What is CDP? Understanding Salesforce Data Cloud and How to Best Manage Data with DESelect

What is CDP? Understanding Salesforce Data Cloud and How to Best Manage Data with DESelect

75% of marketers struggle to fully understand their customers’ behavior and preferences. For businesses looking to stay ahead of the curve, utilizing CDPs like Salesforce Data Cloud becomes increasingly essential in today’s fast-paced market.

SDC can help consolidate data, analyze engagement behaviors, and help effectively segment your customer base to open the door to fresh use cases and customer experiences. 

Think of it as a data warehouse that stores not just marketing data, but also from service, customer feedback, and sales, merging it all together in a process known as unification.

Sounds like the dream of every marketer nowadays, right? Should marketers be aware of any catch before convincing themselves that SDCs are a must-have from now on?

In this article, you’ll get to explore the features of Salesforce Data Cloud, evaluate the pros and cons, and help you determine if Salesforce’s customer data platform is for you before investing significant time and dollars.

Additionally, we’ll help you determine if integrating DESelect’s marketing enablement solution DESelect Segment to your SDP is the right choice for your business or if DESelect on its own has exactly what you need to keep your marketing team at its best.

What is Salesforce Data Cloud?

Put very simply, SDC is a package of software that creates a uniform, cohesive database of customers, or potential customers, for a business.

A customer data platform (CDP) has become increasingly popular as businesses look to improve Customer service and streamline marketing efforts. MarTech published an article recently describing the two major types of CDPs: Real time databases and Systems of Organization.

Real time databases, also referred to as systems of Engagement, allow for easy access to customer profile data, crucial for managing customer experiences and satisfaction. Systems of Organization, on the other hand, are designed around marketing exploration and segmentation, making it simple to locate, edit and make use of these segments.

Each CDP will have its own unique features and characteristics, including Salesforce Data Cloud. One of the most popular CDPs available today, SDC offers businesses a range of tools and features that can help them understand their customers and grow their marketing efforts.

1. SDC, a Pre-Built System

Salesforce Data Cloud comes as a package of software that is, in most cases, modified to meet a particular business’ unique needs and goals.

Choosing an external CDP system is a far more cost-effective and time-saving option for businesses. Instead of spending company resources on systems created in-house – which require more technical knowledge to set up and maintain and may lack the support system needed to fix problems quickly – companies can more easily install, sustain, and adapt to a cohesive CDP system backed by Salesforce support.

2. SDC Compiles Data

Salesforce Data Cloud catches data from multiple systems, organizes it, and stores it all in singular customer profile views.

These are particularly important when tracking customer patterns and behaviors over long periods. Having advanced information at a glance helps your brand deliver more effective, targeted marketing, which leads to increased sales and ROI.

To feed SDC with data you have already gathered, Salesforce has understandably given priority to developing so-called ‘native connectors:’ out-of-the-box integrations to some of its own products.

3. SDC Organizes Segments

Marketing automation platforms, like SDC, have native segmentation capabilities. Taking the compiled data and organizing it by your audience’s shared characteristics allows you to set the scene for more targeted campaigns. 

Doing so in a way that requires minimal technical intervention is important for improved efficiency and a faster go-to-market. Of course, for DESelect Segment, the benefits of using drag-and-drop segmentation (compared to the trial and error of SQL-writing) further these goals.

4. Salesforce Data Cloud is Accessible

Accessibility is the hallmark of SDC – the information stored there should be available in other systems. The stored data can be analyzed, used to improve customer relations, and maximize your marketing effectiveness. Without this, there’s a severe lack of fluidity that hampers your company’s ability to be one step ahead of the other guy. A CDP without multi-system accessibility is essentially just cleverly disguised silos.

5. SDC Breaks Down Silos

A data or information silo is a collection of gathered information that is either only partially accessible by all team members or exclusive to a few. Silos are a real problem for businesses. Collected data is supposed to generate value for your business, but when it’s inside a silo and unusable, it’s time and money better to spend elsewhere.

