May 08, 2024
Technology Solution Delivery

Salesforce Data Cloud: What You Need to Know

What Is Salesforce Data Cloud?

Across industries, customers expect personalized engagement and seamless interactions. Salesforce has long been a leading engine for driving and refining these aspects of the customer journey, and now they’re pushing those capabilities further with Salesforce Data Cloud. With Salesforce Data Cloud, you can create a truly centralized view of your customers with data from throughout your enterprise.

Here’s an overview of Salesforce Data Cloud, some of its key features and use cases, and tips for using it successfully.

What is Salesforce Data Cloud?

Salesforce Data Cloud allows you to unify, segment, and activate your data inside and outside of Salesforce. It can source data from Snowflake, backend databases, Azure, Synapse, or other Salesforce instances.

It allows you to create a 360-degree view of your customers inside of a single platform. With the insights that 360-degree provides, you can develop a deeper understanding of the customer journey and deliver more personalized experiences.

Example Use Cases

  • Zero in on the most promising leads to pursue. Use highly detailed customer information, from demographics to interactions, to determine which prospects are ideal to pursue.
  • Offer personalized discounts. If you host your transaction data in Snowflake and manage customer service with another tool, customer service agents can see all of a caller’s transactions in Salesforce Data Cloud. They can offer personalized discounts based on items related to previous transactions.
  • Track the impact of each interaction. Import data from external sources to see all of your customer interactions in one place: email clicks, website visits, mobile app engagement, and in-store activity. Track trends to see which interactions drive the most sales. 
  • Trigger automated alerts to freeze transactions across your enterprise for a customer who reports fraudulent activity on their account.

Salesforce Data Cloud is an evolution of what used to be called Salesforce CDP. The latter product was sunsetted and overhauled into Salesforce Data Cloud in 2023.

How Does Salesforce Data Cloud Work?

Salesforce Data Cloud pulls data from the various platforms you use to create a unified profile of your customers. Transaction data, demographics, marketing insights, and more are all consolidated into a single view. 

It uses metadata to provide a common language for all of your data, regardless of whether it’s stored in a Salesforce platform or other low-code application. It also helps prepare your data to use AI applications. 

Salesforce Data Cloud Capabilities and Benefits

Salesforce Data Cloud has several key capabilities that make it a powerful tool for consolidating customer data and taking action on it. 

Zero Clone ETL

Whereas other platforms must ingest data to use it, Salesforce Data Cloud can immediately act on data from various sources without having to import it. Zero ETL reduces the volume and complexity of your data. It also makes it easier to protect sensitive information since data doesn’t have to reside in multiple tools.

This makes Salesforce Data Cloud especially beneficial for healthcare organizations that need to follow strict regulations for data privacy and protection while implementing data-driven marketing programs.

360-Degree Customer View

Salesforce Data Cloud breaks down data silos between the many applications you use to build a 360-degree view of your customers. With a full, accurate picture of the customer journey, you can derive marketing insights and provide customized experiences.

Built for the Enterprise

Salesforce Data Cloud was created to provide customer data to anyone in a customer-facing role. Customer data platforms are typically targeted to marketers. However, marketing teams aren’t the only ones engaging with customers or playing a role in the customer journey. Salesforce Data Cloud opens up the capabilities of a 360-degree view to everyone.

Tips for Implementing Salesforce Data Cloud

Implementing Salesforce Data Cloud is a complex process. Successfully integrating your data requires careful coordination of people, processes, and technology. Use these tips to set yourself up for success.

Identify Stakeholders and Users

A successful implementation incorporates feedback from those who will use and be impacted by the platform. Start engaging with stakeholders and users early to ensure their needs are met, and they receive the training to use Salesforce Data Cloud effectively.

Identify Your Data Sources

Before diving into implementation, get a clear idea of where you will source data from. Example sources may include the following:

  • Salesforce CRM and Marketing Cloud
  • Snowflake
  • Databricks
  • Azure
  • Synapse
  • AWS S3

Improve the Quality of Your Backend Data

Salesforce Data Cloud is a powerful tool, but it can’t work magic if the data being ingested is of poor quality. Before implementing it, it’s essential that you improve data governance and management practices. 

For example, if there is no Master ID number used across platforms for every customer, then there’s no way to accurately track transactions and interactions by customer. You can’t be sure that the transaction data in your BI platform lines up with the mailing list in your marketing automation tool.

When you have a solid understanding of your data and a consistent approach to managing it, you can be confident that the information and automations in Salesforce Data Cloud are working as you expect.

What’s Next for Salesforce Data Cloud?

Salesforce is constantly improving Data Cloud. Looking ahead, expect the number of ready-made connectors to increase, making it even easier to integrate disparate third-party data sources to create a unifying customer profile.

In the future, you also may be able to use Salesforce Data Cloud to modify data that’s hosted on these other platforms. So, if a customer service representative sees an error in a customer’s purchase history, they can correct it within Salesforce Data Cloud without needing to access the data source. 

The Key to a Successful Implementation: Expertise

Salesforce Data Cloud is still in its early stages. Implementing it on your own can be challenging, as best practices for specific use cases are still being developed.

Working with an established Salesforce consultant like Kenway can make a difference. They can bring learnings from previous implementations, as well as expert insights on Salesforce in general, to help you navigate the process. An expert can also refine your data governance and management capabilities before and during onboarding so you can execute activations with confidence.

In addition to the technical aspects of implementation, a consultant can also help you get buy-in from stakeholders throughout the organization to purchase Salesforce Data Cloud. At Kenway, we help our clients make the business case for investing in technology, with potential use cases and ROI.

Are you interested in exploring Salesforce Data Cloud’s potential for your organization? Connect with a Kenway Salesforce expert to learn more. 

Salesforce Data Cloud FAQs

Is Salesforce Data Cloud A CDP?

Salesforce Data Cloud is billed as the next generation of customer data platforms (CDP). It allows you to centralize customer data from across the enterprise into a single platform so everyone customer-facing can leverage insights to deliver better experiences.

How Much Does Salesforce Data Cloud Cost?

Salesforce Data Cloud’s pricing structure is based on usage. The Data Cloud Starter for Marketing costs $108,000 per year, which includes 10 million Data Services Credits and 5TB of data storage While the list price is $108,000, there may be room for negotiation and deals on Data Cloud purchases. Contact your Salesforce Account Executive for pricing discussions and potential discounts. You can also purchase add-ons and additional credits.

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