October 30, 2018
While Sales Cloud remains the most popular Salesforce product, our annual survey of Salesforce customers worldwide, The State of Salesforce, reveals that many companies underutilize its full capabilities as a sales productivity tool.
As many companies’ budgeting and planning processes are underway, where can investments be made in the year ahead to improve how Sales Cloud delivers value back businesses? Below, we share leading trends and insights from our seventh-annual The State of Salesforce report, based on responses from over 2,500 Salesforce customers.
- Sellers rank both Improving data quality in Salesforce and Increasing forecast accuracy as most important to their respective Sales strategies. However, less than half of companies have a data governance framework for their organization. Data governance is best defined as the policies, practices, and procedures that manage the full data lifecycle needs of an enterprise. Because data is the fuel businesses need to power insights, it is essential to have a data governance framework in place.
- The best companies treat Sales Cloud as the hub of a company-wide, lead-to-cash process, enabling sellers to accelerate sales cycles. In fact, when companies connect the front- and back-office, sellers are 2x more likely to say Salesforce makes them more effective at their job. Fortunately for customers, Salesforce recently announced the launch of Salesforce Billing, which connects a company's finance and sales data with the billing workflow to enable usage-based pricing, flexible invoicing, and automatic contract renewals. Additional recent updates to Sales Cloud include new capabilities to its High-Velocity Sales feature for users to prospect faster and manage leads more effectively–Sales Cadences, which serve as pre-built activity sequences for sales teams and Work Queues, which uses machine learning to create prioritized email and call lists.
- Connect sellers to deeper customer insights for anticipating customer needs. When Sales can collaborate with other teams and use cross-departmental data in Salesforce, they are 56% more likely to anticipate customer needs. It may seem odd that Sales would want to use a marketing automation tool, but the fact is, converting leads into customers involves Marketing and Sales alignment. Pardot provides sales reps with the intelligence they need to personalize outreach and engage prospects at the right time. And in case you haven’t heard, Pardot will now run on Lightning and Einstein to enable sales and marketing teams to more closely align on a single platform and work with the same data sets, campaign insights, and customer engagement history. With Einstein, Sales has machine learning capabilities to drill down into engagement data to help personalize their outreach. There's also a behavior scoring feature that identifies prospects most likely to convert, based on their engagement behavior.
- Implement AI for guided selling. AI promises to transform what we understand about customers, how to interact with them, answer their requests, and guide how we sell to them. In addition to deep knowledge discovery for Sales to take the next, best-action, AI can also monitor internal data to surface patterns to quickly identify answers to questions or requests.
To learn more about how leading sales organizations are using Salesforce, download your copy of The State of Salesforce report.