Maybe you’ve heard CEO Marc Benioff speak on CNBC or CNN. You may also recognize our cloud logo, friendly characters, or our very tall headquarters in San Francisco. But, because our work in the world is so varied, we often field the question: What does Salesforce actually do? In short: Salesforce offers technology and services to help you build strong, lasting customer relationships. Salesforce is the customer company. We’ll break down what that means below.
Table of contents
- What does Salesforce do?
- How does Salesforce work?
- How can you use Salesforce for marketing?
- How do you use Salesforce for sales?
- Can Salesforce also work for B2C and B2B shopping and commerce?
- What about customer service? Are there Salesforce tools for that?
- What about IT?
- See an example of Salesforce at work
- What is Salesforce best known for?
- Why is Salesforce obsessed with customers?
What does Salesforce do?
If you have customers, you’ve got customer data. But what do you do with it? How can you use that data to grow lasting relationships and your business? Many companies come to us frustrated because they can’t easily answer these questions. Sales doesn’t share data with marketing. Marketing doesn’t know when a customer has an open service ticket. Commerce doesn’t have transparency on marketing campaigns. You get the picture. Data silos are real. And painful.
Salesforce’s customer relationship management (CRM) software breaks down the technology silos between departments and helps you build strong, lasting customer relationships.
We call our entire portfolio of products and services Customer 360. It’s how you can unite your company — your sales, service, marketing, commerce, and IT teams — around a single shared view of your customers using AI and real-time, actionable data to help wow your customers every time.
The result? Customer information — from tech support chats, recent purchases, website behavior, and more — flows throughout your company in real time. Your sales team knows exactly what products to offer. Your service team helps customers faster. Or better yet, customers are empowered to resolve issues on their own with automated self-service tools. The ability to automate and unify millions of data points in real time creates a special kind of customer magic. Customer trust in your company grows.
Customer 360 helps you lower costs with your entire organization using one trusted platform. It increases productivity with built-in automation as well as predictive and generative AI, and it drives efficient growth by empowering your employees to exceed customer expectations.
Want to know the best part? Customer 360 works for every industry and every size of business at any stage of growth. And it’s flexible, which means you can customize the apps and tools you need to meet the needs of your business today, scale as you grow, and integrate with third-party partners to help you customize your experience fast.
AI and data are the future of CRM
Learn how Customer 360 unites your company and wows your customers with AI and real-time, actionable data, on the world’s #1 CRM.
How does Salesforce work?
Another thing about our CRM: It lives in the cloud. This means all of your teams are connected on one platform no matter where they’re physically located. This cloud-first approach to customer relationship management (versus on-premise software) allows companies to lower maintenance costs, follow a pay-as-you-go model, and more efficiently enable remote or hybrid work.
Our platform is built on Hyperforce, our next-generation cloud infrastructure, which lets Salesforce applications scale rapidly and enables you to run your Salesforce apps from anywhere in the world. Then there’s Data Cloud, which helps you make the most of all your data. The average enterprise stores customer data in nearly 900 applications, making it impossible to create seamless connected experiences. Data Cloud connects your historical, web, mobile, API, CRM, and even real-time data so all your teams have a complete picture of customers and their interactions with your business. This helps your teams make every customer touchpoint hyper-personalized, so you can build stronger customer relationships at scale.
Customer data also powers Einstein, the world’s first generative AI for CRM. Einstein is like having an AI assistant that helps you generate sales tasks, dynamically create personalized customer content, or even write code. Every piece of generated content — like an email or product description — is optimized for performance because Einstein is always learning what content performs best, and results just keep improving.
Since AI is only as good as the data it’s trained on, having a single shared view of customer data ensures Einstein is learning from and always trained on a complete data set. This is important because training your generative AI models on incomplete data can lead to devastatingly inaccurate or biased results. In addition to your CRM data, Einstein can also look at public data, like competitive pricing or customer announcements.
To keep your data protected, Salesforce has built the unique Einstein Trust Layer into the Salesforce platform. This secure AI architecture allows you to ground your prompts in your data without the data ever leaving Salesforce. All of this AI and data come together on our low-code platform, which helps you customize and automate fast for your business.
