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Salesforce Data Cloud is a Game Changer

Salesforce Data Cloud is here to help enterprises move from being transaction centric to information based. Recording sales, processing orders, and tracking customer interactions through various processes is what helped Salesforce grow to one of the world’s largest enterprise software companies. Typically, Salesforce is one node in a complex network of loosely integrated applications and services. Modern data warehousing and data lakes have served as a hub to bring disparate data sources together for analysis. Data Cloud aims to solve integrating disparate data for analysis and action.

Salesforce Data Cloud 

Activating data into assets into decisions and actions across systems is hard work. Salesforce Data Cloud offers a comprehensive suite of tools to create relationships not only be tween disparate systems, but also data lakes and data warehouses. Salesforce is leaning on modern standards and learning into Snowflake, DataBricks, and Google Cloud. Acknowledging and integrating existing data cloud investments is a big part of Salesforce’s vision to “bring your own data lake.”

So far most of the messaging and examples for activating Data Cloud are facilitating better data-driven customer experiences . It sounds great in writing, but the journey for enterprises will require true cross discipline and organization collaboration.

CRM Transactional System of Record

CRM systems have traditionally served as the transactional system of record, capturing customer interactions, sales transactions, and service requests. While valuable, these transactional records often provide a limited view of customer relationships and preferences. Salesforce Data Cloud expands on this foundation by integrating additional data sources and enriching customer profiles with contextual insights, behavioral data and centralizing many customer signals.

Salesforce CRM

How Salesforce Data Cloud Organizes Data Graphs

Salesforce CRM organizes a relational model that connects accounts, contacts, and activities. Data Cloud creates a data graph that establishes connections based on various objects, including purchase history, communication channels, social interactions, and demographic data. Learn more about Salesforce Data Graph Structures

This graph structure is powerful when implemented, but integrating disparate data into Data Cloud requires the same expertise, thoughtful design, and deep understanding of data / meta-data management. 

Salesforce Data Cloud Connects to Disparate Business Applications and Data Clouds

One of the strengths of Salesforce Data Cloud lies in its ability to connect to disparate systems meta-data all within a common and familiar Salesforce cloud. Putting structured and semi structured data from business applications, cloud tools, and other data lakes are possible.  Whether it’s CRM platforms, marketing automation tools, social media channels, e-commerce platforms, Data Cloud integrates data from diverse sources into a unified data graph. This integration eliminates data silos and timely data extraction and management processes to gain visibility needed to understand data relationships. 

Shift from Single Centralized System / Source of Truth 

Coupled with innovative “zero-copy” data integration via “bring your own data lake”, Data Cloud is primed to integrate many clouds like Snowflake, Databricks, and Google Cloud platform without the expensive and slow bottlenecks that can occur with big data and dealing with terabytes of information. The ultimate 360-degree view of a customer has been the battle cry for every business software product for years. Only a small fraction of enterprises that embarked on the journey have publicly shared their success and have also produced sustained growth numbers to match the success story.

Key Features of Salesforce Data Cloud 

Data Cloud Components

Data Governance

Data governance is another critical aspect of Salesforce Data Cloud. With robust security measures, data encryption, and compliance tools, organizations can ensure data integrity, privacy, and regulatory adherence. Additionally, advanced analytics and AI for deploying models, predictive analytics, and AI-driven insights are pivotal to putting data to action. 

Integration with Salesforce Ecosystem 

A key strength of Salesforce Data Cloud lies in its seamless integration with the broader Salesforce ecosystem. This integration extends to Salesforce CRM, Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, and other Salesforce products, creating a unified data environment. Furthermore, integration with third-party applications and APIs enhances functionality and flexibility, allowing organizations to customize data workflows and processes according to their specific needs.

This unified ecosystem streamlines data management, enhances collaboration across teams, and accelerates time-to-insight. Whether it’s enriching CRM data with external sources, automating micro-segmentation marketing campaigns based on event and time sensitive insights, or leveraging AI-driven analytics for sales forecasting, the integration capabilities of Salesforce Data Cloud empower organizations to extract maximum value from their data assets.

Data Governance and Compliance

In heightened data privacy concerns and regulatory scrutiny, Salesforce Data Cloud prioritizes data governance and compliance. Robust security measures, including data encryption, access controls, and audit trails, ensure that sensitive information remains protected at all times. Compliance tools help organizations adhere to industry regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA, and more, mitigating compliance risks and enhancing trust with customers.

