Salesforce becoming ever more valuable for marketers – but data integration still a problem

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Two in three UK companies say Salesforce is more valuable to them today than this time last year, according to a report from Bluewolf.

Bluewolf – an IBM company but also a Salesforce strategic partner – issued its global State of Salesforce study, which this publication duly covered back in September. Yet the company’s latest missive shows UK businesses are ahead of the curve compared to their peers; 77% of UK companies polled can access Salesforce ‘anywhere, any time’ compared to 67% globally, while half say they have integrated one or more Salesforce clouds, against a 36% overall average.

“The UK is really embracing the Salesforce platform and its message of getting closer to customers,” Vera Loftis, Bluewolf UK managing director, tells MarketingTech. “We see those that are more fully invested are seeing greater ROI out of Salesforce and achieving their desired business outcomes faster.”

You’d expect to hear that of course; yet the integration of multiple clouds, from marketing to sales to service, and how businesses are reacting to it, is an interesting point. Speaking to this publication back in 2014 Scott Roth, then CMO of Return Path and now CEO of Jama Software, argued Salesforce’s strategy of merging its acquired technologies – such as Buddy Media, Radian6, and ExactTarget, Roth’s employer before joining Return Path – made sense. “I think all of the marketing clouds are doing a really good job of what’s really a very difficult exercise,” he said.

Loftis agrees, but adds a caveat. “Salesforce does a great job at dynamically integrating products into its platform, but customers don’t necessarily care about specific products or services,” she says. “They care about the functionality of technology, what they can do with it, how it solves their particular pain points, and ultimately, how it can create great brand experiences for their customers.

“Multi-cloud creates a commonality on the platform side, where shared resources can be accessed, transparency is unified, and department silos can be broken down to better align offerings, products and services across the customer journey and more accurately address customer needs,” adds Loftis, noting that as more UK companies see value in Salesforce, they’re more likely to invest.

This integration is not without its challenges, however; according to the research accessing different types of data was the biggest issue, ahead of substandard data quality and reconciling data from different sources or across different Salesforce organisations.

Loftis blames lack of integration for these teething troubles. “Today your data is your customer and the most valuable asset in delivering an exceptional experience. Yet access to data is the biggest barrier to deriving insights for both the UK and globally,” she says. “As companies begin to build out their Salesforce org and invest in more clouds – or integrate other systems – data quality and access will improve. From there, business outcomes like efficiency, visibility, collaboration, and adoption all improve.”

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