What is Salesforce? Top Uses, Features, and Tools (2022)

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If you’ve ever gone shopping for a CRM, it’s impossible to miss the Salesforce name. The company has revenues of over $13 billion, is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and the tallest building in San Francisco bears its name.

This obviously means the company is doing something right, and we certainly liked its software as well, giving it a solid rating (including a very high rating for its features).

But how does Salesforce work and is it right for your business? It is important that you understand a little more about what it has to offer before making a decision.

Overview: What is Salesforce CRM?

Salesforce CRM is a cloud-based CRM software solution that provides typical CRM functionality as well as enterprise solutions focused on customer service and automation.

The platform aims to unify marketing, inside sales, commerce and services into one platform so that businesses using it have a holistic view of their customers and how to reach them.

Salesforce CRM executive dashboard displaying charts and pie charts to illustrate sales, closed deals, and other relevant sales information.

Salesforce has a highly visual executive dashboard that helps you see where the sales team is at. Image source: author

Salesforce also says its software will allow you to create more personalized marketing campaigns and respond quickly to customer needs. The software also allows you to create custom applications to further tailor the software to your individual business needs. It is intended for organizations of all sizes, from enterprise to sole proprietorship.

What is Salesforce for?

Salesforce software is used to manage customer relationships and help organizations move customers through the sales funnel to a sale.

It also helps manage marketing efforts and connects the marketing team with the company’s sales management and account management teams so that the entire organization reaches out to customers in a unified way that do not confuse or alienate them. Salesforce can manage your contacts, track opportunities, create custom reports, automate marketing campaigns, and more.

If you’re curious about how Salesforce works in great detail, you can follow a tutorial on its website or explore its extensive database of articles. Here is a more general overview of what you can expect from this software.

Using Salesforce for Contact Management

The software offers a complete view of all customers, allowing you to click on a contact and dive deeper into activity history, all communications you’ve had with them, and even detailed insights gleaned from social media. .

Since the software is cloud-based, you can access this data on the go from your phone, which can put important client data in front of you when you go to a client meeting.

Salesforce CRM contact import screen with prompt asking what type of data the user wants to upload.

Salesforce allows you to import your contacts into the software. Image source: author

Using Salesforce for Opportunity Management

The software allows you to create an overall picture of all the deals your team is pursuing. You’ll be able to log into the sales dashboard and immediately see where each opportunity is in terms of stage, what products are involved, and any upcoming actions that need to be taken.

Salesforce CRM opportunity screen with ability to sort opportunities by name, account name, stage, and close date.

The software sorts your opportunities by name, stage, close date and other criteria. Image source: author

You can also customize this aspect of the software so that it only focuses on the details of the individual opportunity your team is interested in.

Using Salesforce for Marketing Automation

Salesforce uses artificial intelligence to automatically identify new customer segments and which customers are most likely to be qualified leads, which is essential for effective lead management and prospecting. This allows you to target the right customers at the right time, increase your efficiency, and attract more leads that are more likely to buy.

The software also automatically collects data from your customer interactions to create a comprehensive view, then tailors messages to each customer based on those profiles.

Using Salesforce for Customer Service

Customer retention and upselling are important parts of any sales team, which is why you need good customer service tools.

Salesforce CRM screen to create a new case with data for case owner, customer name, account name, etc.

You can quickly open a case to address a customer’s concern. Image source: author

The Salesforce program aims to create better customer relationships by enabling your employees to easily connect with customers and provide responses faster. It then creates service insights to help you improve not only your service, but also the performance of your sales and marketing teams.

Using Salesforce to Build Apps

Salesforce has built-in technology that lets you build your own apps to solve problems unique to your organization. You can also take apps you’ve created and make them instantly mobile.

You can also check out AppExchange, an app marketplace where other companies have created their own apps that you may find useful. For example, ZynBit — an app available on the AppExchange for a 14-day free trial — syncs email, calendar, tasks, and contacts, and tracks email opens and clicks to generate data and insights. more actionable information.

Using Salesforce for eCommerce

Salesforce also aims to create an integrated shopping experience that’s powered by artificial intelligence and works for both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) sales. It offers a mobile-friendly design that’s fast and features one-touch payments to improve conversion among this picky set of shoppers. It’s also customizable so you can create personalized experiences for your shoppers.

Key Features for All Salesforce Users

Salesforce can do a million things — and more — but there are a few standout features you should know about that go beyond the capabilities of typical CRM platforms.

1.AppExchange

By far, AppExchange is the most important feature offered by Salesforce, as it creates almost unlimited potential for the software.

Salesforce CRM AppExchange page with different integrations listed in a tiled layout.

You can find many additional tools on AppExchange. Image source: author

Whatever your needs, you should be able to find an app that will build on Salesforce and offer additional features that will help take your sales team to the next level. The only downside is that not all apps are free and some have a steep learning curve.

2. Customer cloud

This e-commerce feature helps you make sales by creating an integrated shopping experience that will allow your customers to place an order seamlessly. It also does a good job of converting mobile shoppers by catering to their unique shopping process and making it as easy as possible to purchase with one-touch checkout.

Customization options help ensure that it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution that might turn off your customer.

Salesforce CRM contact page with detailed information and a pop-up to handle phone calls in the app.

Salesforce lets you dig deeper into a contact’s information. Image source: author

3. Marketing cloud

Salesforce offers a highly automated and customizable email marketing solution. It uses artificial intelligence to identify new market segments and identify customers most likely to interact with your products. You can also use pre-made templates to reduce the amount of effort you spend on marketing, freeing up more time to close deals.

4. Collaborative forecasts

Salesforce uses this feature to help you predict future sales performance and better plan your future activities based on a realistic expectation of revenue from your sales pipeline. It has a “forecast hierarchy” that allows forecast managers to adjust the forecasts of their subordinates, and also allows those subordinates to make adjustments on the forecasts of users below them.

5. Workflow

Marketing isn’t all you can automate with Salesforce. You can also automate internal procedures and processes through the Salesforce Workflow feature by creating if/then rules.

Salesforce report screen displaying a line chart of quarterly performance and showing upcoming events and today's tasks

Salesforce shows you performance as well as upcoming tasks in your workflow. Image source: author

In other words, if you set an action to happen as long as a condition is met, the action happens automatically (or it doesn’t, if the criteria isn’t met). For example, a rule can ensure that management is alerted when the probability of winning an opportunity reaches a certain value.

Try Salesforce (and a few other options)

It’s a good overview of what Salesforce has to offer, but you won’t really know if the software is right for your business until you try it. Salesforce comes in four tiers: Essentials, Professional, Enterprise, and Unlimited.

You can try them all for free for 30 days, after which you should have a pretty good idea of ​​whether this is a software option you should go ahead with or look elsewhere.

Don’t forget to try other CRM software options — you might find a better fit with one of Salesforce’s many competitors.

About Octavia A. Dorr

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