Understanding Salesforce: Definition, features, and benefits

As experts in Salesforce implementation, Vimera carefully gathered some essential facts to help you clarify what is Salesforce, what Salesforce does and is used for, and why choosing Salesforce.

What is Salesforce

Salesforce is basically a CRM software provider that offers cloud-based customized solutions for marketing and sales, particularly for interaction management between prospects, customers, and partners. 

It’s also a SaaS (“software as a service”) type of platform for sales, marketing, and customer service meaning that the software is hosted on Salesforce’s cloud servers and can be accessed online. Yet, it can be packaged and sold as traditional on-prem software as well.

Uses of Salesforce

Salesforce ensures smooth interactions between marketing, sales, and service departments around the customer within a single cloud-based CRM. It’s accessible at any time from wherever around the world.

Salesforce’s Customer 360 service enables you to get a single view of your customer in the middle throughout their entire customer journey from acquisition to referral and figure out their needs at every stage of your product’s life cycle. It helps boost productivity and improve the processes of each department around the customer. 
  • The sales dept accelerates sales and increases the number of deals;
  • The customer support dept improves customer service by providing multilateral assistance and solving customer problems even more efficiently;
  • The marketing dept improves relationships with customers and expands the customer base by turning leads into prospects to finally get them to buy and attract new customers through various digital channels;
  • eCommerce holders get a basis to run their own eCommerce platform based on Salesforce with a convenient UI for purchases.

Core Salesforce products

So, let’s explore some most popular Salesforce native products that can take your business to a new level.

Sales Cloud and CPQ 

Sales Cloud is considered the most frequently used Salesforce product intended for the optimization of sales processes. It helps teams redistribute workload and allocate time for higher-priority tasks.

Sales Cloud features include the following:
  • Sales Automation (for sales teams' productivity improvement by automating routine daily tasks);
  • Sales Engagement (for interaction with customers, as well as to management, update, and access to CRM data within a single platform);   
  • Opportunity Management (for sales opportunities tracking and management);  
  • Forecast Management (for data-based decision-making using AI);
  • Revenue Cloud (unites all the features the sales dept needs within a single platform with CPQ, Billing, and Subscription management);
  • Territory Planning (for a smarter resource allocation by monitoring alignment history).

Marketing Cloud and Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (ex-Pardot)

These are the two second-most-popular Salesforce services aimed at marketing process improvement in B2B and B2C companies.

Marketing Cloud features include the following:
  • Salesforce CRM integration (using Connector and Audience Builder tool); 
  • Email management (using Email Studio, AMP Script, and Audience Segmentation tools);
  • Messaging and push notifications in smartphones (using Mobile Studio tool);  
  • Building landing pages and forms (using Web Studio tool);   
  • Cross-channel marketing automation (using Automation Studio tool);   
  • Einstein recommendation (using Behavioral Trigger tool, web, and email recommendations);
  • Analytics (using prebuild reports and Datorama tools). 

Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (ex-Pardot) features include the following:
  • Email marketing (using email template builder, preference, and subscription management tools);  
  • Web marketing (using landing pages and website activity tracking tools);  
  • Marketing automation (using engagement program, completion actions, and automation rules);  
  • Campaign Management (using tools to build, amend, synchronize, and archive marketing campaigns);
  • Lead Generation and Management (using form handlers and tags);  
  • Lead Qualification (using scoring and grading tools);
  • Audience Segmentation (using dynamic lists);  
  • ROI reporting (using predefined reports and dashboards);
  • Einstein technology (using AI for forecasting).

Service Cloud & FSL 

Service Cloud is the Salesforce product aimed at accelerating and improving the effectiveness of customer service, support, and experience.

Service Cloud features include the following:
  • Case Management (to manage cases from creation to resolution);  
  • Service Console (for agents to keep, access, and work with information related to customer cases or support incidents); 
  • Field Service (for cooperation between service agents and field workers in case resolution and in-person customer service overall);
  • Omni-channel (to manage as many communication channels as needed); 
  • Process Automation (to automate certain tasks and take more time for cases resolution);
  • Einstein Bots (to address certain common issues customers have with the help of automatic responses which can save agents time for more complex cases);
  • Knowledge Base (Salesforce library with articles, FAQs, tutorials, program documentation, etc. for the users to find solutions for faster cases resolution); 
  • Self-service Sites (for customers to find answers in the knowledge base to solve their problem by themselves or to use chat to request assistance from the agents);  
  • Service Analytics by Salesforce Einstein (reports to track department and agent performance). 

