The readers of SalesforceBen are experts in their customers. As a group of professionals, we are privileged to see the data that comes off the back of their interactions and compiling data points to see how we can better provide our services to them. We know our customers and their propensity for action perhaps better than they know themselves.
Salesforce has built its business on being the best of these CRM tools in the marketplace. And we, as Salesforce professionals, get insights into human behaviour that are second to none…
But that is beginning to change. Over the previous twelve months I have noticed a shift in the information that we are seeing. More and more of it is not based on human activity at all, but on machines and devices that are connected to the Internet and that provide the platform with continuous data points.
I am of course referring to the arrival of the Internet of Things, forecasted to run to 200 billion connected devices by 2020. From driverless cars to remote controlled thermostats and automated quality control, to data readings in agrotech for farmers growing produce to optimise their yields, to medical devices, in some cases transmitting data from inside of you, the Internet of tomorrow will be dominated by traffic from billions of networked devices.
These vast data streams will allow us greater transparency in observing society’s wider behaviour, going from the individual right the way up to a national viewpoint. It will allow companies to provide bespoken incentives as segmentation becomes focused to the individual person, rather than the clumsy parameters of postcodes and income brackets and obscure definitions such as the ‘chattering classes.’
And Salesforce is preparing for this step change.
Have you met the Salesforce IoT Cloud?
Salesforce IoT Cloud provides us CRM experts with the tools we need to draw insights about our customers from these data streams generated by networked devices. At its core, Salesforce IoT Cloud combines customer data and the data from their devices to give us CRM experts a picture of their behaviour. It allows micro-segmentation and can lead us to develop tailor-made offerings to our clients.
- Highly customisable system: each business can write their own orchestration rules to better test engagement models.
- Is designed with a ‘click’ rather than ‘code’ mentality, making it easy to use.
- Gives you real-time engagement.
- Has its own AI platform ‘Einstein’ to help make predictions.
Salesforce IoT Cloud is at the forefront of combining these data sets and seeing device usage in context, and it is this combination that makes it so powerful: For example, imagine you are an energy provider for tens of thousands of customers. Traditionally, you might have limited information about the customer, such as address, credit score, family circumstances and profession, as well as data about their energy usage, based on estimates and meter readings. But what does the advantage of the IoT offer when using the device data and traditional data?
Just what are the practical benefits of Salesforce IoT Cloud use?
Now imagine you are an energy provider who is selling smart meters. You have the traditional data about the bill payer, as we have outlined above, and now you can combine that with real-time data of energy usage. You might find that one of your clients who lives within a mile of several others uses a lot more gas to heat their properties than the others. Perhaps their property could do with an insulation package?
Or perhaps you work for a bus company in a busy city? In this sense, the bus itself becomes the device transmitting information on its location to Salesforce IoT. Then it is updated on your App and a client, waiting at a stop, can see how far away it is before it reaches them. This essentially allows your clients to have more control of their time management as they will be better informed about when they need to leave the house to reach the stop in time.
The two examples above show how the IoT combined with contexualised data can provide better identification for revenue opportunities as well as better customer service. But it can actually do more than that. Feasibly, Salesforce IoT can change the way you do business altogether.
How can the Salesforce IoT Cloud change our business?
The IoT is all about real time data reflecting the customer’s usage of their device, whatever device that might be. This gives your company the information it needs to effectively advise that customer on how they use your services. This can allow you to incentivise them to use your product at times that are most economical to them and to you, such as in the energy sector when the price of electricity is cheaper at night. In this example, it can identify and segment individuals uniquely, allowing your company to provide bespoke offerings to them.
Yet the IoT can also be implemented into your own supply chains as well. Using RFID tags supplies can be monitored from source to end user, guaranteeing transparency and acting as real time provenance. In many industries, this can lead to more timely deliveries and less wastage, saving the company money and also offering its customers that information to help make informed choices.
Managing and servicing existing assets can be streamlined too via the IoT. Monitoring devices that can measure temperature, flow rates and mass can all be employed from industrial and manufacturing plants and pipeline infrastructure to individual units such as aircraft engines and vendor machines. Data from these devices will allow better scheduling of maintenance and replacement.
I have worked in the CRM and marketing industry for nearly two decades and now I work with Flexfibre delivering on-demand, scalable bandwidth for our leased line clients. In doing so, I have seen firsthand how the IoT is changing the way entire industries deliver their services. In many cases, Salesforce IoT Cloud is at the heart of these digital transformations, which would otherwise be impossible without it.