Supercharging Your Data with Salesforce Data Cloud

Supercharging Your Data with Salesforce Data Cloud

In the digital age, data is rapidly evolving from an informational byproduct to a crucial asset. This surge in importance stems from its ability to unlock a deeper understanding of the world around us. By gathering, analyzing, and interpreting data, we are gaining unprecedented insights that are revolutionizing everything from marketing to business practices. This data-driven approach is transforming how we make decisions, solve problems, and navigate an increasingly complex world. In this context, understanding why data is becoming increasingly important is crucial for businesses aiming to thrive in the digital age. Let's delve into the key reasons why data has emerged as a cornerstone of modern business strategy.

Salesforce Data Cloud – What You Need to Know

Salesforce Data Cloud is an essential solution for businesses seeking to leverage data to drive growth and make informed decisions. It is a comprehensive data platform that offers a wide range of features designed to enhance customer experience, improve marketing strategies, and boost overall productivity. One of the primary reasons for using Salesforce Data Cloud is its ability to provide accurate, up-to-date, and relevant data from a variety of sources, ensuring that businesses have access to the information they need to succeed. By integrating with Salesforce's suite of products, it allows for seamless data management and utilization.

Who uses Salesforce Data Cloud? It is particularly valuable for sales and marketing teams, as it enables them to better understand their target audience, personalize communication, and drive engagement. Businesses across various industries, including retail, finance, and healthcare, can benefit from the insights provided by Salesforce Data Cloud. Here are some of its key features:

  • High-Quality Data: Access accurate and up-to-date company and customer information.
  • Integration with Salesforce Platform: Seamlessly integrate data directly into the Salesforce environment.
  • Enrichment Services: Enhance existing data by appending missing information and updating outdated records.
  • Prospecting and Lead Generation: Identify and target ideal customers more effectively.
  • Account-Based Marketing (ABM): Implement account-based marketing strategies more efficiently.
  • Data Cleansing: Maintain data accuracy by identifying and removing duplicate, incomplete, or inaccurate records.
  • Third-Party Data Integration: Integrate with third-party data sources for broader insights.
  • Real-Time Updates: Access continuously updated data for informed decision-making.
  • Compliance and Security: Prioritize data security and compliance to protect customer data.
  • Customization and Scalability: Tailor the platform to specific needs and scale it as the business grows.
  • AI-Powered Insights: Utilize artificial intelligence for valuable insights and recommendations.
  • Global Data Coverage: Access global data coverage suitable for businesses operating worldwide.

Our Salesforce Data Cloud Implementation – A Real Life Example

Our client stands as a prominent figure in the global compact construction equipment, portable power, attachments, and utility equipment sector. Renowned for their dominance in the "Compact Equipment" market, they prioritize product competitiveness and maintain a formidable sales network spanning EMEA, NA, and Asia-Pacific regions. In an era marked by dynamic shifts within the construction equipment industry, emphasis on work efficiency, productivity, and safety propels the transition towards intelligent construction machinery through digitalization and connectivity initiatives.

Our client faced the challenge of efficiently managing and leveraging vast amounts of customer data to drive business growth and improve customer engagement. In response, SoftClouds implemented a comprehensive solution leveraging Data Cloud enhancements through a low-code implementation approach. Utilizing Model Builder from the Spring '24 Release, we configured custom AI-driven predictive models for scoring leads and opportunities, enabling the client to prioritize and target their efforts effectively. The Model Builder was utilized to potentially develop dealer intelligence and performance metrics, providing valuable insights for strategic decision-making.

Our implementation incorporated Data Cloud Related Lists from the Winter '23 Release, enabling real-time enrichment of CRM data based on customer engagement. This allowed the client to stay updated with customer interactions and preferences, enhancing their ability to deliver personalized experiences. By leveraging Einstein Lookalikes and Data Actions from the Winter '23 Release, the client was able to identify high-value customers and orchestrate near real-time entry into customer journeys, ensuring timely and relevant interactions.

Calculated Insights were used to roll up dealer intelligence and performance data, providing actionable insights for optimizing operations and maximizing profitability. Overall, our implementation of Data Cloud enhancements empowered the client with advanced analytics capabilities, enabling them to gain deeper insights into customer behavior, streamline processes, and drive sustainable growth in a highly competitive market landscape.

Best Practices based on our Learning

In today's data-driven landscape, harnessing the power of Salesforce Data Cloud necessitates a nuanced understanding of its intricacies and potentials. Through meticulous exploration and real-world application, we have distilled a compendium of best practices aimed at maximizing efficiency, ensuring data integrity, and fostering innovation. Whether you are a seasoned professional or just embarking on your Salesforce journey, this guide is expected to serve as a beacon, illuminating your path towards optimized data management and unparalleled success.

Best Practice #1 - Master and Sanitize Data Upstream of Data Cloud

Before integrating data into Salesforce Data Cloud, understanding the source data landscape is crucial. Chances are, if you are considering Data Cloud, you already are using various Salesforce products like Sales and/or Service Cloud, along with other Lightning offerings like Commerce Cloud, Experience Cloud, CPQ, and more. These form the foundation of the data you will integrate.