Additionally, the growing emphasis on ethical data practices, transparency, and data privacy will shape the evolution of data cloud platforms. Salesforce’s commitment to data ethics, trust, and security positions Salesforce Data Cloud as a trusted partner in navigating the complexities of modern data management.

Challenges and Considerations 

While Salesforce Data Cloud offers immense value in concept, organizations may encounter certain challenges during implementation. These challenges may include data migration complexities, meta-data mapping, integration with legacy systems, and user training requirements. Addressing these challenges requires careful planning, stakeholder buy-in, and a phased approach to deployment. 

Getting Started with Salesforce Data Cloud

The future of data management revolves around agility, intelligence, and scalability. Salesforce Data Cloud is well-positioned to address emerging trends such as AI-augmented everything, machine learning, and real-time data processing. The convergence of data integration, analytics, and AI capabilities under one integrated platform is certainly attractive for enterprises vested in Salesforce.

Curated Salesforce Data Cloud Resources

Salesforce Data Cloud represents could represent a complete paradigm shift in how you think about Salesforce as a data integration platform. Conversely it could simply provide an opportunity to displace existing, expensive tooling that have been streamlined with Salesforce Data Cloud integrations and partnerships. Building and refining your strategy to transition from transaction-centric to information-driven solution should point to measurable results first. Your path to success starts with a clear data, analytics, and AI strategy.

Our team at DataTools Pro is thrilled to see how early adopters embrace Salesforce Cloud not only to displace previous technology investments, but also take a leap forward in customer service and engagement.

Salesforce Entity Relationship Diagrams Makes Visual Storytelling Simple

Salesforce ERD

One of the most useful tools in the admin or data professional’s toolkit are Salesforce entity relationship diagrams. Understanding conceptual and physical data models is difficult enough. A business stakeholder responsible for sales, marketing, and revenue typically has little interest in the Salesforce data model. When information coming out of Salesforce is incorrect, sometimes you need to revisit your existing data model.

Bringing Salesforce admin, data and business professionals together, sometimes a conceptual entity relationship diagram is very useful to algin to the same level of understanding to make the right forward decision. To help explain and prioritize data work for a client, I recently used our entity relationship diagram to pinpoint and explain the root cause of reporting problems.

Salesforce entity relationship diagrams

Real World Lead Attribution Use Case with Salesforce ERD

Lead attribution is one of the most important and challenging aspects of running your “got to market” stack. To do so requires attention to data consistency and quality. One of our customers had an ambitious and practical approach to connects Leads, Accounts, and Opportunities with a junction object called “Vintage”. The ability to automatically track a lead vintage (when the lead enters the funnel), is very useful to report funnel conversion and lifetime value. Reports for revenue and lifetime value by lead source is important for planning and budgeting independent of campaign activity.

To communicate the issue, I used the following DataTools Pro ERD Diagram to demonstrate the additional data relationships that were maintained. Additionally, I explained how existing reporting requirements could easily be achieved without the vintage object. The following is the exact picture I painted to describe the specific linkage that was effectively broken in the Lead Attribution Funnel.

Salesforce Attribution Diagram

Resolution with Empirical Proof

There were some objections to remove the Vintage object. During the meeting, I clicked to demonstrate where those data relationships are maintained. It was very effective to satisfy most objections in real time.

There was one objection we had to clear to deprecate the Vintage object. Using historical data analysis I discovered the Vintage objection use case occurred 1 in every 500 opportunities which made it a true edge case. Sometimes you engineer a solution to account for anticipated scenarios that rarely occur in real life; this was one of those cases.

The consensus was the vintage object and all of the processes needed to maintain it could be deprecated. Rather than trying to accomplish detailed lead attribution from the lead object, campaign and campaign members are used to capture clients that enter the funnel multiple times from multiple channels.

How to Build a Salesforce entity relationship diagrams for Free

Salesforce provides an out of the entity diagram for Salesforce administrators to visualize and manage the Salesforce data model. I find them useful for administration but not for sharing and distribution.

Build better, easier to visualize ERDs with DataTools Pro: Our desire to build a better ERD for Salesforce led us to create ERDs. Here are some of reasons you may want to check out the free diagraming capabilities we offer:

  • Simpler, minimal design
  • Exportable to single page document (SVG)
  • Connected directly to Salesforce
  • Custom views aligned to business topics and tech modules.

