The Summer ’21 relaunch of Customer 360 Audiences brought Salesforce CDP (Customer Data Platform) to market in time for the reopening business boom and is already the talk of the day.
The updated relaunch came with an impressive rollout of new features to make Salesforce more accessible and versatile for your business. A CDP like Salesforce’s 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.
Sounds like the dream of every marketer nowadays, right? Should marketers be aware of any catch before convincing themselves that CDPs are a must-have from now on?
In this article, you’ll get to explore the features of Salesforce CDP, 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 Salesforce CDP 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.
Put very simply, CDP stands for “Customer Data Platform.” A CDP is a package of software that creates a uniform, cohesive database of customers, or potential customers, for a business.
Generally speaking, there are two types of CDPs on the market today: engagement systems and organization systems.
Systems of Engagement can be thought of as real-time databases, where all customer profile data are accessed in seconds. This plays a huge role in managing customer experience and satisfaction. Systems of Organization are built around marketing exploration and segment creation and quickly locating, editing, and utilizing those segments.
It is worth mentioning and according to recent research (Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing 2021) by Gartner: “CDP capabilities remain unclear as there’s significant feature overlap between CDP and the broader enterprjse technology landscape. For example, it is hard to differentiate between what a dedicated smart hub CDP delivers vs. a multichannel marketing hub offering CDP features. At the enterprise level, there’s significant confusion around the capabilities of CDP vs. other enterprise data management solutions like MDM.”
Taking a closer look at Customer Data Platforms, not all CDPs are created equal, but every CDP should offer a few key features and characteristics.
A CDP comes as a package of software that is, in most cases, modified to meet a particular business’s unique needs and goals.
Choosing an extant CDP system is a far more cost-effective and time-saving option for businesses. Instead of spending company resources on in-house created systems – which require more technical knowledge to set up and maintain and may not have the support system needed to fix problems quickly – companies can more easily install, sustain and adapt to the cohesive CDP system backed by tech support.
CDPs catch data from multiple systems, organize it, and store it all in a singular customer profile.
This is particularly important from an organizational standpoint, but even more so when tracking customer patterns and behaviors over long periods. Having that information at a glance helps your company deliver more effective targeted marketing, which leads to increased sales and more money in your pocket.
To feed the CDP 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. If you seek to integrate third-party solutions, however, DESelect Connect can help you gather the vital data to complete your 360 view within the Customer Data Platform.
CDPs, like marketing automation platforms, 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 efficiency and a faster go-to-market. Of course, for companies already using DESelect Segment, the benefits of using drag-and-drop segmentation (compared to SQL-writing in SFMC) are well established.
Accessibility is the hallmark of a good CDP – the information stored there should be able to be accessed from 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.
A data or information silo is a collection of gathered information that is either only partially accessible by all team members or not at all. 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.
CDPs, with their one-stop-shop collection of accessible information, can break down the data in your extant silos, as well as prevent the creation of new ones.
Salesforce brings all the moving parts of a company together via the cloud. A CDP 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 actions and 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 CDP 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 CDP, starting with DESelect alone may be a better option, as Salesforce CDP will typically need to be worked on and used by your more-data-savvy colleagues and requires a more elaborate implementation.
Salesforce CDP incorporated all the best key features of other CDPs – discussed above – but added a little flair of their own.
Salesforce CDP 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. That data can be easily analyzed and segmented based on updated customer behavior, and activated to the target audience, increasing your reach to potential and existing customers. This unification can happen through a set of rules you can define as well as artificial intelligence.
Salesforce CDP was built with their larger clients in mind. From the rollout features, Salesforce has made its CDP compatible with several other top business software systems and applications used by big companies: Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, Interaction Studio, Commerce Cloud, Datorama, Loyalty Management, and several other tools are completely accessible by and from Salesforce CDP. Customers already using these Salesforce products can benefit instantly from Salesforce CDP through “native connectors.” These native connectors allow you to integrate Salesforce CDP without custom coding.
In addition to native connectors, Salesforce CDP 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.
Asides from this, we also observe in the market that certain retailers stop to think before using an Amazon service, given the possible conflict of interest.
Lastly, Salesforce is gradually also expanding its API, allowing developers to integrate more freely and in real-time with its CDP. The ingestion API is uniquely suited to – you guessed it – ingest data sources and feed the Customer Data Platform. No worries: If you have less of an appetite to build (and maintain) an in-house API, you will be happy to learn that DESelect Connect offers a no-code alternative here. Essentially, this point-and-click solution enables you to leverage the API offered by Salesforce without programming. Drag-and-drop for the win!
Circumstances and information can change quickly, and, similar to its CRM, Salesforce CDP allows you to keep up with easy manipulation and editing of data model objects (DMOs) and calculated insights straight from the home page.
The Salesforce CDP also helps save 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.
Similar to the Marketing Cloud, Salesforce’s CDP 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 (upcoming) 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.
