An interview with Cloudshift Group’s Benjamin Murray


Jamie Miller - Director, Marketing Recruitment

Image of Bridge at night

How would you describe working in the marketing technology space? What is it like day to day?

Working in tech is the most exciting and inspiring sector you can work in. The drive for digital transformation has accelerated in the past year, and there are constantly new innovations and solutions emerging within Cloud CRM to help Customers adapt and thrive in these times.

We are now in a digital first, work from anywhere world and the ‘Digital Imperative World’ is one which enables companies to continually reinvent themselves. There is no returning to the business model which served well in 2019. Business leaders are now going beyond a translation of what was there before to achieve true digital transformation to best understand and serve their Customers, staff and partners. This makes working in tech extremely fascinating.

Day to day, tech is a naturally very fast-paced industry to work in, so agility and innovation is key to success. As a marketer, this is a great challenge to have as there are always new solutions to investigate and promote to your Customers.

How does the successful CloudShift Group & Salesforce partnership work?

CloudShift is an implementation partner for Salesforce and our role is to help existing and new Customers discover which Salesforce solutions will best serve their business, then design, build and implement these for our Customers. We focus initially on understanding business strategy, running blueprint discoveries and creating digital transformation road maps for our Customers of the best Salesforce solutions right for their business and ambitions. Because the business was founded in 2015 by ex-Salesforce Customers, we have a great insight in to how a Salesforce partner can add the maximum value and provide the best support and advice.

The business has grown rapidly, and with 85 consultants now, we have a great breadth and wealth of knowledge of the vast array of Salesforce solutions so we’re able to support and serve Customers and Salesforce alike, providing a total consultancy solution and service.

How is the Salesforce ecosystem transforming marketing?

With Salesforce, you can build your marketing strategy around the entire Customer journey. Never before has there been as much necessity to drive cross-departmental collaboration and engagement across touchpoints in marketing, sales, commerce and service. Connecting with your Customer at the right time with the right offer or message is now essential. Through the range of Salesforce marketing solutions, you can track and optimise each touchpoint and experience across the entire Customer lifecycle.

Today’s marketers are presented with a unique challenge to communicate to an audience, whose attention is divided between thousands of digital communications, emails, ads etc. To cut through the digital clutter marketers need to establish 1:1 conversations and personalise their Customers’ journeys - that’s where Salesforce marketing solutions step in.

Personalisation now goes way beyond adding someone’s first name in an email salutation but it’s about delivering the right message, the right channel and the right time and to do that we need data-driven marketing. Salesforce is the world-leading CRM platform leveraging the power of data to bring you a 360 view of your Customers and every interaction and activity with your brand.

Through AI, you can also automate engagement with each Customer, building connected journeys that act and react based on your Customer's actions at the moment. Salesforce allows you to use AI to plan and optimize every interaction, and build new segments based on cross-channel data.

There is a true wealth of Salesforce marketing solutions available to solve every challenge and opportunity which you can read about here. There is Social Studio which enables you to listen, publish and engage with your consumers across social media channels, Journey Builder to create 1-to-1 consumer journeys across all channels and departments, and Advertising Studio which helps you target 1-to-1 advertising using your CRM data to acquire and re-engage consumers.

In your opinion, what are the key marketing technology platforms in the market?

I’m a big fan of fact-based decisions, so I naturally love data but that doesn’t mean I love spreadsheets! That is why I’m a big fan of Tableau which is interactive data visualization software.

Tableau transforms data into actionable insights and empowers people from across the whole business to see and understand their data. No longer are people reliant on others to run reports and decide what information to share on spreadsheets with multiple tabs, now everyone can have access to incredible information from across their business to make fact-based decisions

By empowering your organisation with real-time interactive dashboards, advanced visual analytics and enhanced business intelligence, people can visualise, collaborate and understand their data better than ever before. Being the master of your own destiny by uncovering the greatest insights and opportunities has never been more possible!

How would you describe the success and the impact for businesses from these platforms?

We have seen our Customers take great strides in 2020. Many had already been well on their way along their digital transformation, but some have had to pivot and adapt at speed to survive in what has been an extremely unpredictable and challenging time for many. Behaviours and demands from staff and Customers have changed beyond all recognition for many. But challenges bring opportunities and that is where CloudShift & Salesforce has come in.

Salesforce has enabled businesses to build a complete 360 view of their Customers and deliver the seamless experiences they expect. Connecting, matching, and resolving customer data has created a Single Source of Truth which everyone has access to, putting Customers at the centre of everything you do.

Recently, Salesforce published its ‘State of the Connected Customer’ report which provides a snapshot of how Customer engagement is transforming with unprecedented scale and speed against the backdrop of simultaneous public health, economic, social, environmental and leadership crises. Salesforce report that “88% of Customers expect companies to accelerate digital initiatives due to the pandemic”.

There has been an obvious shift in activity from stores and offices to ecommerce and virtual collaboration which some may view as temporary, but consumer and staff habits have been changed forever, and there is clear evidence that the pandemic has accelerated a long-term trend towards truly digital-first lifestyles.

What marketing tech trends have you noticed in 2020?

One obvious trend is the shift from in-person to virtual events. CloudShift has a reputation for delivering flagship events in partnership with Salesforce including our Annual Property Summit which is the largest UK Salesforce event for the real estate and property sector. This year the switch to running a virtual event at first presented many questions and challenges - how did the tech work? would people really tune in? would it be as effective? to name just a few.

But then we started to explore the incredible opportunity this provided us. We had no limit on the number of people who could attend, we could record some elements in advance and most importantly, we could collect fantastic data, insight and knowledge on everyone who attended.

Instead of a series of speakers in the same room, we had 13 separate sessions and over 4 hours of amazing Customer stories and insightful Salesforce demos tailored for the property and real estate industry for guests to choose from as well as keynote speakers and advice on how to achieve Salesforce implementation success. We were able to provide a truly tailored event experience for everyone and valuably see who attended which session to help shape future conversations.

What are the risks & opportunities within marketing tech in 2021 and beyond?

As I mentioned at the start, we are now in a digital first, work from anywhere world. There is no returning to normal or a new normal. It is transformation not translation which is needed for most businesses and marketers.

The biggest opportunity is to investigate and understand this and set out to achieve true digital transformation so you can best understand and serve your Customers, staff and partners.

Through Salesforce and CloudShift, there is a wealth of knowledge, experience and solutions just waiting for marketers to discover to help them lead through change.

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