Your 2024 Tableau Salesforce Integration Guide

Tableau Salesforce

In this guide, we will walk you through the process of setting up Tableau Salesforce Cloud using the latest and greatest native integrations. Tableau Cloud natively integrates with Salesforce for enhanced security and access as the two clouds have become tightly knit together. In addition to the nuts and bolts, we will focus on key use cases how Tableau can provide valuable insights beyond standard Salesforce reports and dashboards. Tableau’s capabilities for deeper analysis, data manipulation, end-user ad-hoc analysis, and access to diverse data sources make it a powerful complement to Salesforce’s offerings.

Tableau Salesforce

Tableau Cloud Setup

Setting up Tableau cloud is as simple as signing up and provisioning an account through the online setup form. Once provisioned you can immediately start connecting and building.

Salesforce SSO for Tableau: Security and Access

Salesforce cloud natively supports Salesforce for user access and authentication. This allows you to extend your user management and access into Tableau so you are not needing to duplicate work.

Simply check “Salesforce” so when you invite users they will need to utilize their Salesforce username and password. If you use Multi-Factor Authentication MFA with the Salesforce authenticator app, you do not need to perform any additional configuration for it to work.

Embedding Tableau inside of Salesforce

For Salesforce organizations, Tableau should be a seamless experience that resides side by side with standard dashboards. To accomplish this goal, we typically utilize the Tableau lightning component. With Tableau cloud, you can utilize the “Default Authentication type for Embedded Views”, ensuring a secure and seamless experience for end users.

The best user experience is one that reduces friction. We typically embed dashboards inside of Lightning pages and also make use of tabs to isolate Salesforce dashboards and Tableau dashboards side by side based on topic.

To allow embedding of Tableau inside of Salesforce as of Winter 24, simply go to Setup and enable Tableau embedding.

Tableau for Salesforce Use Cases

Before embarking on a Tableau Salesforce its important to understand key uses cases where implementing Tableau makes sense above and beyond standard Salesforce reports and Dashboards.

Deeper analysis

When we refer to “depth of analysis” we mean taking a single subject and exploring history, relationships, and paterns that impact the subject.

For example, if you see that yur lead to opportunity conversion rate is lower than expected, you may ask questions related to sales rep activity including speed to lead, number of calls, number of reps to leads and other ratios. When building Tableau dashboards and supporting reports, you can drill and explore these relationships over time with greater ease and relate them together.

More flexibility to slice and dice data

Slicing and dicing data in many cases requires analysts or in the world of Salesforce reports saving data to Excel. Tableau was born and designed for visual exploration of data where you can filter, drill and modify the subject of your analysis with.

End User Ad-hoc analysis

Salesforce provides an amazing ad-hoc reporting capability, granting business professionals with the power to produce powerful reports. While the report developer has a full fledge reporting solution, end consumers of the report are limited to basic filtering. Tableau on the other hand provides end user ad-hoc analysis for changing dimensions, drilling, and constraining information.

Access to more data sources for analysis

Salesforce reports and dashboards are limited to the data available inside of Salesforce. Tableau on the other hand opens the door to connect more data sources with Salesforce.

Connecting Tableau to Salesforce Data

Tableau provides a native Salesforce data connector, allowing direct access to Salesforce data objects. This is quite useful for real-time access to Salesforce data, or static extracts that harness the full power of Tableau data.

Native Salesforce Connector

Unfortunately, the Tableau integration with Salesforce data is imperfect. Using the standard Tableau connector for Salesforce prevents Salesforce formulas in the results. This limitation has long existed as an enhancement but is not obvious.

Working with Data Time Fields

Small variances in metrics can occur when using DateTime fields as a result of data extractions rendering in UTC instead of your local time zone.

Connecting Tableau to Salesforce Data Cloud

With the recent release of Salesforce Data Cloud, Tableau has a new modern approach to data access that bypasses some of the traditional limitations. We will cover this topic in detail with an upcoming post!

Plan your Salesforce Tableau Initiative

Need help planning and validating Tableau is the right fit for your Salesforce based analytics or simply need an “Analytics First” perspective on your Salesforce org? Setup a free consultation with our team and ask about our rapid adoption blueprint.

