Companies interact with contacts in many different ways so when designing a customer journey you need systems that don't impose constraints. This post looks at how four solutions, Sitecore CMS, Salesforce CRM, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and S4S, can work together to create a huge number of possible customer journeys through the sales funnel.
The key to designing great journeys is having systems that capture and aggregate an individual's data and pass this important intelligence to adjacent systems. Before jumping into this, let's take a brief look at each system in the context of a sales funnel.
Sitecore is an enterprise web content management system with several features that specifically support sales pipeline activities. These include Sitecore's ability to:
- Capture website visitor behavior and trends
- Tailor page elements to deliver personalized content to each visitor
- Build flexible web forms that create leads in the CRM
The intelligence gathered by each website visitor is stored in the individual's xDB contact. Handily, contacts can be used to store non-Sitecore related data in customizable "facets".
Salesforce is almost entirely focussed on progressing prospects through the sales (and support) pipeline. Ideally, the sales team should be able to access all they need without leaving Salesforce. Prospect and customer information in Salesforce is natively stored in lead and contact record fields. It's easy to add custom fields to hold intelligence from other systems like an individual's Sitecore browsing behavior.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SMC) sends personalized messages (usually emails) in bulk and tracks the individual responses of recipients. Follow-ups can be triggered based on the responses including real-time events like purchases, mobile app downloads, or closed service cases. In SMC an individual is stored in a subscriber record that has associated data extensions. Intelligence from other systems, like a Salesforce lead status, can be assigned to the data extension.
S4S is a Sitecore to Salesforce integration that enables the intelligence to be surfaced in the other three systems. No data is stored in S4S.
Customer journeys require sales intelligence to personalize interactions. Each system collects different intelligence and, optimally, makes this available to an adjacent system. Examples are:
- Individual attributes e.g. first name, email address, job title
- Website browsing behavior e.g. visit count, goals attained, engagement value, time on page, etc.
- Website login tracking e.g. last login date
- Current website personalization e.g. assigned pattern card
- Landing pages e.g. white paper download page
- eCommerce attributes e.g. abandoned cart, failed transaction
- Website form submission field values e.g. company size
- Current pipeline status e.g "Highly Engaged"
- Email subscription status e.g. Opt-in and Opt-out status
- Campaign memberships e.g. "Houston Symposium 2020"
- Email campaign subscription preferences e.g. "For Sale", "Long Term Lease", "Short Term Rent"
- Cross-system identifiers e.g. Membership number. This is often generated in Salesforce then passed to the adjacent systems
Salesforce Marketing Cloud Intelligence
- Email analytics and activities e.g. email opens, click-throughs, bounce count, unsubscribes
Freely sharing intelligence between Sitecore, Salesforce, and Salesforce Marketing Cloud lets journey designers create an innumerable number of highly personalized customer journeys.
Between Sitecore and Salesforce: S4S is a bi-directional integration that transacts data in real time. S4S can pull intelligence to Sitecore from Salesforce leads/contacts to:
- Populate xDB contact facets so Sitecore rules can personalize content based on the facet values
- Show content from Salesforce like email subscription preferences
- Show raw or structured Salesforce data in Sitecore portal pages
- Sitecore form field values
- Website browsing behavior
- Data to create, update or delete Salesforce objects and/or field values
Between Salesforce and Salesforce Marketing Cloud: An easy way to access Salesforce data from SMC is by using Marketing Cloud Connect (MCC). MCC syncs Salesforce lead and contact data (Id, name, email address, and other intelligence) into SMC data extensions in three ways:
- Create a Salesforce report then, from SMC, schedule a time when this data is imported and inserted to a data extension
- Use a Salesforce trigger is used to detect updates then send the record to SMC.
- Sync Salesforce records to SMC data extensions.
Between Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Email Recipients: SMC can tailor outbound email content based on the intelligence stored in the subscriber's data extension. This means personalizations can vary according to the sales intelligence accrued in SMC, Sitecore, or Salesforce. The email content is personalized using AMPScript, for example, the following script tailors an email based on the Sitecore pattern card that matches the visitor ("Rock" or "Country"):
%%[ VAR @ResultColumn1
/* Retrieve result - "NAME_OF_DATA_EXTENSION", "NAME_OF_RESULT_COLUMN", "COLUMN_TO_SEARCH", "TEXT_TO_SEARCH_FOR" */
SET @ResultColumn1 = Lookup("SitecoreProfile", "ResultColumn1", "LookupColumn", "Pattern_Genre")
%%[IF @ResultColumn1 == "Rock" THEN]%%
Stamp on the stomp box, we love that you are interested in rock music ...
%%[ELSEIF @ResultColumn1 == "Country" THEN]%%
Well, I declare, we love you are interested in country music ...
We would love to hear about your music interests ...
An outbound email can contain click-through links that take the email recipient to Sitecore landing pages. To enable Sitecore to identify the email recipient turned visitor, the cross-system identifier is added to the email link as a URL parameter, again using AMPScript.Between Email Recipients and Sitecore: Vistors arriving in Sitecore after clicking an email link will have the cross-system identifier on their URL parameter. S4S functionality reads the identifier uses it to query Salesforce and learn more about the visitor. In this way, the page can be personalized and populated as required.
- Seeing a prospect's website behavior is invaluable to the Salesforce team. It provides vital intelligence prior to important sales calls and, during calls, helps the team communicate more effectively
- Personalizing the website from Salesforce or email click-throughs significantly increases engagement as the content better reflects the needs of the individual
- Allowing connections to update their own information, like email subscription preferences, creates a better relationship
Sharing sales intelligence greatly improves web-based, email, and voice interactions. Communications to prospects and customers can be constructed to target only the information they are interested in. To learn about the benefits of systems integration and the features of S4S please call us.