SOGETI UK BLOG

I’m biased. There. It’s out. I work with the Salesforce Marketing Cloud (formerly ExactTarget) and the experiences and learnings from it colour my views.

The system you choose must be a Platform. Now I’m not talking PaaS (Platform-as-a-service) in the sense that you need to build your own from the scratch. I’m talking about a Platform in context of having a system where you can add on capabilities – from the same vendor or from new ones – without having to change your core system.

There are two fundamental reasons why your marketing system must be a platform:

1: You might start small – but you will scale

Like most companies, you might end up starting small. This is rational and perfectly sound decision. We’ll start our marketing venture with just migrating the weekly newsletter. Then when you’ve confirmed and are happy with the performance – you start thinking, what’s next?

Could it be social targeting? Online ads? SMS? More dynamic email capabilities? Welcome Flows? Other customer journeys?

Regardless of your plans or thoughts – you need a system that can either scale to that point or has the capability that allows you to build on it (or buy 3rd party systems) to achieve your goals.

2: The world changes – but faster than before

Some would argue that the world is stabilizing for marketers, while many others would argue the opposite with IoT and ever increasing amounts of data. With some social media disappearing, others emerge with decreased attention spans and increased demands from customers. The world is becoming ever more complex – and if your marketing system, isn’t a platform where new capabilities can be built, it stands zero chance of anticipating and preparing you for the future.

 

Kenneth Wagner AUTHOR:
Kenneth Wagner has been with CapGemini/Sogeti since June 2014, as a Salesforce consultant. He met clients on his first day with the group and have quickly solidified his raison d’être within both the group and its clients. Prior to CapGemini/Sogeti, he served as Sales Operations Manager with an international SaaS Company with HQ in Stockholm. He was responsible for all Sales Related analytics/Business Intelligence; he managed and improved upon all of their Sales & Marketing System and led training at all the offices. Prior to that role he worked the floor as sales – using the systems that would later become his career. Kenneth has impressed industry peers at many opportunities, being branded as a true Cloud Evangelist and a talent for spotting the intersections between business and technology. He sets the bar high, and works tirelessly to make a difference in the ventures he is engaged in.

Posted in: Data structure, Digital, Digital strategy, Internet of Things, IT strategy, Marketing, Research, Social Aspects, Social media, Social media analytics      
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saas-development-banner (1)My career started at Mynewsdesk – a fast growing SaaS company delivering a Digital PR platform. This instilled a necessity to understand the various aspects of the digital landscape, as well as familiarize myself with the importance of SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics & Cloud). In addition, I was introduced to ForEntrpreneurs SaaS 2.0 Metrics and told we needed Salesforce to be able to do reporting on it.

All in all, Mynewsdesk was a fun and challenging learning experience. In addition, it has given me a passion for the potential Salesforce represents for SaaS companies. There are so many options for how Salesforce’s product portfolio can be used to enhance SaaS companies operations.

As Scott White from Andreessen Horowitz (a 4 billion venture capital firm) puts it:

“The combination of SaaS, cloud services and mobile has the potential to topple nearly every major enterprise software incumbents”

In order to tap into the potential, you naturally need the right idea, the right team, funding etc. But you also need to have the correct system configuration, as it is your core systems that play a part in how fast the organization can scale.

This post starts with creating a brief overview of the industry, then seeks to highlight some of the challenges the industry faces. Later, I try to paint a picture of how Salesforce can address some of the challenges and finally I end the post with a short summary.

What characterizes the industry’s business model?

The product is delivered via the cloud. As a starting point, all functionality is accessed via a browser, and some systems have a component that can be installed locally, or integrate with existing software (for example, plugins for Excel, Outlook etc.). New features can be rolled out to all customers simultaneously, and if a customer needs to scale, it can often happen in just a few moments, instead of being forced to invest in new equipment, etc.

If we are going for a more formalized definition for SaaS, we can look at the NIST’s definition (National Institute of standards and Technology), which defines five essential characteristics in relation to the Cloud;

  • On-demand self-service
  • Broad network access
  • Resource pooling
  • Rapid elasticity
  • Measured service

What are the challenges facing the industry?

SaaS companies are often met with high expectations to their performance, as the product simply has to work, needs to be easy to work it etc. Those things are not addressed or solved by Salesforce. What is however within the scope of Salesforce, are the requirements posed towards efficiency, backend systems, scalability, competitive advantages, data insight, distribution etc.

How does Salesforce enter the picture?