Alongside Salesforce data, you likely have customer-related information from ERP systems and other non-Salesforce platforms. These act as the database of record for vital data like order history and customer web profiles. Popular platforms like Okta and OneTrust are often used to handle consent data as well.

There's a common misconception that Data Cloud is solely for synthesizing customer-level data or creating Unified Individual Profiles with robust data matching capabilities. While Data Cloud can do this, it's best to refine and master your data in an MDM platform like Informatica or Reltio before pushing it into Data Cloud.

In essence, quickly uniting customer data within Data Cloud is key to leveraging its real-time capabilities for marketing purposes effectively. Mastering and sanitizing data upstream of Data Cloud is imperative to meet this objective. This involves consolidating data from various sources into a coherent view and cleaning it of inaccuracies, errors, and duplicates. By adhering to these practices, you can optimize the efficiency and accuracy of your Data Cloud integration, saving time and resources in the long run.

Best Practice #2 - Plan Match Rules in Detail/Limit ‘Fuzzy’ Match Rules

To establish a robust foundation for Salesforce Data Cloud, match rules serve as the cornerstone, dictating how records are aligned and merged. It's imperative to meticulously strategize match rules while exercising caution with 'fuzzy' matching, which can yield inaccurate outcomes and should be utilized sparingly, only when essential. By meticulously planning match rules, data accuracy and deduplication can be ensured.

A meticulous approach to match rule planning involves thorough consideration of diverse data scenarios and the precise delineation of criteria for record alignment. Restricting the use of 'fuzzy' match rules is crucial for upholding data accuracy and integrity. Prioritize exact match rules whenever feasible to mitigate errors. A comprehensive definition of match rules in advance diminishes the necessity for manual intervention and ensures streamlined system functionality.

Optimizing this process hinges on ensuring that incoming source data is thoroughly cleansed and standardized before integration into the platform. Utilizing a limited set of straightforward match rules, rather than 'fuzzy' ones, facilitates the harmonization of data at a customer level. When embarking on your Data Cloud initiative, it's prudent to assess existing enterprise Master Data Management (MDM) practices and develop a plan that addresses any deficiencies. Although this may elongate the timeline for Data Cloud implementation, it's a prudent approach considering the evolving landscape of MarTech and the escalating demand for real-time customer experiences.

Best Practice #3 - Customize Data Model Only When a Necessity

When adapting the Salesforce Data Cloud, striking a balance between flexibility and simplicity is key. Overcomplicating the model can lead to future maintenance challenges. Thus, customization of the data model should only be done only when necessary to directly address business needs, avoiding unnecessary complexity. To ensure smooth implementation and long-term maintenance, prioritize a simple data model that mirrors what is offered out of the box. Streamlining reduces overhead. Evaluate the need for customization carefully. Standard models can often suffice, promoting compatibility and simplicity.

After outlining source data and addressing issues, document thoroughly, including Entity Relationship Diagrams (ERDs). These lay the groundwork for mapping to the Data Cloud model. Though daunting, Data Cloud offers a user-friendly data model. The model you’re likely already familiar with in SFDC remains intact, with added objects like Contact Points. Break down planning into manageable steps, focusing on key objects system by system. This can run alongside data sanitation efforts. By strategically planning and leveraging Data Cloud's structures, customize the data model as lightly as possible to ensure compatibility and scalability.

Best Practice #4 - Plan Integrations / Integration Best Practices

Integrating Salesforce Data Cloud with other systems is a pivotal phase in the implementation journey, demanding meticulous planning and adherence to integration best practices. Seamless integration ensures accurate synchronization and up-to-date data across all platforms. Planning begins by identifying the systems requiring integration and establishing precise integration requirements. Following best practices ensures an efficient, error-free process. Leveraging tools like APIs and middleware simplifies integration, reducing the risk of data inconsistencies.

This task can run parallel to prior activities and typically involves technical resources distinct from Database Architects. Choosing integration options for Data Cloud involves considering data availability and source platform integration. Salesforce offers various integration options, including Batch REST API, Realtime REST API, Mulesoft, AWS S3, or Google Cloud.

AWS S3 and Google Cloud facilitate batch data import from storage buckets in CSV format. REST APIs enable custom programmatic integration for data movement. Mulesoft provides low-code connectors for seamless integration between Salesforce and third-party systems. For organizations with diverse platforms and high demands for real-time data integration, Mulesoft or similar enterprise integration platforms are recommended for efficient integration with Data Cloud and other Salesforce products.

Best Practice #5 - Document Data Model & Source Data Mapping Detail Prior to Implementation

Documentation is key to a successful implementation of Salesforce Data Cloud. Before starting the implementation process, it's crucial to document the data model and source data mapping in detail. This documentation will serve as a reference point throughout the implementation process and will help ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page.

Documenting the data model and source data mapping involves creating clear and comprehensive documentation that outlines how data will be structured and mapped within the system. This documentation should include details such as field mappings, data transformation rules, and integration points. By documenting the data model and source data mapping in advance, you can minimize the risk of errors and ensure a smoother implementation process.

