Is Salesforce Going to Raise the Bar on B2B Marketing Automation?

The company has recently unveiled the latest updates of its’ B2B marketing automation service under the Sales Cloud umbrella. The two main features are the new Engagement Studio and Sales Cloud Engage, tools that deliver sophisticated adaptive lead nurturing, visualized campaign testing and cutting edge mobile marketing tools. Powered by Pardot, a company that stems from Salesforce’s landmark $2.5 billion acquisition of ExactTarget in 2013, these powerful, intelligent additions assemble prospect data points and automatically translate them into actionable insights, enabling marketing and sales teams to sell more smartly. With deep visibility into the prospect’s digital engagement, it’s now easier than ever for marketers and sales reps to understand how prospects want to be engaged and to deliver what they want, when they want it; Described by Salesforce as the “nerve center” for the operation, Engagement Studio was built to enable sales and marketing professionals to build adaptive campaigns, while Sales Cloud Engage empowers sales with real-time, mobile marketing tools: personalized lead nurture campaigns, data about prospects’ entire engagement history with the company, and much more- helping sales reps receive full context on a lead or customer before they engage. “With the next generation of Sales Cloud B2B marketing automation, we’re making it easier than ever for marketing and sales to work together and leverage insights about prospect behavior to sell smarter,” said Adam Blitzer, SVP and GM, Salesforce Pardot. “Marketers now have the ability to help sales nurture their own pipelines and engage with prospects in real time, and this is driving the amazing customer momentum we are seeing with B2B marketing automation.” But what is the new value from this version? How will it make the job of the average salesperson more efficient? Well, first of all, it seems that Engagement Studio aims to integrate tools and data used mainly by marketing professionals into the core of a sales rep work ethic, providing smart, adaptive ways to create campaigns and making prospect engagement easier, faster and eventually- more efficient. For example, if email open rates are determined to be slower than desired, Engagement Studio could suggest shortening the subject line, according to Salesforce. Furthermore, if unsubscribe requests shoot up, the system will suggest reducing (or halting) the number of emails sent out altogether. In short, Salesforce is expanding their reach, and are becoming more relevant to other key figures in a company’s marketing department. Sales Cloud Engage, however, has many features that break down the borders for prospect and client data within the Salesforce platform, making it ideal for sales reps who will now have the  visibility or context required to understand how best to connect with the individual and advance them through the buying process. The B2B sales cycle has changed dramatically in recent years, primarily because prospects now research options online and engage with companies only when they’re close to making a purchase. Now, with Sales Cloud Engage, sales reps will be able to “shine in four areas,” As Blitzer reports. These are: sales revenue, marketing productivity, marketing campaign effectiveness, and prospect engagement. Pricing for Salesforce Pardot starts at $1,000 for up to 10,000 contacts a month. Sales Cloud Engage will cost $50 per seat a month.
Amanda is the Lead Author & Editor of Rainforce Blog. Amanda established the Rainforce blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Salesforce usage.