Coinciding with this week's Dreamforce, McKinsey & Company and Salesforce announced a new collaboration to accelerate the introduction of generative AI for Sales, Marketing, Commerce, and Service.
It's reflective of the fact that partners continue to hold an important role in the Salesforce drive for growth.
In FY 23, just under three-quarters of Salesforce’s all-in annual contract value was achieved with partner attach, spanning both ISVs and system integrator partners in the Salesforce channel. Furthermore, 91% of deals over $1 million have consulting partners such as Accenture, Capgemini, Deloitte, IBM Bluewolf, and PwC Outbox involved.
Given Salesforce’s target of reaching $50 billion revenue by Jan 2026 FY, the role of these consulting partners can only increase in importance. But why will enterprises opt for higher value contracts involving consultancies? The answer largely lies with Salesforce 360.
What is Customer 360?
The principle of the concept of Customer 360 lies with the creation of a master customer record, by aggregating all the data about each customer from across the organization. Originally, this was largely focused on ensuring that static records in sales, marketing and customer services had correct name and address data so that each customer could be accurately identified at each interaction point. Nowadays, Customer 360 reaches from this almost nostalgically simple requirement right through to potentially enabling personalized real-time customer experiences in the metaverse.
The majority of digital transformation projects over the past decade have started with investment in customer-facing systems, and Salesforce continues to be in a strong technical position, as a SaaS-native player, to address this demand. Furthermore, investment in customer experience will continue as enterprises build on the rapid expansion of digital sales channels and touchpoints that occurred during the pandemic.
Creating a single view of each customer remains the holy grail of sales, but as the number of channels increase for customer engagement and transactions, it gets harder to achieve. The ability to bring together data from smartphone, laptop and tablet, via touchpoints spanning search, ads, and social media posts requires more tooling and better data science expertise to provide segmented user profiles from the data available. This is important to provide better personalisation and targeting as social media platforms emerge as sales channels.
So how do enterprises build these personalized and connected customer experiences, without creating more data silos?
Salesforce 360 promises to take you all the way to the Customer 360 goal
Salesforce 360 brings together Salesforce’s complete product and software suite on one platform enabling a single, shared view of customers across the organization. It pulls together sales, service and marketing data to deliver personalised customer experiences. New enhancements of Salesforce Data Cloud, being announced at this week's Dreamforce, add to this capability.
In the current market context, Salesforce 360 is actually a much-needed approach, even amongst existing Salesforce customers, as a recent IBM study (“Mine the gaps”, by IBM Institute of Business Value) found that almost half of the 1,100 organizations it polled are implementing Salesforce in a siloed manner.
These organizations, dubbed Salesforce Silo Specialists by IBM, are implementing different Salesforce clouds in select function areas without integrating these clouds. IBM found that only 12% of those surveyed are taking advantage of fully connecting Salesforce clouds across the enterprise, mining the data to share insights across functions. Yet IBM calculates that organizations that optimize their use of Salesforce in this way have achieved 40% higher average revenue per Salesforce license.
The interesting point that surfaces from this research is that many enterprises have already implemented multiple Salesforce clouds, they simply have not yet integrated them. And so, the pursuit of Salesforce 360 is a logical next step for enterprises to take to add business value.
Furthermore, the consulting partners that can assist in integration, are clear that this is not about creating custom-coded outcomes. The pursuit of Salesforce 360 is focused on data integration to take advantage of Salesforce’s configurable workflows, with best practice standards already developed for financial services, healthcare as well as life sciences and manufacturing, often with input from consulting partners.
IBM’s research suggests that once Salesforce clouds are integrated, enterprises are 54% more likely to apply AI to generate insights (watch out for some interesting developments in the Einstein product set at Dreamforce this week); 39% more likely to find new business opportunities; and 28% more likely to identify unmet customer needs.
The target market for Salesforce 360 is large and the pitch is compelling for enterprises seeking to digitally transform customer-facing functions, especially those that have already invested in multiple Salesforce clouds but have yet to fully integrate them. Salesforce 360 also offers benefits for Salesforce’s consultancy partners in that Salesforce 360 integration projects create larger, higher value, stickier engagements for them.
So, is this evidence of a clichéd “win, win, win” strategy between Salesforce, its customers and partners? In many ways it could prove to be so. However, it is also worth considering that enterprises really do not like putting a single vendor’s technology eggs in their baskets. So, for example, Salesforce 360 may struggle to pull through Tableau and Slack products and that might suit partner consultancies and system integrators whose real value proposition is their ability to work with multiple vendor technologies.