The State of Salesforce —
inspiring innovation
with information

With insights from over 1,800 customers, our biggest report ever
uncovers how the best companies are using Salesforce — now.

0%
believe they can use
Salesforce to drive
innovation in their business
0%
with AI are reinvesting
within the next 12 months

Insights by Function

As the designated owner of the Salesforce platform for over a third of Salesforce organizations, IT is now front and center to enable business transformations that enhance the customer experience. In particular, the role of IT is quickly becoming more strategic to integrate Salesforce Einstein and other AI-powered apps into organizations’ Salesforce clouds.
0%
of IT professionals think their company can use Salesforce to drive innovation
0%
of IT professionals report that their company's investment in advanced analytics will increase

The Salesforce Platform Finds a Friend in AI

0%
of IT professionals plan to invest in the Salesforce Platform in the next 12 months
The best companies are enhancing both employee-facing and customer-facing applications with AI capabilities. For companies that want to unlock the value of their Salesforce data, automate tasks, augment knowledge, deliver more personalized experiences, and timely, relevant offers, investment in the Salesforce Platform is increasing in-step with AI. Organizations investing in the Salesforce Platform are 2x more likely to also be investing in AI.

Investment in the Salesforce Platform Drives IT’s Innovation Confidence

20% more IT professionals believe they can use Salesforce to drive innovation in their business if their company is investing in the Salesforce Platform.
95%
I can use Salesforce to drive innovation in my business
5%
I don't think I can, or I don't know
80%
I can use Salesforce to drive innovation in my business
20%
I don't think I can, or don't know

When IT Leads, AI Thrives

0%
of IT professionals have either invested in a strategic digital transformation initiative, or plan to within the next 12 months.
A reactive approach to innovation is a losing strategy to keep pace with customers’ expectations in the digital business era. Business units are increasingly relying on IT to integrate speed, agility, and the competitive advantage of AI-powered capabilities into how they deliver customer experiences. While much of IT’s work goes unseen, they’re now at the forefront of driving customer interaction through tech-based initiatives, such as improving data management capabilities for proactive customer engagement, and leveraging Salesforce data through advanced analytics.
MoreHide IT Insights
Over half of Sales leaders agree: having a 360º view of the customer is the most critical factor of Sales effectiveness. But less than half of salespeople believe they actually have that view. By connecting back-end systems to create a unified view of the customer, the best sales teams are able to surface vital information to make better decisions, and use data to not only to qualify sales leads but also to manage opportunities with greater personalization.
0%
of salespeople are investing in predictive analytics within the next 12 months
0%
of salespeople expect AI will have the most impact on qualifying sales opportunities

Supercharge Your Sales Funnel

0%
of salespeople using AI today expect to reinvest within 12 months
For Sales, using AI can enable a sales team to focus only on the deals with the highest likelihood to close. The best companies are reinforcing pipeline accuracy and enhanced forecasting by augmenting the sales funnel with AI-powered apps like Einstein Opportunity Insights and Einstein Lead Scoring. The 53% of salespeople who are already using AI or apps with embedded AI capabilities in their business will purchase AI within the next 12 months. Simultaneously, the percentage of salespeople using AI is expected to increase by 17% during that time.

Nurture Data Like You Nurture Leads

The Cause of an Incomplete Customer View by Company Size
39%
Data inconsistencies
32%
Disparate systems
20%
Lack of real-time integration
9%
Other
40%
Data inconsistencies
33%
Disparate systems
20%
Lack of real-time integration
7%
Other
27%
Data inconsistencies
18%
Disparate systems
36%
Lack of real-time integration
19%
Other
67%
Data inconsistencies
17%
Disparate systems
0%
Lack of real-time integration
16%
Other
15%
Data inconsistencies
55%
Disparate systems
15%
Lack of real-time integration
15%
Other

The Path To a Single Customer View Is Paved With Data

0%
of companies analyze dark data
Sales Cloud adoption grew 13% over last year*, and adoption is expected to accelerate with Sales Cloud Einstein, which enables faster, smarter data-based decision-making. However, organizations that have built their sales processes and tech stack on an adhoc basis with technologies outside of Salesforce are now overwhelmed by dark data. To take full advantage of Sales Cloud Einstein, data needs to be unified across sources. The best companies are consolidating disparate systems—making data more readily accessible at every stage of the funnel—shorten sales cycles and allow sales teams to spend more time selling and less time compiling data from various systems.
MoreHide Sales Insights
No longer just brand stewards, marketers now have the dual responsibility of proving ROI and designing multichannel campaigns that generate demand. The best companies realize that their unique data is their greatest competitive advantage to delivering the experiences customers expect in realtime. Investing in collaborative initiatives with Sales and IT is now a part of a marketing strategy that focuses more tightly on customer experience and retention, which extends the impact of marketing through the entire customer lifecycle.
0%
of marketers are able to measure Marketing influence and prove ROI
0%
of marketing organizations plan to invest in integrating AI capabilities within the next 12 months

