Salesforce and it’s supporting systems/platforms are waging a war on data silos.
It’s become so powerful that, in many industries and businesses, it serves as a perfectly viable replacement for any type of ERP/SAP system. As long as you can set up all the integrations and pull the data in, it will be in one, central, action-ready environment.
That allows you to do some pretty awesome things.
With all our experience developing custom software applications and building out/integrating Salesforce applications, there have been many times where we’ve felt like we’ve just about seen it all—but, without fail, we always find a new way to use data and functions inside salesforce to solve a new problem.
Here are some core ways to innovate with Salesforce.
Use Salesforce Integrations
This is something we dug deep into in our last post about custom web portals. Did you know that a 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25% increase in profits? If you can hold on to your good customers and keep them happy, you’re going to build a much more healthy (and profitable) business.
So how does Salesforce play into this?
The #1 thing that’s in your control, as far as customer retention goes, is creating an excellent user experience. In today’s omnichannel world, that means piecing data together with automated messaging that resonates with customers.
Salesforce can help as a primary source of record and data. The more data the better, so set up all of your systems to integrate with Salesforce. Sometimes this requires a custom integration (we do this for businesses with unique software or processes), but it will pay out in the end as you gather information on your customers and improve their experience.
Build Custom Salesforce Portals
Integrations are the gateway to portals. A portal is one location (usually looks very similar to a website) where your customers, leads, partners or anyone else associated with your business can log in and interact with your company.
With professional design and thoughtful placement and utilization of the data, you can create an incredible experience for your customers.
Some desired functionality for some of our clients is being able to manage communication with sales, support, and billing all from the portal. We do this by integrating each of these systems to the platform than building nice visuals to display the data and allow each user to interact with it in an intuitive manner.
You can take this one step further with rewards or affiliate programs to create an environment where partners or customers thrive… and it can all be built with Salesforce as the backbone!
Use SMS to Coordinate in Real Time
Arguably, the fastest way to reach people in bulk, in real time is with a message that hits your audiences phone at the same time.
If you’ve done a good job of integrating your data, you can use filter out your audience and use an app like Open SMS Pro to deliver timely messages—which could be really helpful for coordinating events, pickups, meetings, etc at scale.
Create a Custom Mobile App
Everything is mobile these days, so it’s important that you enable your employees to do their job even while on the go. Many companies (including Hershey’s for example) have built custom applications with Salesforce as the background.
It’s pretty similar to a portal, but you’re making the data and information available via a native (or cross-platform) mobile application.
You could do this for your employees, partners, customers or all three.
Integrate Your Website and Salesforce
The most basic and desired functionality here is the web to lead forms, where contacts can fill out a lead on your site and be entered automatically into Salesforce. This is an essential integration that can be done via most contact forms or websites. That’s the advantage of using the world’s biggest CRM.
Additionally, you can innovate by integrating your website login with Salesforce. Imagine, for example, that you can see whenever a customer logs in to their account and gauge their experience with the brand based on frequency. If they don’t log in for a while, you could integrate different mail service providers to automatically remind them or offer support.
Salesforce Innovation Depends on Data
All of this boils down to one factor: data. How much data do you have in your Salesforce ecosystem? How organized is it? Will it automatically update?
This is where your integration strategy plays a key role. If all of your systems are talking, it opens the doors to countless innovations using Salesforce.