Salesforce in addition to being the world’s leading CRM and Service management vendor, is also 100% API enabled. Everything you create in terms of fields and objects, automatically becomes part of the API meaning you can integrate to and from (e.g. via Web service calls). Unlike some of the other platforms I have looked at, Salesforce has a very extensive technical documentation. The reason I stress this, is that in addition to all the really awesome sales and service stuff that all companies can leverage using Salesforce, SaaS companies are ideally positioned to take full advantage of the platform as a whole.

Based on the business model and the challenges, I believe that Salesforce fits in SaaS businesses as follows:

  • Pull in product data. For me, this is by far the biggest advantage and therefore I put this at the top of the list. Data can be included on several different levels (account, contact, opportunity, other), but some key data points that are relevant to highlight;
  • Last login date / usage for the product – this can be both at the account level (customer) or all the way down at an individual level (contact). Having this would enable you to catch customers who stop using your product.
  • Product / Usage data – this relates to what you sell. Is it distribution of press releases? Automations? Templates? Emails sent? other? Be sure to aggregate your data and send “sums” to Salesforce so you can report on them. It makes it easy to segment your customers based on these parameters, which could help you gain insight into how to position or package your product offerings. More on this later.
  • Automating processes. Should we send a mail if a customer hasn’t logged in for 2 months? Do you need to be notified if a new customer is not logged in within 7 days? Or if their usage pattern falls outside of the normal on boarding process? The main point is that you can automate notifications based on key touch points. You can also make field updates, generate automatic follow-up tasks or otherwise automate and assist your business.
  • CHURN Prevention. In combination with the above, you can take advantage of Salesforce’s standard reporting and dashboard engine to easily highlight customers that you suspect could be on the way to terminate. You could also have a customer with a geographically dispersed team. Here you could make a report with a graph on the customer’s account, which shows how many % of the contacts on each geography there are active, reach out with that insight about their usage patterns and finally help them to use more (and ideally spend more).
  • SaaS Metrics are readily available. Are you the type who is inspired by the modern SaaS Metrics, in particular, MRR, ACV, CHURN, etc.? By using standard fields in Salesforce, standard reports, etc. it is very easy and very simple to bring these metrics out for each sale, summarized on the customer, summarized at product level, by sale person or however you wish to view your data.
  • Full control of the sales process. Reporting can be done in real time. Using reporting snapshots, you can easily visualize the historical development of the MRR, ACV, Customer Volume, number of Subscriptions, etc. In addition you can leverage the forecasting feature to easily view your projected performance over the next X periods.
  • 360 degree view and Omni-Channel Service are all possible using the Salesforce’s product portfolio. This overview is attained by ensuring that you capture all the relevant data in Salesforce. The service cloud encompass everything from a Smart FAQ & Knowledge Base, to a Customer Community, Chat support, CTI integration, self-service portals, video support – you name it.
  • Marketing Cloud – whether it is ExactTarget, Pardot or Social Studio – this is the new black. There are many buzzwords we can include here (Marketing Automation, Customer Journeys etc..), but the essence is that through these products and on the basis of data, trigger points, etc. you can achieve total control of the customer experience – which in turn makes 1:1 marketing possible. This doesn’t require Salesforce CRM or Service Cloud, but of course there are many associated with doing just that.

Summary

Salesforce is one of the most technically and technologically advanced companies with full documentation. Combining that with their strong capabilities in their standard functionality, there is so much potential for SaaS companies. The combination of product data, sales data and automations creates many possibilities wherein you can achieve total control and gain a full overview of your business – and you can easily report on what you need – being booked revenue or MRR, ACV, etc.

References

image: google images

http://blog.startupcompass.co/2014-saas-market-outlook

http://www.forentrepreneurs.com/saas-metrics-2/

 

Kenneth Wagner AUTHOR:
Kenneth Wagner has been with CapGemini/Sogeti since June 2014, as a Salesforce consultant. He met clients on his first day with the group and have quickly solidified his raison d’être within both the group and its clients. Prior to CapGemini/Sogeti, he served as Sales Operations Manager with an international SaaS Company with HQ in Stockholm. He was responsible for all Sales Related analytics/Business Intelligence; he managed and improved upon all of their Sales & Marketing System and led training at all the offices. Prior to that role he worked the floor as sales – using the systems that would later become his career. Kenneth has impressed industry peers at many opportunities, being branded as a true Cloud Evangelist and a talent for spotting the intersections between business and technology. He sets the bar high, and works tirelessly to make a difference in the ventures he is engaged in.

