Launched in 1999 and now a public company, Salesforce is a big US cloud computing player with its fingers in a number of pies: it’s main product is its customer relationship management (CRM) platform – also known as Salesforce.com or SFDC – which includes Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Data Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Community Cloud, Analytics Cloud and App Cloud. The firm also offers consulting, deployment and training services.
As with most large IT providers, there are a confusing amount of names for things across all products. Here’s a few of the more prominent offerings [or a more complete list].
Sales Cloud refers to the “sales” module of Salesforce.com. It’s is a specialised business development database tool for managing sales leads, contacts and quotes etc. The guiding idea is to enable more selling and less admin.
Data.com sells B2B contacts and company information – more info.
Chatter is an internal social network tool with features akin to Facebook’s Messenger or Google Hangouts – more details.
Service Cloud includes all the Sales Cloud tools, with added functionality on top, designed for customer service staff like those working in call centres.
A set of app-building and management tools, including Force.com and Lightning.
Marketing Cloud offers a range of tools covering email, web and mobile marketing, digital advertising, marketing automation and social media. More info.
Work.com is a performance management HR tool, designed for motivating and organising sales teams.
In the largest ever acquisition in the marketing technology industry, Salesforce purchased ecommerce platform Demandware, effectively kickstarting the formation of a commerce cloud to complement its sales and marketing clouds – TFM.
Demandware brings with it hundreds of clients including Marks & Spencer – Adexchanger.
— Kelly Liyakasa (@KellyLiyakasa) 1 June 2016
JANUARY 2016 – Product launch Salesforce has taken another step towards converging development environments by launching its new Heroku Enterprise edition as part of App Cloud – Fortune
“For the past few years, Salesforce has engaged in an interesting balancing act. It’s been pushing its Force.com development platform for companies building one set of applications—typically those used by employees—and another, Heroku, for external applications. And then it added Lightning, a new set of tools for building modern applications, to the mix.” – Barb Darrow
AUGUST 2015 – Product launch Salesforce Lightning Experience is launched as a revamp of its CRM user interface, unifying the experience across multiple platforms – press release
MAY 2015 – Market share analysis
Gartner finds that as the worldwide CRM market grows, Salesforce accelerates its lead – now at 18.4% market share – Forbes
Salesforce runs separate certification programmes for administrators, developers, Sales Cloud or Service Cloud implementation experts and technical architects – find out more via the official page. Run Consultants have written a short guide to the different tracks.
If you’re looking to verify somebody’s certification, you can search for them.
For total beginners, here’s a lengthy, well-researched albeit low audio quality video:
Salesforce’s own YouTube channel has an extensive playlist dedicated to How-To content.
Dreamforce, the official Salesforce developer’s conference, has a YouTube channel stuffed with lengthy tutorials and talks, covering many bases.
There are 74 full-length seminar videos in this playlist aimed at more advanced Salesforce developers, apparently drawn from the Salesforce University course for the 501 certification exam.
Here’s a quick video showing how CRM works for small businesses:
Salesforce’s official pricing chart starts from £17 p/user p/month for “basic sales & marketing” for up to five users.
Having interviewed several CIOs, Computing.co.uk’s article on Salesforce pricing recommends being strategic about purchases, lest you end up feeling ripped of.