Ricky Lowe is the CEO of Kumos Consulting and a leading Salesforce Technical and Applications Architect. Below is the transcript from the Marketing Science Podcast.
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Salesforce for Life Sciences, Engineering and Healthcare
What is a Salesforce Systems and Technical Application Architect? Can you briefly explain what that means to us mere mortals?
Salesforce has their own certification process, which is like an accreditation. They group four of the architect's certifications together to create the system architect, and then another four for the technical application architect.
What is the importance of a fully functioning CRM during a pandemic?
Even having just a basic CRM system behind the scenes breeds confidence with your customers that you have their case/preferences/issues under wraps. The flip side of not having that is that your customer would lose confidence in your brand or company, so having a CRM system in place through this time is really important.
The customer service reps are the face of the company - That's the front end of your brand. So it's paramount.
The food and beverage, hospitality, travel and tourism industries are taking a massive hit at the moment. Lots of businesses have had to rapidly change their whole model to keep going through this troubled time, and that sort of agility with customer data is needed to survive is a crisis like COVID-19.
But on the other end of the scale, Life Sciences and Healthcare industries are almost overwhelmed with the new customers and requests, and this is where having the right CRM system in place is really important.
How are Life Sciences and Healthcare companies using Salesforce Health Cloud?
CRM systems are all about having the correct customer-related information to make informed decisions. Salesforce has a product called Health Cloud which is a CRM tailored specifically for healthcare and life sciences. The main aim of this offering is to closely connect the patient and the healthcare worker so that they're able to provide personalized and informed care based on medical history and specific needs.
Even life insurance companies, are handing out Apple watches and Fitbits in exchange for lower premiums – That vast amount of data has to be managed in the health cloud.
It’s just like having one family doctor where they knew everything about you and your family, it was all very personal. We've gone away from that, so nowadays you go into a doctor and you can see any of the doctors. Having a system like Health Cloud would tailor that towards it being like a personal conversation.
They have all of the information available at the tip of their fingers so that they can make the best, most well informed medical decisions. That customer-centric view is Salesforce's bread and butter, and it's common across all industries and products that they provide.
Why have CRM systems become so important?
Particularly with customer-facing companies, the ability to have accurate and relevant customer data in front of your eyes makes it far easier to sell, upsell, cross-sell, service...
Salesforce in particular has capitalized on this by being one of the very first adopters recognizing the importance of the cloud.
There’s also a vast knowledge base and community of Salesforce enthusiasts, partners and developers where you can go to learn more about the platform.
When I started on Salesforce 8 years ago, there was just Sales and Service Cloud. Now they have:
- Marketing Cloud for creating customer journeys, email campaigns, text campaigns, push notifications.
- Community cloud for customer and partner-facing websites and portals. You've got Einstein Analytics, so a business analytics in the cloud.
- Commerce Cloud, i.e. online shopping.
- Salesforce CPQ, configure price quote allows customers to build complex pricing structures and schedule billing and subscriptions.
- Field service management, so that's in offline mobile app for servicing in the field.
And the list goes on. So, in fact, the Salesforce platform itself is a platform as a service. This means that developers like me can develop applications on top of Salesforce.
What is Einstein Analytics?
Salesforce out of the box has standard dashboards and reports.
Einstein Analytics adds a level of dynamic data analysis which allows a layperson to interact with dashboards and easily focus on specific areas with little to no technical skills required.
The sales guy can drill down and drill down into key focus points so that they can get the information that they require.
So from an Einstein Analytics dashboard, a salesperson could go in and drill down into their opportunities, and ask more specific questions around:
- Product sales
- Territory sales – Offering geographical insights
- New business v repeat business trends
- Record scoring – For grading key accounts or lead qualification
- Forecasting intelligence
- Account and opportunity insights
How has your engineering background shaped your problem-solving ability?
My degree was a four-year engineering course. Now, I haven't touched on any engineering topic that I learned at university, but the key skill that I take from my time at university is that problem solving ability. And it's the ability to, well, identify a root cause of the problem.
What's your framework for solving business issues or business challenges?
