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Salesforce Announces Customer Data Platform

Salesforce today announced its customer data platform (CDP) with the next generation of its Customer 360 solution. Introduced at Dreamforce 2018, Customer 360 enables companies to connect Salesforce apps and create a unified customer ID with an eye on developing a single view of the customer. Now, Salesforce is expanding Customer 360 with new capabilities aimed at further unifying customer engagement at scale.

Stephanie Buscemi, chief marketing officer at Salesforce, told the audience at Salesforce Connections in Chicago that Customer 360 is “our solution to give you a single platform to connect across sales, service, marketing, and commerce,” adding that the company has embedded AI in the solution to “abstract the complexity of it, take away the feeling that you have to have a degree or be a data scientist to do it.”

Eric Stahl, senior vice president of marketing at Salesforce, added that the vendor “has been focusing on really thinking about how do we build that single view of the customer and manage every customer touchpoint across departments and across channels.”

The next generation of Customer 360 has four key capabilities: data unification and consent management, audience segmentation, engagement, and artificial intelligence. First, it aims to enable companies to unify their customer data so they can create customer profiles, and its consent management framework simplifies the process of gaining customer consent wherever they engage, such as with email marketing and digital advertising.

Next, its audience segmentation enables companies to identify specific groups of people to engage with in real time based on customer data such as demographics and engagement history. For example, a company could build an audience of female shoppers interested in running shoes based on information gathered from marketing email interactions, previous purchases, and other activity.

Third, regarding engagement, once a company has an audience segment that they’d like to reach, Customer 360 can activate customer data across marketing, commerce, service, and other areas. For example, companies can reach customers and prospects across channels such as ads, email, social, mobile, and web in an integrated way that provides a seamless experience with their brand.

Finally, thanks to Salesforce’s Einstein AI, customer profiles are continuously updated based on customer behaviors such as clicking on an ad, buying a product, or opening an email, enabling companies to deliver more relevant recommendations to customers.

According to Theresa O’Neil, chief marketing officer at Showpad, a provider of a sales enablement platform, CDPs are part of a larger focus on delivering cohesive customer experiences across channels. “Tech giants’ moves to launch CDPs demonstrates the focus B2B companies are placing on creating streamlined, omnichannel customer experiences. Once the sales team gets involved, it’s essentially a black box, with zero awareness of who the customer is and a lack of insight into previous interactions with content and other sales materials. With disjointed information, salespeople can’t demonstrate unique business value, which thereby prevents them from hitting quota. And without bottom-of-the-funnel data and analytics, marketing can’t optimize content to support the sales team,” she says.

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