Essential Salesforce Metrics & KPIs Guide

Futuristic Salesforce Metrics and KPIs Dashboard

Salesforce metrics and KPIs are important tools to define how you will manage and monitor your Sales and Marketing efforts. Metrics and KPIs playing a crucial role in aligning strategies with business goals. In this article, we dive into vital Salesforce Lead and Opportunity Pipeline Metrics, emphasizing the importance of consistency and clear definitions. Whether a stakeholder, Salesforce admin, or a member of a data analytics team, here, you’ll gain insights, answers to common questions and examples.

5 Salesforce Lead Metrics you Should be Tracking

While different organizations and industries have varying definitions for leads, prospects, and customers, the following metrics are designed for organizations where lead generation and handoff occurs inside of Salesforce.

  1. Qualified Leads Generated – How many qualified leads are delivered to sales? The qualification definition will vary per organization, as some use MQL (marketing qualified leads) and others use SQL (sales qualified leads). Having the qualification definition also helps identify un-workable leads which creates a feedback loop to improve lead generation channels.
  2. Lead Generation to Response Time – How fast are you making contact with leads after a prospect is delivered to your sales organization? Turn time for some businesses are measured in hours but for some they are measured in minutes.
  3. Lead Conversion Rate – How many leads need to be worked to generate a deal with revenue potential? Many organizations convert leads and create opportunities different stages of the Sales cycle. We recommend measuring from a key, well defined the point in your Sales funnel that is unlikely to change over a long period of time.
  4. Lead to Close Win Ratio – How many leads do you need to generate to close deals?
  5. Cost per Lead and Closed Won – What are your marketing campaign costs relative to lead generation and deal closure? For organizations that track their marketing campaigns and spend inside of Salesforce, this metric can be tracked using Salesforce campaigns. Not all organizations track marketing spend inside of Salesforce unfortunately.

5 Salesforce Opportunity Pipeline Metrics you Should be Tracking

It goes without saying the count of won opportunities, revenue and margin are important and common sales metrics. Here are 5 additional metrics that you can look to for inspiration.

  1. Deal Win Rate – How many fully qualified Sales opportunities are closed? This metric is used to measure the effectiveness of your sales team.
  2. Outbound Activities to Close – Measuring how many phone calls, emails, and SMS are required to close deals is effective at aggregate to measure top and bottom performers and understand globally what it will take to move customers through each stage to a win.
  3. Average Deal Size – Understanding your average and potential median deal size are important to understand market shifts, targeting, sales effectiveness and is typically a driver for forecasting and predicting future deals.
  4. Lifetime Value $ – For every customer, what is the total average value over time?
  5. Churn Rate – For customers that are won, how many of them churn at the end of their service period or no longer make second purchases within a specified timeframe?

3 Salesforce Metric Tips for Success

  1. Consistency of your metrics and KPIs are measured over time is most important. If the definitions change often, your ability to effectively use the metrics diminishes. Ensure you use clear definitions for points in your sales process.
  2. Clear and concise metric definitions will ensure your business stakeholders, Salesforce admins, and your data and analytics team are aligned.
  3. Ownership of every metric helps ensure accountability not only for monitoring. This also helps ensure changes in definitions and assumptions have a point person for approval.

Common Salesforce Metric and KPI Questions

What is a Salesforce Metric

A Salesforce metric measures performance over time where Salesforce is typically the system of record where the business process and transaction occurs. Salesforce metrics like sales revenue or lead conversion rate are created, calculated and measured with reporting inside of Salesforce or using 3rd party reporting and dashboard tools directly integrated with Salesforce.

What is a Salesforce Metric vs KPI?

A Salesforce metric tracks measurements over time while a KPI or Key Performance Indicator typically has not only a definitive target, but also a timeline and linkage to business goals and objectives.

A KPI should indicate the current and historical performance (Sales revenue is a common KPI for sales), while metric could help identify the leading indicators that influences sales (outbound calls, talk time).

How do I manage Salesforce metrics?

Many organizations simply manage Salesforce in Excel or word, which is fast and easy but requires a tremendous effort and cross functional ownership. There are a number of free solutions that help automate and streamline collecting, organizing and sharing metrics and tracking changes over time.

How do I ensure consistent Salesforce metrics?

Consistency in naming and consistency in measurement are two very common challenges within Salesforce. Tracking and managing aliases or synonyms for metrics over time is important but the measurements and application of metrics in reports needs to be consistent.

How do I design Salesforce KPIs?

