable CRM software and delivering it entirely online as a service. It changed the business model, no more long-term contracts or expensive licensing deals; anyone could use Salesforce with only a simple monthly subscription fee. Today, it has grown into the 6-largest software company in the world.
- 1999: Salesforce services launched
- 2004: Salesforce’s IPO was listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the stock symbol CRM and raised US$110 million.
- 2005: The company launched AppExchange (the first ever “app store”), an online marketplace letting anyone to develop and distribute apps that connect with Salesforce.
- 2008: Launched Force.com, a platform for developers to build and run apps without worrying about infrastructure. It was the first platform-as-a-service (PaaS).
- 2014: Salesforce announced the development of its Customer Success Platform to merge all the Salesforce’s services like sales, service, marketing, analytics, etc.
- 2016: Einstein Analytics was launched, adding a layer of “AI-powered” analytics across the entire Salesforce stack.
- 2017: Salesforce announced that it reached revenue of about $10B becoming the first cloud computing company in achieving that feat.
- 2018: The company partnered with Apple for improving apps for businesses and entered a new vertical with a CRM specifically for healthcare — Salesforce Health Cloud.
What Are The Services And Products That Salesforce Offers?
To understand what is Salesforce, you need to know the different services and products that it has to offer and when to use them:
Salesforce Sales Cloud
The Sales Cloud is a CRM platform that brings all the customer information together in an integrated platform. It enables organizations to better manage their sales, marketing and customer support facets so that they can achieve their business goals. Companies engaged in business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-customer (B2C) should opt for this service.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud
Deluging mistargeted ads to the customers is clearly not the way to go. This powerful digital marketing platform helps companies to better monitor and engage with the customer across the world. An organization can use it to manage customer journey, email, mobile, social media, web personalization, content creation, content management and data analytics in-order to optimize their marketing strategy.
Salesforce Service Cloud
It is a service platform for your company’s customer service and support team. By using Service Cloud, support agents can easily & quickly address customer problems, as it equips them with useful features such as case tracking and social networking plug-in for conversation and analytics, which also gives your customers access to answers thus enabling them to solve their problems on their own.
Salesforce Community Cloud
Salesforce Community Cloud is perfect for you, if you need a social platform for your company to connect and facilitate communication among your customers, resellers, employees, distributors, and partners.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud
The commerce cloud allows your company to provide seamless customer service and experience irrespective of your customer’s location whether online or in-store. Customers can buy anywhere, receive anywhere, and get service anywhere. It also provides for customer data integration so that your consumers can have a positive, engaging experience. So, if you want your customers to have a better experience, than Commerce Cloud is what you should go for.
Salesforce Analytics Cloud
Analytics cloud is helping companies to visualize data by enabling them to create graphs, charts and other pictorial representations of data. It is optimized for mobile access and data visualization and can be integrated with other Salesforce clouds.
Salesforce App Cloud
Salesforce App Cloud provides you with a collection of development tools that you can utilize to create custom apps that will run on the Salesforce platform. Let’s take a look at some of them:
- Force.com, as mentioned above it’s a platform for developers to create websites and apps into the main Salesforce.com application without worrying about infrastructure.
- AppExchange, this too was mentioned before, it’s an online application marketplace for third-party applications that run on the Force.com platform.
- Heroku Enterprise gives developers the flexibility to use their preferred languages and tools for creating applications.
- Salesforce Thunder is big data and rules processing engine designed to analyze events and take personalized actions.
- Salesforce Sandbox allows developers to test ideas in a safe and isolated development environment.
Salesforce IoT Cloud
Salesforce IoT Cloud is designed to store and process Internet of Things (IoT) data. The platform is built to take in the massive volumes of data generated by devices, sensors, websites, applications, customers and partners and initiate actions for real-time responses.
Salesforce Health Cloud
This latest Salesforse service is helping the health industry to understand patients beyond their charts. It’s a perfect CRM system for any Health IT organization that wants to incorporate doctor-patient relationship and record management.
Other Services That Are Offered By Salesforce Are:
Chatter is an enterprise collaboration platform from Salesforce that enables the employees of an organization to collaborate. It can help organizations drive productivity by connecting employees wherever they are. It also helps in knowledge sharing between departments in an organization or different organizations.
Salesforce1 is the platform which enables developers to develop apps and exchange data via APIs (it refers to prebuilt programming code components).
Why use Salesforce?
Here, are prime reasons for using Salesforce CRM:
- It is a complete feature-rich solution for marketing, sales, service, partner management, and community management.
- It takes less time to deploy Salesforce CRM (mostly weeks, sometimes month), when compared to traditional CRM which takes years.
- Salesforce can be easily customized by clients to meet their business needs.
- Salesforce is in the cloud, so your team can use it from anywhere with the help of an internet connection.
- Unlike other CRMs, Salesforce can easily integrate with third party apps. For example, you can easily integrate it with Gmail if you want.
- Salesforce works on a pay as you go model, meaning users only pay for the services which they wish to use, making this platform very cost effective. Thus enabling small businesses and even startups to avail its vast variety of capabilities.
Which Companies Use Salesforce?
Now that we have been through all the details of Salesforce, let’s look at where it is being used by various companies across different industries.
- Salesforce CRM helps Comcast-Spectator to maintain detailed customer profiles so that they can identify their biggest fans and market more effectively to them.
- American Express has been using Salesforce Sales Cloud since 2010, to connect with their thousands of employees across the globe.
- With Salesforce Community Cloud, Health Leads are leading the way to a new model for healthcare. Also, with Salesforce App Cloud, they can easily view and update patient data, coordinate with doctors and find effective community resources.
- Sony uses Salesforce Service Cloud to tune in with its customers. The big broadcasting firm’s customer cases are managed as one unified agent experience which has helped them to keep their customers happy.
- Coca-Cola Enterprise uses Salesforce across multiple geographies and multiple business functions. From call center agent to service technicians and sales representative, Salesforce is being used to connect people and information. This has helped them to deliver a better customer experience.
- InMobi swapped out several CRM systems for the Salesforce Sales Cloud. Salesforce has enabled InMobi to run a single layer of data management through the company. This has made InMobi a fast and efficient company.
- Trip A Deal’s Heroku based cloud platform application was designed and deployed in under five weeks. This delivered critical advantages to the start up business including system stability and cost effective scalability.
- Pizza Hut has been able to provide smart mobile experience to their customers through marketing cloud of Salesforce.
- United breweries is using improved reporting provided by Salesforce to quickly identify issues in about 2 days which previously took about 2 weeks.
- To promote data integrity, HCL technologies at the time of data entry is using Salesforce to put out various levels of entry.
- Mobile technologies of Salesforce are massively used from leadership groups to associates in Schneider electric.
- L’Oreal added a social network through which their stylists and reps plan events and share everything related to hair fashion.
- Nikon Instruments initially used customer relationship management (CRM) of Salesforce but later they also started using their social network which is powered by Chatter.
- And so forth.
Unlike AWS which started first and is at that place in the cloud computing game, Salesforce started late. But it has trumped over its competitors and has achieved the position of top CRM provider. And by looking at its revenue along with other figures mentioned above, one can easily say its business is growing and it will remain in that position for a long time. Which explains why, Salesforce Architect is one of the hottest skills to have on a tech resume.
But all said, I hope by now you have a clear understanding of what Salesforce is, what its services are, why use it and who uses it.