Salesforce Marketing Cloud vs Salesforce Commerce Cloud
Salesforce may not be in tech's Big Four, but it's an absolute giant. The company has a market cap of $212bn, and it's not for nothing that the tallest building in San Francisco is the Salesforce Tower. Salesforce reportedly now has more than 150,000 customers – an impressive footprint for a B2B SaaS provider, without even mentioning that those clients include Amazon Web Services, Spotify, Toyota and The New York Post. Recent acquisitions, meanwhile, have brought category leaders such as Slack and Tableau into the Salesforce fold (at a not insubstantial cost of $27.7bn and $15.7bn respectively).
So, while the company may have a background in customer relationship management, looking ahead, it's set its sights on the wider market and has steadily built an ecosystem incorporating tools covering areas as diverse as marketing automation, analytics, customer service and app development. All of this may leave you wondering which Salesforce product is right for you and for your needs. What do Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Marketing Cloud actually do?
Salesforce Commerce Cloud
Commerce Cloud sets out to integrate the digital customer journey and to drive growth and customer connections. The platform allows you to personalise campaigns and build commerce experiences and, most importantly, to connect all of this to your marketing, sales and service processes, creating a single source of truth and completely connecting customer flow within the system. AI, meanwhile, helps you to make better recommendations, boost conversions and glean new insights into your customers. Commerce Cloud clients include Coca Cola, PetSmart and Puma and the platform is described as “fast, flexible and scalable”.
The platform integrates with hundreds of other services including analytics platforms such as Minubo; payment processors like PayPal and Braintree; and content management and marketing services such as Live Story, dotdigital and Extole; as well as a wide range of order management, localisation and product information management platforms.
Commerce Cloud is generally well reviewed, but it is a complex, large-scale system that may be difficult to set up for smaller businesses, as well as providing more features than they'll really need. Similarly, some users feel that the interface could be streamlined – and note that it sometimes requires multiple, seemingly redundant steps to complete actions.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud
Marketing Cloud incorporates marketing automation, digital advertising, enterprise-level email, data management and analytics, all augmented by AI. This allows you to direct users along the full length of the marketing funnel and to precisely personalise your messaging to individual users. The comprehensive marketing toolset gives you granular control across your customer interactions, while at the same time centralising your data and providing a 360° view of your audience. Some of the leading Marketing Cloud customers include American Express, Hotels.com and Ducati.
Marketing Cloud integrates with services such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Google Analytics, WebTrends and Coremetric – and, of course, with the full Salesforce ecosystem – though it's a relatively thin offering compared to Commerce Cloud.
This platform isn't necessarily suited to beginners, either, with a huge range of options to hand, and it may be difficult and time consuming for smaller businesses to set up. Users also report that improvements could be made to the UI and that more granularity would be useful when it comes to automation.
What makes a great Salesforce Admin?
For individuals looking to showcase their Salesforce expertise, Salesforce Administrator and Advanced Administrator certifications are available, as is certification for Salesforce Marketing Cloud Administrators. This may be going above and beyond for most sales and marketing professionals, but it'll put you in good stead on how to make the very best use of the platform and how to use it effectively and efficiently – and it's a fundamental building block to becoming a skilled admin.
As well as going deeper into the Salesforce ecosystem, you might also go wider. Data is the new oil, after all, so having a working knowledge of the Tableau data analytics platform will be extremely useful in a wide variety of fields, including both commerce and marketing.
Of course, being able to demonstrate mastery across user management, security, data management and reporting on the platform will all be important for Salesforce pros. On a technical level, meanwhile, having a firm grasp of database management and compliance, and of the APIs on offer, will be invaluable – the best admin will be a “problem solver extroadinaire”. Individuals who can combine this with analysis and the ability to tackle challenges within the broader business context – and to think about strategy in the long-term – will be highly sought after.
And the most successful admins won't just have Salesforce-specific and technical knowledge, but will also meld this with communication and project management skills. After all, it's important to be able to engage with stakeholders, to identify organisational requirements and to convey your own departmental priorities.
Salesforce provides a huge range of immensely powerful tools. Expert users who can unlock the full potential of the system hence have a potentially enormous value for their organisations – and individuals who can demonstrate excellence within the specific domain and in technical and communication skills should be at the front of the line for recruiters.
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