When you integrate the best CRM with the best CMS many powerful sales and marketing opportunities arise! The biggest gains are in controlling personalization where each website visitor is delivered exclusive content to improve engagement, build loyalty, and increase sales.
It's important to pitch targeted marketing messages to prospects as they move through the sales funnel. This is to reflect their increasing familiarity, sharpen their focus on the product, and present upsell/cross-sell opportunities. Because the sales funnel status is tracked in the CRM, Salesforce must be the data source that external systems, like Sitecore, query to determine the personalized content they need to deliver. Moreover, Salesforce has an excellent integration architecture that makes it easy to export the status of individual prospects.
First, a quick look at the Salesforce entities used to track prospects through the sales funnel:
- Leads are people who may be interested in your product. They come from many sources e.g. a purchased list, a web form, or a trade show kiosk. As leads are investigated by sales reps, the lead status field is used to track progress.
- Contacts are created by "converting" leads. Conversion creates a contact, account (company), and usually an opportunity (potential sale). Contacts don't need status fields as the remaining stages of the sales funnel are tracked in the opportunity
- Accounts are the companies that the contact belongs to
- Opportunities are potential or completed sales. Each opportunity record has a stage field to track the progress towards a sale.
Sales Funnel Tracking
A prospect's journey is tracked in the Salesforce lead status and opportunity stage picklist fields. Because business processes vary greatly (e.g. B2B vs. B2C), the picklist values are configurable. Some businesses use the lead status to track the entire sales process and only convert the lead when the deal is done. Others convert early and do the majority of tracking in the opportunity stage field.
Website personalization can be controlled by field values in Salesforce with S4S. Any Salesforce lead field, contact field, or opportunity stage field can become a personalization data source. To facilitate this, a wizard in Salesforce is used to map the chosen field to a Sitecore xDB facet. If a sales rep changes the field value in Salesforce, a trigger fires the updated value to the facet then, when the prospect returns to the website, Sitecore rules-based personalization reads the facet and shows the web content that corresponds with the Salesforce field value.
Sales Funnel Personalizations
After mapping the Salesforce lead status and opportunity stage fields to Sitecore facets, any change to their Salesforce values will be synced to Sitecore. This enables Sitecore to be personalized in real-time based on the prospect's stage in the sales funnel.
A personalization prerequisite is the website visitor must have triggered a call-to-action (e.g. submitted a web form) that created or updated a Salesforce lead record. This links each Sitecore visitor to a Salesforce lead. When the form is submitted, S4S pushes the website browsing data to Salesforce which suddenly comes alive with the invaluable intelligence gathered by Sitecore.
So, what web personalizations can you apply to a prospect as they travel down a sales funnel?
If we use the opportunity stage values as examples, the following picklist select options are typical (this assumes the lead has already been converted to a contact/account/opportunity):
- Prospecting: This is the kickoff stage where the prospect does not yet have a budget, timeframe, or delivery date. They need to be convinced to spend more time and effort researching the product. Prior to interacting with them, the sales rep can review the prospect's website behavior in Salesforce to discover their nuances, sales readiness, and state of mind. Changing the Salesforce opportunity stage to "Prospecting" could cause Sitecore to promote the product of interest as a priority, display cross-sells or upsells, or advertise a discount for an early purchase.
- Qualification: These are prospects who have been confirmed as having a genuine interest in a product. The objective is to encourage them to attend a demo with key decision-makers, other influencers, and stakeholders. Changing the opportunity stage field to "Qualification" could cause Sitecore personalization to present them with "Next Steps" content, greet them by their first name on the home page and a "Welcome back", or emphasize the "Request a Demo" call-to-action.
- Demo: Set this status after confirming the product will meet the prospect's objectives and a demo is scheduled. This stage usually precedes a proposal that details a deliverable package. Changing the stage in Salesforce to "Demo" can be used to personalize Sitecore, for example, promoting a discount or deal, popping up the sales rep's contact details (name of the sales rep, phone number, and email address), showing an appreciation message like "Thank you for organizing the demo", or referencing a case study of a satisfied customer.
- Proposal: After the demo, even more details are known about the prospect so the objective is to hammer home the value proposition and how it supports their specific needs. Setting the Salesforce opportunity stage to "Proposal" could expose normally hidden Sitecore pages showing favorable comparisons with competitor pricing or a link to a downloadable proposal PDF
- Negotiation: Prospects with this status are discussing the deal details. For voice calls, S4S has a useful feature that lets a Salesforce sales rep populate a link on the Sitecore website with any URL. The rep simply directs the listener to click on the link and the appointed web page will open. This is very useful for sharing a contract document (for download), a Google maps page to show locations and routes, or a calendar page to discuss appointment times.
- Opportunity Won: Brilliant, the deal is done. Setting the stage to "Won" could cause Sitecore to completely repurpose the web content to retain the customer. For example, congratulating them on the purchase, welcoming them as a valued customer, offering referral commissions, requesting a case study, etc. With the sale completed, S4S can be used to create a Sitecore portal so the new customer can log in to Sitecore pages that show support information, product updates, maintenance schedules, etc. When the customer enters their username and password, Sitecore uses S4S to compare the values with those stored in the customer's Salesforce contact record, and if a match is found, access is granted to the portal pages. Again, the customers' Sitecore portal experience can be explicitly controlled by settings made in their Salesforce contact record e.g. the landing page, Sitecore role, and Sitecore Profile.
- Post-purchase: Driven from any Salesforce lead or contact field, or the opportunity stage field, the Sitecore website can be used as an alternative communication channel to popup reminders and messages during onboarding and support. This could be periodically trying to upsell customers on a premium solution or cross-selling new services.
There really is no limit to controlling Sitecore from Salesforce. Personalizations will appear on the website immediately, presented only to the selected visitor, and remain there until otherwise directed from Salesforce.
There are many ways to personalize Sitecore from Salesforce!
- Field Value Personalization: As above, S4S maps Salesforce field values to Sitecore xDB facets. These are then read by Sitecore rules to personalize web pages
- Sitecore Persona Personalization: Installing S4S into Salesforce adds a number of custom fields (and objects) to lead and contact records. These hold Sitecore profile and pattern card settings which are populated when a webform is submitted. When the values are changed in Salesforce, the new settings are immediately pushed to Sitecore which renders the appropriate content in the required web controls/pages
Email Personalization: Mass personalized emails are usually sent via a marketing automation platform such as Pardot, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, or Marketo. These systems have native wizards that make it easy to import Salesforce field values. Outbound email content can then be personalized based on these values. Click-through links in these emails are used to drive recipients to the website. Typically click-throughs are to teaser pages, registration forms, email preference pages, and opt-out pages. Visitors arriving via email click-throughs are handled by S4S which queries their Salesforce record and provides the Sitecore rules engine with the field values it needs to personalize the individual's content.
- Anonymous Personalization: Sitecore personalization is not always driven by Salesforce. In cases where the visitor is not yet in Salesforce, Sitecore can observe the visitor's behavior and personalize accordingly. The observed data includes meta-data (visitor location, device type, browser, language, the channel they arrived from, etc.) and website actions (page visits, actions, and content consumed). Sitecore personalization algorithms use this data to render content best suited to the visitor. If at some point, the visitor submits a lead form, the form field values and behavioral data are pushed to Salesforce.
There are many ways sales reps can improve engagement and increase sales by using Salesforce to personalize Sitecore. Simply moving the prospect through the sales funnel in Salesforce causes Sitecore to personalize content in real-time. From targeting content, sales follow-up, Sitecore portal creation, and live call support, the combination of Salesforce, Sitecore and S4S are unbeatable for customer acquisition and retention.
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