Getting From Transactional to Long-Term: A Relationship Imperative
BOSTON — It’s springtime at last in the northeast, a time when our fancy lightly turns to … relationships. Through the corridors, keynote halls and session rooms at the Salesforce World Tour last week, talk centered on improving customer relationships, specifically. The growing trend —evident in the news and buzz from the SaaS CRM giant’s event — is to transcend the boundaries of marketing, sales and service to develop a seamless engagement with the client at every stage of the partnership.
In his keynote to the 2,000 World Tour attendees, Salesforce president and vice chairman Keith Block bemoaned the persistent “customer gap” that divides what clients want and what companies are delivering to them. According to Block, nearly three quarters of consumers fail to engage fully with the companies they do business with, mostly because those companies see the relationship as transactional rather than as a rich, long-term proposition.
If they can solve that conundrum and improvement engagement, they can boost revenues per customer “by 23 percent or more,” Block said. “It’s all about consistent customer engagement.”
Never ones to introduce a challenge without suggesting a solution, Salesforce officials spent much of the Hub event detailing the vendor’s roadmap for bolstering the capabilities of its cloud platform to offer greater visibility into every step and action in the customer relationship.
For the Boston event, much of the focus was on the marketing and sales portion of the customer affair. Salesforce trotted out its new Intelligent Engagement Studio and Sales Cloud Engage, part of the vendor’s next-gen Sales Cloud B2B powered by Salesforce Pardot. The solution delivers sophisticated adaptive lead nurturing, visualized campaign testing and cutting-edge mobile marketing tools.
“With the next generation of Sales Cloud B2B marketing automation, we’re making it easier than ever for marketing and sales to work together and leverage insights about prospect behavior to sell smarter,” said Adam Blitzer, senior vice president and general manager for Salesforce Pardot. “Marketers now have the ability to help sales nurture their own pipelines and engage with prospects in real time, and this is driving the amazing customer momentum we are seeing with B2B marketing automation.”
This data and analytics-driven focus on the front end of the sales cycle meshes nicely with similar strategies for services outlined by Salesforce last month when it unveiled its new Service Cloud Intelligence Engine. The offering adds a layer of intelligence in Service Cloud aiming to fuel smarter customer service strategies back by actionable data science.
“The Service Cloud Intelligence Engine harnesses the power of data science to improve workflows, business processes and deliver seamless customer service across any channel,” said Mike Milburn, senior vice president and general manager of Service Cloud at Salesforce. “Now companies are prepared to exceed their customer’s increasingly high expectations for smarter service.”
If the cloud-based, intelligence-powered sales and services approaches sound like two sides of the same coin, that is not by accident. The concept of a holistic CRM platform has been top of mind at Salesforce for some time.
“We’ve got a complete, trusted Customer Success Platform built from the ground up on cloud,” Salesforce CEO and Chairman Marc Benioff told investors last month. “[We’ve covered] the social, mobile and data science world… and with six world-class apps, we have six engines for growth.”
“We see customers not only embracing but evangelizing our vision for the Customer Success Platform and more and more CEOs are realizing how this can help drive growth and customer success,” added Block. “It’s every CEO’s dream to put analytics in the hands of every employee [and] connect any data set, whether it’s SAP, Oracle, Microsoft or any other legacy technology right into the metadata layer.”