CRM Solutions are Rapidly Changing so that Companies Can Adapt to Customers
Modern users expectations can be summarized in two categories - those who want to use digital technologies and communication channels in sales, marketing, and customer support to increase sales and introduce innovative business models; and those who want to optimize existing operations towards their customers. "This works precisely with Salesforce," Hrvoje Supić, vice president of Salesforce for Central and Eastern Europe, points out in an interview with ICTbusiness.info.
„Modern CRM is the operating system for a company that focuses operations around the customer and the customer experience, created through various channels and points of communication. It is unthinkable to do business today without an integrated system that includes sales, marketing channels, and support channels,“ adds Supić.
How do you assess the current position of Salesforce in Croatia and the region, and what do users most often expect the introduction of the solution to solve in their business?
This year, Salesforce became the leading company in the world in the field of application software according to total annual revenues. Market share and portfolio breadth place Salesforce in a central position in the areas of classic CRM, marketing technology, customer support systems, platform as a service (PaaS), application integration, and other areas in which we compete. Behind Salesforce are 23 years of strong revenue growth, which still amounts to over 20-25 percent per year.
The development of Salesforce's business in each market is conditioned by the openness of consumers and companies towards building digital experiences, accepting new sales and marketing channels, and generally the level of innovation in the economy and society.
In Eastern Europe, including Croatia, the first to adopt Salesforce are companies operating in global markets and closely following the world's best practices. That trend started many years ago.
In the last few years, numerous global companies operating in Croatia have been using Salesforce for local activities (telecom operators, drug manufacturers, some breweries, retail, and so on).
Today, we are still in the early stages of wider adoption of what Salesforce enables brands that are focused on the local market. I include banks, insurance companies, retail chains, and other industries.
The expectations of Salesforce users can be summarized in two categories - those who want to use digital technologies and communication channels in sales, marketing, and customer support to increase sales and introduce innovative business models, and those who want to optimize existing operations toward their customers. Often these two goals are intertwined.
You have different solutions than those for large companies, but there are also solutions for micro, small and medium-sized companies. Do users understand the importance of their introduction in the era of digitization and digital transformation?
Sometimes Salesforce is perceived as a solution for large companies. The reality is that from the very beginning we have been equally focused on small as well as large companies. Salesforce is the first Cloud company and has brought numerous innovations over the years, and it was small companies that were the first to accept innovations in their business.
Today a large number of global brands and the largest companies indeed use Salesforce, but Salesforce is still focused on small companies and offers the same technology to companies with only one employee as to companies with one million employees.
We believe that small companies are the carriers of innovation in business models, and often the most interesting and innovative applications of Salesforce technologies can be found in that segment.
All our products are designed to be easily scalable, both technically and financially, and their most important advantage is that they contain the best global practices in the field of sales, marketing, and customer support, but also that they can be adapted to specific processes and needs of users.
How else will Salesforce further drive adoption in this region? How many partners do you have today and what do they offer on the market?
Today, ten partner companies are active in Croatia, of which 3 to 4 are actively working on the local market. The leading partners are ready for the most challenging projects and have knowledge and capacities that exceed local needs, which comes from the experience of working on projects abroad. Other partners are focused on the construction of near-shore centers and they work on projects coming from abroad.
Both are important in the Salesforce ecosystem. There are initiatives for additional training of specialists that will meet the demand for these profiles, and which will intensify over the years.
It is estimated that the Salesforce global ecosystem will create over 9 million jobs by 2026. This offers attractive learning, work, and professional development opportunities for those at the beginning of their careers, as well as for those with experience, who are looking for new challenges and want to be part of the global Salesforce community.
Today, CRM solutions are not what they used to be, they are comprehensive solutions that can be connected to other IT systems pans. In which direction will the solutions be developed?
In the 23 years that the company Salesforce has existed, CRM systems have undergone a very large development. This was largely dictated by Salesforce itself. Modern CRM is the operating system of a company that focuses operations around the customer. The customer experience, which is created through various channels and points of communication, is unthinkable today without an integrated system that includes both sales and marketing channels as well as support channels. Salesforce is the only company on the market that offers the full spectrum of technologies that sit between the business and its customers. All our products work on one platform, which makes the Salesforce offer unique on the market.
The last innovation that the company presented a couple of weeks ago during Dreamforce, the largest technology conference in the world, is the Genie. Genie is a unique platform for collecting and serving customer data that works in real-time, supported by artificial intelligence, automation, and integration. Genie is one of the most important announcements in the history of Salesforce and I'm sure it will define the future direction of the company and the entire industry.
You will touch on these topics at the upcoming Adriaticon conference, what other news can we expect at the event?
I must admit that I am looking forward to this event, which is being prepared by our largest regional partner, the company Agilcon. This is an opportunity to gather the entire regional business and Salesforce community, exchange experiences, and discuss projects. Technology gains its full significance only in application, and what we will see this year at Adriaticon will be the projects that Salesforce and HR technology helped to solve important business challenges and enabled the progress of our users, which is truly important and will be especially so in these uncertain times.