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6 Innovative Features & Products to Maximize Your Salesforce Investment

By Jim Dufresne

Salesforce is an incredibly powerful platform straight out of the box. But for those who really want to push their implementation to the limit and discover all that Salesforce has to offer, there’s an entire world of innovative features and functionalities waiting right at their fingertips.

Do More With Salesforce

1. Einstein Bots

From retail to insurance to banking, artificial intelligence and chat technology have made a splash across multiple industries; Einstein Bot for Service Cloud, which became generally available in 2018, is Salesforce’s effort to get in on this growing trend. The basic idea behind Einstein Bot is to reduce a company’s chat volume by automating responses to simple service requests, thereby freeing customer service representatives to focus on more complex requests.

Einstein Bots are powered by Salesforce Einstein, the company’s AI-powered customer relationship management (CRM) assistant, which boasts the ability to identify patterns and trends to predict outcomes, anticipate customer behavior, and deliver recommendations to customers and employees alike. Each Einstein Bot uses this technology to pull a customer’s data and service history — which Salesforce calls “transactions” — from the main Salesforce CRM platform to provide more intelligent, personalized responses. Should an incoming service request exceed an Einstein Bot’s capabilities, the chatbot will escalate the issue to a live rep.

2. Community Cloud

Humans are inherently social creatures and really respond to the idea of community — which explains why word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools at a company’s disposal, and why there’s been a rise in online branded communities in recent years. Salesforce Community Cloud aims to help businesses take advantage of these trends by building their own branded online communities, which customers and Partners  can use to engage with one another and employees can use to more quickly respond to service questions.

The way Community Cloud works is simple. True to Salesforce’s “click, not code” philosophy, a business can build a community by:

  1. Choosing a template
  2. Selecting a theme that matches its brand (or create a custom theme based on its branding)
  3. Adding content and components
  4. Populating its new community with data pulled from Salesforce CRM and other existing systems
  5. Push the new community site live

Communities built through Community Cloud are optimized for mobile and can be integrated with Chatter, Salesforce’s enterprise collaboration software. According to Salesforce, Community Cloud can also be used to enhance partner sales by giving resellers, distributors, and partners a ready-made place to connect.

See What Users Are Saying…

“[The] Salesforce Community Cloud product has enabled us to advance the way we are working with our customers in providing them with exceptional details… This platform offers integration functionality, allowing users to collaborate on business-critical files from within communities. Community Cloud [provides] information and self-services to our external customers. The tool is very flexible and there are several pre-defined template options which we used to create templates for different customer types which allows us to tailor their user interface.”

“The Salesforce Community Cloud is an incredible tool for knowledge-centered support. When we launched our first Community, we saw a 30% reduction in cases from that customer segment. Users and partners can be given access to your knowledge base, can review and manage their cases, and can collaborate with others.”

3. myTrailhead

By now, most Salesforce users are familiar with Trailhead, the company’s learning platform that combines educational content and gamification for more comprehensive training, but it’s possible that they’ve yet to hear of myTrailhead.

Announced in 2017 and made available in 2019, myTrailhead is a learning management system that takes the Salesforce skills training content found in Trailhead and customizes it to align with a company’s unique culture, style, and branding. MyTrailhead also enables businesses to develop custom modules, trails, and trailmixes that adapt existing Salesforce or customer-created learning content to specific roles and functions within their company.

4. Service Cloud

According to a 2017 survey from Microsoft, 96% of respondents reported that customer service is important in their choice of loyalty to a brand. With stakes that high, businesses can ill afford to deliver customer service that is anything less than exceptional — which is why Salesforce built Service Cloud, its customer service support platform.

Service Cloud provides call center representatives and field service technicians alike with a 360-degree view of the customer, enabling them to provide faster, more comprehensive, and more personalized service. Service Cloud also enables customers to handle their service requests independently by providing them with a self-service portal, through which they can access a business’ knowledge base or interact with AI-enabled chatbots.

Through Service Cloud, businesses are able to dramatically increase their first-time fix rate, reduce service reps’ workload, communicate with customers across any channel, and capitalize on the growing trend of customer self-service.

“Great for a [360-degree] view of your customers. If set up correctly, you can run great reports/dashboards of incoming cases, allowing you to set up KPI’s for your internal support team. If you want to view your internal support process, this gives you great measurements on duration of incoming cases being closed and volume of cases closed by agent. This can be implemented for any size of support teams and customer volume.”

