As a business of any size, implementing a CRM (customer relationship management) tool is a good idea. A CRM will consolidate all of your customer data (such as contact information and account information) from all of the different channels that you use to engage with customers (including your website, your social media channels, your email, and even your phone communications) into one central location. Departments all across your organization, from sales to marketing to customer service, will know where to go to find customer data and easily make more informed decisions.
While there are many CRM solutions to choose from, arguably the most popular is Salesforce. Salesforce provides multiple CRM solutions that are incredibly customizable, such as their Salesforce Service Cloud. If you’re a larger enterprise-sized company or you’re a company that’s growing rapidly, we strongly recommend implementing the Salesforce Service Cloud solution. Below we present a breakdown of the Salesforce Service Cloud as well as the Salesforce CRM in general to give you a better idea of what it is, what it can provide, and whether it will fit your company’s unique CRM needs.
The main Salesforce platform is known as Salesforce Customer 360. It is on this platform that Salesforce’s many products are built and made available through the cloud. The Salesforce Service Cloud is just one of these platforms. The Salesforce Service Cloud allows you to greatly improve your customer service in a variety of different ways by automating your service processes, streamlining your workflows, and making it easy for your service agents to connect with customers one-on-one across multiple channels and on any device.
You would reap these benefits by implementing the Salesforce Service Cloud:
The Service Cloud is arguably the best way to improve the efficiency of your customer service interactions, resulting in a better customer experience.
When initially trying to familiarize yourself with the Salesforce platform, things can be a little overwhelming because of the myriad of Salesforce products to choose from. Each one of these products focuses on different aspects of your business (although, in some cases, there is some overlap); however, they all work together as part of the Salesforce ecosystem. In fact, integration is arguably the key to getting the most out of Salesforce’s many solutions. With that in mind, here is a brief overview of the different Salesforce services that are offered as part of its ecosystem:
When looking at the products Salesforce offers, it’s easy to identify that each product addresses a certain facet of a company’s customer relationship management, from marketing to sales. For larger enterprises, implementing these individual products on their Salesforce CRM platform makes sense; however, this is typically well outside the budget for small businesses, especially startups. Not only do they not have the resources to implement these individual products, but they may not have the need for many of their features (yet). The Salesforce Essentials solution was designed specifically for this reason. As an out-of-the-box solution, Salesforce Essentials is much easier to set up and implement.
Salesforce Essentials may only include some of the lower tier features offered by Salesforce’s more robust options, but they are still incredibly helpful for smaller companies. Essentials lets users follow up quickly on leads, identify key contacts faster, and see a customizable view of sales details. Essentials also provides the ability to automate sales activities, such as tracking calls, emails, and meetings using the Einstein Activity Capture feature. Additionally, numerous customer service features are provided, including the ability to automatically centralize and connect numerous support channels that can be accessed on multiple devices.
At first glance, the Sales Cloud might appear to be quite similar to the Service Cloud. You’ll find that they share many of the same features. In fact, if you pay close attention, you’ll see that every feature on the Sales Cloud is offered on the Service Cloud. So what exactly is the difference? The Sales Cloud focuses more on leads, opportunities, and sales, whereas the Service Cloud focuses more on customer service and customer cases. The Sales Cloud includes a robust set of features and functionality that includes reports, dashboards, campaigns, tasks, activities, accounts, contacts, products, assets, quotes, calendars, events, forecasts, chatter, customer apps, self-service portal, CTI integration, visual workflow, and more.
Not only does the Service Cloud offer all of the features available in the Sales Cloud, but it also includes the service cloud console, service level agreements, service entitlements, visual SLA timelines, omnichannel routing, and web-to-case features. The Service Cloud is virtually an extension (or expansion) of the Sales Cloud but with a different focus. Sales are a big part of customer service, after all, so it makes sense that the Service Cloud would include all of the Sales Cloud’s features in addition to more customer service-oriented features that exist outside of pure sales. With the Salesforce Service Cloud, you make it easier for your agents to answer customer questions as well as easier for customers to find answers on their own.
The Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a digital marketing platform designed to help you track, manage, and analyze the customer journey. This allows you to build your marketing strategy around the customer journey. Using the Marketing Cloud, you can collect and organize data from leads and customers from first, second, and third parties across all channels to create individual profiles. The Marketing Cloud provides users with extensive features as well, including the ability to automate engagement with leads and customers.
The Salesforce Commerce Cloud was designed specifically for businesses who offer an ecommerce experience to their customers. By implementing the Commerce Cloud solution, you’ll be capable of creating a personalized, streamlined shopping experience across all channels, including your website, social media platforms, and on mobile devices with the help of unified order management.
The Salesforce Community Cloud is an online social platform that allows you to connect your employees, customers, and partners with one another and to provide them with access to the data and records that they need. It’s essentially an online portal that users can access to find articles, update accounts, as well as create and manage cases and claims. By implementing the Community Cloud, you empower employees and partners with collaboration and connection and encourage customers to find the information that they need on their own, all of which will help you reduce friction and make it easier (and faster) to close deals.
