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Salesforce Connections Recap

Salesforce Connections 2024: The Rise of AI and Data-Driven Experiences 

As Salesforce Practice Director here at AAXIS, I had the opportunity to attend Salesforce Connections 2024 in Chicago, Illinois last week (May 22nd-23rd). The conference highlighted Salesforce’s vision for the future: an AI-powered enterprise built on trusted data. In the Context of B2B Commerce, here are the key takeaways I found most valuable: 

  1. AI is Transforming Customer Experiences
  • The keynote address emphasized Salesforce’s commitment to AI with the introduction of Einstein Co-pilot across various clouds. This included co-pilots for both the shopper and merchant experiences. This signifies a focus on personalized interactions and automated workflows. 
  • Integration with Tableau and Slack leverages AI to improve data analytics and collaboration. 
  1. Data Cloud: The Foundation for Personalization
  • A dedicated session explored how Data Cloud empowers businesses to unify customer data and deliver personalized experiences. Salesforce soundly made the case that data and AI are inextricably linked, and that Data Cloud and the Einstein 1 Platform are the answer for delivering personalized experiences (especially for customers that already use 1 or more Salesforce products, aka clouds).  
  • Salesforce tied and highlighted the importance of data privacy and showed how Salesforce’s CRM (Customer Relationship Management) ensures user security. 
  1. The State of AI: Nascent
  • In short, everyone is interested, no one has figured it all out. While many companies believe they are leading in AI adoption, however challenges like data integration and understanding AI capabilities remain. 
  • Again, Salesforce positions Data Cloud and Einstein 1 Platform as tools to overcome these hurdles. 
  1. Revenue Lifecycle Management: A New Frontier
  • Salesforce introduced a new product, Revenue Lifecycle Management (product-to-cash automation – catalogs, pricing, configuration, quoting, order management, fulfillment, billing, and contracts), featuring a dynamic pricing engine and an AI-powered clause generation system (powered by Einstein GPT). This signifies a shift towards automated and intelligent revenue management. 
  • For those familiar with the internal organization structure at Salesforce, this also unifies the selling teams for Salesforce CPQ and Commerce Could.  
  1. Building Customer Loyalty in the AI Age
  • It is difficult to discuss both B2C and B2B commerce without also discussing customer loyalty. During Connections 2024, Salesforce explored the evolving landscape of customer loyalty, using the conversation to emphasize yet again the need for data-driven personalization. 
  • With case studies in hand, Salesforce displayed how Marketing Cloud and Loyalty Cloud can be used to create loyalty programs that prioritize customer experience over discounts. 

Overall, Salesforce Connections, which is second only to Salesforce’s annual user conference Dreamforce in terms of energy and excitement, underscored the power of AI and data in transforming customer experiences. The message was not lost on either the Marketing or Commerce professionals that comprise the target audience of this focused gathering. While the subthemes of data privacy, security, and ethical considerations had many heads nodding, many of the hallway and campground conversations were focused on where and how to get started. It is comforting to know that even as fast as we are moving in the Age of AI, some things still remain the same.  


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