Don’t you wish you could just peer into a crystal ball or break open a fortune cookie and divine the Salesforce future?
Maybe you could find out exactly which way the industry is headed? Or what new CRM features will make it easier for your sales team to reach better targets in 2019-20? Or, what disruptive technology will make a big impact on the sales/marketing workflow next year?
Such questions (and more) are on all our minds.
Luckily, you don’t have to be skilled in occult practices to gain front row seats to these industry trend forecasts.
All you need to do is track the strategic moves made by the industry leader in the worldwide CRM market, Salesforce. Et Voila! You are ready to predict what CRM clients can hope to expect from providers.
On that note, let’s deep-dive into the top seven major Salesforce trends that are changing the very face of the sales force automation (SFA) industry:
1) Lightning strikes harder: In its Spring ’19 release notes, Salesforce announced that only the more user-friendly and intuitive Salesforce 2.0 (dubbed ‘Lightning’) will receive useful upgrades. This means that users of the older ‘Classic’ version will miss out on several cool, productivity-enhancing features.
Already, several exciting new features are ONLY available on Lightning – including customizable dashboard, calendar enhancements, Einstein, Snap-in chat and Smart Macros. So now, a stage has been reached wherein organizations will have to urgently migrate from Classic to Lightning or risk being left behind in the race for efficiency and effectiveness. In fact, according to the Total Economic Impact™ of Salesforce Lightning for Service Cloud study by Forrester Salesforce Lightning could deliver return on investment of 475% (over three years) for a composite service organization. Clearly, Lightning is the immediate future and organizations need to adopt smart change management tactics to ensure a smooth transition. Digital Adoption Platforms (DAPs) such as Whatfix (request a demo here) can help make speed up this migration, without compromising employee productivity, from the familiar Classic UX to that of Lightning by offering:
Thus, these Whatfix features can help onboard your users quickly, smoothly and without disrupting the sellers’ workflow. This is a definite improvement from the recent past where you had to tear them away from their work and force physical books, handouts and classroom-style training sessions on them.
So, invest in such powerful DAP tools (and also leverage change champions or influencers) to ensure that you are well on your way to conquering this most pressing Salesforce future trend.
2)Big year for system and data integration: Customers have begun to expect seamless and connected experiences, based on the information they share at various touchpoints (social media, physical forms, phone support, etc). But according to the latest Salesforce Connected Customer report, only 50% of companies are able to customize their customer engagement based on past interactions.
This is because, nowadays, customer data resides on multiple clouds and many organizations connect Salesforce to off-platform systems. Thus sales, service and marketing teams end up scrambling to better understand and connect with their customers.
To enable companies to deliver such data-driven, personalized customer experiences, Salesforce is constantly working on advancing its customer data platform, Customer 360. In fact, it launched the latest edition of this technology in June 2019.
Customer 360 connects Commerce Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Service Cloud to deliver a single view of the customer’s journey with the organization. Along with web-based integration platform MuleSoft Inc (acquired by Salesforce in 2018), Customer 360 helps businesses make better decisions and deliver contextualized and customized customer experiences. The latest upgrades will allow for greater data unification and consent management, advanced audience segmentation and much more.
In spite of all these efforts, unlocking siloed data and providing a completely connected user experience across channels might take a while to achieve. But such a Salesforce product strategy focused on integration has the potential to deliver a future where organizations get 100%+ ROI from their CRM tools.
Enterprises are increasingly using Digital Adoption Platforms to connect various different sales systems. DAPs link not just various Salesforce Clouds but also other CRM systems (such as CPQ (e.g. Apttus), CLM (e.g. Icertis), End User Collaboration (e.g. SharePoint), Sales Performance Management (e.g. SAP Callidus Cloud), ERP/ Invoice & Expense (e.g. Oracle) and HCM (e.g. Workday).
And ultimately, only when enterprises provide sellers with a seamless unified digital sales experience, will they be able to deliver a connected customer experience.