SDC, with its one-stop-shop collection of accessible information, can break down the data in your existing silos, as well as prevent new ones. Now marketers across teams and brands are able to access the same database of customer data, informing campaign targeting and optimizing for engagement.

Who is Salesforce Data Cloud For?

Salesforce brings all the moving parts of a company together via the cloud. SDC works well for companies with multiple sources of customer and behavior data that needs to be stored, organized, and understood to generate insights and triggers for marketing campaigns. Or, put differently, the Salesforce customer data platform can be a good fit if you already have multiple Salesforce products and seek to unlock some specific use cases you are currently unable to support.

However, what everyone considering Salesforce should know is that Salesforce is a team effort. Salesforce Data Cloud distinguishes specific roles that stretch across your company – from marketing manager, marketing specialists, and data-aware specialists, and more. If your company is not organizationally ready for SDC, starting with DESelect alone may be a better option, as Salesforce Data Cloud will typically require a lengthy implementation and is mostly used by your more-data-savvy colleagues.

Key Use Cases

Salesforce Data Cloud incorporated all the best key features of similar CDPs – discussed above – but added a little flair of their own.

1. Unify, Analyze, Activate

SDC quickly and effectively unifies and matches all of your customer’s granular behaviors across online and offline channels. This allows a single compilation of a customer’s activity and engagement.

From there, marketers can easily analyze and segment based on updated customer behavior, increasing your reach to potential and existing customers. This unification happens through a defined set of rules, as well as artificial intelligence.

2. Connect to Other Systems

Salesforce Data Cloud was built with their larger clients in mind. From the rollout features, Salesforce has made its CDP compatible with several of the top business software systems and applications big companies use: Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, Interaction Studio, Commerce Cloud, Datorama, Loyalty Management, and several other tools are completely accessible by and from SDC.
Customers already using these Salesforce products can benefit instantly from Salesforce Data Cloud through “native connectors.” These native connectors allow you to integrate SDC without custom coding.

In addition to native connectors, SDC offers integration with AWS (Amazon Web Services) Cloud through an “S3 bucket”. Essentially, this kind of integration relies on files being dropped on an S3 bucket and then processed in batch, a process likely to be familiar to Marketing Cloud users who have worked with Automation Studio and FTP file drops. This form of integration could offer a solution for those who don’t mind refreshing data on a daily basis. We also like to remind customers that even secure FTP (SFTP) is no longer deemed secure by tech giants like IBM

Lastly, Salesforce is gradually also expanding its API, allowing developers to integrate more freely and in real-time with SDC. The ingestion API is uniquely suited to – you guessed it – ingest data sources and feed the CDP.

3. Save Time

Circumstances and information can change quickly, and, similar to its CRM, Salesforce Data Cloud allows you to keep up with easy manipulation and editing of data model objects (DMOs) and calculated insights straight from the home page.

SDC also saves time by giving you the capability of copying and transferring existing segments, complete with their description, insights, and filters. No need to go through and painstakingly re-enter hard-earned information.

4. Filters, Attributes, Calculated Insights

Similar to the Marketing Cloud, Salesforce Data Cloud has segmentation capabilities included to give you the power to create a specialized segment, step by step.

With the power to define and calculate multidimensional metrics from your data, your marketing team can activate combined, custom-named measures. Such features will feel familiar to DESelect Segment users of features like aggregations and custom values. These can be sent to targets like the Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

5. Optimized with DESelect

DESelect offers many features of their own, which work hand-in-hand seamlessly with Salesforce Data Cloud. As mentioned before, DESelect Segment can enrich your customer data platform in the first place, through no-code segmentations with data taken from the platform.

Using these tools in conjunction means you can spend half the time managing your data and put it toward increasing campaign output and ensuring ROI. Many companies use Salesforce, but not everyone has the extra boost of DESelect on their side.

Salesforce Data Cloud Segment Management Capabilities

Salesforce Data Cloud is a powerful asset, and potential buyers will find the added value in the intricacies. SDC supports all Salesforce standard languages, allowing worldwide connectivity – this is critical when considering segments around the world.

Because segments and segment management are pivotal factors in any effective marketing campaign, we break down what you need to know.