The products that Salesforce offers are not one-size-fits-all solutions. They are very much customizable. There are different plans available for every product. Some plans may include more comprehensive features and functionality than others. Plus you can purchase add-ons to those plans. For example, you can add the Field Service Lightning, Digital Engagement, Service Cloud Einstein features and more to your Salesforce Service Cloud plan for an additional monthly cost. Salesforce can also customize its solutions based on the industry you’re in or the technology you’re using.
Different businesses have different needs, especially based on their industry. Salesforce can actually customize its CRM solutions to fit your industry’s unique requirements. For example, its CRM solution for the banking industry was designed to streamline digital lending by improving loan officer productivity and by reducing loan cycle times via self-service across channels. Salesforce can tailor its CRM solutions to a wide range of industries, including not just banking, but also government, wealth management, healthcare, manufacturing, retail, communications, insurance, consumer goods, travel and hospitality, media, life sciences, and nonprofit industries.
If you want to supplement your Salesforce solution with features not included in the plan or available as an add-on, Salesforce has an app exchange on which you can find technology specific apps designed on the Salesforce platform by third parties that you can purchase (although many are available for free) and add to your existing solution. Salesforce solutions can also be integrated with many of your existing technologies, including G Suite, Slack, Quickbooks, MailChimp, Dropbox, and ActiveCampaign, to name a few.
At this point, Salesforce has been around for some time (considering the relatively short life of the cloud and CRMs as we know them). The company was first established as a SaaS provider in 1999 by Marc Benioff, a former executive at Oracle. They went public in 2004. The success led to the development of different CRM solutions soon after. The Service Cloud was launched in 2009 with the intention of providing businesses with a customer service solution that would empower companies to connect to, engage with, and manage all service-related conversations that were occurring online. Its initial capabilities included the ability to connect with and collect data from social networks, to share data with partners, and to provide access to this data to customer service agents.
H2: Deciding if Your Organization Needs Service Cloud
Many of the Salesforce solutions can be a bit pricey (although it’s not difficult to argue that you’re getting your money’s worth considering the features provided), so make sure that your company needs the Salesforce Service Cloud. Most enterprise sized companies could benefit from its implementation, but if you’re a smaller or mid-sized company that’s growing, first carefully consider what your needs are. For smaller businesses, Salesforce Essentials might be a better option. Keeping that in mind, consider the following to make a more informed decision concerning the subscription to the Salesforce Service Cloud:
First, analyze your own customer service capabilities. Identify where your weaknesses lie and what kind of functionality you need. Knowing what you actually need will go a long way towards identifying whether or not a solution is worth investing in. However, just because the added functionality of the Service Cloud may not be needed now doesn’t mean that it won’t be needed in the future. Keep your future needs in mind as well.
What technologies and applications are you currently using? Investing heavily into a CRM solution that isn’t capable of integrating with your current systems and software solutions doesn’t make much sense. You’ll have to replace systems or apps with new versions that are supported by your CRM solution of choice, which is not only costly, but a huge hassle as well. Fortunately, Salesforce supports a wide range of integrations — just be sure to check what those integrations are.
Whenever you invest heavily into a software solution, you should keep your business goals in mind and make sure that the solution you’re considering will align with those goals. Things you may want to consider that can affect your ability to achieve those goals include the ease of use, the support the provider offers, the scalability of the product, and the total cost of the solution (exceeding your budget can force you to reduce your budget in other areas of your business,).
There’s a very good chance that the Salesforce CRM platform can benefit your business in a number of different ways. However, determining exactly what your needs are and what Salesforce solution will best address those needs can be quite challenging.
Salesforce offers a wide variety of solutions, including their Cloud Service solution, all of which are available in different tiered plans that offer different features (not to mention the add-on features that you can purchase at an additional cost). Many companies use multiple solutions together. This can make things quite confusing, especially when you see that some of these solutions have overlapping features (which is the case with Salesforce Essentials, Salesforce Sales Cloud, and Salesforce Service Cloud).
Salesforce does have solid customer service itself, which means that if you have any questions about their products, you should reach out and ask. However, you will likely be better off working with a third party consultant. A consultant will be able to identify what the needs of your business are and how they can be met using the Salesforce platform. They can match the right solution (or solutions) to your business to ensure that you don’t waste any money on products or features that you don’t need, while at the same time ensuring that the features that you do need will be included and that the product you choose will be capable of addressing future needs as well.
A third party consultant will also be able to spend some time with you explaining the different Salesforce products more thoroughly and will be able to answer any questions and address any concerns in detail.
H2: Consider Choosing a Partner with Expertise for Salesforce Customization
Because of how extensive the Salesforce platform is in general and because of the many customizable solutions Salesforce has to offer, working with a third party consultant will be to your benefit. When looking for a third party consultant, be sure to find a partner that has both experience and expertise when it comes to Salesforce customization to get the most out of your investment.
Are you investigating Salesforce Service Cloud? Speak to an expert about your needs today.