Salesforce.com Releases Wave Analytics for Community Cloud

Though sales are often carried out by teams that represent the company by name and title, it is not uncommon across industries—whether it's manufacturing, high-tech, financial services, or consumer-packaged goods, for instance—for firms to sell their products via channel partners. Salesforce.com today addressed this reality by bringing the Wave Analytics capabilities to its Community Cloud Platform, to help companies empower their out-of-house sales teams.

"The one thing that we've heard [from our customers] time and time again is that most channel partners don't have the insights they need to be successful," says Jamie Domenici, vice president of product marketing at Salesforce.com's analytics cloud. As a response to this feedback, the company launched its Community Cloud platform so companies could build destinations in which their partners and employees could collaborate. And, Domenici says, "customers who are using partner communities have increased their partner sales by 43 percent."

But while companies that are united in one environment benefit from giving partners access to inside information and educating them regarding best practices, "there are still gaps" in the process, Domenici notes. For one thing, partners haven't been able to complete all their work in one place, and they "don't know what's worked in the past and which fields to focus on," Domenici says. Furthermore, Domenici says, "the information that they share is not secure."

By adding Wave Analytics into the mix, "we want to make sure that we are empowering our partner ecosystsms with the exact same capabilities that we are for sales reps," Domenici says. "We want to bring everybody the analytics they need so that they can make data-driven decisions."

To that end, the product supplies partners with dashboards populated with data from any source they choose to connect to, Domenici says. With the addition, end users are granted access to interactive performance summaries and historical benchmarks that let them see how well they've performed against both their personal record and competitors selling the same products. For instance, a gas station owner selling gas from a central supplier will have a way to view the performance of other gas stations, and ultimately get a better understanding of what they must do to succeed.

"We have a way to anonymize the data so you can share best practices and competitive KPIs to help drive performance, and it's all embedded into Salesforce where partners are working," Domenici says. Working this way, Domenici says, is preferable to flipping through spreadsheets, sales reports, or third-party systems—a method that many channel partners have been relying on to date. And a major drawback of using spreadsheets and static data, Domenici says, is that "once you send it out, it's out of date."

Domenici points out that the update will give firms who are operating across many locations a way of keeping track of those separate branches. Aamco, for instance, a large transmission company, has 800 stores throughout the United States and 1.5 million customers. Domenici says that the company had more than 100 million rows of data flowing in from their front and back offices. But the company had no way to glean insights from the data. After launching Wave for communities, "what they've found is that they can engage with each franchisee...and easily share information that helps improve sales," Domenici asserts. 

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