FORWARD flies to Chicago for Salesforce Connections 2019

From June 17 until June 19, four of our FORWARD forces flew overseas to attend Salesforce’s Connections 2019 at McCormick Place in Chicago. Bruno, Kevin, Nikki and Thomas got the opportunity to join this three-day conference about connecting the power of commerce, marketing and service to build even better customer experiences with the Salesforce Customer Success platform. Salesforce experts, as well as industry experts, shared practical insights on how to work cross-functionally to boost seamless engagement with your brand.


Connect with Customers at every touch point

This edition of Connections showed customers and fellow partners new ways to create customer engagement using a cross-cloud approach. During various keynotes and hands-on workshops, Salesforce experts and other Trailblazers gave demos about brand-new releases for Commerce, Marketing and Service Cloud using real-life cases. Most of the sessions were focused on the new features of Customer 360, the upcoming Solution Kit to Connect Mulesoft with Commerce Cloud and the new Page Designer. Next to this, attendees could discover the latest innovations and trends in digital marketing, commerce and service.

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As Salesforce is a firm believer of the saying ‘work hard, play hard’, there was also some time to unwind with fellow trailblazers. After day 1, Salesforce invited all attendees to an impressive rooftop party between the Chicago skyscrapers. Attendees could enjoy some delicious bites and drinks with the Chicago skyline in the background.

On day 2 of Connections, Salesforce even hosted a legendary concert with the Gwen Stefani at the Wintrust Arena! Talking about an unforgettable night in Chicago!

Our key takeaways from Connections:

1. “Customer 360 lets marketing, commerce and service work better together.”

During Connections ‘19, Salesforce introduced a new set of services to enhance data management across Commerce, Marketing, Service, Sales and Community Cloud. With Customer 360, Salesforce keeps on moving away from silos by centralizing consented data from any source to create a unified profile of each customer. With Customer 360, you can segment and activate customer data to deliver personalized engagement at every touchpoint. A final new key feature is that you can analyze performance to make adjustments with the power of Einstein. Thanks to these innovations related to Customer 360, Salesforce is creating a comprehensive customer data solution for the entire Customer Success platform.


2. Ask yourself the question: “What does my customer really need?”

Keynote speakers continuously emphasized the importance of understanding what the customer really needs. What is their persona? What problems are they facing day-to-day? Which channels do they prefer when they shop? And what do they need to keep on loving and engaging with your brand? To get answers to these kinds of questions, it is essential to keep the conversation going with your customers. This all leads to our next key takeaway: the essence of collection of data.

3. “It’s all about data data data!”

To understand who your (future) customer is or what he/she likes and dislikes, the collection of data is imperative. During every keynote or session, data was always a keyword. With customer data (and other types of data), companies possess valuable information to make informed decisions to serve the customer. And the better the data is, the better you can shape customer experiences throughout the whole journey with your brand.

When you address your customer with their first name, provide content that is relevant and even predict what the next best action is for your customer, research has shown they are more likely to come back. More specific, the Salesforce Connected Customer Report even shows that 80% of the respondents say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services.


4. “Go the extra mile.”

Today’s consumers have never been more connected. But at the same time, they expect seamless, personalized experiences from retailers and other businesses in general. And even if you have the right data at hand and understand who your customer really is, customer expectations hit an all-time high. Nowadays, they aren’t easily impressed anymore because they are becoming immune to superficially personalized marketing messages. One of the most memorable key takeaways from the sessions at Connections, is the value of going the extra mile for your customers. By using tools such as Customer 360, journeys, AI, but also by delivering impeccable customer experiences, companies can offer products, services and apps that make their client’s life or a lot easier.

A good example of going to such great lengths, is the E.L.F. Cosmetics case. They emphasized the value of providing a unique, personalized experience to beauty enthusiasts. Dana Chery, Senior director of Product Marketing at Salesforce, gave an intriguing demo about a revolutionary selfie component on the mobile website to help build a richer customer beauty profile. The component can detect your face features, such as the skin tone and the shape of your face and eyes.

Thanks to this kind of data, E.L.F. can deliver more personalized experiences by showing a personalized homepage with product recommendations that are tailored to the beauty profile of the customer. For example, Jennifer, a beauty enthusiast who used the selfie component just discovered she has almond-shaped eyes. Thanks to the selfie component, Jennifer gets a personalized online experience with a homepage full of products for her almond-shaped eyes, such as a specific eyeliner.

The E.L.F. Cosmetics case is just one of the many companies that deliver more than expected, This results not only in a boost of the customer lifetime value, but also encourages the brand interest to attract new clients! So it’s a win-win in both ways; for existing and new clients.

What did we learn at Connections?

Our trip to Connections was a valuable journey, where FORWARD got the opportunity to connect with fellow Trailblazers and discover how today’s change makers are transforming the digital future. Thanks to the new features of Customer 360 and their integration with the different Salesforce Clouds, companies can go the extra mile to connect with the customer like never before. Because of Connections ‘19, our four FORWARD forces brought home some useful insights and best practices, for which they can’t wait to apply during future projects!

Are you intrigued by the tools of Salesforce? Or are you interested in talking business with FORWARD? Do not hesitate to contact us to discover what you can do to build next-level customer experiences.