We here at Bedrock love Salesforce. And as power users, we know it has some of the best reporting of the many SaaS applications on the market.
Given the robust nature of Salesforce data, we see a ton of value in combining Salesforce opportunities, bookings, and other information with the data captured in other systems.
But just what exactly can you do with your fused data? Quite a lot, it turns out. In this article, we’ve compiled a list of 10 ways you can use Fusion together with data from Salesforce and other popular SaaS applications. This list is compiled from Salesforce & Fusion users — including our marketing, sales, customer success and business operations teams.
EFFICIENCY AT SCALE
1. Achieve a Better System of Record
Today, your CRM shouldn’t be where you do all your marketing, sales, and finance reporting. Simply put, that's a data warehouse's job.
Why? Well, first we should say that keeping Salesforce data up-to-date with other systems is paramount. Reps can see records in the CRM as they’re reflected in other systems, and even if the data isn’t visible in Salesforce itself, you'd still want it up-to-date for reporting purposes.
But you still shouldn't make Salesforce your system of record. You need a comprehensive data warehouse — not a data lake — that combines records and cleans your data.
Fusion is that single source of truth: a data warehouse where all your Salesforce data can reside in harmony with the data from your other systems.
2. Report More Efficiently (and Effectively)
Under the Fusion model, Salesforce data feeds your warehouse, which refreshes every 10 minutes so you can report on Salesforce data in any BI tool. This method of reporting is far more efficient than waiting for your data to sync in Salesforce.
What this gives you is quality data, without the hassle of having to report from different systems. That's because your Salesforce data is already in your fused_company table, along with all your leads, contacts, accounts, and opportunities, saving you a ton of time.
ENABLING ANALYSIS & BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE
Business or marketing analysts can do more with their data from Salesforce with their Fused Database. Here are some ways Fusion multiplies the value of your Salesforce data.
3. Go Beyond the Limits of Native Reporting
As a single system, Salesforce is limited to 20 elements, or reports, per dashboard. These elements include the standard parameters — Average Recurring Revenue (ARR), Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR), Annualized Contract Value (ACV), and the like. This is the first big limit of native reporting.
The second is that you can’t query Salesforce data directly. And if you consider the analytics market, there are scores of BI tools — Tableau, Quicksight, Looker, YellowFin, Power BI, MySQL Workbench, Metabase, and more — to which you can connect your Salesforce data along with data from other cloud applications. In these tools you can create more robust visualizations, with more dimensions and greater visual appeal. And with Fusion, you have a SQL dataset whose Salesforce connector supports custom objects. Once your Salesforce data are in a SQL warehouse, the limits of what any data scientist or analyst can do vanish.
4. Visualize customer funnel by stage
In Salesforce you can summarize lead lifetime by lead, contact, and opportunity information, filtering by members and time. Similarly, you might have an opportunity pipeline that includes open, bounced, or closed opportunities. And the same goes for accounts reports about active accounts, accounts by owner and activity, partners, and so forth.
But all these reports are just one chapter in the middle of a longer narrative arc. To view the customer funnel in its entirety, you’ll want to access other data sources. So if you’re looking at leads by source, in Fusion you could access a handful of custom Zuora objects as well.
You could also use the fused_contact table, which contains marketing data and Salesforce lead and contact data, to begin to see where your leads are coming from, and, of those leads, how are they’re performing. Then you could connect the fused_contact table to the fused_opportunity table. Doing so enables you to analyze direct traffic and organic search, or to know which form a contact converted on.
In Fusion, you’re able to use your Salesforce data alongside your other data to visualize your customer funnel by stage. Finally, you can see how direct traffic leads who filled out forms ended up as an opportunity or a deal. You’ll know who converted so you can compare win rates and determine your highest performing lead campaigns and forms. Then, from what you’ve learned, you can look at your opportunity pipeline to target what areas are most likely to close based on previous behavior. You’ll know more than which deal cycles take longer; you’ll know why.
5. Visualizing velocity by stage
Sales velocity refers to the average amount of time it takes to close a deal. With Fusion you can unify data across cloud applications like Salesforce to analyze your funnel by stage, over a specified time period, so as to effectively visualize velocity.
CLOSED LOOP REPORTING - ACROSS ONE OR MORE SYSTEMS
If you’re only using Salesforce, Fusion can help you visualize how your sales data is connected to leads, opportunities, revenue, and churn. The more systems you connect to Fusion, the better you can illuminate insights about customers that make them more successful, and profitable.
6. Connecting lead sources to pipeline
Pipeline, as an outcome metric, is a nice KPI to look at how your joint marketing and sales engine is performing. By looking at how marketing sources are converting into pipeline, you can see how much success sales is having and how that is translating to potential revenue.
