How we think about customer data is changing.

This was a central theme in yesterday's Salesforce Keynote at Dreamforce. Andy MacMillan, SVP & GM for, explained that for years the prevailing wisdom has been that tying all our systems together gives us a 360-degree view of our customers.

With the shift to managing our data in the cloud, relying on what you already know about your customers only gives you half the picture. You need to rethink how you manage and deliver data to your users, and why. It's not enough to know everything about a customer or prospect internally; you need to know what's happening in their world. The same old thinking only gives you the same old results.

Not too many years ago, if someone met with you about a job you might have been a little surprised (and maybe concerned) if they researched you online. Now, it would stand out if someone didn't take the time to do it. Your sales teams need to be approaching their customers and prospects the same way. And chances are they're already getting outside information that is more accurate and up-to-date than the information in your systems. The new challenge is giving them this information they need while making sure it's coming from a source that is accurate and focused. Your sales reps need to be spending their time focused on selling, not researching.

Your strategy needs to evolve

Your customer data strategy needs to evolve for you to stay competitive. Andy explained that a successful strategy has four key components:

  • Cloud-based
  • Mobile-aware
  • App-centric
  • "Smart" data

He talked about how was "born cloud." As a product designed and built natively in Salesforce, it's uniquely positioned to be central to your new data strategy.

Your Cloud Strategy - Applications for sales reps

ProspecingWhen partnered with D&B for the leading global account data, they led the change in the industry to cloud-based data. This year is taking that partnership even further with an expanded set of data from Dun & Bradstreet — such as industry and competitive insights, conversation starters and more, helping you connect with your customers in more ways.

Andy introduced Michelle Huff, VP Product Management & Marketing,, who unveiled a reimagined sales prospecting experience. Leveraging the new data from this expanded partnership, the focus goes beyond just finding new contacts and accounts to better understanding everyone and every organization you work with or sell to.

Your Cloud Strategy - Platform

With new features and apps from the team like Account News, Duplicate Prevention, and Get Contacts for Salesforce1 combined with apps from our partners built using, it's about whenever, wherever data.

Account News gives you targeted news right inside the Salesforce1 Today app from Sales Cloud1. News that is relevant to the accounts you're meeting with today. Get Contacts for Salesforce1 puts prospecting for leads and contacts at your accounts in your hands on any device while you're already in Salesforce1. Partner apps like Hierarchies from Traction on Demand give you a visual view of your account hierarchies right inside Salesforce, letting you see how the companies you work with are related and giving you better insight into your opportunities. Territory Management from Perficient not only gives you a powerful engine for creating rules and scenarios around your territories, but it also builds on top of the Salesforce and data and services. Clean ensures your account and industry information is complete and current and the two combined enable you to more quickly carve out territories and allocate accounts.  

Business contact and account information is central to sales success, but it's only part of the picture. To help you with this aspect of your data strategy Andy announced the launch of the Exchange, partnering with leading data providers: Health Market Science, Bisnode, Harte Hanks, Wealth Engine, Acxiom, and S&P Capital IQ. The Exchange brings the specific information you need where you need it in Salesforce.

Your Cloud Strategy - Insights

Analytics-cloud-cleaned-dataWith the launch of Salesforce Analytics Cloud, the democratization of analytics has begun. When this power is in the hands of everyone in the business, it will become a catalyst for addressing your customer data quality. Organizations will want to establish a strategy to get to more complete and reliable customer data and leverage tools like Clean. For years has been helping companies eliminate "unknown" from their systems. You have the opportunity to ensure the data your teams report on is up-to-date and complete, start becoming a more data-driven business, and make better business decisions with richer insights.

The Future of Customer Data

Andy ended by announcing a new partnership with Thomson Reuters. What he calls the "Wall Street Advantage for Sales." Success on Wall Street is about what you know and Thomson Reuters is the leader in providing that information. With this new Salesforce partnership, Thomson Reuters will be able to provide that same level of competitive advantage for sales.

There are clearly significant changes happening in how we manage customer data. And judging by the crowd that attended, it's clear many are already experiencing the changes.



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