Marketers Need to Know Their Data to Know Their Customers

0%
of marketers are without a complete customer view because of data inconsistencies
Clean data is the key to personalized customer engagement. Every customer touch point is a data point, and yet, data inconsistencies pose the biggest challenge to Marketing organizations that are striving to measure their influence and prove ROI. With so many ways for customers and prospects to engage with a brand, it’s become increasingly difficult for marketers to understand who they are without a marketing strategy that prioritizes data governance and Salesforce integration. The best marketing organizations are beginning to bring Data Management Platforms (DMP) in-house to separate signals from noise, unify data within and outside of Salesforce, and serve up relevant content at the right time to personalize the customer experience.

Optimize the Moments That Matter

When it comes to measuring campaign ROI and managing campaign performance, how does Salesforce help?
4%
I use Salesforce to predict and automate next best action for optimizing campaign investment (ROI)
7%
I use Salesforce to anticipate next best action and improve campaign performance
29%
I use Salesforce to provide historical data for campaign reporting requirements
31%
I sync marketing data with Salesforce, but use another platform for measurement/metrics
30%
I don’t use Salesforce for marketing campaigns
The customer journey is fragmented. Customers expect a seamless brand experience as they move among physical and digital channels. The biggest challenge of omnichannel marketing is designing and delivering 1:1 customer journeys while optimizing media spend—using the right insights at the right time. High-performing B2C companies recognize Salesforce Marketing Cloud Journey Builder, coupled with Einstein Analytics, as their best ally to execute an insights-driven customer engagement strategy and anticipate blind spots.

The New Marketing Power Couple: ABM & AI

0%
of marketing organizations plan to integrate AI capabilities within the next 12 months.
The buying cycle is more complex than ever before. Customers are doing their own discovery and search, making it harder for marketers to decipher between intent to buy and general curiosity. More and more, marketers are realizing the advantage of enhancing their marketing technology stacks with AI, in order to engage with the right person at the right time throughout the buying cycle. Account-Based Marketing (ABM) with AI can serve as a recommendation engine that removes the guesswork from identifying buyer intent. 18% of Marketing organizations use AI today to deliver personalized campaigns and serve up relevant content, based on persona insights.
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When it comes to customer service, a seamless experience means self-service. Technology-driven changes in customer preferences are demanding 24/7 support that goes beyond Salesforce Community Cloud and customer portals. The best companies are taking their Service team into the next standard of customer support with AI self-service capabilities–chatbots, which add a conversational interface to an otherwise static self-service experience.
0%
of Service organizations have invested in AI to enhance self-service.
0%
of Community Cloud deployments are focused on helping Service professionals work more effectively.

Customer Service Wants to Solve Problems, Not Find Answers

0%
of Service professionals expect AI to have the greatest impact on customer experience.
Real-time messaging is already a standard of digital engagement for customer service agents using Service Cloud Einstein and Lightning Snap-ins to integrate in-app chats across mobile and web experiences. The best Service organizations are integrating the automation of chatbots, which can automatically retrieve insights from Salesforce data, anticipate needs by context, preferences, and search history, and deliver proactive alerts, relevant offers, and escalate issues to a live agent when necessary.

Employee Community Cloud Supports a 360º Customer View

Do you have a 360º customer view?
41%
Yes
58%
No
11%
Don't Know
39%
Yes
47%
No
14%
Don't Know
Many organizations use Community Cloud as a social intranet or ESN, Employee Social Network, to get people to work together, faster. 59% of Community Cloud deployments are focused on helping employees work more effectively. A more "social" organization can increase productivity and effectiveness to deliver a better customer service experience. As part of fostering a data-driven culture, the best companies are looking to build on their investment in employee communities to provide useful insight into members' behavior. Using analytics to examine community interactions can reveal additional context in which to consider prospect and customer profiles.

