The restrictions during the COVID-19 quarantine boosted the growth of digital communication. Instead of interacting face-to-face, vendors are now reaching customers through messages and emails. Likewise, customers are emailing sales reps and opening chat sessions to get inbound service. These new models require changes in commercial software—primarily, augmenting its technical capabilities to connect with popular messengers.
Salesforce is no exception here. According to the State of the Connected Customer Report, 56% of customers preferred engaging through digital channels in 2020, while in 2021 this number reached 60%. It is expected to continue growing in 2022. The same report states that email, online chats, messenger apps, and text/SMS are the fastest-growing communication channels among digital customers. To meet customers’ needs and expectations, companies using Salesforce CRM should be interconnected with SMS/MMS, email, Web Chat (Salesforce Chat), Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, and Viber. Depending on the channels and settings, messaging can bring a host of benefits. For instance, Salesforce users can:
- Promote their companies’ products
- Provide efficient customer service
- Deliver critical information about transactions and events
In this blog post, we will consider some tools for communicating with customers through various messengers right from Salesforce. At the end of the post, you will find a handy table summarizing these tools and the supported digital channels.
Don't forget to check out: Best Practices for Push Notifications and In-App Messaging in Salesforce
Salesforce Products for Messaging
Salesforce provides several products for connecting with customers via their preferred messaging apps. Before selecting a product, Salesforce users should ensure they have Service Cloud User/Sales Cloud User and Messaging User licenses.
Salesforce Digital Engagement
Salesforce Digital Engagement is an add-on product that works with Sales and Service Cloud. The product is used to send and receive SMS, as well as respond to messages on WhatsApp, Web Chat, and Facebook Messenger. Digital Engagement includes the following features:
- Outbound and inbound messaging across SMS, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger
- Chatbots that allow you to automatically answer routine questions and resolve common issues
- Web Chat, which allows sales reps to interact with multiple customers simultaneously (These conversations are recorded and can be automatically linked to contacts stored in Salesforce.)
The pricing for Digital Engagement varies depending on the number of channels used, chatbot conversations, and triggered and bulk messages, as well as the level of technical support.
Messaging Within Salesforce Marketing Cloud
Salesforce Marketing Cloud offers several products for establishing and reinforcing communication with customers through SMS/MMS and email. If you already use Sales/Service Cloud and are considering purchasing Marketing Cloud, it would make sense to combine their functionalities to allow communication via messaging apps:
- Marketing Cloud allows users to create and trace customer journeys.
- You can create segmented audiences in Salesforce and send emails to campaign members based on profile data.
- You can create mobile messages, deliver targeted notifications and real-time alerts, and integrate mobile messages with other communication channels.
The pricing for Marketing Cloud is extremely varied since Salesforce provides so many packages and editions of the product to meet a host of different business needs.
Salesforce Managed Packages
On Salesforce AppExchange, you can find collections of app components, or managed packages, to connect with clients via messages right from Salesforce. Select a package, install it in your organizational Salesforce environment, and build customer experiences in the preferred messengers. Here, we would like to highlight the three managed packages we normally use on projects:
1. Twilio for Salesforce
Twilio for Salesforce allows Sales Cloud users to send and receive SMS messages. The tool has the following features:
- The package works out‑of‑the‑box in the Salesforce environment so that you can build and control messaging flows with drag-and-drop and Salesforce’s UI elements.
- Twilio allows you to personalize and automate messaging for campaign members—contacts, leads, and Person Accounts.
- The tool provides 15 standard reports for analyzing contact engagement and results of messaging campaigns.
2. MessageBird for Salesforce: Multichannel Conversations & Messaging
MessageBird for Salesforce works with Sales and Service Cloud. This managed package can be used to engage with customers via SMS and WhatsApp in Salesforce. The package has the following benefits:
- MessageBird gathers dialogues from all messaging channels in one place and enables a multichannel view of conversations.
- The tool can provide you with local phone numbers in 150+ countries.
- The app provides SMS templates with the option to add a hyperlink to a message with click tracking.
- It can be linked with Salesforce customer IDs for a 360° customer view of conversations and transactions
3. 360 SMS APP
360 SMS App is suitable for SMS/MMS as well as text messages and voicemails on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and Viber. This package supports Sales, Service, Experience (Community), and Marketing Cloud. In addition to supporting these communication channels, 360 SMS App provides the following advantages for its users:
- With the 360 SMS App, you can send automated/triggered single and bulk SMS and MMS.
- The tool supports two-way messaging in WhatsApp and WhatsApp Live Chat from a website.
- It provides computer telephony integration so that users can make, record, and retrieve calls without switching pages.
Check out another amazing blog by Brimit here: Encrypt Sensitive Data in Salesforce and Comply with Security Regulations
The third option for Salesforce users who want to connect with the most in-demand channels of digital communication is third-party integration. Platforms like Zapier, Make, and InfoBip allow you to connect Salesforce with many other applications and messengers to achieve marketing goals, whether it be creating new leads or nurturing existing ones. Most platforms provide partial functionality via a free version, but as the number of contacts increases, it becomes necessary to switch to paid profiles to increase the number of operations possible or add automation. Pricing plans range from free to around $500 per month. Paid versions allow you to create more automation, reduce update time, add custom logic, etc.
InfoBip is a popular third-party product for connecting Salesforce with different messengers. It can be used to communicate via WhatsApp, SMS, and Viber, which is particularly valuable for certain audience segments. InfoBip works with Marketing and Sales Cloud and allows you to:
- Segment an audience for marketing campaigns based on different characteristics
- Create, personalize, and send messages to target segments and receive replies through the same channels
- Send bulk messages via all the supported channels
InfoBip’s pricing system is flexible and depends on several factors, including traffic location and country regulatory policies.