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Salesforce Connections: 4 Key Customer Data Insights

Digital and marketing technologists and executives from around the world descended on Chicago, Illinois, for Salesforce’s annual Connections conference, celebrating all things marketing, commerce, and digital consumer. The first in-person version of the conference since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Salesforce Connections 2022 was an opportunity to reconnect and network face-to-face (or mask-to-mask) during sessions that spanned topics including Salesforce Customer 360, headless commerce, marketing innovation, Slack, and more.

Kyle Montgomery
Vice President, Salesforce Commerce, at Astound Commerce

“Commerce, marketing, sales, service, acquisition, loyalty, growth. Salesforce Connections was an energy-infused forum focused on the interconnected strategies and solutions that drive our economic growth,” says Astound Commerce Global CEO Michael Kahn. “A true tour de force!"

Here are key insights from the Astound Commerce crew who were onsite at the event.

It seems there are more tools than ever to help guide businesses to a “single view of the customer,” which is a bit ironic. The more systems we add to our ecosystem, the harder it can feel to achieve that “single” view. 

“Salesforce has been continuously expanding their platform for both broad and vertical capabilities,” says Mark Foulkrod, Astound Global Vice President, Salesforce Practice. “In addition to growing the platform organically, Salesforce has eclipsed 100 investments in acquisitions, companies, and technologies.” 

Salesforce’s Customer 360 platform offers data cleansing and synchronization that helps merchants achieve that single view, merging data across systems. But that’s just one step of the personalization journey. Once a business has the data, they need to act on it. That’s where tools such as Marketing Cloud Customer Data Platform (CDP) come into play, seamlessly converting customer data into customer insights into customer actions.

The loop between data, analytics, insights, actions, and measurement can lead to tremendous results using Customer 360 and Marketing Cloud CDP, while Salesforce will innovate to meet the market with solutions such as NFT Cloud.

1. Salesforce partners with TikTok to elevate social selling

As people continue to spend more time on TikTok, brands are discovering new ways to engage consumers with relevant ads and experiences. Salesforce can now help with this. The company announced new TikTok integration between Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Marketing Cloud CDP at Connections—see our recent article by Dan Malachowski, Astound Vice President, Demand Practice, on what this means for your brand. 

2. Slack, Tableau, NFT Cloud, and more innovations

Your company might be a remote-first workplace, but is it a Slack-first workspace? Imagine being able to run the tools of your business—including Marketing Cloud and Commerce Cloud—all from integrations in Slack? Imagine reaching data-driven, visual insights using Tableau.

Salesforce showed Connections attendees how Slack API and Tableau SDK could be used to integrate to Marketing Cloud and Commerce Cloud to give operations team members even more power within more platforms. Additionally, new clouds were announced.

“Most recently, Salesforce announced NFT Cloud as their no-code solution to enable users to mint, manage, and sell NFTs,” says Foulkrod. “While NFTs have some level of inherent controversy, Salesforce continues to expand the platform quickly to address specific market needs to drive relevant customer experiences.”

3. Salesforce Enables Social Commerce for the China Market

As many of us know, running ecommerce operations and engaging with consumers in China is . . . well . . . a bit different from other global markets. Navigating the restrictions of doing business behind the Great Firewall is about to get much easier with an elegant solution being developed by Salesforce in partnership with Alibaba Cloud.

The solution consists of a hosted application on Alibaba Cloud that has been designed to mirror the Lightning user interface Salesforce customers are already accustomed to that will manage customer, order, product, and other key data feeds to and from your current Salesforce environments. It then leverages pre-built integrations to Chinese social media platforms and websites to enable shopping experiences that meet consumers’ expectations without a heavy lift from your technical teams. With standard support of local payment systems such as Alipay, we believe the solution will be an amazing opportunity for retailers to take their first dip into potentially huge new revenue opportunities.

Commerce Trailblazers get their first Golden Hoodie

Finally, a bit of fun: Since the Demandware acquisition back in 2016, Salesforce B2C Commerce has had an awkward place in the Salesforce Trailblazer ecosystem. It’s a different technology platform, so a lot of the Trailhead and Trailblazer content out there just hasn’t applied to us. 

A big step toward full B2C Trailblazer ecosystem acceptance took place during the Connections Keynote, as the first B2C Commerce professional received the fabled Golden Hoodie! Congratulations to Thomas Theunen, an acquaintance of mine and fellow admin in the Unofficial Salesforce B2C Commerce Community Slack group

Salesforce Connections’ in-person return was a marketing and commerce success. It is always tremendously valuable to understand the state of Salesforce’s current offerings and its upcoming roadmap and, of course, to connect.

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