The State of Salesforce – Trends and Insights (2016 – 2017)

State of salesforce

Every business needs a strong and a profound customer base in order to sustain and grow. If your priority list gives your customers low weightage, chances are that your monetary burnout will exceed expectations as you will spend more on customer acquisition over customer retention.

So if your business revolves around IT, Sales, Marketing or Customer Services, this comprehensive study with latest trends and insights can give your business strategy a heads up for the coming challenges. This post highlights some key takeaways from Bluewolf’s annual report on how the best companies use Salesforce. The statistics have been collected from over 110,000 data points from 1700+ Salesforce customers.

 

Key Trends to Look Out for:

 

1. Companies and Intelligent Applications

Most of the big names and companies aim to empower their employee with maximum automation to handle large data chunks, and eventually create superior customer moments. The applications used are self-sustaining, which can decide the next step and take action. It can be data collection, refinement or auto-scheduling of tasks.

2. User Experience – Beyond Mobile

Most of the companies are investing towards making their strategies in tune with customer routines and behavior. Though this is a step in the right direction, as users get empowered to do their work from anywhere and any device, only going by this will not suffice. One needs to continually improve Salesforce’s ease of use for better experience.

3. Imperfect data isn’t slowing innovation

Innovation is that one word which rules the business world. Data, numbers and statistics are an important part of this process, and companies are finding out ways to use this data within Salesforce more effectively.

 

Insights for IT

 

1. The cognitive era is only beginning

While half of companies consider their core applications to be intelligent, few companies have reached the level of cognitive applications. 61% of IT professionals see great innovation potential in the Salesforce Platform. Over the past three years, this percentage increase has remained almost the same, despite Salesforce’s increasing complexity. Companies must continue to iterate on their governance strategies and embrace frequent innovation to capitalize on the perceived potential.

2. Integrate cloud for Better Overall Experience

58% companies have either already integrated Salesforce cloud or plan to do so very soon. 39% of which think of their data as more fruitful, advantageous and a strategic asset. Integrating clouds, or other on-premise systems, streamlines disparate customer data and allows employees to see a single view of the customer: who they are, what and when they buy, and what activities are currently being driven by Sales, Marketing, and Service teams.

3. To increase the value of data, invest in actionable analytics

65% companies aim to invest in actionable analytics to make data more accessible and use worthy. Actionable analytics make it easy for their employees to swiftly take charge of most important decisions. Companies who are maximizing their investments in analytics will see a 3x more growth rate as compared to the ones not doing so. It is important to improve business relationships with intelligent functioning.

 

Insights for Sales

 

1. Embrace automation for better forecasting and revenue gains

79% companies and their employees using Salesforce think that it gives them more competitive advantage and makes their job easier.

“Sales teams need useful data, available immediately—or better yet, automatically.” Raymond Juarez, Senior Director of CPQ, Bluewolf

Once forecasting is automated, the best sales teams can focus on selling more intelligently, continuously working toward hitting their numbers, while improving the customer experience with small but memorable actions. The more time sales teams spend focused on their customers, the more they can help provide each customer with relevant solutions.

Automation needs to be-

10% intelligent, 20% prescriptive, 21% predictive, 22% descriptive, 27% reactive

2. Making opportunity management intuitive

While the majority of salespeople believe their company is dedicated to making the most of Salesforce, 27% only enter opportunity data into Salesforce to satisfy reporting requirements. 67% of salespeople believe that they could spend more time selling if opportunity management were optimized for a multi-device, multichannel user.

3. Empower sales to sell, not enter data

31% of Sales cite poor access to different types of data, including data outside of Salesforce, as the biggest barrier to deriving insights from Salesforce. 79% of salespeople regularly spend time during their workday inputting the same data into multiple systems, which increases the risk for human error to affect companies’ data quality. However, being able to define and share best practices for analyzing customer data as their Salesforce cloud footprints grow is a priority for 68% of salespeople, the highest rate of any department.

 

Insights for Marketing

 

1. Marketers struggle with too many platforms and applications

Marketers are dealing with more platforms and applications than any other department. Whether at a B2B or B2C company, a marketer’s bag is complex, and those seeing success are already moving toward an integrated and intelligent core platform.

34% of marketers use Salesforce for reporting or lead routing only.”

2. Integrate to prove campaign ROI

Marketers face a lot of challenge when it comes to driving campaigns and monetizing investments. The biggest barrier? There’s no single shared platform and data lives in different applications. Many B2B organizations have designed marketing automation and CRM implementations in silos—thus not enabling a consistent demand funnel. The best marketers are leading integration and data projects that turn Salesforce into a hub of customer and prospect information.

“54% of marketers believe that when their company moves a process into Salesforce, the process improves.”

3. It is time to rethink what marketers need from data

Managing uninterrupted data tools, from e-commerce platforms to data enrichment services, requires very specific skills, and the time spent transforming data and configuring technology is preventing marketers from focusing on marketing. Marketers need to be champions for data governance within their organization.

“It’s important to not fall in love with technology alone. You need to look at data, people, and process, as well as technology.” Corinne Sklar, Global CMO, Bluewolf

“Only 26% of marketers believe their data quality is a competitive advantage or strategic asset.”

 

Insights for Customer Service

 

1. Make customer service smarter

For Customer Service, intelligent applications can do the most to improve self-service options.

86% of companies believe their organization lacks intelligent self-service, whereby applications automatically answer customer questions without agent involvement.

Only 32% of service organizations have invested in intelligent self-service, whereby applications automatically answer customer questions without agent involvement.

Today, companies are looking to streamline self-service to decrease costs and improve the employee and customer experience. Coupled with effective analytics that capture the entire customer journey, companies will be able to understand which agent-customer interactions are best suited for proactive service (such as access to knowledge and community support, outbound notifications like emails and texts, and online case management). With 61% of Service saying their companies are increasing investments in analytics in the coming year, companies’ intelligent self-service offerings will be on the rise.

2. The omni-channel balancing act

While all companies work toward a consistent customer experience across every channel, fewer than half of companies believe they are successful. Many believe they are checking the box for omni-channel service simply because they have multiple channels open, but they aren’t providing consistent service across all channels.

3. Duplicate data entry is slowing service

Service tends to be the hub of all customer interactions and all the data that comes with it, including data from Sales and Marketing. When overall data quality and departmental communication is poor, Service bears the brunt of the impact.

Today, 80% of service organizations spend time entering duplicate data into multiple applications to effectively do their jobs.

“The fastest way to improve the experience of the customer is to improve the experience of the front-line agent. Improving your customer data does both.” Bob Furniss, Service Cloud Director, Bluewolf

 

Bluewolf, an IBM Company, is a global consulting agency that builds digital solutions designed to create results. These statistics have been picked up from their detailed report on “The State of Salesforce 2016 – 2017”