By Simplus ANZ

Community Cloud: Your hub for customer, partner, and employee

community cloud

The voice of the customer is your organisation’s key to understanding and developing future business strategy.

That is why it is imperative to place utmost priority on constructing and promoting a digital platform for your customers to collaborate and speak their minds.

If you are leveraging various Salesforce clouds for your sales, services, or analytical needs, you should also be utilising the benefits of the Community Cloud. Salesforce Community Cloud allows you to build a branded site where customers, partners, and employees can come together and share information. Offering this type of service to your users has tangible advantages for your company—Salesforce found that those who leverage the Community Cloud have 45% better customer satisfaction and a 46% increase in partner engagement.

To throw yourself into the arena of community discussion is equal parts exciting and terrifying. It takes the resources and know-how to launch and maintain a forum for your customers and partners to connect. At Simplus, we have found there are a few points that you should hit in you Community Cloud journey, and we can show you the way to full optimisation of the voice of your customers and partners.

Establish your channel strategy

Most companies are fairly behind on the capabilities of customer connection that are possible today. The modern customer wants a brand experience that is integrated, engaging and personalised. However, while most businesses have gotten wise to the importance of branding and transparency, websites, portals, and social media efforts still feel disjointed and generalised to large audiences.

Just as important as brand image is your ability to provide a seamless partner channel strategy. This will motivate potential partners and buyers to want to go into business with you. Consider these three how’s:

  • How do we get our partners to sell our products/services vs. those of our competitors
  • How do we support our partners with demand creation and demand fulfillment?
  • How do we define KPIs and measure partner performance and business outcomes?

Engaging in this discovery phase is crucial before you implement Community Cloud. You need to establish a foundation through a definitive purpose, use cases, and allocating resources. You need to set incremental goals for channel engagement through KPIs and subsequent reporting. Next, you must recruit and onboard key stakeholders and develop education and content plans for optimal adoption. Then, and only then, will you be able to manage and grow leads, deals, and analytics.

Understand the community pillars of success

There’s an old adage: If you build it, they will come. While the saying may apply to some facets of life, it couldn’t be farther from the truth when it comes to building a successful customer and partner portal.

While an online community is primarily built on peer-to-peer discussion, there still needs to be an intermediary to push value into the existence of your community. You want to be able to nurture the needs of your users to get the most out of the community for all involved parties (including your business). There are four components to a thriving community:

  • Brand ambassadors: These super-users are your ticket to free, high-quality content for other users. You must find, nurture, and reward these champions of your brand.
  • Content seeding: It is imperative to demonstrate your authority and thought leadership in your industry. If people trust your content, it will drive them into your community.
  • Moderation: You want free and open speech in your forums to ensure the voice of the customer is heard, but only on the content that is of value to all. It’s important to intervene on false or harmful content and to reward others for quality input.
  • Social engagement: The majority of your users are likely active on social media, so engage with them on their favorite platforms. This will build valuable, long-term relationships.

Champion a community manager

But who can take on all of these crucial responsibilities? Depending on the size of your company and community, you will want to employ a community manager to oversee all of these tasks to ensure the success of your communities. Analytics provided by Tom Humbarger, marketing director at Vantage Technology Consulting, show that businesses that utilise community managers can drive up membership growth by 49% and page views by two-thirds.

Accelerate time to value and increase sales

From the outset, all of this effort may seem like auxiliary responsibilities to keep customers and partners happy and the business afloat. However, there are tangible and empirical benefits to it. Salesforce Community Cloud can significantly increase the organisation’s ROI by connecting your Community Cloud instance with other Salesforce components such as Billing and CPQ:

  • Drive more revenue from sales channels: The community cloud allows you to connect resellers and distributors to your internal sales processes and resources. You can also provide access to sales tools in real time, and partners can easily find product information and pricing.
  • Allow partners to service buyers directly: Your partners can cut out the middleman and create their own quotes, with complex products and pricing resellers and distributors can transact from anywhere
  • Gain complete insight into your analytics: The Salesforce Partner Central Template is the centralised view of everything that happens as a direct result of your Community Cloud. It gives you a 360-degree view of your entire partner lifecycle, helps you track your pipeline, deal closures, and even cases that come through your Service Cloud.

Build your Community Cloud solution with Simplus

The entire process of building out an effective community environment for your users is difficult. It can be hard to know where to start the process, maintain the effectiveness, and profit from the investment. That’s where Simplus can step in.

We have helped over 30 companies realise their Community Cloud goals. With 28 certified Community Cloud consultants and over 70 expert Salesforce practitioners delivering out-of-box and full-fledge customisations, we have helped such high-profile brands as Mitsubishi and Mojo build their customer and partner communities.

Want to learn how you can make your Salesforce Community Cloud implementation simple?

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