Firstly, it’s important to note that there are four main types of segmentation:

  • Geographic: This is a segment based on location. Businesses can determine how to market to potential customers based on the needs and impacts of their particular geographical location – large cities with a population that mostly walks instead of drives would potentially be more open to durable shoes. A food subscription box company might look at the current customer base and plan expansion into an area with similar geographic features.
  • Demographic: Demographic segmentation is about the physical traits of potential customers. This could be age, gender identity, race, occupation, family status, sexual orientation, etc. While geographic segments determine where to market, demographic segments determine who would be the most beneficial target for advertising. If a company’s clients are typically 20-29-year-old tech employees, the same marketing tactics that work for them won’t necessarily have the same impact on 35-year-old stay-at-home moms. Demographic segments help marketers make accurate decisions.
  • Psychographic: This takes into account the beliefs and held values of your potential customer base. These can range from hobbies, daily activities, food habits, to opinions on religion and specific subjects. If your company makes healthy snacks, marketing them to people who consistently choose healthy foods and an active lifestyle will bring more effective results.
  • Behavioral: Behavioral segmentation is about when consumers are spending money. An understanding of the spending patterns of potential customers instantly increases your chances of making a sale. This all has to do with usage frequency, brand loyalty, and events or occasions. The massive marketing push around major gift-giving holidays reflects here, as was the push from cleaning products and PPE suppliers during the heights of the COVID-19 pandemic. If your company knows that it takes a customer a certain amount of time to use a product, you’re able to send a reminder of your product or service at exactly the right time to keep it fresh in the mind.

Salesforce CDP Homepage

Salesforce Data Cloud is built to optimize all of these data types. It allows you to create and sort customers into segments that your marketing and sales team targets.

When you’re designing your segments and adding customers, SDC makes it easy:

Salesforce CDP Attribute Library | DESelect

  • Attribute Library: This displays attributes associated with a targeted segment that has been mapped in the data model. Attributes can come from standard data sources – like engagement data from Marketing Cloud, a custom data object, or system data. Attributes narrow down a segment to your target audiences. There are two types: direct and related.
  • Direct Attributes: Direct attributes have a one-to-one relationship with the segment target, so each segmented entity has only one data point for an attribute. For customer data, they would only have one entry for postal code or first name.
  • Related Attributes: Related attributes have multiple data points. In the case of customer data, associated attributes would be data points that one person could have many of, like purchases or email opens.

building blocks of segmentation within Salesforce CDP | DESelect

  • Containers: Dragging attributes into containers creates “and/or relationship logic” between the chosen attributes. When attributes get placed into a container, your query engine looks for attributes that relate to one another in this way.

Text Operators Numeric Operators in CDP | DESelect

Collecting and Connecting – How SDC Does It

Salesforce collects data using the Cloud Information Model (CIM). This is an effective model that data sources use to communicate, even if they have different data structures and formats. It means that no matter where the information is coming from, the data formatting is standardized.


CIM Model used by Salesforce

CIM Model used by Salesforce

This fantastic system is genuinely the last word in barrier-free, seamless integration regardless of platform. To make it happen, there’s a standardized language that applies across the board.

First is the subject area, which is the business concept as a whole. The subject area is broken into one or more entity groups, which are groupings of like entities that make sense. At the entity level, groups are the individual entities, which are assigned attributes.

Using this language to organize information results in a smooth transition from raw data to actionable, cohesive ideas inside Salesforce Data Cloud.

Is SDC Right for You?

Salesforce Data Cloud asks that potential customers evaluate themselves to see if it would be a good fit and profitable investment.

There are some considerations Salesforce outlines on their website:

Firstly, it’s imperative to understand what SDC can and cannot do. It is suggested that you Review all Data Model Procedures. While Salesforce Data Cloud can support data from multiple Marketing Cloud Business Units and Customer Relationship Management systems, the user must take certain simple steps to ensure that information is updated and the information flow is not disrupted.

Understand the Salesforce Limitations

In the spirit of complete transparency, SDC is very forthcoming about its boundaries.