Posted in: API, Automation Testing, Cloud, Data structure, Infrastructure, Innovation, Internet of Things, IT strategy, mobile testing, SMAC, Transformation, User Experience      
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Passenger transport is an industry where Customer Experience is the alpha and the omega. Based on my past with public transport, I remember it clearly: 101% on-time transport was expected and anything below that simply wasn’t good enough in the eyes of the customer. That being said, experience showed that great customer service, well-informed staff and correct information made a world of difference in how the customer experience turned out. That is precisely the reason why it makes sense to match Salesforce with the Passenger Transport industry, given that overview, information and efficiency makes a huge difference.

To ensure that you get value from this post, I’ll just mention a few industry references, namely:  New Jersey TransitDelta Airlines and KLM. The latter, KLM, achieved their goal of 24/7 service and 1 hour response time. Delta achieved transparency and cross-company collaboration in their sales work. NJ Transit reduced their response time with an astonishing 57% and increased their sales capacity with 200%. In other words, there are lots of statistics to draw on, but first, let’s get an overview.

The industry’s market

Typically, passenger transport is connected to high volume (in Denmark, the S-trains have about 350.000 passengers on a daily basis – a lot in a 5.5 million population). The core service is operating transport. The core product gets a person from A to B, most often connected to a specific destination. A special category of customers are commuters, i.e. people who use the product to get to and from work. Based on the New Jersey Transit case, I have a thesis about the system environment – namely that it is very fragmented and influenced by legacy systems, given that most transportation companies have been around for a while. This can make a 360 degree overview of customer data and operational messages hard to come by.

Which challenges does the industry face?

The industry as a whole faces quite a few challenges in terms of transitioning to sustainable solutions, infrastructure development, crowded lines etc. This is however part of the materialistic and operational side of the business. In addition to that there are challenges for the business, for the customer handling and customer experience etc. The latter, however, also creates a lot of opportunities when it comes to how you handle customer service – and that is the focus of this post.

With my knowledge of the market and the industry, these are the following challenges (and opportunities):

  • Streamlining customer service (e.g. to reduce costs and achieve service goals)
  • Handling cases from all the customer channels (social, mail, chat, phone etc.)
  • Distributing information to customers, staff etc. at the right time – and via the right channels
  • Collecting information from multiple systems and channels, to create a complete 360 degree overview of customers

How does Salesforce fit?

To make it as relevant as possible, this section is inspired of what NJ Transit has achieved using Service Cloud, combined with the opportunities I see for companies who’s working with Passenger Transport:

  • 360 degree overview is the first benefit. In addition to being able to adapt the Salesforce platform according to your business needs and ambitions, you can also integrate with existing systems, so that you can collect all the relevant customer data on a combined “customer card”. For airlines, it can be anything from check-in/check-out, to where the luggage is now, total customer value etc. For train companies it is much the same in terms of customer value, but can also be more detailed information regarding travel patterns, complaints, fines, customer surveys etc.
  • Omni-channel customer service, essentially this means that you can deliver customer service via all channels. Phone calls, Chat, Social Media mentions, “Help-me” button from inside your own app, Email, Web etc. – all channels are supported and handled via a simple interface – and everything happens in connection to the 360 degree overview of the customer.
  • Skills, automated workflows and assignment rules are terms that cover the functionality that makes it possible to route incoming cases to the right employees and experts. It ensures that you get as fast a case handling as possible, and it opens up for a much higher percentage of first-time resolutions.
  • Streamlining business processes using Salesforce Service Console. The above 3 elements often end up in the console. This is the work space for employees. Here all new cases come in and are assigned the relevant case-queues. Omni-channel will push things to you as you are ready – and you can either accept the ping, or forward it. When you respond, it will be possible to respond from within the same user-interface that your employees work with, directly to the case-originating channel.
  • Maximize productivity using macros and workflows. Are there any operational disruptions? Is there a protest in an airport? Does something happen that causes several hundred to contact you with the same issue? This is where macros and workflows allow you to efficiently handle all cases by responding, processing and potentially closing them (potentially with a link to a knowledge article that has all the information), by applying the relevant macro.
  • Expanding the Self-Service capabilities by utilizing Salesforce Communities. Here you can build your own customer universe where a customer can see his or her cases, create new cases and usingSalesforce Knowledge, they can access a knowledge database which can hopefully alleviate some of the cases by providing the answers up front. The knowledge database can be made publicly available, be placed as an app on your Facebook site and even be integrated with mobile apps.
  • Mystery shopper ratings – this is one of the more brilliant things from NJ Transit. Basically they built their own Salesforce1 app (using point-and-click), in which their mystery shoppers rated all aspects of their journey. It could be anything from the condition of the seat to the attitude of staff. All data is stored in an object in Salesforce, summarized in report and visualized via a dashboard that can be live updated, so that you can keep track of the quality of the service – at all times.
  • Internal communication can be made transparent and more efficient using Chatter. The functionality is much like Facebook for companies – an internal communication stream where you can follow groups, people etc. Using a train operator, you could assume that you followed each line to get updates when there are operational disruptions etc. Using Salesforce1, you can get this information all the way to the field personnel, so that they’re updated as well.

