Tell us about your role and the team/technology you handle at Salesforce.
I’ve been at Salesforce for nearly 12 years in various roles; currently, I lead the Small Business Marketing team. As a daughter of immigrant entrepreneurs, I’m super passionate about small businesses, so empowering them with the tools and resources they need to grow is a dream role for me. To build the best products, you need a real understanding of the challenges your customers face. That’s why our Salesforce Essentials team can often be found on the road, meeting with small businesses and listening to their needs and challenges. Our mission is to help make their lives easier.
What powers the Salesforce Essentials Personalization Engine?
Salesforce Essentials is an all-in-one Sales and Service CRM app designed specifically for small businesses. Priced affordably at $25/month, it helps small businesses develop deeper, more personalized connections with their customers by bringing together customer data, conversations, and sales information across channels into one place — everything essential to small business growth and success.
How can SMBs benefit from leveraging Lightning Dialer?
We constantly hear our small business customers say they’re strapped for time, but it’s so important for them to provide a personalized customer experience in every engagement. It’s difficult to concentrate on creating personalized customer experiences when they also have to handle Marketing, Sales, Finance, Creative, and more. Lightning Dialer for Essentials is a built-in call center that helps small businesses receive calls from customers so they never miss a conversation. When someone on their team makes or receives a call, the customer’s profile and account information pop up within Salesforce, giving them a detailed customer history for fast, personalized service. Calls are automatically logged, reducing manual data entry and making sure that information doesn’t get lost.
What do you think about the ‘future of CRM’?
The future of CRM continues to be all about the customer. Any business, but particularly small ones, need to be continually focused on making sure the customer experience is unique and differentiated. Although only 45% of small businesses currently use a CRM, research shows that it is the leading priority for the technology budgets of growing SMBs — and no doubt it will continue to be a priority as they look for ways to authentically and effectively develop relationships with their customers. In the future, technologies like AI will enhance CRM to help companies develop even stronger, more personal relationships with their customers.
While only 8% of SMBs are using AI today, an additional 32% have plans to implement the technology, representing a potential growth rate of 310%. AI will help remove the manual process of managing customer relationships. Logging emails, prioritizing which customers need attention, even responding to simple support requests will all be handled by AI so small businesses can focus on the highest impact parts of your business.
Will Salesforce Essentials replace traditional CRM with better Sales Performance, Customer Service, and CRM reporting under one roof?
It’s critical for small businesses to choose technology that can grow with them — products that give them the flexibility to organize and reorganize teams and data as they grow, or let them add additional functionality as they need it. With Salesforce, they can graduate to our other editions and customize to their needs — future-proofing their business because they won’t need to invest in a new platform.
If their technology doesn’t scale in this way, they’ll waste valuable time and money every time they outgrow a product. That’s why we created Salesforce Essentials actually — it’s built on the Salesforce platform, but designed and priced for small businesses, so we can carry a company from inception to enterprise. Essentials is a great starting point, and we hope Salesforce is the only CRM you’ll ever need.
What are current trends in email list validation and what features should SMB CMOs check before investing in Email List Validation platforms?
Small businesses are busy understanding their audiences and working on personalizing their approach to reach them. And every marketer who has run an email or outreach campaign knows that Email Marketing is a proven and precise Marketing method. This is particularly true for small businesses — it’s cost-effective and has high ROI. You need to verify your email lists on a regular basis because it’s the one action that has the biggest effect on your Email Marketing bottom line.
The more accurate your initial email list is, the better your campaign’s performance will be. Because Email Validation is used within an Email Marketing process, it’s good to have your email verifier connected to or integrated with other modules, such as email generation tools, email sending tools, email list management tools and more.
Tell us about your Product roadmap for the next 2-3 years?
Our product roadmap is laser-focused on meeting the needs of small businesses to help them get immediate time to value, with simple setup, ease of use, and easy to grow on the Salesforce platform. Since launching Salesforce Essentials in late 2017, we’ve doubled-down on helping small businesses succeed with innovations ranging from guided set-up, online buying, and check-out, and Essentials for Service all the way to in-app help and a team of dedicated coaches. Businesses of all sizes — from sole proprietors to companies with ten or more employees — have embraced Essentials. We’ll always continue to invest in new features that help small businesses thrive and grow — while staying at a price they can afford.
What are your predictions about the role of AI-based Chatbots and Customer Intelligence transforming Marketing and Sales in the next 3 years?
In our third edition of the “Small & Medium Business Trends Report,” we asked something similar and found that while only 8% of SMBs are using AI today, another 32% plans to use it within three years. That’s a 310% projected growth rate! And what’s more, almost half (46%) of SMB owners believe their business is currently ready to use AI.
The biggest and best AI use for small business right now, I think, is lead scoring. Oftentimes, these small businesses are overwhelmed with leads, and Salespeople need to be able to weed out and focus on those that have the highest likelihood of closing. AI can do that in seconds, creating huge gains in productivity – and potentially your bottom line. In the next few years, AI is going to revolutionize other functions in similar ways.
Thank you, Marie! That was fun and hope to see you back on MarTech Series soon.
The MTS Martech Interview Series is a fun Q&A style chat which we really enjoy doing with martech leaders. With inspiration from Lifehacker’s How I work interviews, the MarTech Series Interviews follows a two part format On Marketing Technology, and This Is How I Work. The format was chosen because when we decided to start an interview series with the biggest and brightest minds in martech – we wanted to get insight into two areas … one – their ideas on marketing tech and two – insights into the philosophy and methods that make these leaders tick.