Did we mention we’re customer obsessed? We are! And that’s why we’re committed to helping you make the most of our technology and deliver success. We have an entire support ecosystem to help you reach your goals fast. The Salesforce Success Ecosystem gives you unrestricted access to resources, best practices, and product experts. Whether it’s collaborating with industry experts and our professional services team, accessing any of our thousands of apps in the AppExchange, or empowering your workforce to learn in-demand skills with Trailhead, the Salesforce Success Ecosystem helps ensure you get the most out of your Salesforce investment. In fact, 92% of Salesforce customers achieve positive ROI in nine months.*
And with Slack, Customer 360 simplifies communication and information sharing with customers, teams, and partners to power digital workflows for a new way to work. Salesforce Customer 360 is your solution for uniting your company and growing customer relationships.
How can you use Salesforce for marketing?
Marketing Cloud helps you save time, increase efficiency, and meet customers on their preferred channels — email, web, social, mobile, ads, or any combination. And with the help of unified analytics and AI insights, rest assured you’re getting the most out of every dollar and optimizing campaign performance. Marketing teams that use Salesforce estimate a 31% average increase in customer engagement and 27% average decrease in costs to acquire new customers.*
With Marketing Cloud Customer Data Platform, you can understand your customers through real-time data and engage with relevant messaging to deliver hyper-personalized interactions everywhere. And Einstein for Marketing can dynamically generate personalized content to engage customers and prospects on their preferred channel. Remember when marketers used to daydream about delivering the right message, at the right time, on the right channel? Well, now you can.
How do you use Salesforce for sales?
Did you know that Salesforce was originally made for sales teams? Our goal is to help sellers reduce costs, increase productivity, and win more deals. On average, our customers have realized up to 32% cost savings**, 30% increase in sales productivity, and 30% increase in win rates after implementing Sales Cloud.*
How does this happen? We created a single platform to simplify and manage the entire sales cycle — from prospecting to deal close to upsell and cross-sell. With Sales Cloud, you’ve got the full sales tech stack ready to automate and scale all your manual sales processes, inspect your pipelines and forecasts with precision accuracy, and connect all customer touchpoints for the best buying experience. Einstein for Sales puts the power of AI in your sales workflows by automatically generating such sales tasks as composing emails, scheduling meetings, and preparing for the next interaction.
Sales Cloud provides sellers with real-time insights and recommendations to help them spend less time on busywork and more time closing deals. And better still, by connecting sales with marketing, service, and more, your opportunities increase, and your customer experiences feel more seamless and engaged.
Can Salesforce also work for B2C and B2B shopping and commerce?
Sure thing! If you want to build simple, seamless business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) commerce experiences that help grow revenue, engage customers, and connect commerce to the rest of the business, Salesforce has tools for that, too.
Easy to implement and adapt, Commerce Cloud can help you maximize revenue by creating personalized shopping experiences across channels and removing friction from the buying experience, even if a customer starts their shopping journey on one channel and completes it on another.
In fact, Commerce Cloud customers see a 27% decrease in costs to place orders and a 28% increase in online revenue.* That is why our commerce tools are trusted by industry-leading brands.
What about customer service? Are there Salesforce tools for that?
Absolutely! With Service Cloud, Salesforce customers decrease their support costs by 20% on average.* Our leading customer service tools help you scale service that customers love while maximizing ROI and driving efficiencies from the contact center to the field — all on a single platform. Einstein helps personalize and expedite service interactions by delivering knowledge articles from past case notes and generating chat replies. Today, customers expect to interact with your business through their preferred channels. We can help you manage those critical touchpoints to provide seamless customer experiences including customer service, self-service channels, field service, and digital channels like chat, SMS, and social messaging apps.
With automation and intelligence, your agents can resolve cases faster, provide instant support, and have a complete and informed view of your customers at every interaction. The opportunities for time and cost savings are limitless when all your teams are on the same page.
What about IT?
Whether your team is tech-minded or not, our integrated Information Technology (IT) tools can help your entire organization automate processes, build more intelligent apps, and secure data across Customer 360. We’ll put you on the path to increase productivity by automating processes that help teams across your organization improve scale, transparency, and security as you need it. With Salesforce, organizations see a 19% decrease in IT costs.*
See an example of Salesforce at work
We have many customer stories to share, but let’s look at just one example of how Customer 360 helps deliver success.
L’Oréal, the world’s #1 beauty company, has always combined the best of beauty and technology. And with the help of Salesforce Customer 360, it’s forging deeper customer relationships with unique beauty journeys tailor-made to each consumer’s taste, budget, and shopping habits.