Think Big

You could say that with Salesforce, the sky (i.e. your imagination) is the limit. NJ Transit have chosen, among others, to create a twitter profile per line, through which they communicate service messages and generally they keep track of everything social using Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

You can build functionality into your own apps, that makes it possible for a passenger to take a photo of a problem and submit it, which in turn would create a case. This case would be routed to the right person, to ensure a fast resolution.

Summary

There are so many elements in Salesforce that favors High-Volume companies (within case handling). Especially within the passenger transport industry, where response time and customer experience is imperative. Service Cloud, Omni-Channel, Automation, Knowledge, Chatter, Marketing Cloud – all of this is leading within their own area. All of these are part of the tools leveraged to realize a 57% faster response time for NJ Transit and a reply within an hour for KLM.

High volume, a need for a 360 degree customer overview and an emphasis on security – if that’s true, then Salesforce most definitely makes sense.

 

Kenneth Wagner AUTHOR:
Kenneth Wagner has been with CapGemini/Sogeti since June 2014, as a Salesforce consultant. He met clients on his first day with the group and have quickly solidified his raison d’être within both the group and its clients. Prior to CapGemini/Sogeti, he served as Sales Operations Manager with an international SaaS Company with HQ in Stockholm. He was responsible for all Sales Related analytics/Business Intelligence; he managed and improved upon all of their Sales & Marketing System and led training at all the offices. Prior to that role he worked the floor as sales – using the systems that would later become his career. Kenneth has impressed industry peers at many opportunities, being branded as a true Cloud Evangelist and a talent for spotting the intersections between business and technology. He sets the bar high, and works tirelessly to make a difference in the ventures he is engaged in.

Posted in: Cloud, Infrastructure, Innovation, Internet of Things, Social Aspects, Social media, Transformation, Transitioning, User Experience, User Interface      
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Marketing automation is one of the hottest buzz words for marketing (and sales) these days. Disregard all the tailored messages, all the fancy stuff and let’s focus on what it’s actually about. The reason marketing automation is so hot right now, is that it is the only solution that can tie all your marketing channels together. Yes, the only one.

marketing-automation

And tying channels together is so important these days, as the average B2B buyer makes 50-70% of their purchase decision, before you even get in contact with them. Essentially, this means you could lose sales if you do not react timely enough.

Let’s look at the various channels on an overall level:

  • Print ads (newspapers, posters, billboards etc.)
  • Digital Ads (Banner Ads, Google AdWords, Facebook Ads etc.)
  • Owned Digital Channels (website, specific theme pages, SEM etc.)
  • Social Media channels(Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.)
  • Content marketing (Blogs, Whitepapers, Webinars, etc.)
  • PR (Press releases, Brand Journalism, etc.)
  • Communications (Letters, Emails, Twitter DM’s, LinkedIn InMail etc.)

The success of the each channel is often viewed in isolation. This leads to questions like:

  • What is our click-through-rate (CTR) on the Newsletters?
  • How many clicks are there on Google AdWords?
  • How much engagement is there on our Social Media channels?

The questions are many, and there is definitely value in those questions. However, the thing that Marketing Automation contributes with, is the gather all interactions in the same system. The method applied is simple enough – a random person performs an action, then something happens (you get points, receive an email etc.). As you continue along the process, more and more information is gathered regarding the respective client, and at some point the person is rated as “Sales Ready” after which sales takes over.

This means that the following scenario for Mr. Jones is possible:

  • Within your print ad, you can have a link / barcode which is directed to a landing page. The visit is captured in the system, 5 points.
  • On the page, Mr. Jones downloads a whitepaper, 40 points.
  • After a few days, Mr. Jones receives a newsletter and clicks a link, 5 points.
  • He finds your twitter account, clicks a tracked link, 5 points.
  • Visits your pricing page, 20 points

At this point, the total score is 75, and it continues. He might click an adword, visit more pages, etc. While he’s doing this, we can keep track on how engaged he is in us and what he is engaging in. The focus thus shifts from “How many clicks on AdWords?” to “How is AdWords contributing to my pipeline?” – this is made possible as everything is tracked and measured when using a Marketing Automation platform.