“I would recommend others use Salesforce Service Cloud based on my experiences working with a variety of companies within different industries to find success. If your goals are to improve customer relationships, which is likely for most organizations, then implementing the software shouldn’t be second-guessed. Salesforce Service Cloud is an innovative product that just keeps evolving — you can trust it to evolve with your own needs as you grow.”

5. Quip

In order to thrive, a business needs to operate like a well-oiled machine — something often easier said than done given the number of departments within each business and the silos that exist between them. Word processors and collaboration tools such as Google Docs and Slack have sprung up to accommodate this need, enabling users to share documents and communicate in real time.

Purchased by Salesforce in 2016, Quip is one such collaboration tool, designed to bring productivity directly into the context of business workflows and to enable sales and customer support teams to be better aligned and more efficient, according to Alan Lepofsky, VP of Salesforce Quip. With Quip, companies can embed collaborative documents inside records and processes, making it easier for teams to access the most up-to-date data information and implement best practices. Users can make changes to living documents from anywhere in the world, thanks to Quip’s mobile optimization, thereby eliminating duplicate entries and reducing the risk of dirty data. In addition to Salesforce, Quip integrates with multiple apps, such as Dropbox, Jira, and Lucidchart, for increased functionality.

What Users Are Saying…

Quip keeps us very organized and is great for tagging each other in comments and collaborating in single documents. They have a number of workflow features that we’ve used several times to help manage project timelines, etc. I also love that I can share links to documents, so clients can pop in and review without having to be added as a full user.”

“I save time and money with this software; my sales have increased 23% in transactions in the last 14 months. It is easy and very didactic to use. It also adapts very well in synchronization with the Salesforce CRM tool… My colleagues and I call it ‘all in one’ because on one page we literally get the work of the whole team, [we can forget] about the past when we had everything separated.”

6. Heroku

It’s in any business’ best interest to develop customer applications that make its customers’ lives easier, whether that’s streamlining the purchase process or enabling customer self-service — but app dev can be a time-consuming process, one that might be at odds with a business’ intended timeline. Heroku, another Salesforce acquisition, is a platform as a service that enables companies to rapidly develop and deploy apps.

Based on a container management system, Heroku uses “dynos” to package application code and dependencies into “lightweight, isolated environments that provide compute, memory, an OS, and an ephemeral filesystem.” These dynos are the building blocks on which all Heroku apps are built and eliminate the need for clunky infrastructure-based management. In order to build and deploy a Heroku app, develops need only supply a source code, a list of dependencies, and a text file specifying commands — Heroku’s build system does the rest.

Heroku users also have the opportunity to use Heroku Connect, an add-on that allows for bi-directional data synchronization between Salesforce and Heroku, so that your Heroku apps can channel the capabilities of the Salesforce Lightning platform.

What Users Are Saying…

“As a Ruby on Rails freelancer/consultant (and website owner), I often am tasked to choose the initial hosting stack for my client’s new website/app backends… I always advise my clients to start with Heroku. With Heroku, your developers will waste zero time on boilerplate configuration tasks that every website needs… If you want brain-dead simple hosting for popular web frameworks…to this day, nobody beats Heroku.”

“We’ve been using Heroku since our product launch for much of our backend infrastructure, and we remain absolutely smitten with the fantastic product and support we’ve gotten. Heroku strikes a great balance between the responsibilities of running everything on bare metal yourself and a more managed infrastructure, and we’ve been happy with the trade-offs here.”

These are just a few of the innovative features Salesforce has to offer, with new ones being developed every day. What features or capabilities do you hope Salesforce comes out with next to take your implementation to the next level?

The Author

Jim Dufresne

Jim Dufresne is the SVP, Commercial for Aquiva Labs, a Salesforce development and consulting partner that helps organizations achieve their full potential on the AppExchange.


    Rati Bhanot
    February 03, 2020 10:54 am
    Hi Jim, Thanks for introducing us with the latest features of salesforce. i have had a little bit knowledge of Einstein bot although i am completely unaware of Quip and Heroku. Thanks again for sharing the valuable information. Eagerly waiting for the new blog of yours.
    June 05, 2020 6:33 am
    Thanks for sharing such an informative article about salesforce. This will help people to understand benefits of salesforce

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