Salesforce Data Cloud Limitations:

  • EMEA Limitations: The Salesforce Data Cloud residency is supported in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) but only for customers whose Marketing Cloud is already located in EMEA.
  • Packageability Limitations: Marketing Cloud and service cloud streams may appear to be packageable, but in reality, AWS S3 streams exclusively are packageable.
  • Developer Org Limitations: Merge and Match will stop working after the namespace for a developer org is claimed.

Salesforce Data Cloud and/or SFMC (with DESelect)

Despite the rich features of SDC, Salesforce Marketing Cloud might still be the most practical option for many customers, especially if combined with other solutions that can boost productivity and results.

The diagram below offers a high-level decision process to guide potential buyers:

Difference between Salesforce CDP and DESelect

If your business is in a position where a dynamic customer data center is necessary, and the current marketing team is willing and able to take ownership of a CDP system, Salesforce Data Cloud is the best bet.

Inversely, if your company is not ready for SDC but still wants to optimize segmentation services for Marketing Cloud, DESelect will satisfy your need, or even serve as the perfect stepping-stone to a full Salesforce Data Cloud system.

Just maybe, your company will fall somewhere in the middle – yes, SDC system is necessary, but there’s no time or room in the budget to scale up the marketing team to the level needed to handle it. That’s where pairing Salesforce Data Cloud with DESelect Segment is going to benefit your business the most. You get the wider capabilities of Salesforce Data with the readily available features from Segment seamlessly integrated.

How are all these things tied together? The diagram below shows an architectural overview of a landscape using the full powers of SDC and DESelect Segment:

Salesforce CDP and DESelect

As you can see, DESelect solutions like Segment provide you with essential accelerators and integrative capabilities to fully enable your marketing teams. As Salesforce Data Cloud is a separate platform within your tech stack, you will have to heavily integrate it to fully leverage its features. We’ll discuss this in the next section.

Getting Started with SDC

Implementing Salesforce Data Cloud is a project, but one that will streamline marketing and save money over time.

1. Establish Communication

Open communication is key, especially when preparing to undertake a project that will change how the company operates. Bringing together your company’s higher-ups, data model specialists, marketing leads, and customer service specialists is a good move here, as they’ll help determine what next steps the company should take.

Adapting and implementing SDC is a huge step and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

2. Determine Company Need and Readiness

Bringing people together to determine company needs will help establish your company’s readiness to take the next step with Salesforce Data Cloud.

Different solutions make sense for different companies. For example, large enterprises with multiple customer touch-points with data stored on various platforms will benefit from different integration solutions than a small startup.

If your company already features longtime users of Salesforce, implementing Salesforce Data Cloud could take just six weeks from plan to deployment.

If this is your company’s first experience with Salesforce, or if your team has limited knowledge of CRM and dynamic customer data systems, full implementation could take up to ten weeks.

No matter what it takes, SDC has week-by-week plans laid out to ensure the transition goes smoothly.

3. Salesforce Data Cloud Guide

In preparation for full implementation, we recommend that the relevant personnel within your company review the official Salesforce Data Cloud Guide.

The comprehensive guide will walk you through the implementation process from start to finish. It can also be found on the Salesforce website, along with many other resources for successfully transferring to the Salesforce Data Cloud system.

The below chart already gives you a quick idea of the time and effort that will go into setting up SDC before you can use it:

C360A Sample Implementation Timeline.png

Disclaimer: Salesforce points out that this implementation timeline is indicative of the actual timeline and assumes that you are a technical customer who wants to self-implement, with previous Salesforce experience and strong data/use case knowledge.

Maintaining Your Salesforce Data Cloud System

While the SDC system is a wonder, it still takes some routine maintenance to keep things running smoothly. However, it takes far less technical experience to properly maintain than other CDP systems, making it a great choice for a company lacking in the IT department or for companies taking the first shaky steps into marketing automation.