Experience Cloud (ex-Community Cloud) 

Experience Cloud is the Salesforce product aimed at building secure portals, websites, and applications for users, customers, and partners. Integration with other Salesforce clouds can help with enhancing experience, connecting customers, and partner sales growth.

Experience Cloud features include the following:
  • Knowledge article to keep navigational topics and useful articles for organizing content on an Experience Cloud site;
  • Audiences and pre-built templates to determine, aim at, and personalize audiences;
  • eCommerce to develop an Experience Cloud site for the storefront;
  • Chat and web-to-case form to improve customer service easier and faster.

Commerce Cloud

Commerce Cloud is the Salesforce-native eCommerce platform for B2B and B2C eCommerce holders aimed at improving customer service and sales boost.

Commerce Cloud features include the following:
  • Self-Service (for customers to manage their purchases by themselves);  
  • Product Data and Catalogs (to improve UX with user-friendly UI);   
  • Customer-specific Pricing (to customize pricing for a specific customer);   
  • Inventory Management (to inform customers about the availability of goods);  
  • Mobile Responsiveness (to reach customers via different devices to improve customer service);
  • Price on Request (for customers to submit requests for specific products).

Custom Solutions in Salesforce

Salesforce Industries (ex-Vlocity) offers pre-built solutions customized explicitly for certain industries. Those include Financial Services, Healthcare & Life Science, Communications, Consumer Goods, Public Sector, Retail, Manufacturing, Media, Transport & Logistics, Travel & Hospitality, Automotive, Energy & Utilities, Education, Philanthropy, Nonprofit, Sustainability, Software Development, and others. 

Salesforce has a tailor-made packaged solution for each of those areas that comply with their specific requirements. Some of the related products include the following:
  • Financial Services Cloud for companies that deliver financial services. It combines features of Sales and Services clouds with a managed package; 
  • Health Cloud operates as a Salesforce-based CRM for healthcare facilities. It manages communication between doctors and patients and strengthens patient service;
  • Manufacturing Cloud which operates as a Salesforce-based CRM for manufacturers. It connects Sales and Operation departments making operations more transparent and predictable;
  • Vlocity CPQ boosts sales for Media & Communication companies;
  • OmniStudio represents a toolset for rapid automation; 
  • Educational Cloud which manages communication between students, professors, and other education employees;
  • Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP) is an app that utilizes a custom data model for fundraising and management for non-profit organizations. 

Salesforce Services

Salesforce expanded into a Platform as a Service (PaaS) type of company. Today, it provides not just CRM but also 
  • Lightning Component Framework to build components and custom apps. Partnering with Salesforce enables users to launch their apps on the Salesforce-native AppExchange marketplace;
  • Trailhead training hub to familiarize users with the platform’s features and certify them as Salesforce developers or administrators. They can approach for advice, get support, and share ideas with colleagues in the Trailblazer Community;
  • Development Services package for better use of the Salesforce platform. Salesforce consulting partners offer a range of services that can include
  • Implementation;
  • Integration (with Mulesoft or Jitterbit);
  • Customization;
  • Data migration;
  • System health check;
  • Ongoing support;
  • Product development for AppExchange.

Salesforce benefits

Salesforce is positioned as the leading CRM platform among so many others. Vimera agrees with that and here are some reasons why.

  • Time and cost optimization. With task automation, Salesforce enables the marketing department to re-organize their time and redistribute the workload. Also, it can help cut spending for customer service and streamline the processes within the company;
  • Income growth. The features, tools, and adds-on of Salesforce products automate day-to-day tasks and therefore adds more time to customer service;
  • End-to-end solution. Salesforce can deal with all the problems your business might face within a single platform. It offers technologies like AI by Salesforce Einstein, analytics by Tableau, marketplaces like Salesforce NetZero, and others; 
  • Ease of use. Access data and updates from anywhere and with any device (either smartphone or laptop) as long as you have access to the internet;
  • Business scalability. Salesforce’s architecture and toolset ensure quick and smooth growth of your business;
  • Flexibility in use. Salesforce provides customized CRM solutions based on the needs of your business (industry-specific clouds, consistent upgrades by adding new features and tools, etc.)

Salesforce pricing

Salesforce pricing is formed based on what product from the Salesforce range you need, how many users you plan to attach, and the scale of your business. For instance, the Sales Cloud license starts from 25$ per month for one user. Salesforce for a small company also starts from 25$ per single user (essentials edition).

Contact Vimera for more info about Salesforce