Chicago-based CloudCraze is a B2B digital commerce platform built on Salesforce’s Force.com platform. It aims to transform the way businesses buy and sell products and services to each other by making experiences digital, personalized, and consumer-like — anytime, anywhere, on any device, with or without a salesperson participating in the process.
CloudCraze and Salesforce, Better Together?
Technology analyst firm Gartner named CloudCraze a “visionary” in Digital Commerce in its Magic Quadrant report, April 2017. The report spotlights CloudCraze’s “depth of B2B functionality,” its “single view of a `customer via native Salesforce integration,” and the speed at which buyers can go from contract to a live site.
In the same report, Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud was noted for its “limited B2B capability,” specifically in areas like supporting “complex product and organizational hierarchies, role-based purchasing, contract, and purchase-order-based purchasing and workflows.”
Gartner recommended that “companies with robust B2B requirements should evaluate other (non-Salesforce) commerce platforms with broader functionality” and that “Salesforce customers evaluate the solutions available on Force.com.”
Why CloudCraze? Why Now?
For years, Salesforce has been extending the boundaries of what CRM is. From its inception, the vendor has been talking about Salesforce automation; since then, it has expanded into customer service, marketing, analytics, and even e-commerce. But even with all of the organic and inorganic growth, there were still holes in this larger CRM canvas, namely B2B e-commerce.
You’ll notice we added the caveat of B2B in front of e-commerce. That is because of the fundamentally different space than the B2C space, which Commerce Cloud (formerly Demandware) occupies; to start, there are customer-specific catalogs and pricing, a wide array of relationships on the both buy and sell sides, and you’re operating across a multitude of complicated and sometimes conflicting channels.
Benefits of the CloudCraze Acquisition:
- It’s a software category with a better future. Global business-to-business e-commerce sales are anticipated to exceed $6.6 trillion by 2020, surpassing B2C, which will be valued at $3.2 trillion. This obtainment allows Salesforce to tap into this growing market.
- Now companies can purchase the full CRM portfolio from a single vendor. This move increases the strategic role of Salesforce within companies that rely on technology vendors to help shape their vision and offerings for different customer experiences.
- Salesforce lets you stay close to your customers. By far, this is the most important part. Salesforce brands itself as a “customer company.” With CloudCraze, Salesforce customers can start tracking all interactions and transactions with their B2B customers. This increases the knowledge and experience of individual customer buying behaviors, which can be used for better targeting and much more effective long-term personal engagement. On-target personal interactions that integrate value to the customer ultimately translate to customer retention, increased lifetime value, and advocacy — which all have an impact on top-line revenue.
What CloudCraze brings to Salesforce
CloudCraze caters to businesses with discount structures and complex prize books, from manufacturing in the industry to chemical distribution. How these businesses split their inventory, the order volume they handle, the way they give a price to specific customer contracts, or their support for subscription payments or different types of payments — all of this is beyond the scope of a retail commerce platform. Similarly, CloudCraze wasn’t engineered for the highly merchandized, highly promotional product sets that Demandware exceeds at.
Bringing those consumer-world approaches into B2B e-commerce will help companies reduce their costs, find new customers, or bring new products to market.
It’s early in the game, but these B2B companies are positioning B2C tactics where they make sense and are seeing big returns.
Equally important is integration to the rest of the Salesforce portfolio. Digital commerce can extend the self-service functionality of a Service Cloud, for example. There’s also a natural fit with the configure-price-quote (CPQ) capabilities of the Salesforce Quote-to-Cash product, which CloudCraze started using even before its acquisition by Salesforce in late 2015. This will continue to be a big focus now that CloudCraze is part of Salesforce, Grady confirms.
If you look at the bigger product conversations happening in Salesforce today, we’re probably spending as much time talking about CPQ and commerce B2B, as about B2B and B2C commerce together.
Reasons Why We Use and Recommend Salesforce
- It’s a CRM. It helps you create and manage optimal customer experiences.
With Salesforce as your CRM, your marketing, sales, and customer service teams can understand every customer and deliver the correct message or answer when they need it. By analyzing this information, you can make better decisions to close more business, reduce the cost of service, and satisfy every customer.
- It’s in the cloud, so your team can use it anywhere they want.
The shift toward cloud computing is CRM and Salesforce.com is a leader in cloud computing, offering a complete set of CRM cloud applications, a cloud platform, and a cloud infrastructure – cheaper for a higher return on investment.
- It’s flexible, so you can make it work how you want.
Salesforce gives you total freedom to customize the CRM for your business. It’s the best way to boost adoption and make sure everything works to your specifications.
- We love the AppExchange!
Salesforce also has the AppExchange – the number one destination for phenomenal pre-build business applications – for your CRM and beyond. This is the cloud-computing app marketplace for businesses, hosted and developed by Salesforce. You can get access to many useful, secure, and verified applications built by others, or you can also develop and market your own.
- More than a CRM – a joined-up customizable platform for your business so you can make it work as YOU want it to.
It isn’t just a CRM but it’s also a cloud-based platform – a complete IT infrastructure for your business hosted on their servers. You can build bespoke applications to make your business requirements more suitable. You can use Salesforce for only one thing, or as a joined-up platform for all that you do: a contact management system, a way to manage your sales pipeline, your marketing machine, finance management system—with Salesforce, it’s up to you.
What Salesforce Means to Your People
What Salesforce can bring to your team:
- For Sales Managers: Real-time visibility of your team’s activities so you can confidently forecast sales and report with ease.
- For Sales Representatives: Manage customer information, so you spend less time handling data and more time with customers for better success.
- For Marketers: Harness the power of social media and connect to the customers however they choose. This is an integrated and additional experience that extends your company’s voice, reaches new audiences, and builds the base of your customer.
- For Customer Service: Connect all the conversations of social networks that happen with the internal knowledge your agents use every day. That way, your customers find answers more quickly and are happy. And it costs much less.
Better customer management for good customer experiences with data in your hands means you can learn and constantly improve. Salesforce with CloudCraze makes it easier for your business to sell more and grow.