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Cloud Times

In History, we read about time segregated by the birth of Christ. The era before him was BC (Before Christ) and that after is referred to as AD (Anno Domini is a Latin word meaning “in the year of the Lord”). So, we all stand in 2017 AD as we go through this blog.

By now, you must be thinking we all know this; so what’s the point in discussing here. But, read on…I would now like to lead you to another segregation of time, BC and DC which are Before Cloud and During Cloud!

OK! Does this matter? Is it really big enough to elicit such a nomenclature? Aren’t these the next questions racing through your mind?

We all know the advent of the Cloud has disrupted not only the ways in which IT works but also the ways in which businesses function. Shown below is a summarized view of where and how businesses have needed to shift focus and attention since the shift to the Cloud.

Beforce cloud to During cloud times

Now, if we understand the volume and complexity of this shift, we will agree that this is certainly big enough! The economy of “Customer Experience” is here and the vendor has to own the burden of delivering quantifiable business outcomes. Being able to manage change well is no longer enough! Adaptability is the in-thing. Adaptable is what organizations have to become and Adaptability is what leaders need to somehow embed into the organization culture!!

Achieve Customer Delight and ensure your own success in this DC times:
  1. Dig deep to decide which customer data will provide actionable insights into whether or not the clients are on the right track towards their expected business outcomes
  2. Bring in an organization wide culture of Collaboration. Collaboration in the key, No more departmental/though-process silos please!
  3. Raise awareness on holistic customer journeys till the last rung in the organization
  4. Be flexible towards Technology – Use what serves better. They are only worth what we are able to extract out of them
  5. Measure outcomes – Not just your own, but of your customers’. Prove ROI on their engagement with you and secure the renewal

We certainly are lucky to be living in interesting times. Times, when the human race and its ways of living and interacting are constantly evolving in all areas. Disruption and evolution seem to have become the two faces of the same coin.

While this discussion can cover n number of facets, let us focus the current scope on IT and how the convergence of several digital forces, mobile, SaaS, cloud, big data, IoT and social, are constantly disrupting markets. The effect of this is that the IT Industry is constantly having to evolve and adapt at faster speeds to live up to the expectations of the market. This is what is being termed as Enterprise Darwinism. In an an era where one must evolve to deliver customer success or die, Enterprise Darwinism or Digital Darwinism refers to the steps taken by enterprises to adapt to the external changes, adopt the right processes, start to think & operate differently in order to be able to scale up to be capable of meeting the challenges of digital transformations.

The digital competition along with advent of cloud and mobile has brought about a break down in the traditional IT operating model. IT is now more of an enabler for the business, providing support and training, as required to help the business consume available capabilities to build their own solutions, better suited to their needs.

In such an ecosystem, APIs will be key assets that IT teams will build for developers across the organization to use to build new apps, services, and processes. The demand will be for streamlined networks that use APIs to connect the company’s applications, data, and devices. These networks will be the backbones, providing right & fast information & connectivity, across the enterprise. This is what will help enterprises innovate faster, adapt better, create better customer experiences, and eventually get ahead of all competition.

This is exactly where MuleSoft comes into the picture. MuleSoft helps build application networks: seamless frameworks of applications, data sources, and devices connected by APIs, whether on-premises or in the cloud.

Mulesoft provides various APIs, connectors and models of middleware to centralize and standardize integration practices across an entire infrastructure. It provides a software platform that connects nearly every technology in a standardized way.

What is achieved using Mulesoft:
  • Mulesoft unlocks data using APIs and connecting it to external systems and applications
  • It enables to manage and secure the flow of data between all systems in the enterprise
  • Availability of self-serve existing APIs helps teams innovate faster
  • Developers across the organization can leverage existing APIs to create new processes and experiences

In a Nutshell, Mulesoft can become one of the critical tool to help adapt and evolve faster. As Darwin stated, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” If enterprise Integration is what can give your business the leading edge, Mulesoft is what can help you achieve it.

SteelBrick is now Salesforce Quote-to-Cash. The information is doing the rounds but what should it mean to you, the Salesforce users?