In general, once you convert a lead, by default you create a contact, opportunity, and account (if the latter doesn’t exist already). Because many contacts can be attached to an account, the lead object is more related to opportunity than to contact. With Fusion, you can pull forecast percentages that help forecast sales revenue. HubSpot is an excellent supply of data about lead source. But this lead data does you little good when disconnected from your sales pipeline. The best you might be able to do is pipe HubSpot conversations as an IFrame in Salesforce. Yet while you might “see” these conversations by account, you still can’t report on this data in your dashboards. Better to bring your lead source data together with sales dashboards in Fusion.
How? By creating strong relationships via the contact, opportunity, and account objects, Fusion connects lead sources to your sales pipeline. By combining data from a marketing system like Marketo with your Salesforce data, you can measure how well sales is capitalizing on leads and opportunities, then adapt accordingly. Your lead info isn’t just a HubSpot conversation on a dashboard. It’s a cross-system report in a powerful business intelligence or analytics tool.
RENEWALS, REVENUE, & CHURN
7. Connect Bookings to Revenue
Salesforce reporting is domain-strong, but incomplete. In lieu of revenue reporting, you get stuck with bookings and opportunities. What you want is to know how these bookings and opportunities relate to ROI, except your revenue data is locked away in your financial system. A booking happens, but it doesn’t tell you about revenue, which you’d get out of your finance or billing application. This schism between contacts, opportunities, and revenue is a major source of confusion for organizations with even the most sophisticated reporting methods.
With Fusion, if you’re using a system like Salesforce for bookings and opportunities, and a system like Netsuite, Xero, Zuora, or Quickbooks for finance, you could bring all this data together. Once in a cloud data warehouse, you can then connect your sales pipeline to revenue and get the larger story about the health of your business.
8. Detecting Churn & Cancellations
But just as you want to know how bookings and opportunities relate to revenue, you also want to know which customers are churning and why. In Salesforce, however, you don’t cancel a booking. Nor do you have charts about subscriptions. The cancellation would be recorded in another system.
Moreover, ticket information is in a support system. So if an account is in jeopardy, you wouldn’t know this by looking in Salesforce. There’s too little visibility.
Upon trying to renew an account, then, you could use your fused data to detect churn by reporting on ticket data from your support system and cancellations from your subscription system. Together with your Salesforce data, you’ll be better able to tell which opportunities lead to more profitable customers, and what kinds of opportunities are more prone to churn.
9. Build Your Own Reporting Dashboard
A fused dataset makes this process a whole lot easier. You just connect your data sources, then let all the matching, de-duplicating, conflict resolution, and modeling take care of itself. In minutes, your warehouse is equipped with a universal schema, and ready to feed SQL data right into your custom applications. Every cloud application is unique. All capture, by design, data from different channels — web forms, picklists, chat bots, emails, support tickets, sales quotes, and so forth. To craft a dashboard, then, you need to format the data, learn the various schemas, transform them into one, build a database, and test your model. Even if you just use Salesforce and no other SaaS applications, you probably want to build your own reporting dashboard outside of Salesforce. To do so would require making calls to APIs, which impose strict rate limits depending on your plan.
With Fusion, you’re not beholden to any of these steps or limitations. You have an on-demand data warehouse that gives you the flexibility to build your own reporting dashboard according to the needs of your business.
10. Account-based roll-ups
Account based roll ups are a method of aggregating data about leads, activities, support tickets, and sales data, all in one, by account. In other words, account-based roll-ups combine data from related records to give you a more holistic picture of an entire account, or company.
Regardless of whether you data is generated by Salesforce or any other cloud application, you can see active customers and contacts by industry or country; sales & marketing activities; opportunities; churn rate; tickets; customer success scores; and high value customers approaching renewal -- all in one place.
Account-based roll-ups provide you insights by aggregating data at an account or company level, so you can draw meaningful conclusions. When organized at an account level, data has more meaning than when it’s scattered across dozens, or even hundreds, of individual records on leads, tickets, or activities. Rolling up ticket and company information by account is extremely valuable because it lets you understand an entire account’s support experience with your business. You could answer questions like:
- What is the average number of tickets per account per month?
- What are the Company and Contact properties for each ticket profile?
- What is your combined satisfaction rating?
- What is the average number of tickets or conversations for a new contact?
Account-based roll-ups are also beneficial for viewing data about leads by account. You could questions such as:
- How much have you invested in targeting a specific account?
- How much pipeline revenue was generated by that account per campaign?
- How many interactions were needed before the account was converted to a customer? What was the medium (e.g. phone, email, chat, etc.) for these interactions?
- What was the optimal sequence of interactions that most effectively led to the acquisition of a new customer?
There are many more examples, but we provide these to give you a taste and hopefully get you thinking about the possibilities.
Ready to feed your Salesforce data to a Fusion data warehouse? Try it for free.