1. Data & Insights

How Salesforce Uses Marketing Cloud Genie To Deliver Customer Magic

Like most companies, Salesforce has data in many places. Our core data, such as accounts, contacts, leads and opportunities, lives within our customer relationship management (CRM) system. But customers interact with our brand in more ways than that. They respond to marketing campaigns, attend our events, learn new skills on Trailhead, watch content on Salesforce+, and engage with our customer support teams. 

We need all those data points to truly understand the wants and needs of our customers. That requires not only collecting the insights — while being respectful of their privacy concerns — but also making that data actionable in real time. That’s where Marketing Cloud Genie comes in.

My team is tasked with building a single view of each customer with actionable, real-time data. This in turn helps Salesforce create magical experiences for our customers. We’re talking data that:

  • enables marketers to run intelligent and automated campaigns
  • helps sales teams have more impactful conversations with customers
  • makes it easier for support teams to respond to issues
  • empowers operations teams to run the business with powerful insights

We turned to the Marketing Cloud customer data platform, powered by Genie, to build our own real-time data single source of truth: a unified customer profile for Salesforce. We’re connecting more than 50 data streams and billions of data points in our customer data platform.

The experience was so illuminating that we created five videos to show you what we did and what we learned. The videos are part of our “Salesforce on Salesforce” series, which gives you a peek behind the scenes of how we do things. From marketing to service to sales, we share tricks of the trade that helped us become the world’s fastest-growing enterprise software company.


Michael Andrew, senior vice president of decision science at Salesforce, walks you through the steps to take to build a sound customer data platform strategy.

Here’s an example of how the customer data platform works through four stages of a buying cycle: 

Samantha, an executive at (the fictional) Northern Trail Outfitters, is trying to decide if her company should invest in the Salesforce Customer Data Platform. She does a Google search, signs up to watch a demo, and then attends a marketing event to learn more. This is the discovery stage

She then completes a learning path on Trailhead, engages with a chatbot on our site, speaks with one of our account executives, and makes a purchasing decision to buy. This is the consideration stage.

This leads to the implementation phase. Samantha works with an implementation partner and Salesforce’s customer success group, and then decides to get certified. Finally, she enters the growth and renewal phase where she makes a decision on contract renewals.


Janani Narayanan, product management director at Salesforce, shows you how to unify customer data in a single profile. “With Marketing Cloud Genie, we are able to unify all identity and engagement data across multiple data streams into one single source of truth.”

Over the course of her journey with Salesforce, Samantha provides information on her interests, desires, questions, and feedback. We capture engagement data from different touchpoints, but they all reside in silos. The customer data platform allows us to unify all identity and engagement data across multiple streams into one single profile. Teams can make changes and see the changes others made in real time.

Now that you see how a customer data platform works, here are three tips to keep in mind while building your strategy. 

1. Start small and focus on value

You may think you have to get all your data together before it can be useful. We’ve found it’s more important to focus on key use cases first, balancing out what creates maximum value versus what’s easy to implement out of the gate. 

Quick wins are important. Show how you can use a customer data platform in a few specific cases. That will give you momentum to get more teams on board.

For example, at Salesforce we discovered an opportunity to alert our sales teams to key customer and prospect activities on our website, such as visiting a specific product pricing page. This gave sales reps the insights to prioritize accounts and have better conversations with customers. This early win helped us build momentum and get the support to keep the project going.


Sonia Lele, senior director of personalization & growth at Salesforce, gives an inside look at how we use Marketing Cloud Genie to personalize emails for customers.

2. Treat your unified customer profile like a product

Your business is likely known for the products or services it provides. Those products and services get most of the attention internally, too. At Salesforce, we realized we need to think about our unified customer profile as a product.

This means bringing together the right internal partners and using the same approach we use as product managers to understand customers. We work together to outline the jobs to be done, we use agile development processes to build and release the profile, and we measure adoption to ensure it’s all resonating.

This approach has helped us quickly scale with quality, align across our teams, and innovate to keep customer success at the heart of everything we do.


Ananth Varma, director of personalization & growth at Salesforce, shows how we personalize the customer experience on our website.

3. Remember to focus on data quality over quantity

It’s far better to have quality data about our customers than to include every possible field immediately.

For example, we collect hundreds of data points about the people who use our website. The top 10 to 20 fields are really the most meaningful for most of our work. These include the pages someone visited, what products they explored, what offer they responded to, their industry, and where they are located.

To ensure we are building with quality and trust, we have a data strategy team that evaluates the data, classifies it, and ensures we have the right standards before we ever bring it into our customer data platform.

Controlling quality up front provides better outcomes for everyone who uses our platform to run their business.


Jerome Coste, director of product management at Salesforce, shows how we enhance the seller experience with Slack and Marketing Cloud Genie.

I hope these tips, along with Marketing Cloud Genie, help you on your journey to building a single view of your customer. Good luck!

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