Best Practice #6 - Test Before Production Promotion with Sample Data & Optimize Match Rules

Testing is an essential part of the implementation process. This takes on added complexity with Data Cloud as sandbox and develop orgs are not an available option with Data Cloud as they are for other SFDC orgs. Before promoting to production, it's thus even more important to thoroughly test the system with sample data as this limitation will limit your ability to test once the platform moves to production. It’s particularly important to identify any issues or discrepancies and allow you to optimize match rules for better accuracy. By testing particularly thoroughly with these factors in mind before promoting to production, you can minimize the risk of errors and ensure a smooth transition.

Testing the system with sample data involves running various test scenarios to ensure that the system performs as expected. It's essential to test different data scenarios and edge cases to identify any potential issues. Optimization of match rules during testing ensures that the data is accurately matched and deduplicated, leading to better overall data quality.

Best Practice #7 - Develop Operational Maintenance Routines & Retire Unused Segments in a Timely Fashion

Once Salesforce Data Cloud is up and running, it's essential to develop operational maintenance routines to ensure the system remains efficient and effective. Regular maintenance, including data updates and routine checks, will help prevent issues and keep the system running smoothly. Additionally, it's important to retire unused segments in a timely fashion to avoid clutter and maintain system performance.

Developing operational maintenance routines involves establishing processes for regular data updates, system checks, and performance monitoring. This ensures that the system continues to operate at peak efficiency over time. Retiring unused segments prevents clutter and maintains system performance by reducing the complexity of data queries and processing.

Best Practice #8 - Review Release (3 times annually) Notes to Adopt New Functionality in a Timely Fashion

Salesforce, renowned for its commitment to innovation, rolls out updates three times annually, each brimming with fresh features and functionalities. Keeping abreast of these updates through regular review of release notes is paramount. By promptly integrating new functionalities, you not only harness the latest advancements but also ensure your system operates at its peak efficiency consistently.

However, optimizing data ingestion and processing in Data Cloud is just the beginning. To swiftly realize returns on your investment, collaboration between your digital marketing team and sales and marketing subject matter experts is imperative. Simultaneously with the implementation efforts outlined earlier, strategic execution is key. This involves leveraging the platform effectively once it's operational.

When investing in Data Cloud, it's highly probable that you're utilizing complementary Salesforce Marketing Cloud products, such as Marketing Cloud Engagement (including Journey Builder) and Marketing Cloud Personalization (formerly known as Interaction Studio). While delving into detailed implementation best practices for these platforms warrants its own discourse, a foundational step is crafting comprehensive documentation mapping out your customer journey.

For instance, delineating at which point in the journey a specific email should be targeted to a lead—a male aged 25-49—while others receive a different communication, and subsequently tailoring web product recommendations based on their interactions. Revisiting existing journey documentation ensures full utilization of Data Cloud's potent capabilities, such as look-alike segmentation, AI-based lead and opportunity scoring, and enriching data with Calculated Insights.

The Future of Data and Data Cloud

The future of data and Data Cloud is poised for remarkable growth and innovation. As businesses increasingly rely on data to drive decision-making and enhance customer experiences, the role of Data Cloud becomes ever more crucial. With the evolution of technology and the advent of artificial intelligence, Data Cloud will continue to provide businesses with high-quality, accurate, and real-time data, empowering them to make informed decisions and stay ahead of the competition. As we move forward, we can anticipate further advancements in data quality, integration, and security, enabling businesses to extract even greater value from their data.

Embracing the power of Data Cloud will be essential for organizations looking to thrive in the data-driven economy of the future, ensuring they remain agile, competitive, and poised for success. The journey of Data Cloud is just beginning, and the possibilities it presents are endless, promising a future where data becomes the cornerstone of every successful business strategy. By leveraging Data Cloud effectively, businesses can unlock new opportunities, foster innovation, and drive growth in the digital era.

Michael (Mike) Wisniewski, Technical Architect at SoftClouds, boasts over a decade of experience and holds an impressive 13 Salesforce certifications. Spearheading digital transformation initiatives, Mike's leadership is marked by an unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation. Leveraging the full potential of Salesforce technologies, including Marketing Cloud, Data Cloud, and Intelligence, he has delivered cutting-edge solutions for leading organizations worldwide. Mike thrives on tackling complex challenges and is revered for his mentorship prowess, fostering a collaborative environment within his team. Beyond his professional endeavors, he is deeply committed to community engagement, whether through volunteering or sharing knowledge via Salesforce podcasts. Mike's leadership ethos revolves around driving impactful change, both within organizations and society at large, while continuously pushing the boundaries of innovation in the Salesforce ecosystem.

SoftClouds is a CRM, CX, and IT solutions provider based in San Diego, California. As technology trends are proliferating, organizations need to re-focus and align with the new waves to keep pace with the changing trends and technology. The professionals at SoftClouds are here to help you capture these changes through innovation and reach new heights.