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Salesforce Launches CDP in Customer 360

Salesforce Connections 2019 kicked off its first full day with major product news, a CDP within the next gen Customer 360, as the Salesforce platform —
encompassing sales, marketing, commerce, service, and the other offerings — is now known.

Describing the new customer journey, SVP of product marketing Eric Stahl told the Connections audience, “Is it marketing, commerce, sales, or service? I don’t know, I don’t care. It’s that continuous experience which makes it amazing.” He described the announcement as a “major new product. A full blown CDP [coming] into the world’s number one CRM.”

In her keynote, CMO Stephanie Buscemi put the development in historic context. “Salesforce has been focused on CRM for 20 years, and yes, when we started, we focused on sales. But our portfolio has evolved greatly.” The extendable platform grew organically (Service Cloud), and through acquisition (Exact Target as the foundation of Marketing Cloud; Demandware setting up Commerce Cloud). “All on the path,” she said, “to the single view of the customer across every touchpoint.”

The Customer 360 CDP News

As part of Salesforce Customer 360, the CDP is aimed at giving brands the ability to deliver personalized engagement across marketing, commerce, sales and service.

The Customer 360 platform, announced at Dreamforce last year, is geared to creating a unified customer profile, based both on data within Salesforce, and external data from any source, leveraging the capabilities of Mulesoft.

The new capabilities allow advanced audience segmentation, based on access to real-time data, as well as rapid execution against these segments across marketing, commerce, and service, delivering a continuous cross-channel experience.

The outreach can be optimized based on Einstein Insights (AI tracking customer reactions), and it’s all based on the Salesforce consent management framework.

To be candid, no crystal ball was needed to know Salesforce would hit the ground running on the CDP question. It was no surprise, too, that Adobe and Oracle stepped out with CDP announcements yesterday. Having reinvented themselves as customer experience suites, the major players in this space are all now laser-focused on how to combine the data from their multiple offerings, and make it instantly actionable.

As Buscemi admitted, “stitching together every single touch-point isn’t easy.” For a closer look, I reached out to Patrick Stokes, SVP of product management for Customer 360.

“What we’re launching is a consumer data platform, so to speak, embedded natively into Salesforce, to act as a storage layer for all the consumer data and interactions that you have. All of the transactions they’re making, all the products they’re purchasing, all the cases they’re opening, really any data that’s relevant. Emails they click, visits to your website, clicking in your mobile app. We’re building an audience segmentation engine on top of that. From there we’re connecting it to our activation engines, to send an SMS or email, or go through Google or Facebook to place an ad. Finally, an insights engine on top of that, collecting engagement data based on how the audience is interacting with the campaign.”

The aim? “We think that it will take a lot of the pain away from brands, bringing all this data together,” said Stokes. “We can then run Einstein on top of it, run marketing automation on top of it.” The vision, however, Stokes explained, is to extend the CDP category. “With an independent CDP, you go through a lot of effort to get all your data into this database. But then using the data is another IT project, to get the data back to the CRM, say, or the call center.”

The key is close integration with Salesforce’s existing CRM offerings. “When you turn this thing on, your CRM data is just there,” including sales, service, commerce, and marketing. “When it comes to activating the data, that’s where we also think we differentiate. Our Lightning platform will be able to read directly from the CDP, and build a UI on top of it.” 

Stokes agrees that it’s no surprise Salesforce’s competitors are moving in similar directions. “I think they’re seeing the same thing we’re seeing, the demand for a more connected experience for customers. I think what’s different about us is that you’ll see [at Connections] a tangible set up: this is what we are doing, these are the pieces of technology we’re building, this is when it will come out, as opposed to some of the vagueness we’re seeing from some of the other players in the space.”

Salesforce covered DMN’s expenses to attend Connections 2019

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