3)AI and data-driven intelligence is king: The AI-powered Sales Cloud Einstein was launched in 2017 to deliver data-driven predictions, insights and recommendations that help make better lead/sales decisions. It does this, while continually learning from your CRM data about team performance, whitespace and pipeline trends. Think of the saving, in terms of time, manpower and opportunity costs, that Einstein brings to the table by automating data analytics. Here are some of the other developments since then, that goes to show that Salesforce is really quite serious about AI and data analytics:
4)Focus on customer satisfaction: Sure, data and system integration, data analysis and AI are all striking trends. But undeniably, all of it leads to improving customer satisfaction and experience. And this is currently bang at the centre of the ‘Goliath’ CRM’s strategy. Even the State of Sales report 2018 mentions that customer satisfaction is expected to become the #1 sales metric. At Whatfix, we have ensured that customer satisfaction is tracked to measure our internal sales performance. So, the Whatfix sales team is assessed based on the Customer NPS score generated post sale along with positive public reviews. Below is a glowing review by a Whatfix customer detailing their experience using Whatfix on top of Salesforce. Such reviews are just as important for us, at Whatfix, as is the seller’s ability to meet sales quotas.
5)Blockchain makes a big splash: In May 2019, Salesforce Blockchain was launched. In a press release, the CRM giant called this new technology “a low-code platform that enables organizations to share verified, distributed data sets across a trusted network of partners and third parties”. To this end, Salesforce Blockchain can help create blockchain networks, workflows and apps. Simply put, the central goal of such a solution is to enable Salesforce clients to access and share data (in a secure manner) with a diverse and dynamic set of partners. And a distributed ledger helps plugs the ‘trust gap’ to deliver new customer experiences. Thus, Blockchain can help organizations do away with unnecessary costs and inefficiencies by saving, tracking and verifying data from every partner in the network.
6)Enterprise mobility gains steadily: Gartner predicts that mobile technologies will be used by 40% of the sales organizations for most of their SFA by 2020. Salesforce has been on top of the mobile revolution, bringing CRM to mobile devices since 2007. Looking back, Salesforce had laid a solid foundation for the future. And it is now further encouraging users to use the mobile interface via upgrades such as:
7)More industry-specific CRM solutions: Salesforce has been widely used in industries such as financial services, manufacturing, media and retail industry. And the cloud-based software company has clearly stated that it will focus its energies on certain industry verticals, in order to deliver more targeted solutions that meet their specific challenges. The CRM behemoth seeks to build on its CRM and cloud expertise with a layer of industry-based depth. With the intent of growing its grip of specific industries, Salesforce recently launched upgrades to its Salesforce Financial Service Cloud that will help unify customer experiences. The CRM solution company has also begun to fortify its relevance in the healthcare industry with the announcement of its Health Cloud at the DreamForce convention in 2018. Salesforce AppExchange also offers a growing bouquet of ready-to-install apps, solutions, and consultants that allows clients to extend Salesforce to any industry.
8)Skyrocketing demand for Salesforce skilled talent: Salesforce has hundreds of innovative features delivered to users three times a year during their seasonal releases. Thus developers and users need to be constantly reskilling themselves in order to keep up with this quantum of change. In fact, a recent IDC study estimates a huge increase in new jobs, wherein Salesforce skills are a prerequisite, between 2016 and 2022. While new hires can plug this gap, they can often be expensive to bring on board and train from scratch. That’s where in-app training via Whatfix can help. Through interactive guides and contextual support, Whatfix helps employees grasp the software changes faster and maintain productivity in the face of new software releases. It also automates training content creation. In this way, Whatfix helps democratize Salesforce skills without spending too many resources on training efforts.
Know of any other Salesforce trends that are affecting the CRM industry? We would love to hear from you and add on to this list!
If you would like to get ahead of the curve, show this article to your IT and operations team to see what disruptive Salesforce technologies you can adopt to help your organization achieve maximum ROI.
Whatever the new Salesforce feature is that you choose to add on, be sure to invest in the analytics-driven and personalized digital adoption platform Whatfix to get users comfortable with the functionalities. Click here for a free trial of this digital adoption tool to see how it helps your employees use Salesforce efficiently and effectively. We are also happy to offer a quick demo to understand how it helps users navigate complex Salesforce UX challenges, on the go.