A single customer view is a complete profile of your customer in one place. It provides everything you need to create interest, build trust, and effectively communicate with them.
The data in a single customer view (SCV) is aggregated from other sources rather than being a single source of truth (SSOT), the latter being a higher standard. Ideally, your single customer view is a single source of truth! Architects prefer this because the data is up-to-the-second accurate all the time.
What's in a Single Customer View?
For a start, all the info you normally find in a Salesforce lead or contact record (name, address, etc.) but also the likes of:
Information derived from their social media and professional networking accounts
- Role and employer
- Overall financial security
- Memberships and affiliations
- Interests and hobbies
- Preferred communication channel
- Other info relevant to your needs
Information derived from website browsing behavior and other sources
- What they are currently looking for
- Their level of enthusiasm
- Their budget
- Where they’re looking
- What they have purchased in the past
Why Have a Single Customer View?
The more you know your customer, the more you can prepare for interacting with them, and the better the experience will be. In 2018, 88.3% of organizations saw customer experience (CX) as a competitive differentiator.
Using the data in a single customer view, interactions like sales calls can be tailored to create greater trust and increased loyalty e.g. discussing something that interests the prospect, or equally, avoids triggers that might dissuade them from making a purchase. The single customer view can also act as a data source for personalizing website content and outreach channels including email, post, social media, online advertising, etc.
Sitecore, Salesforce, and the Single Customer View
So where should the single customer view be located? Sitecore stores important and highly interesting visitor behavior data (analytics) in its xDB database but hosting the SCV in Sitecore has challenges:
- The sales team would need to learn and access Sitecore, traditionally a marketing resource
- Sitecore is not a fully-featured CRM and is not equipped to accept data from all sources
- Synching, and hence data degradation, would be required to pull the customer data from Salesforce to xDB
The other option is using Salesforce for hosting a single customer view. Salesforce is purpose-built to store customer data from all channels including phone, walk-ins, bulk imports, social media, and the web. Salesforce is also owned by the sales team who need an SCV to negotiate and close sales but it is not all roses! To include the Sitecore xDB intelligence in the SCV, the data must be synced to Salesforce. This creates a time lag between the visitor returning to the website and the behavioral data appearing in Salesforce.
A better solution is possible but with a compromise.
We've seen how locating the SCV in Salesforce makes sense. Salesforce lead and contact records are populated with contact info and the Sitecore visitor behavior when a webform is submitted. If the Sitecore visitor identifier is also uploaded, both systems will have a common key - a requirement for syncing.
The challenge is keeping the website behavior in Salesforce up-to-date. At form submit time, the Sitecore data in Salesforce is accurate but quickly becomes stale. Sales reps will not be able to see if a prospect has recently visited, or is currently on the website.
The compromise is using a "Get Sitecore Analytics" button in Salesforce to pull the Sitecore behavior from xDB to the single customer view in Salesforce in real-time. This is a great solution for viewing single lead or contact records but it's not perfect! If a sales rep wants a Salesforce report showing all Sitecore activity, the solution is to run a Sitecore scheduler to regularly sync xDB data to all Salesforce records.
Building a single customer view that fulfills the basic needs of a Salesforce sales rep is a challenge. Aggregating or syncing data from external sources, like Sitecore xDB, introduces time delays that degrade the usability of the data. Simply put, the data quality is poor.
One solution is to provide "on-demand" features in the Salesforce single customer view that pulls the data from external sources only at the time it is needed.