What Customization Capabilities Does Salesforce Provide?
By Thayer Tate
Salesforce is the world’s #1 Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform. Its main strength is that it was built to be a flexible and highly customizable platform instead of just a turnkey CRM product. On the surface, Salesforce appears to be a popular relationship management tool that supports sales teams. A deeper look starts to paint a different picture as you find Salesforce supports many “Clouds” such as Service Cloud, Nonprofit Cloud, Financial Cloud, and Health Cloud, all using the same underlying core platform. Further, many of the customization capabilities that Salesforce uses to create purpose-built solutions are also available to end-users, which opens up a tremendous opportunity to tailor Salesforce to serve business use cases well beyond sales and support.
It’s logical to assume that Salesforce is a tool focused on supporting sales teams and processes given both the company name and the fact that their first and flagship product is indeed the hugely popular Sales Cloud. However, thinking of Salesforce as a purely “sales team” application is one of the many Salesforce myths that keep people from realizing its full potential in their organization. Too often, companies implement Salesforce to address one need and then do not explore how it can optimize other areas of their business, which is unfortunate since the customization capabilities are covered in the core license. Many billion-dollar household brands have discovered the flexibility of the Salesforce platform and utilize it for much more than sales and relationship management. The best way to think of Salesforce is as a platform where you can build any number of data tracking solutions that revolve around Organizations (e.g., Businesses) or People.
Salesforce is not meant to be a solution that you just buy a license to and start using it out of box. To fully realize the benefits of Salesforce, you have to customize it to fit your use cases. To get Salesforce to support your business the way that it’s designed, you have to invest in implementation and customizations that tailor the platform to your specific data set, business case, and business processes. But, what customizations does Salesforce provide?
Salesforce Needs To Be Customized
Out of the box, Salesforce comes with a significant number of pre-built data entities and functions but would likely seem overwhelming at first since a large portion of what you see is not likely to be relevant to your needs. A good Salesforce customization company can help you turn that blank slate into the central system that supports your business. By taking you through the customization and configuration process, Salesforce customization companies can help you evaluate and customize your Salesforce solution so that it’s right for you and your organization.
But, how do different industries and companies use Salesforce? Salesforce Core Business Platforms include Salesforce Sales Cloud, Salesforce Service Cloud, and Salesforce Experience Cloud. Beyond that, these platforms can be extended with extensions that have been specialized for the use cases of specific industries. Consider these examples:
- Non-profits using Salesforce to trace a donor’s journey from initial contact to decision
- Healthcare organizations tracking interactions between patients and physicians
- Financial services organizations in the banking, insurance, wealth & asset management and mortgage lending industries
Salesforce might be the world’s #1 CRM, but using the system is a lot like using Excel for the first time. While it’s full of features and bursting with built-in functionality, you have to spend some time setting it up first to tailor the solution to your needs, and then it becomes a tremendously efficient tool that it’s hard to live without.
In the end, you work with a Salesforce customization company to determine what you want Salesforce to do, how your information will flow through the solution, and get the configurations and customizations you need implemented right. After all, when you are customizing Salesforce, you don’t want to see 100 fields for a contact record if you only need just 27.
Salesforce can also scale with your company. In some companies, everyone must see everything, or nothing gets done. In bigger companies with many workers, roles become more specialized and internal controls come into play. Salesforce adapts to your individual data security needs whether you are small, agile, and open or a firm under heavy compliance regulation.
The extensibility of Salesforce has made it an industry standard. It’s like buying an IOS or Android phone. Both come with large app stores that let you extend your functionality without building a mobile app. You can just buy them, already built. Third-party apps can be dropped into these phones because they come with such large app markets.
Salesforce is a very similar ecosystem. With Salesforce, you get significant built-in functionality that can be further extended via extensions in the Salesforce AppExchange. Also, as the world’s most popular CRM, many vendors already have pre-built connectors and integrations you can take advantage of. The power of these extensions cannot be understated, and it’s their flexibility and capability that makes them so popular with companies that implement Salesforce.
With Salesforce implementations, companies face many competing priorities. They’ve committed to reinventing their operations and reporting through Salesforce, and speed-to-market becomes important. But, no one has a blank check. Resources and budgets remain important too. With the right Salesforce implementation team, you have a partner to stand with you as you complete early-stage analysis and move through implementation, customization, and roll-out. When you add the right support to your Salesforce implementation, you have a much greater chance of getting the most out of your investment.
Thayer TateChief Technology Officer
Thayer is the Chief Technology Officer at SOLTECH, bringing over 20 years of experience in technology and consulting to his role. Throughout his career, Thayer has focused on successfully implementing and delivering projects of all sizes. He began his journey in the technology industry with renowned consulting firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM, where he gained valuable insights into handling complex challenges faced by large enterprises and developed detailed implementation methodologies.
Thayer’s expertise expanded as he obtained his Project Management Professional (PMP) certification and joined SOLTECH, an Atlanta-based technology firm specializing in custom software development, Technology Consulting and IT staffing. During his tenure at SOLTECH, Thayer honed his skills by managing the design and development of numerous projects, eventually assuming executive responsibility for leading the technical direction of SOLTECH’s software solutions.
As a thought leader and industry expert, Thayer writes articles on technology strategy and planning, software development, project implementation, and technology integration. Thayer’s aim is to empower readers with practical insights and actionable advice based on his extensive experience.