The best advice is to ask your business leadership first what is the objective or goal that is most important? From there what are the top 3 things we should do to reach that goal? That is the framework for your KPIs. Setting a target and timeline to achieve the target in many sales organizations are monthly or quarterly. The most important thing is not to get hung up on terminology. If you are setting and agreeing to measurable goals and outcomes, that is most important. Consistency in terminology and approach is most important.

What is DataTools for Salesforce Metrics?

We built DataTools Pro to help inventory, manage, and track implementation of metrics and reporting inside of Salesforce. Bringing the same techniques we use for large scale enterprise Business Intelligence solutions, we have paired it down to make it very simple for Salesforce users.

  • Inventory metrics
  • Track aliases / synonyms for metrics
  • Align dashboards and reports to metrics
  • Detailed definitions and ownership
  • Align metrics to topics and lines of business

How do I create Salesforce Metric and KPI Dashboards?

Salesforce provides powerful and flexibility reporting and dashboard tools that ship standard with Salesforce. As the sophistication of your reporting and tracking requirements grow or complexity of calculations increase you may need a solution like Tableau (owned by Salesforce) or one of the many powerful point solutions.

Exciting New Native Salesforce Snowflake Integration

Salesforce and Snowflake Integration

When it comes to optimizing your business processes and data analytics, Salesforce and Snowflake stand as two potent platforms, each with its own ecosystem of developers, stakeholders, and users. The Salesforce Snowflake Integration is an essential conduit that amplifies the bond between these two cloud platforms.

Salesforce and Snowflake Integration

Native Salesforce Snowflake Integration: A Milestone in Native Data Sharing

Earlier this week, Salesforce and Snowflake made a groundbreaking announcement: the general availability of native Salesforce data sharing for Snowflake,  via what is colloquially referred to as “BYOL” (Bring Your Own License). This is a significant advancement, especially for Snowflake users familiar with the benefits of zero-copy sharing, a core Snowflake feature. With this integration, gone are the days when you needed layers of additional software, services, and complex processes to bridge the two platforms. This is where the Salesforce Snowflake Connector comes into play, simplifying data access and queries between Salesforce and Snowflake.

Skill Enhancement through Certification Paths

Salesforce Data Cloud serves as a data hub orchestrating a wide range of business activities—be it CRM, marketing, or or any web/mobile activities. To encourage this, Salesforce recently launched its Certified-Data-Cloud-Consultant learning path. This will help Salesforce organizations readily find skilled professionals adept in Salesforce Snowflake Integration.

Salesforce Runs on Snowflake: Following the Leader

In a revelation that should add credibility and assurance to the Salesforce Snowflake Integration, Salesforce’s internal data and analytics have migrated to run on Snowflake. This shows Salesforce is not just advocating for the technology but using it themselves, setting the stage for rapid advancements in Salesforce and Snowflake connectivity.

Transforming AI/ML Workloads

The Salesforce and Snowflake partnership holds tremendous promise for accelerating the time-to-value from your Salesforce data assets. From curating data to deploying ML models, the integration, facilitated by the Salesforce Snowflake Connector, will enable enterprises to leverage their data in novel ways, including the utilization of advanced AI features. There are many first and third party powered solutions to weave your model deployment efforts.

Need Help Navigating these Waters?

We have been in front of Salesforce and Snowflake integrating analytics apps for years. We recreantly wrote the  Salesforce data synchronization to Snowflake Guide and can’t wait to extend this into DataCloud. We have an incredible partner network that can help you implement any Salesforce or Snowflake Cloud components (CDP, MarketingCloud, Tableau).

Schedule a meeting to learn more

Ultimate Salesforce and Snowflake Guide on Salesforce Ben

Salesforce Ben

This week Ryan released a guide for Salesforce and Snowflake on Salesforce Ben. Salesforce Ben is the leading independent community and authority on all things

Snowflake and Salesforce is a perfect marriage of cloud business applications and cloud data platform to turn data into information. Salesforce has built a powerful first-class integration within Salesforce Data Cloud that is the most advanced of any third party connectivity

If you are currently using Salesforce Data Cloud or Salesforce Tableau CRM this article is for you. Additionally, while at SnowflakeSummit2023, we saw some incredible Salesforce Data Cloud enhancements for Snowflake that will be game changing for enterprise cusetomers.

We can’t wait to write about upcoming zero copy feature from Salesforce to Snowflake. Included in our article is step by step tutorials how to integrate Salesforce with Snowflake to day. Should you have any questions how these capabilities apply to your enterprise or how Snowflake can advance your Salesforce analytics, we are here to help!