By Liz Spranzani, SVP of Development at Verndale, Kevin Schofield, Digital Strategy Director at Verndale, and Rick Cabral, Technical Architect at Verndale and Sitecore MVP
As with most businesses today, customer experience data is siloed. Many businesses have great clickstream analytics systems, comprehensive marketing automation programs, and sophisticated lead scoring methodologies. However, the major challenge is appending together all the data from disparate systems to truly understand how a customer engages with your business. To fully understand your company’s customer journey, you need to be able to connect the dots, and if you leverage Sitecore and Salesforce together, you are at an advantage with a more complete marketing data profile of your customer. Your company will be empowered to shape a 1:1 customer experience that will drive more leads and build long-lasting customer relationships.
Two powerhouses, the best of both worlds
Sitecore and Salesforce have teamed up in a partnership, bringing together the best of two worlds: Sitecore's leadership in content and digital experience management and Salesforce's leading capabilities in segmentation and campaign management. Our partnership is centered around the two most important tenets to meeting your foundational needs:
- Unified data
- Faster time to market
The by-product of this focus results in your ability to truly personalize, optimize, and speak to your customers at a 1:1 level through your content (from a web perspective), your campaigns (from an inbound marketing perspective), and your customer relationships (from a CRM perspective).
So what exactly does this look like?
How the Sitecore + Salesforce partnership benefits customers
Let's look at a Sitecore Fortune 500 insurance customer that uses long-tail nurture campaigns to help cross-sell specific products to targeted users. Within their company, customer experience data exists in three different systems: Back Office, Salesforce, and Sitecore. Manually synchronizing data for their campaigns took weeks because they had to prepare, step-by-step, the existing experience data, import relevant facts into various systems, and prepare methodologies to achieve results. Once the campaign responses started rolling in, synchronizing systems and analysis were completely manual, slow, and error-prone. Leads were double-entered into campaigns, received inappropriate follow-up messaging, or simply dried up waiting for action.
This company needed a hands-off, automated way to cross-sell/up-sell to these very targeted customers. Manual intervention between systems needed to be reduced or eliminated, enabling their marketers to focus on real-time analysis of results and optimization of communications. Using Sitecore and Salesforce together, we simplified cross-selling campaigns from preparation-heavy annual campaigns to a series of always-on customer marketing automation plans. This provided a very powerful solution executed with tools the customer already owned.
Diagram: Follow data and content as it flows between Salesforce (on the left) and Sitecore (on the right) through the Sitecore Connector (middle).
By using Sitecore and Salesforce together, the company now has a singular, unified picture of their customers across all their systems. This picture stays up-to-date as their customers interact with them on an ongoing basis. They are able to target email campaigns and customer segments with laser-focused personalization. Goal and event-oriented reporting allow them to tweak the campaigns and personalization rules to better achieve their goals. Their customers feel like they are understood, and they appreciate the recommendations for relevant additional products and no longer receive irrelevant or unwanted messages. Most importantly, the messaging is aligned across email, web, and mobile, creating a more seamless experience for the on-the-go customer. The company’s marketers and sales members can now work off each other's activities, which are well-aligned to common goals, and they’re grateful not to be bogged down with painstaking data reconciliation that previously plagued digital campaigns.
Let's take a look at how data and content are unified.
Sitecore's Salesforce CRM Connector
The Salesforce CRM Connector keeps all your information about your customers in sync between Sitecore and Salesforce. This bi-directional connector allows the exchange of contacts (custom fields included), Sitecore interactions, Salesforce tasks, and email tasks. Each task in Salesforce is represented in Sitecore by an interaction and an event, including all the associated details. Going back in the other direction, when Sitecore's contact information is updated, it is pushed back through to Salesforce. If Sitecore® Email Experience Manager™ (EXM) sends out an email message, that event can be mapped back into a task in Salesforce, including the message information and contact data.
Sitecore's Salesforce Marketing Cloud Connector
This connector transfers managed content within Sitecore to the Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email Studio and Journey Builder. Media content such as images and files will be synced into Salesforce and can then be used within Salesforce email campaigns. This benefit alone is worthwhile because of the increased efficiency and consistency of not having to manage assets in multiple places. The next release of functionality includes updating Salesforce subscriber information with Sitecore contact data, involving passing behavioral data to Salesforce Data Extensions. This opens the door to personalizing Salesforce-originated emails based on the information that Sitecore has collected. Future Sitecore Marketing Cloud Connector functionalities include the integration of Sitecore with Salesforce Marketing Cloud's Journey Builder, and the exposure of Sitecore-hosted content and data within the Salesforce Email Studio and Mobile Studio.
Next steps for delivering personalization
If you already have both Sitecore and Salesforce, this power is yours to command. Start brainstorming the best ways to leverage it for your business. If you don't yet have one of these platforms, it would behoove you to consider this powerful synergy. Personalization can be a daunting task that is made far easier with Sitecore and Salesforce working together for you, regardless of whether you already have a strong content and data strategy or if your organization is just at the beginning of its journey.
Liz Spranzani (@espranzani), Kevin Schofield, Rick Cabral (@sitecorerick) are all team members of Verndale – For over a decade, Verndale has been a premier Sitecore partner for designing, developing, and evolving digital platforms that empower marketers to own the experience of every customer who engages with their brand, across every channel. Learn more on their site.