Why Automated Quote-to-Cash

To come to a conclusion on this, let’s first evaluate if you should even spend time thinking about this. The answer is “yes” if you are experiencing any of these situations in your business:

  • Errors or mismatches in the quote items configured by your Sales Reps
  • Sales Reps reporting challenges in maintaining price lists and discounting
  • Quoting process is very time-consuming and requires several reviews. It takes really long to get an approved quote to a prospect
  • Any issues with accepted proposal getting transformed into an order and in managing invoicing and revenue recognition
  • No visibility into the your sales pipeline

Quote-to-Cash is one of the most Critical Business Process as it drives revenue for the organization. It is the critical link that starts with the customer’s intention to buy and ends with the bank cash registers ringing for the organization. Quote-to-Cash encompasses a whole lot of processes, the entirety of sales, contract, and customer relationship lifecycles.

Salesforce Quote-to-Cash

The Quote-to-Cash begins with Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ)—configuring the offer, developing the appropriate pricing, and creating the quote. It continues on through negotiations, invoicing, payment, and even renewals and renegotiation. Salesforce Quote-to-Cash solutions are built to streamline and automate these processes.

salesforce quote to cash

The Salesforce Quote Quote-to-Cash can help catapult businesses to the next levels with solutions around:

  • Efficient Sales Quotes
    • Price and Quote – Accurate customer-friendly quotes, with pricing discounts thrown in as applicable, now become so easy!
    • Guided Selling – Sales reps are now able to select the right products and services for each customer every time
    • Salesforce CPQ for Communities – This accelerates channel sales making it easy for partners to sell your products and services.
    • Orders and Renewals – Convert quotes to clean orders easily
    • Product Configurator- Business rules and logic based products and service configuration.
  • Proposals & Contracts
    • Proposal Generator – Enhance branding through professional proposals.
    • Manage Contracts – Super fast creation and management of professional sales contracts
  • Revenue & Subscriptions
    • Invoice – With an automated invoicing process, invoices can be created on the move frm any device.
    • Manage Sales Tax and VAT – Selling and billing in multiple currencies becomes so easy. All tax calculation are taken care of.
    • Subscription Billing – Subscription renewals will never be missed now.
    • Revenue Recognition – Instant revenue related reporting and dash boarding around quotes, orders, invoices and payments.
    • Payments – Non-complicated payments collection and management, without processing complications.

Benefits of an Automated Quote-to-Cash Process

  • Greater business efficiency
  • Increased accuracy
  • Better visibility from initial quote to final payment
  • Drives innovation through the organization to reduce delays and bring in efficacy

Whether you are transitioning from a legacy system to Salesforce or unifying several Salesforce based silo systems into one, data migration needs would always arise. While there can be several options to accomplish it using:

  • Open APIs (SOAP, REST, Streaming, etc.)
  • Bulk Data Transfer API
  • Data integration tools like Mulesoft, Talend etc.

In this blog, we talk about two very easy to use graphical tools, Data Loader & Import Wizard.

Import Wizard –The Import Wizard is designed for less-technical, business users and smaller, simple imports of up to 50,000 records can be managed through it. It supports only five Standard objects viz. Accounts, Contacts, Leads, Solution, Campaign Member Status and all custom objects.

The Import Wizard can be reached at Set Up> Data Management> Data Import Wizard> Launch Wizard

Data Loader – The Data Loader uses the Force.com API.  The Data Loader can be downloaded from the Setup menu, under Administer heading – Data Management.

Setup -> Administration -> Data management -> Data Loader
Data-loader

N.B. – For this download, the system must have JDK.

Data Loader consists of following operations:

  • Insert – It is used for inserting the new records.
  • Update– As the name signifies it is used for updating the existing records.
  • Upsert– This operation comes in use when the data which already exists in the org needs to be updated & the data which is new needs to be inserted.
  • Delete- This is used for cleansing of data which is further not required by just matching the object’s id.
  • Export- This is used for exporting the object’s data which the client has selected.
  • Export All- This is used for extracting the whole org data which can also be used in the form of backup.
Steps for uploading the data

Salesforce is all about Relationships. For example, All Accounts have Users & then the Contacts are linked to the Accounts. Similarly, there are several other relationships existing in Salesforce, which are depicted through Related Lists & Lookups available on the objects. Therefore, while migrating data, a particular order has to be maintained to maintain the relationship particulars.

Default Batch Size for uploading the data is 200. In case, the user wants to upload data in Bulk, then the “Use Bulk API”  checkbox has to be checked to increase the Load Speed, after going to the “Settings” tab available on the Data Loader.

