Customer 360 Mantra Manifests In The Customer Data Platform

Over 12,000 customers from 40+ countries convened at Chicago's McCormick Center for the annual Salesforce Connections conference. Stephanie Buscemi, CMO, welcomed the audience and key customers such as Conagra, Indiana Pacers, and State Farm to the stage. Key highlights from the event include:

Photo: @rwang0

  • Marketing Cloud receives new Einstein AI email marketing enhancements. AI powered capabilties include engagement frequency, send time optimization, and content tagging.  Additional enhancements include transactional messaging.
  • Service Cloud gains channels menu and Einstein Bots. The "Contact Us" page goes bye-bye as chat takes hold through Facebook Messenger, SMS, WeChat, What’sApp, web chat, and voice. New bots build intent models to match incidents to resolutions.
  • Commerce Cloud adds a low code designer and Mulesoft Accelerator. New Commerce Page Designer gives users more control to create, preview, schedule, and reuse content. Einstein Product Recommendations optimize content acceleration. New Mulesoft Accelerator adds integration and best practices with product configuration, social market places, and chat bots.
  • Customer Data Platform ushers in next generation of Customer 360. Salesforce moves beyond the traditional CDP to include data management, identity, consent, and activation across marketing, sales, service, and commerce. Einstein Insights will use AI to help power next best action.

Figure 1. Event Report: #CNX19 Returns To the Customer 360 Theme


Figure 2. Q&A With The Key Product Leaders

Photo: @rwang0

Figure 4. Twitter Moments for #CNX19

The Bottom Line: Customer 360 Remains The Elusive Goal

The elusive goal of creating a holistic view of customers remains despite over 25 years of CRM innovations. The objective hasn’t changed, but hopefully technology provides a higher likelihood of success. Despite the ongoing challenge, Salesforce continues to make key product investments on the way to supporting an AI driven approach to marketing, sales, service, and commerce.

When it comes to Customer 360, however, it’s still difficult to separate the current reality from the vision. Customer 360 was the big announcement at Connections 2018. This year’s event brought some concrete advances, including planned general release of the Customer Resolution Engine in November 2019. This provides the unique key that links customer identity across all Salesforce clouds, routing data and events as needed.

The biggest announcement of this year’s event was…also Customer 360. This time in the form of a customer data platform. Is this a tacit admission that CRM hasn’t turned out to be everything it promised to be? Perhaps. In any case, it’s further confirmation that CRM isn’t the only source of customer data and that pulling everything together, at least functionally, is a growing problem customers want solved.

Salesforce has the vision right, but it’s not alone. Microsoft, Oracle, Adobe, and SAP are all working on their own approaches to the problem of building a holistic view of the customer. Salesforce is behind in its announcement. That said, the company has many of the building blocks required to execute on its vision and the customer base to make it a top priority.

The message that came through loud and clear at Connections 2019 is that Salesforce has a solid understanding of what its customers want and need to do. Things are looking good on the front end. Now the company has to execute on making everything on the back end work—easily and effectively—for customers.