This means that the call from sales will no longer be a simple “Want to buy?” or “I got something I want to present to you”, but rather it will be influenced by insights and data, which again makes it possible to focus on the leads that are most likely to buy your product.

Again, let me emphasize that the traditional questions for channel optimization are still very relevant. You need to optimize each channel. The difference is that when using Marketing Automation you are capable of collecting all the insight through one system, and thus (hopefully) capture the leads at the right time.

At the end of the day, it’s all about optimizing your bottom line.

 

Kenneth Wagner AUTHOR:
Kenneth Wagner has been with CapGemini/Sogeti since June 2014, as a Salesforce consultant. He met clients on his first day with the group and have quickly solidified his raison d’être within both the group and its clients. Prior to CapGemini/Sogeti, he served as Sales Operations Manager with an international SaaS Company with HQ in Stockholm. He was responsible for all Sales Related analytics/Business Intelligence; he managed and improved upon all of their Sales & Marketing System and led training at all the offices. Prior to that role he worked the floor as sales – using the systems that would later become his career. Kenneth has impressed industry peers at many opportunities, being branded as a true Cloud Evangelist and a talent for spotting the intersections between business and technology. He sets the bar high, and works tirelessly to make a difference in the ventures he is engaged in.

Posted in: Automation Testing, Digital strategy, e-Commerce, Human Behaviour, Human Interaction Testing, Innovation, IT strategy, Marketing, Research, Social Aspects, Social media, Social media analytics, User Experience, User Interface      
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You’ve considered – and purchased – a Marketing Automation System (my first post). You completed the necessary exercises within the organization to get started (maybe those suggested in my second post). You are now ready to implement the solution, and here, your mindset is key in getting not only a good start – but also to being able to finish strong.

Start Small – Think Big – Scale Fast

It started as a conversation around implementation with one of those responsible for Marketing Cloud from Salesforce themselves. He mentioned the above statement. Having been involved in both Pardot and ExactTarget (i.e. Marketing Cloud) implementations, I have to agree with the words. However, I do believe it’s also relevant to add a few words to the individual components – and why they make sense.

Start Small

This is not about your data model and the technical implementation – of course this needs to be in order – but to me, it is about the core functionality in the Marketing Cloud. Whether you are implementing a B2B or B2C solution, it is about starting simple. It is important with a long-term goal, as to where the journey will take us, but to begin with, keep the core functionality simple. You could start with the newsletter (e.g. your As-Is scenario) in order to familiarize yourself with the platform. Next you would build upon the your newly gained capacities – could be anything from adding dynamic content, automations, etc. You build and build until you reach the end goal – which in the Marketing Cloud could be something as complex as automated, individually-optimized and personalized emails using Predictive Intelligence.

Below is an example about how you could scale your capabilities:
Note: ”starting small” is a variable determined by your company’s starting point (i.e. your capabilities)

Image 1

Think Big

As mentioned above, it is essentially about having an idea – a vision – for your marketing automation venture. A key component to the vision is that it needs an owner (typically the CMO). Whoever owns the vision is responsible for constantly communicating where you are going, must sell the idea to the rest of the business and ensure the business is on board.

Scale Fast

This speaks to the example of the above phases. Break your implementation down to smaller components. Make sure to collect the experience, know-how and learning along the way. Remember to convert the experience to organizational capacities and based on those, prioritize the components in the order that makes sense, based on your needs, gaps, capacities, etc.

Summary

So for your marketing automation, think about what you can quickly complete. Make sure you have a vision of the destination, and finally – scale quickly.

Related posts:

Kenneth Wagner AUTHOR:
Kenneth Wagner has been with CapGemini/Sogeti since June 2014, as a Salesforce consultant. He met clients on his first day with the group and have quickly solidified his raison d’être within both the group and its clients. Prior to CapGemini/Sogeti, he served as Sales Operations Manager with an international SaaS Company with HQ in Stockholm. He was responsible for all Sales Related analytics/Business Intelligence; he managed and improved upon all of their Sales & Marketing System and led training at all the offices. Prior to that role he worked the floor as sales – using the systems that would later become his career. Kenneth has impressed industry peers at many opportunities, being branded as a true Cloud Evangelist and a talent for spotting the intersections between business and technology. He sets the bar high, and works tirelessly to make a difference in the ventures he is engaged in.

Posted in: Automation Testing, Cloud, communication, component testing, Marketing, Research, Socio-technical systems, Software Development      
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