Whenever I start a new project, I first identify key stakeholders in their different areas. These are the subject matter experts. Then I arrange workshop sessions to outline the current as-is processes and any issues which they are encountering. Then I design a to-be process and feed it back to the business. A lot of the time this involves actually building a prototype because of Salesforce's rapid development nature.
What are the common roadblocks when you're implementing new systems and processes within companies?
To be honest, it's usually the people. There are always one or two people that are resistant to change, and there are others who have massive influence over the rest of the team. The key is to identify these people early on in the process and win them over with logic and reason – i.e. the Why behind any project.
What's been your favorite project from eight years of working on Salesforce challenges?
My favorite project has to be working with a company in the hospitality industry. The company offers membership cards that give discounts and deals for restaurants and cinemas. The project was a full digital transformation from start to finish.
The main focus point of the project was creating a single customer view.
So from marketing, through to sales, through to billing, and customer service. One of the main focus points of the project was creating what's called a single customer view. What I mean by a single customer view is that it's a single record for each unique customer. So first name, last name, email, phone number. And associated with that are the records such as memberships and cases.
An example of this client's before scenario is that they had to login in to three different systems for three different brands just to service a customer who's on the phone.
Another part of this project was the partner relationship management side. This is similar to customer relationship, except this is with the restaurants, the cinemas, etc.
How useful are memberships and cases in the context of Salesforce?
A case is Salesforce's terminology for a support ticket. It has the subject of the issue, and any employee can track comments by agents and discussion with the customer (great single customer view.)
A membership for this client is a record for a subscription service. So, you could have multiple membership logins and multiple cases per customer.
This client had three different brands, so you could have three different membership logins across the three different brands. But previously, if you wanted to raise an issue with all three of them, then you'd have three separate cases.
What are the main challenges which you encounter with data migration?
Data migration is the number one overlooked part of any Salesforce project. When we say legacy systems, we mean old databases that store customer data.
In old databases, a customer details may be spread across 20 or so tables. And in a particular project, the customer data may be held across multiple databases.
The cost of getting it wrong is massive since it would mean that you don't have the single customer view
So the complexity of getting all of these tables joined together across multiple databases imported into Salesforce is very difficult, time consuming, and is often overlooked. The cost of getting it wrong is massive since it would mean that you don't have the single customer view. If you've not got all of the records connected together, then you can't service your customer effectively.
Can you tell us about using Salesforce in tyre pressure telemetry?
I worked with a company called Tough Tech, and they have a tyre pressure monitoring system. These systems sit on industrial-sized tyres and costs thousands of pounds.
The systems monitor the pressure and temperature of the tyres and sends the telemetry data over the internet, and it's stored in their own Amazon web service application.
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The cost of replacing defective tyres and the downtime which that incurs is huge. So much like the vital signs of the patients in the hospital’s health cloud – These leading indicators alert the engineers when a tyre is about to fail – They can also predict which other nearby tyres are due a service as well.
What other examples have you got, for instance, working in media?
I worked for a national TV broadcasting company, and they have an application that you can watch on-demand TV. This application required viewing devices to have a certification. So Salesforce acted as a partner relationship management system - It was a custom portal where the manufacturing partner can enter device specifications and interact with this TV broadcasting company.
What would you say are the most under-utilized features of Salesforce that clients don't even know about?
Salesforce is not just a sales tool. They shot themselves in the foot by calling them Salesforce because it is just so much more than that. It's more of the how customers are using Salesforce as a whole, so it's the fact that you have all of your marketing, sales, finance, and operations in one system, and they're working together on the same unified records to provide an end-to-end solution.
That realization is where a lot of companies are missing out.
So Finance is chasing up an invoice. It now knows that the customer has a particular issue with operations, or it knows that the customer's looking at another cross-selling opportunity. Now anyone in the company (with permissions) can actually access the full customer data they need.
Where do you see Salesforce growing in the next five to 10 years?
More and more devices are being connected over the internet.
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Salesforce's internet of things and Einstein Analytics will grow massively. We've got an estimated 125 billion connected devices by 2030. This combined with the new 5G network means that there's going to be a load of untapped data out there, and I think that these two products will provide key insight for customers.
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