What is Salesforce and what does it do?
Many multi-million dollar enterprises are no stranger to Salesforce.com, and businesses that are just getting off the ground are also cozying up to the platform. Launched in 1999, Salesforce has proved itself to be a useful tool for companies of all types and sizes.
In 2018, Forbes ranked Salesforce as the No. 3 most innovative company in the world, noting its 24.88% 12-month sales growth, 35,000 employees, $13.3 billion in sales and $120.9 billion market cap (or value of its outstanding stock market shares). The previous year, Salesforce topped the list.
In 2019, Forbes honored Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff by giving him the No. 4 spot on its list of America's most innovative leaders. In that report, it showed the company to have a 25.69% year-over-year growth rate.
The busy tech giant has undoubtedly made a name for itself during the past two decades. Even if you haven't worked in Salesforce yourself, chances are you've heard of it. If you are wondering exactly what it is, how it works and why companies worldwide are subscribing to it, this article is for you.
What is Salesforce?
Salesforce is a cloud-based service as a software (SaaS) company, which means it hosts an application customers can access online. It operates on a pay-as-you go subscription-based business model. Because all data and information is stored in the cloud, Salesforce is accessible from any device at any time. It also allows for live data tracking and accurate real-time updates.
Specifically, Salesforce specializes in customer relationship management (CRM). As you might guess, a CRM platform helps companies better connect with current and potential customers. The platform has the ability to identify who a company's top leads are and even provides suggested actions and next steps. Beyond customer acquisition, Salesforce features are intended to help keep customers happy, which drives brand loyalty.
While there are other CRMs on the market, Salesforce is becoming the industry standard. It offers a multitude of services that allow businesses to engage with their customers in ways that go beyond the surface level.
Thousands of pre-built applications are available in the Salesforce app exchange, which expand platform uses and help close more sales. For example, PowerSync is an app that syncs data between Salesforce and ecommerce platform Magento, eliminating the need for duplicated manual data entry.
So, how do companies actually use Salesforce?
What is Salesforce used for?
Today, more than 150,000 companies trust their CRM needs to Salesforce, including T-Mobile, Aetna Health, Carvana and Adidas. As a self-proclaimed trailblazer, it offers many groundbreaking features with the numbers to prove its value.
"The month before we launched Salesforce, we had about $4 million in monthly revenue," said Carvana Product Track Lead Janette Blatz in a Salesforce testimonial. "Less than three years later, we have $80 million in monthly revenue, and Salesforce has really enabled that."
Salesforce provides companies with a 360-degree view of its customers, which is what makes the service so appealing. Through the platform and its capabilities, businesses are able to sell smarter – taking prospects from lead to cash to loyalty.
It also allows for team management, keeping everyone on the same page by aligning service, sales and marketing. In fact, Salesforce touts its advanced algorithm for creating more productive agents.
According to the Salesforce website, its services enable businesses to win more customers by understanding their needs and concerns. This knowledge helps businesses attract more buyers using personalized marketing strategies.
Salesforce also endorses its ability to deliver enhanced shopping experiences, making it a valuable tool in the ecommerce space. In addition to the free and paid apps that are available on the app exchange, users are afforded the ability to build their own custom apps that automate time-consuming tasks.
From a customer service standpoint, Salesforce allows companies to respond faster to their customers' support issues. The platform's useful analytics data also helps steer future marketing efforts and plays a major role in increasing company revenue streams.
How does Salesforce Work?
Salesforce offers multiple different cloud platforms that serve different specialized purposes. A few of them include:
- The Sales Cloud includes resources for sales, marketing and customer support. It allows businesses to provide customers with personalized buying experiences in both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-customer (B2C) contexts.
- Through the Marketing Cloud, businesses are able to engage with customers through the right channels at the right times. It tailors unique content for each user based on their specific interests, online behaviors and other details. The data may be collected from a person's social media interactions, purchasing behaviors and more.
- The Analytics Cloud, also referred to as Einstein Sales Analytics, helps businesses interact with data and ultimately close more deals. With straightforward data visualization features, companies are able to spot trends, take action on opportunities, track team performance and more.
… and the list goes on.
Advanced artificial intelligence is finding a place at the core of the platform's efficiency. With expanded functionality constantly emerging, CRM remains the heartbeat of the company.
According to Salesforce, "A Content Relationship Management solution helps you focus on your organization's relationships with individual people, including customers, service users, colleagues or suppliers – throughout your lifecycle with them, including finding new customers, winning their business and providing support and additional services throughout the relationship."
Salesforce has come a long way since its early days, and the emergence of new features is expected to continue as more businesses rely on the platform to help take their efforts to the next level.