Data has gone from something that fades into the background noise to a topic that Salesforce professionals are hungry to know more about. Data is the lifeblood of CRMs, so data quality is a top priority that is always front of mind.
This round-up isn’t an exhaustive list, but it does highlight some Salesforce-specific data trends that have caught our attention. Let’s dive in!
1. Customer Data Platforms (CDP)
Customer Data Platforms, in relation to the Salesforce platform, has been related to Marketing Cloud.
Salesforce Genie, announced in 2022, takes the Marketing Cloud Customer Data Platform (formerly Salesforce CDP) shares the same purpose and benefits that CDPs deliver. Genie takes Salesforce CDP’s capabilities, and extends the benefits right across the “Customer 360” (i.e. Salesforce’s product portfolio). That’s the data unification, identity resolution, and activation that Salesforce CDP customers have already been taking advantage of.
Marketing Cloud Customer Data Platform is very much still ‘alive and kicking’, and there are several key differences between Salesforce Genie and Salesforce CDP. One example is the zero-data copy architecture, which means that Genie can directly access data stored in data lakes (and vice-versa), without moving or duplicating data.
The foundation for personalized customer experiences comes from diverse and aggregated data sources. No surprises that the number of data sources the average organization is using is steadily growing each year.
Regardless of whether you will end up using Salesforce Genie, CDP is a topic that will make its way into conversations more frequently.
2. First-Party Tracking
With the emphasis on privacy, and the demise of third-party cookies, first-party data (which your own organization collects) will be the only viable way to collect data from visitors online.
The increasing popularity of CDP could help to solve the challenge. You need to be savvier with the data you collect (profile unification) and have somewhere to store it. Salesforce describes this as “walking the ‘personalization vs. privacy’ tightrope”. But what are the trade-offs between one to the other?
3. Salesforce Industries
Salesforce Industries are hot, hot, hot! Organizations are moving to more industry-specific data models to cater to their business models. Rather than develop their own Salesforce data models, Industry Cloud products give organizations the pre-made ‘skin’ over Sales Cloud, etc.
Salesforce Industries includes Health Cloud, Financial Services Cloud, Salesforce for Insurance, Media Cloud, Consumer Goods Cloud, Communications Cloud, Energy & Utilities Cloud, Manufacturing Cloud, Automotive Cloud, Government Cloud (Public Sector Solutions), Nonprofit Success Pack (NPSP), Education Cloud, Vaccine Cloud, and Net Zero Cloud.
And these have proven popular, and Salesforce are selling Industry Cloud products like ‘hot cakes’. Demand is far out-weighing supply in all regions. It’s a trend to keep up to date with, especially if your industry is on the list above.
4. Leveraging Unstructured Data
Unstructured data is data that’s not formatted according to any standards, and should get the spotlight in 2023. Again, CDPs are one way to bring standardization to unstructured data sources, in order for it to be usable alongside its counterpart ‘structured’ data. Structuring unstructured data is a step in the right direction to maximizing all the data your organization has at its disposal.
Interestingly, one source of unstructured data we talked about in 2022 is Slack conversation data.
Slack and Salesforce coming together was interesting when you consider that one (Salesforce) enforces highly structured collaboration, and the other (Slack) is based on unstructured collaboration. How much control do you have over Slack data before it becomes useful to enrich Salesforce? What do you need to achieve this? (Clue: Slack apps and workflows.)
The “Well-Architected” framework was announced at the Dreamforce ‘22 Architect Keynote. On a highly customizable platform like Salesforce, it’s important that architects focus their efforts in the right direction when designing and building healthy and scalable solutions across the Customer 360 platform.
With “Well-Architected”, solutions move towards becoming trusted, easy, and adaptable. Other keywords include “regulations”, “composable solutions”, and “reusable components”.
6. Salesforce Flow
It’s about time we mentioned Flow. If data is the lifeblood, flows are the veins and arteries, transforming and ‘moving data’ around your CRM.
If you’ve been putting in the effort to learn Salesforce Flow, you may be looking to push your knowledge further and really master the tool. Key advanced Salesforce Flow logic to be aware of includes Data Elements (arguably the most valuable element in the Salesforce Flow arsenal), Collections, Loops, and Assignments.
And then there’s the native Flow datatable component (a crowd favorite from the Winter ‘23 release). This displays a table of records to users in a Screen Flow, making it easier to work with multiple records at one time. For example, select specific Leads to convert.
7. Data Security
Security keeps some Admins and other Salesforce professionals up at night. The stakes are high, with both malicious attacks and insider threats on the rise for companies that use Salesforce.
Yes, insider threats – your own colleagues compromising your org data’s security, either deliberately or out of negligence. It’s critical to have the proper controls in place to prevent data loss.
Some people ignore these blind spots because they don’t fully understand the concept of the Salesforce Shared Responsibility Model. Protecting data is a joint responsibility between you and Salesforce. The guide below outlines which security elements Salesforce is responsible for versus the responsibility of the customer.
8. Address Data
The final trend in this round-up may seem like a curveball. What’s the big deal with address data? 8,250 votes and 81,940 points racked up on the IdeaExchange – to put it into perspective!
There are multiple reasons why you would want to create a custom Address field. Previously, you might have tried an (inadvisable) custom workaround to meet your use case. Now, you will be able to create this type of field, and perhaps, clean up address data where you have been ‘creative’ in the past.
As data becomes more vital and, unfortunately, easier to break into, data protection, preservation, storage, and quality should become your business’s top priority. Thankfully, as you’ve seen in this guide, Salesforce has its own tools in place to make this easier for your org.