Field Service Gets Personal With IoT

0%
of service organizations have either transitioned to Field Service Lightning or plan to in the next 12 months.
Service technicians are undergoing a retooling of their capabilities with wearable devices and AI-powered field apps. Already available on the go with mobile, field service professionals are now able to further differentiate the customer experience through connected data. Field service organizations on Field Service Lightning can be proactive and predict a need for maintenance, optimize scheduling of repairs, and detect a signal for help. The best companies are combining their Salesforce data with IoT to increase the connectivity of their field service operations and deliver personalized service with precision.
MoreHide Service Insights

Using IBM Watson and Salesforce Einstein To Create This Report

This year, Bluewolf combined the intelligence of IBM Watson, the leading cognitive platform for business, with Salesforce Einstein, AI that powers the world’s #1 CRM, to develop insights for this report. Salesforce Einstein ingested the full data set—140,000 data points—to discover patterns and trends based on demographic information. At the same time, we took three overarching trends identified in our research and had IBM Watson Discovery validate our most noteworthy topics. Watson Discovery scanned news sources and attached a sentiment rating to each topic we entered.
IBM Watson Discovery is a cognitive search and content analytics engine. Use Watson Discovery to import documents and upload large collections of structured and unstructured data, search and analyze HTML, PDF, and MS Word documents, news stories, and articles, identify correlations and patterns, and rank results.

The Watson Discovery Service also comes with a public data set that is pre-enriched with insights, including the percentage of documents tagged as positive, neutral, and negative by Sentiment Analysis. In creating this year’s report, we used Watson Discovery Service to validate top trends through a Sentiment Analysis of over 300,000 news articles associated with them.
Einstein is Salesforce’s AI embedded across all Salesforce Clouds. It provides insights from your customer data in Salesforce. Einstein identifies patterns across data and will also ingest small amounts of data to augment the patterns and insights that Einstein has surfaced. In creating this year’s State of Salesforce, we asked Einstein Data Discovery to analyze a specific data set of insights around investment in Salesforce Licenses, actionable insights and augmented intelligence.

How We Define the Best Companies

0%
They make their data actionable
71% of companies are increasing their investment in advanced analytics within the next 12 months.
0%
They enable smarter, faster decision-making
38% of companies are purchasing AI apps or apps that have embedded AI capabilities in the next 12 months.
0%
They nurture IT as an innovation partner
33% of companies designate IT to be ultimately responsible for their Salesforce Platform.
0%
They use the latest version of Salesforce
36% of companies have transitioned to Salesforce Lightning or plan to within 12 months.

They make their data actionable

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They enable smarter, faster decision-making

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They nurture IT as an innovation partner

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They use the latest version of Salesforce

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The Top-Ranked AppExchange Partners

This year, Bluewolf asked Salesforce customers to name their top AppExchange partners. The top two ranking solutions represent the speed and ease that comes with digital, progressing past paper-pushing and onto seamless automated experiences for employees and customers alike.

Conga made its AppExchange debut more than a decade ago with its document generation app, Conga Composer. Since then, Conga has become a Platinum ISV Partner and added Conga ActionGrid, Conga Novatus, and Conga Contracts to its solutions. The most recent addition, Conga Contracts is an enterprise-grade Salesforce-native contract lifecycle management (CLM) product that is designed to work with Salesforce CPQ. Conga is extending the capabilities of Salesforce to more than 8,000 customers.

Our participation in the AppExchange partner program allows us to innovate with purpose, collaborate with like-minded partners, and learn from our customers. We're proud of the community we've been able to build within the Salesforce ecosystem.

Bob DeSantis

COO, Conga

DocuSign debuted on the AppExchange in 2010 and has since become the most popular eSignature app. With a native Salesforce1 app and a solution that’s suited for all Salesforce Clouds, DocuSign is changing how business gets done by empowering over 300,000 companies and 200 million users in 188 countries to sign, send, and manage documents anytime, anywhere, on any device, with confidence. Almost 65% of documents are completed within one hour, and over 80% within one day, driving huge time and cost savings.

We’re in the business of simplifying and digitizing business for more than 300,000 companies around the world – and nature of a marketplace like the AppExchange means we can really deliver targeted value for those who use Salesforce.

Mark Register

SVP Business Development, DocuSign

The State of Salesforce
by the Numbers

We conducted a survey of more than 1,800 Salesforce customers.
Explore the data by

  • Function
  • Role
  • Industry
  • Company Size
  • Business Model
23%
Sales
22%
IT
16%
Marketing
11%
Operations
7%
Finance
6%
Service & Support
15%
Other
12%
C-Level
10%
VP
16%
Director
25%
Manager
14%
Administrator - Technology
7%
Administrator - Business
10%
Account Executive
5%
Coordinator
1%
Other
25%
Financial Services
15%
Telco/Media
13%
Business Services
11%
Industry/Manufacturing
6%
Healthcare
5%
Education
3%
Government/Legal Services
2%
Hospitality
20%
Other
14%
10,001+ employees
9%
5,001-10,000 employees
8%
3,501-5,000 employees
22%
501-3,500 employees
23%
101-500 employees
24%
1-100 employees
60%
B2B
20%
B2C
20%
B2B2C
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