Embracing the Salesforce XRM Evolution with Enterprise-Wide Integrations
Founded in 1999, Salesforce’s technology has evolved significantly over the last two decades. What started out as pure play customer relationship management (CRM) software has evolved to encompass so much more as a “XRM” solution. The “X” in XRM speaks to the growing use and impact of Salesforce beyond traditional areas—sales, marketing, customer service—to anywhere in the company’s enterprise and extended ecosystem. From operations, finance and online commerce to supplier relationships and supply chain management, Salesforce can help you drive sales, grow revenue and manage every touchpoint along the customer journey.
The key to these XRM capabilities? Integrating Salesforce with other business-critical systems and databases. When Salesforce is integrated with core workflows in your ERP, billing, web services and so on, organizations can take the customer experience to an even greater level—attaining 360-degree nirvana from initial contact to post-purchase support and ongoing customer relations.
The result: companies can deliver a truly frictionless, self-service experience. For example, instead of having to painstakingly submit a ticket, send multiple emails and then wait for an answer on a single billing question, customers can log into a portal and instantly access their invoice along with other key financial and service information. It’s immediate information at their fingertips and provides the level of customer service and engagement that saves time and improves overall satisfaction.
Achieving the Promise of Salesforce XRM
The fact is, given Salesforce’s evolution and growing impact across the business, it’s rare to find a standalone Salesforce deployment. Companies are leveraging Salesforce across different departments and functions and understand the benefits of integration, especially as they move processes to the cloud and gain unprecedented views across their business.
The ultimate goal is to deliver a truly frictionless, 360-customer experience, but understanding how to successfully integrate Salesforce across workflows is more than a technical task. It requires both a functional and technical understanding of the various systems, how people are using them and, ultimately, how those workflows should operate in the ideal scenario.
As mentioned in our previous blog, Salesforce is generally purchased by business line leaders. But to achieve the promise of Salesforce XRM, there needs to be greater cross-department coordination and expertise to help guide the transformation. So, who is taking on this responsibility? And how do you get started? Here are three key areas to look at as you consider integrating Salesforce across your business.
- Understand your goals: As with any major company-wide initiative, you want to kick off your Salesforce integration by identifying your overarching business goals. Maybe you’re a commerce company that wants to minimize customer complaints or product returns. Or, perhaps you’re a manufacturer looking to streamline the procurement process. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to first understand what you’re looking to achieve from a business perspective—because, without a clear roadmap, it’s impossible to develop an effective Salesforce strategy and gain the stakeholder buy-in and cross-departmental support needed to implement, train and effectively support the integration.
- Assess your environment: Once your business goals are defined, you can then move on to assessing your environment to determine how both the technology and people within will help you achieve them. From a technology perspective, determine what systems your company is currently using (e.g., CRM, commerce, finance, ERP, HR, etc.), how each supports core business workflows and how the integration may need to develop to achieve the ideal use case. Similarly, map out your internal and external ecosystem—from employees and customers, to partners and suppliers—and determine each group’s role in developing and maintaining new processes and workflows. Successful implementations and integrations take an optimal balance of people, processes and technologies, so you want to get this part right before starting the execution phase.
- Execute with the right expertise: We already talked about the importance of having resources with both functional and technical expertise when executing a Salesforce XRM integration. So, the next question becomes: Do you have the right resources in house? For many companies in the mid-market with limited resources and ongoing staffing shortages, the answer is no. This is where outside expertise can be extremely valuable. The right digital transformation partner can support you with deep expertise across major enterprise technologies and applications—Salesforce, SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, etc.—and accelerate your time to value with custom-built Salesforce applications and accelerators. Ultimately, the right partner will work with key stakeholders, provide guidance on integration points and workflows, and then help you execute on that roadmap to achieve your goals.