With Marketing Cloud Personalization, L’Oréal builds individual consumer journeys from real-time and historical data, delivered through the channels each consumer prefers, such as email or social media. ‘‘Messaging based on shopping habits and use of Salesforce services powers our quest to bring greater personalization, relevance, and satisfaction to our consumers in this ever-evolving and complex beauty consumer journey,” said Asmita Dubey, chief digital and marketing officer.
Throughout L’Oréal’s 200-plus websites, the beauty giant has integrated Commerce Cloud with Einstein product recommendations to deliver AI-powered recommendations based on a consumer’s browsing or purchase history. So if a customer adds a lightweight sunscreen to their cart, for example, Einstein may recommend SPF lip balms or moisturizers at checkout. This powerful AI capability has enabled L’Oréal to generate double-digit increases in average order value (AOV) from its websites.
L’Oréal also uses Service Cloud to consolidate data across brands and channels, such as SMS, chat, and email, into a single view of each consumer. From a single dashboard, agents can pull up consumers’ service and purchase history, view the status of their orders, and even see activity updates in real time. Not only does this provide more seamless experiences for customers looking for help, the employee experience is also better.
“Service Cloud reduces case processing time because agents don’t have to struggle with so many different systems,” said Dubey. “This allows us to better care for our consumers, and therefore drive better consumer satisfaction.” As a result, agent satisfaction scores are up by 70%.
By connecting their customer data, utilizing the power of AI, and uniting their teams with Customer 360 L’Oréal can deliver ultra-personalized consumer experiences on a global scale for its millions of customers.
What is Salesforce best known for?
Salesforce is best known as one of the first cloud-based software companies that revolutionized business technology. We took the Rolodex and made it accessible to everyone in the company 24/7 by placing it in the cloud. No longer would companies need to install expensive and custom-built computer infrastructures. And we’ve been building on that ever since to become the world’s #1 CRM.
Today, we continue to innovate CRM with generative AI, real-time data, and best-in-class CRM to help companies connect with their customers in new and better ways.
As a company, we do much more than build great products. We believe that our greatest resource is our values, and that businesses big and small can use their platforms for change to build a better future.
We’re doing what we can to tackle the current climate crisis, trust crisis, and the crisis of inequality. Since we began in 1999, we’ve placed a major emphasis on supporting the global environment. We launched Net Zero Cloud, and we’re behind the 1 trillion trees effort to unleash a global reforestation movement.
Companies can create welcoming environments for all employees by seeking diversity and teaching inclusivity. We have an equality at work module on our Trailhead online learning platform with more information. We also have training anyone can access on how to build ethical and inclusive products. It’s part of a movement to build technology with intention.
Additionally, our 1-1-1 philanthropic model means we’ve donated more than $240 million in grants, contributed 3.5 million hours of community service, and provided product donations for more than 39,000 nonprofits and educational institutions since we started. You can learn more about our philanthropic efforts here.
Why is Salesforce obsessed with customers?
As the customer company, Salesforce has always been customer-obsessed, which is why customer success is one of our core values. With customer expectations higher than ever, businesses can’t be successful without putting their customer at the center of their business. Every company must be a customer company.
A whopping 88% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services, according to Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer report. This means it’s not only about what you offer customers, but when, where, why, and how you reach them.
Today’s customers want to trust they’re getting what they need from you, when and where they need it. They want experiences to be effortless, and they’re loyal to brands they can count on. Salesforce’s connected customer experiences help you ensure that trust.
To sum it up, Salesforce creates CRM-based tools and solutions for companies of all shapes and sizes. We focus on the success of our customers so that you can build strong, lasting relationships with your customers. But that’s not all. We rely on all our core values — trust, customer success, innovation, equality, and sustainability — to shape our culture and inform how we serve and benefit all our stakeholders, including customers, shareholders, employees, our communities, and our planet.
Learn more about the power of data, AI, CRM and trust.
Data + AI + CRM: Quick Look — Discover how data + AI + CRM + trust work together to supercharge your business.
Build Your Data Literacy — Learn to interpret, explore, and communicate effectively with data.
Boost Productivity with Customer 360 — Learn the skills you need to drive efficiency and deliver success at your company now.
*Source: 2024 Salesforce Success Metrics Global Highlights. Data is aggregated from 2,165 customers across 9 countries.
** Based on average costs of comparable solutions. Information purposes only.