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      What is Salesforce? Is It CRM, CSM, or Both?

      Jan 24, 2024

      4 minute read

      Salesforce, the king of all software solutions, empowers businesses to build efficient business processes.

      They currently dominate 23% of the CRM market and over 150,000 businesses actively use its solutions[i].

      Salesforce has a presence in almost every sector ranging from IT, manufacturing, finance, and healthcare.

      But what is Salesforce in the real sense?

      Is it a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or CSM (Customer Success Management) platform?

      Before you get the answer to this question, you need to understand what CRM and CSM do.

      A CRM is a platform to manage and build relationships and interact with your existing and potential customers.

      CSM is all about ensuring that your customers achieve desired results with a particular product or service. It involves extensive customer engagement and guidance to win customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.

      Salesforce terms itself as a “Customer Company” and its commitment to this vision shines through in every facet of its operations.

      It effectively allows businesses to build thriving customer relationships through its cloud platforms. These platforms are dedicatedly built for Sales, Customer Service, Marketing, and more operations.

      Salesforce is a robust CRM solution that follows all principles of customer success management.

      So, it won’t be wrong to say that “Salesforce is a versatile tool that can be used as both CRM and CSM”.

      So, which one is it? Let us decode this.

      Understanding Salesforce in Detail

      Salesforce is a comprehensive suite of platforms that help businesses connect to their customers, reach out to prospects, and deliver exceptional customer service.

      Its Customer 360 platform utilizes “AI and Data” to unite your marketing, sales, commerce, and IT teams in a single CRM platform. This way it provides reliable data as a single source of truth so teams to be more productive and make smarter decisions.

      Here is a brief overview of CRM capabilities in Salesforce:

      1. Building a Unified Customer View:

      • Centralized Data Hub: Consolidate all customer information (contact details, interactions, preferences, purchase history) into one secure, accessible location.
      • 360-Degree Customer View: Gain a holistic understanding of each customer across sales, marketing, and support interactions.
      • Segmentation and Targeting: Divide customers into groups based on relevant criteria for personalized campaigns and experiences.

      2. Streamlining Customer Journeys:

      • Sales Pipeline Management: Define and automate your sales process for efficient lead nurturing, deal conversion, and forecasting.
      • Marketing Automation: Create personalized email campaigns, workflows, and recommendations based on customer behavior and data.
      • Self-Service Portals: Empower customers to find answers and resolve issues independently through knowledge bases and support communities.

      3. Enhancing Customer Engagement:

      • Omnichannel Support: Provide seamless support across multiple channels (email, phone, chat, social media) for convenient customer interactions.
      • Loyalty Programs and Rewards: Design and manage loyalty programs to incentivize repeat business and foster customer loyalty.
      • Personalized Touchpoints: Send targeted birthday messages, product recommendations, and special offers based on individual preferences.

      4. Fostering Customer-Centric Culture:

      • Collaboration Tools: Break down silos and enable better communication and teamwork between sales, marketing, and support teams.
      • Data-driven Insights: Analyze customer data to understand their needs, preferences, and pain points, informing decisions across the organization.
      • Continuous Improvement: Track customer satisfaction and feedback to identify areas for improvement and adapt your strategies accordingly.

      5. Integrating With External Tools:

      • AppExchange: Add pre-built applications and integrations to extend Salesforce functionality and cater to specific needs.
      • Custom Development: Build unique extensions and workflows to personalize and enhance specific customer experience aspects.

      Understanding Customer Success Capabilities Within Salesforce

      Customer Success Capabilities Within Salesforce

      Salesforce can be your comprehensive Customer Success Command Center. With its capabilities to onboard customers, manage individual accounts, and cross/upsell opportunities, customer success managers can make their day-to-day tasks easier.

      Here is a brief overview of CSM capabilities in Salesforce:

      Customer Onboarding and Implementation

      • Pre-built Onboarding Journeys: Automate and personalize the onboarding process with customizable workflows and templates, ensuring a smooth transition from prospect to valued customer.
      • Guided Adoption Tools: You can take advantage of interactive walkthroughs and in-app guidance to help customers quickly grasp the platform’s capabilities.
      • Expert Integration Support: The pre-built connectors and Salesforce consulting services seamlessly integrate your solutions with customer workflows.

      Continuous Education and Training

      • Knowledge Base and Learning Portals: Equip your customers with a comprehensive library of self-service resources, including articles, tutorials, and video demos, accessible at their fingertips.
      • Personalized Training Programs: Craft bespoke training modules tailored to each customer’s specific needs and goals, ensuring optimal product utilization.
      • Community Forums and Peer-to-Peer Learning: Build a collaborative environment with Experience Cloud where customers can share best practices and learnings, fostering a sense of community and ongoing engagement.

      Unwavering Account Management

      • 360-Degree Customer View: Gain a holistic understanding of each customer’s journey with powerful dashboards and reporting tools, allowing you to anticipate their needs and proactively address any concerns.
      • Automated Workflows and Triggers: Streamline routine tasks and stay on top of key milestones with customizable automation, freeing up your time for personalized interactions.
      • Real-Time Health Scoring: Monitor customer health in real-time with pre-defined metrics and triggers, enabling early intervention and proactive engagement to prevent churn.

      One Platform, Two Powerhouses: Salesforce Unites CRM and CSM

      Salesforce empowers both Sales and Customer Success for your organization. It works as a CRM by providing a complete picture of each customer for streamlined sales operations and targeted marketing. With capabilities such as proactive account management, data-driven optimization, and community building, it emerges as a strong platform with a blend of capabilities required in CRM and CSM.

      The Verdict

      Salesforce offers the core functionalities of any robust CRM system, from managing contact information and sales pipelines to automating workflows and generating reports. And all these capabilities are infused with Customer Success Management principles, ensuring it’s not just about managing data, but actively driving customer outcomes.

      So, it won’t be wrong to say that, Salesforce serves as an effective CRM and CSM as well.

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      Our Salesforce experts and customer success managers have extensive experience in building relationships and nurturing customers to turn them into brand advocates. Should you need any assistance, drop us a line at [email protected] and we will take it up right away.

      Statistical References:

      [i] Salesforce

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