Data-loader
Data-loader
Some Basic rules to remember:
  • The scope of migration should be well defined
  • The user should be aware with the Source Format & target format
  • The data Loader has the ability to store the Success & Error files. User should always make a separate column of “Unique ID” in the data excel through which it would be easy for the user to Insert the data in case of any failure.
  • Mapping Files should always be saved
  • Unit Level testing should always be done after migration has been completed in the target org

Any feature addition to the Salesforce 1 App is bound to draw attention as that makes the feature more extensibly usable through the mobile platform. This winter ’17 release added the “Spotlight Search”, system-wide desktop search feature of Apple’s macOS and iOS operating systems to Salesforce 1 App (version 11.0 & later).

Spotlight is a selection-based search system, which creates an index of all items and files on the system. With Spotlight search now available on Salesforce 1, one gets direct access to Salesforce data (recently viewed contacts, Chatter profiles, objects and apps) without having to first navigate to it in Salesforce1.

How it works-Spotlight Search enables indexing of up to 200 of a user’s most recently accessed contacts and 200 most recently accessed Chatter profiles for availability in search results. Users, now can simply enter what they’re looking for in the Spotlight Search field, such as a first or last name, job title, company name or an account name (to find recent contacts related to the account). Tapping on the search results allows the user to switch to that record in Salesforce1.

So now, whenever you want to search any Contact, Opportunity, Chatter, Dashboards or any Standard/custom object or apps available in Salesforce1, you can directly navigate to the Home Page layouts using Spotlight Search results. No doubt, with this feature you are better equipped to manage your business from anywhere!

Do note:
  • Visualforce tabs and Lightning page tabs are not supported in Spotlight Search
  • In case of multiple accounts, Spotlight Search works only for the currently active account
  • Spotlight Search indexes Salesforce data only when Salesforce1 is in the background. Do not switch back to Salesforce1 before indexing is complete. You may not see all the expected search results
  • In case, your org uses some security measures and finding Salesforce data in Spotlight Search is disabled, then
    • Salesforce1 would require a PIN code to log in
    • Offline caching in Salesforce1 is disabled

Predictive Scoring is a feature of Marketing Cloud & use the historical CRM data to score the Lead of how much they are interested into the business.

Predictive Scoring as a Data Science

It uses the technique of data science to score the likelihood of the customer’s getting engaged. Now with the help of Predictive scoring it’s easy for the marketers to analyze the graph using Dashboards in Salesforce of how many are interested and how much they will pay to buy the product. This functionality gives marketers the power to understand the behaviors that drives the customer engagement.

Predictive Audiences is a smart tool that unifies the customer data by grouping the audiences according to the interested ones, unsubscribed ones etc. For example, if a customer has a high likelihood score & if he is tending to unsubscribe it, then a retailer can then launch a re-engagement journey with the better content to deliver the better outcomes. And when the people start getting engaged into the new outcomes their likelihood to unsubscribe goes down & then they will be automatically routed towards the new journey of leading high scores.

Predictive Scoring is a technique which tends to improve the result quality obtained by Sales teams during the qualified Stages of the Leads and thus helping them in predicting the number of Leads with greater success. This will help teams in focusing the highly qualified leads first & then on the lower qualified leads. And hence maintaining team’s effort & time.

With Predictive intelligence, B2B marketers are now able to look at the displayed contents/metrics which shows the total count of downloads to identify the top performing content through deeper insights about which portion attracts the highest quality Leads, works for larger deals.

Predictive models work by analyzing the customer data from internal systems of records like CRM system and combine it with external signals to predict about the prospect whether they are suitable for buying the product or not. By these Predictive analytics allows us to deal with real time data so as to get the relevant data & thus attractive to the buyer’s.

Benefits:

  • It helps in building the slimmer fit scoring models on Leads, Contacts, Opportunities & Account object.
  • It uses the activity data & implements the highly accurate behavior scoring models accordingly.
  • It increases the rep productivity by routing the high scoring Leads to Sales.
  • With the help of Reports & Dashboards, it’s easy for them to track the performance & hence helpful in decision making.
  • Serve the good leads that are getting missed.

Best App for Predictive Scoring – Infer: Predictive Lead Scoring, InsideSales.com, Lattice Engines

These are the apps which doesn’t need more then Name & an Email to predict which all Opportunities are interested & Leads to get converted.