When it comes to customer experience management, small businesses often have a distinct advantage over larger rivals. Sales, marketing and customer service are usually tightly bound together simply because a small business doesn’t have enough staff to conduct business any other way.
Recognizing that requirement, Salesforce today unfurled Salesforce Essentials, a suite of cloud applications aimed at small businesses that combine the company’s customer relationship management and services applications into a single integrated offering.
Marie Rosecrans, senior vice president for small-to-medium (SMB) business for Salesforce, says this set of cloud applications provides smaller organizations with a guided on-boarding experience designed to make using the applications in combination with each other simpler. Critical to accomplishing the goal has been the development of a low-code Salesforce Lightning framework that helps blur the lines between various Salesforce cloud services.
While Salesforce Essentials is focused on sales and customer support, Rosecrans says Salesforce is loading up an instance of the Salesforce AppExchange online store with complementary third-party applications for small businesses that will, among other functions, provide access to complementary marketing applications. The goal is to enable end users that typically need to manage all those tasks to move seamlessly between applications that are all based the same customer record, says Rosecrans.
Those applications can be further extended by employing Salesforce Einstein artificial intelligence (AI) to proactively make customer experience recommendations or used to fuel an e-commerce application. Salesforce earlier this week announced it is acquiring CloudCraze, a provider of e-commerce software built on top of the Salesforce CRM application.
At the same time, Salesforce today announced it is retiring Desk.com customer service software and its IT service desk software in favor of Salesforce Sales or Salesforce Service Cloud.
“Customers will be given two years to make the transition,” says Rosecrans.
It’s clear that organizations of all sizes are starting to converge sales, marketing and services business processes as part of an effort to create a richer customer experience. The issue that many larger organizations will have to contend with is that it may be easier for smaller companies to press an advantage they already have even further.