Thankfully, small, consistent efforts in these areas are all it takes to troubleshoot and keep an eye on happenings within the company:

  • Monitoring Usage Entitlements: When monitoring your account, keep an eye out for activities that could potentially impact your contract. This could include unified contacts or profiles, segment publishes, and engagement records.
  • Processing History Upkeep: After enabling resolution rules, it’s important to visit the “Audiences Setup” page every so often. This allows you to keep an eye on processing history and consolidation of data over time.
  • Modification Field Upkeep: All objects include fields that track the user who created the record and who modified it last. Keeping up with these modifications offers basic auditing information to help troubleshoot.
  • Monitor Setup Changes: Use ‘Setup Audit Trail’ to view a setup audit trail, which logs when modifications to your organization’s configuration get made.
  • Monitor Login History: Utilize this feature to keep track of failed and successful login attempts made by your team dating back six months.
  • Manage Account Status: Use Salesforce Trust to manage service availability and performance for both your Marketing Cloud connection and your SDC account. This allows you to quickly identify issues related to ongoing incidents before you spend too much time troubleshooting.

Keep in mind that only approved chosen Marketing Cloud administrators and data managers can perform Salesforce Data Cloud setup and maintenance needs. 

DESelect Segment Enables Marketers in SFMC to Get the Most Out of Their Data

SDC is worthy of your consideration when designing your company’s roadmap. If you are on that journey, DESelect can offer an incredible accelerator. For instance, DESelect Segment customers like Emerald report, on average, cutting the time needed to achieve desired segments by 50 percent. Such benefits will complement the efficiencies of a CDP, once you’re ready.

1. DESelect Works with Salesforce Data Cloud

As explained earlier, DESelect Segment can offer granular segmentation of dataSDC feeds to Marketing Cloud. It is a plug-and-play solution that requires no effort to set up and run perfectly the first time, every time.

Better yet, DESelect eliminates some of the limitations found in Salesforce Data Cloud – for example, in DESelect, you can create one-to-one and many-to-many relationships that combine as many data extensions as you wish.

2. DESelect is Plug-and-Play

When we say “plug-and-play”, we mean it. Customers signing up for DESelect can almost immediately get access to our solutions, without a need for lengthy implementation tracks. We offer onboarding training or work together with reputable system integrators to do so, depending on your preference.

3. DESelect Requires No Maintenance

DESelect requires little maintenance either. Any and all data you add to Marketing Cloud will be made immediately available – including new data you may ingest through a customer data platform. User management is easy since it leverages your Salesforce login as a single-sign-on (SSO).

4. Marketers Enabled

While Salesforce Data Cloud requires admins to do some of the heavy lifting, DESelect is fully focused on enabling marketers when it comes to data. Admins can play a role here, though: by defining things like picklists and templatizing common Selections, for instance, marketers can play with their data more efficiently and with guardrails to prevent mistakes.

5. Safety and Privacy Guaranteed

DESelect planned ahead to allay any concerns regarding security when it comes to your customer data. Your data stored in the Marketing Cloud and connected to the Salesforce Data Cloud will not change how DESelect handles it for you. 

We’ve gone the extra mile to keep your information safe by implementing ISO-27002; we also re-assess data privacy at least once per year to remain fully GDPR compliant.

6. DESelect Comes with Everything You Need

Customers looking for some extra support will be happy to learn we can provide hypercare, helping with segmentation use cases, migrating SQL, and basically any question you may have. At DESelect, the role of Customer Success Managers has turned into one of deep technical understanding with a sensibility to the business needs – not just a commercial function.

In addition, we keep an extensive library of resources for our customers, which includes comprehensive FAQs and our blog – which keeps you up-to-date on best practices and updates.

Reach out to DESelect Today

Salesforce Data Cloud promises to be every marketer’s dream: providing a full 360 view of all their customers in one space, easily manageable and effectively segmented. It’s a system we’re proud to support at DESelect because we know just how far a platform like that can take you.

DESelect is that extra boost to optimize what’s already a game-changing marketing system. We take pride in providing a fast, easy-to-learn, easy-to-use application that can be used seamlessly with the newly reimagined SDC.

As official partners of Salesforce, our commitment to providing the best advice and service to its users is a top priority. See how Emerald has achieved a 37% increase in campaign efficiency with DESelect.

Contact DESelect to help you choose the best data management solution for your business.

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