The Wednesday Stack: Industrial Grade B2B Omnichannel

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Stack logo by Hilary Allison
Stack logo by Hilary Allison

Cloudcraze, the B2B commerce suite, was built natively on Salesforce. This year it became part of Salesforce. I caught up with Andy Peebler, EVP strategy, to find out what this has meant for Cloudcraze itself, and for the rest of the Salesforce eco-system. Why did the transition make sense? 

“There are a lot of trends in the B2B landscape,” he told me. “Some of them have been around for some time, others are new. What we care about is that a lot of B2B companies, once they’re into commerce, seek to add B2C-like capabilities. So, making shopping experiences more familiar to people used to shopping in a B2C landscape; and providing marketing, merchandising, and other capabilities which are consistent with consumer-like experiences.” Now part of Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Cloudcraze has access to “talent, technology, and lots of great capabilities to help our customers to provide more consumer-like experiences in B2B.”

As for newer developments: “There’s a move towards really defining what omnichannel means for B2B.” While we’re now accustomed, as everyday consumers, to things like buying online and picking up in store, even B2B businesses with commerce capabilities haven’t yet integrated their offerings across multiple channels. “Even for those companies with B2B commerce portals, there’s often a limited set of products or SKUs online. For more complex products, buyers still need to talk to a sales rep. Some companies are selling through channel partners. In most cases, all these channels are separate and distinct. As part of Salesforce, we have a great opportunity to bring that together and define a new era of ‘industrial grade’ omnichannel.”

For Peebler, that means sales reps automatically having insight into customers’ online activity, and channel partners automatically have access to the data they need to configure orders for customers. “What we expect to happen is that B2B commerce will become the dominant way companies will go to market, and customers will have the expectation that every channel will be in sync.” The space is not that mature yet, Peebler concedes, but he believes Cloudcraze is ahead of the game.

What about being in sync with Salesforce Pardot, the B2B marketing automation solution? “Cloudcraze has long been a customer of Pardot, so we’re familiar with how to take advantage of those tools. Customers are going to find a real natural fit by using Pardot to identify and cultivate leads, and Cloudcraze to handle later stages in the customer journey. The integration with Pardot is something we already did a pretty good job of, because we’re native on the platform.”

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In rebrand news, Media IQ has become MiQ, positioning itself as a leading marketing intelligence vendor. According to Rebecca Mahony, CMO: “This new position will help re-imagine the value of marketing and put the CMO at the centre of decision making within business. Data is one of the most important currencies a brand has access to, and is essential for businesses growth. This new currency requires a new position for MiQ, which is why it is time for us to reposition as the leading marketing intelligence company. We will be the company that connects all the data dots and offers businesses actionable insights, whether that’s across our media offering, analytical solutions or tech platform, that result in transformative business decisions.” — Hillary Adler

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And one final news note. The email creation platform Litmus just issued its annual “State of Email Workflows” report. Not the catchiest title, perhaps, but there’s some juice under the rind:

  • Junk the spreadsheets and invest in project management software to plan email campaigns
  • Create a brief for every email, including goals, audience, KPIs, etc
  • Embrace modular (drag and drop) design
  • Streamline the review and approval process
  • Reduce the number of platforms you use.

That last one came as a surprise, but apparently the number of brands using three or more platforms to distribute emails is still significant (17% of those surveyed). There is an ongoing decline in use of home-grown platforms. Among independent ESPs, Salesforce led the pack (used by 26.6% of businesses surveyed), closely followed by Mailchimp (24.2%). Oracle was the only other vendor to reach double figures, followed by Marketo and IBM.

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