DESelect offers many features of their own, which work hand-in-hand seamlessly with Salesforce CDP. As mentioned before, DESelect Connect can help enrich the Customer Data Platform in the first place, through no-code integration with third-party solutions. Furthermore, CDP users may opt to send “bulk segments” to Marketing Cloud, where DESelect Segment utilizes a unique and easy drag-and-drop, offering more granular segments which can be immediately consumed by campaigns.
Using these tools in conjunction means you can spend half the time managing your data and put it towards growing your business and making sales. Many companies use Salesforce, but not everyone had the extra boost of DESelect on their side.
Salesforce CDP is a powerful asset, and potential buyers will find the added value in the intricacies. Salesforce CDP 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, breaking it down is equally as important as actually doing it.
Firstly, it’s important to note that there are four main types of segmentation:
Salesforce CDP considered all of this. It allows you to create and sort customers into segments targeted by your marketing and sales team.
When you’re designing your segments and adding customers, Salesforce CDP makes it easy:
Collecting and Connecting – How Salesforce CDP 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.
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. In entity, groups are the individual entities, which are assigned attributes.
Using this language to organize information results in a smooth transition from raw data to organized, cohesive ideas inside Salesforce CDP.
Salesforce CDP 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 Salesforce CDP can and cannot do. It is suggested that you Review all Data Model Procedures. While Salesforce CDP 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.
In the spirit of complete transparency, Salesforce CDP is very forthcoming about its boundaries.
Salesforce Data Limitations:
● Developer Org Limitations: Merge and Match will stop working after the namespace for a developer org is claimed.
Despite the rich features of CDP, Salesforce Marketing Cloud might still be the best 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:
If your business is in a position where a Customer Data Platform is necessary, and the extant marketing team is willing and able to take ownership of a CDP system, Salesforce CDP is the best bet.
Inversely, if your company is not ready for a complete CDP system but could still use segmentation services for Marketing Cloud, DESelect will satisfy your need, or even serve as the perfect stepping-stone to a full CDP system.
Just maybe, your company will fall somewhere in the middle – yes, a CDP system is necessary, but there’s no time or room in the budget to scale up the marketing team enough to handle it. That’s where pairing Salesforce CDP with DESelect is going to benefit your business the most. You get the wider capabilities of Salesforce CDP with the readily available features from DESelect seamlessly integrated.
How are all these things tied together? The diagram below shows an architectural overview of a landscape using the full powers of Salesforce CDP, Marketing Cloud, DESelect Segment, and even DESelect Connect:
As you can see, DESelect solutions like Segment and Connect provide you with essential accelerators and integrative capabilities to fully enable the aspiring data marketer. In addition, you will probably have realized by now that Salesforce CDP is a separate platform within your tech stack, which you will have to heavily integrate to full leverage. We’ll discuss this in the next section.
Implementing Salesforce CDP is a project, but one that will streamline marketing and save money over time.
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 a new CDP system is a huge step and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Bringing people together to determine company needs will help establish your company’s readiness to take the next step with Salesforce CDP.
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 are already longtime users and customers of Salesforce – that is, with an existing Marketing Cloud account that employees are familiar with and a CRM system – implementing Salesforce CDP 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 CDP systems, full implementation could take up to ten weeks.
No matter what it takes, Salesforce CDP has a week-by-week plan laid out to ensure the transition goes smoothly.
In preparation for fully implementing Salesforce CDP, we recommend that the relevant personnel within your company review the official Salesforce CDP Guide.
The comprehensive guide will walk you through the implementation process from start to finish. It can also be found on the Salesforce website, with many other resources for successfully transferring to the Salesforce CDP system.
The below chart already gives you a quick idea of the time and effort that will go into setting up CDP before you can use it:
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.
While the Salesforce CDP system is a wonder, it still takes some routine maintenance to keep it 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 technological advancements.
Thankfully, small, consistent efforts in these areas are all it takes to troubleshoot and keep an eye on happenings within the company:
Keep in mind that for Salesforce CDP, all setup and maintenance needs are to be performed by approved chosen Marketing Cloud administrators and data managers.
Salesforce CDP 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, customers using DESelect Segment report, on average, a 53% efficiency gain in Marketing Cloud data management. Such benefits will stack with the benefits of a CDP, once you’re ready.
As explained earlier, DESelect Segment can offer granular segmentation of data fed by Salesforce CDP 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 CDP – for example, in DESelect, you can already create many-to-many relationships and combine as many data extensions as you wish.
When we say “plug-and-play”, we mean it. Customers signing up for DESelect can virtually 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.
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).
While a CDP 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 or predefining data relations, for instance, marketers can play with their data yet more efficiently and while less prone to making mistakes.
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 CDP 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’re also re-assess data privacy at least once per year to remain fully GDPR compliant..
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.
Salesforce CDP 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 Salesforce CDP.
As official partners of Salesforce, our commitment to providing the best advice and service to its users is a top priority. Feel free to get in touch with our consultants to help you choose the best data management solution for your business. Contact a DESelect certified Consultant today.
Get the eBook and Read it anytime
70+ pages of actionable content and best practices to help you take your Marketing Cloud to the next level.