The pandemic might be changing the way we work, but much of the need for change in our CRM tools predates COVID-19. Nevertheless, Salesforce last week introduced some changes in its Marketing Cloud that couldn't have been timelier.
In much of the research I've been conducting this year, there's a distinct trend. Employees are well aligned with the directions and goals of their companies, they are competently led and respect their bosses; but the tools, the technologies they use, leave a lot to be desired. This includes CRM, and too often the functionality that their currently installed CRM doesn't offer.
My research shows that while these employees are definitely getting the job done, they're also working harder than needed because their labor makes up for integrations and functionality that isn't there yet. That translates into not always having the best offer at hand or taking too long to organize, get permission, and deliver proposals. The unambiguous result is that despite their best endeavors, which include some Herculean efforts, they lose deals they ought to win.
It's Time for Better Technology
The older a CRM system is, the more likely this scenario, but that's not the only issue. In some research that hasn't been published yet, I can see that way too many inside sales and marketing types have to juggle too many screens, windows, and even devices to get their jobs done.
A CRM system that's more than about five years old, or one that lacks integrated intelligence and can't routinely offload some of the rote work, or make smart suggestions about next best actions or offers, is likely costing its business owner deals. Ironically, without better analytics and more data, these businesses probably don't even realize they're falling behind.
With uncanny timing, last week Salesforce announced additions to its Marketing Cloud that address some of these needs. Salesforce comes at the problem from a slightly different perspective, one that's mostly focused on the pandemic, but as my research shows, the problems were there hiding in plain sight all along.
In addition to my findings, Salesforce said their research shows ad spending is down while 79 percent of respondents are changing their messaging to fit the times. How you change messaging while reducing ad spend is a problem that has to be dealt with one-on-one with customers -- and that requires some realtime fancy footwork that's only possible with improved technology.
So, in a nutshell, the announcements add more Einstein innovations to Interaction Studio to optimize marketing results. This includes Einstein Personalization Recipes to build, manage and test AI-powered recommendation strategies and an improved algorithm to improve next best actions and offers.
Another timely addition, Pardot Premium, is designed to enable marketers to scale teams globally -- a challenge we all face now that working from home, or anywhere else, is no longer simply a nice thing to have. Interestingly, some of my recent research shows people believe their current technologies are enough to support them working from home. But the same people said they couldn't see needing to.
Lastly, for really big marketing intelligence jobs, Salesforce bought the Israeli marketing intelligence company Datorama in 2018. Last week, Salesforce announced integration between another recent acquisition, Tableau, a data intelligence and visualization platform, and Datorama. The integration is poised to provide realtime marketing insights into all of the data held by Datorama on spend, performance, and business outcomes. The result is advanced visualization for better analysis into opportunities and optimization of budgets.
Pardot Premium will be generally available (GA) this month, Interaction Studio will be GA in Q3 of 2020 and Datorama integration with Tableau is GA as you read this.
My Two Bits
They say that being lucky is better than being smart and there's more than a bit of luck in Salesforce's recent Marketing Cloud announcements. But there's plenty of smart in those announcements too. This company carefully monitors the marketplace looking for new product opportunities and builds to suit them.
One reason for the company's phenomenal growth and success over 20 years has been its consistent innovation and the way it brings products to market almost on a conveyor belt.
How else do you sell into your installed base? Once you've sold your basic stuff, you might have a lot of good will but that won't translate into additional sales unless you have additional and relevant things to offer. That's a lesson Salesforce learned well and one that aspiring companies in any industry would be smart to emulate.
A good deal of Salesforce's growth and success comes from selling back into the installed base, not simply to see if they can add seats but to add functionality. These announcements are just the latest example.