In November of last year, Google took time at Salesforce's annual Dreamforce conference to announce that it had formed a strategic partnership with the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) giant that would aim to leverage the analytic functionality of Google Analytics 360 with the Salesforce's CRM platform in order to give customers a more complete view of their marketing conversion funnel. The two companies plan on rolling out features throughout 2018.
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In a recent post on the Google Analytics blog, the company reported that the first of those integrations is finally here. Analytics 360 users will be able to import Sales Cloud data directly into the platform. The feature, which is already being used by companies like Rackspace and Carbonite, is designed to save users precious time in their marketing operations.
At its core, the new Sales Cloud data integration is designed to streamline marketing operations. To do this, the companies aim to make understanding of how customers truly engage with brands into an efficient, intuitive process. For example, this new feature set means users can now explore the traffic source for their online leads. From there, they can compare the quality of those leads by measuring how customers progress through the sales pipeline without having to switch between software applications. By leveraging what Salesforce is good at (managing and maintaining relationships between the business and the customer) with the strengths of an analytical Business Intelligence (BI) platform like Google Analytics (analyzing web traffic and other performance data), marketing initiatives are bound to become much more effective.
"We often hear from marketers how difficult it is to connect online and offline customer interactions in order to see a complete view of a customer's journey—and they also tell us how helpful it would be if they could do it successfully," writes Kyle Harrison, Group Project Manager for Google Analytics. "Good news: with the turnkey integration between Sales Cloud and Analytics 360, marketers can now easily combine offline sales data with their digital analytics data so they can see a complete view of the conversion funnel."
In addition to more powerful insights, this new marriage of the two platforms allows marketers to make smarter decisions in their decision making. Analytics 360 has built-in connections to Google's media buying platforms such as DoubleClick Search and AdWords, so users can directly reallocate budget funds from within the Analytics application. Audience lists can also be created in Analytics 360 out of qualified leads from Sales Cloud. These insights can be used in many different ways. For example, users can leverage this information to ensure that potential customers with similar characteristics will see the right display ads, for example.
Salesforce and Google Analytics are juggernauts in their respective spaces, and this integration is sure to make waves in both the CRM and BI markets. Google Analytics is, without a doubt, one of the most popular website statistics services in the world, and Salesforce won PCMag's Editor's Choice for CRM software. Of course, integrations between CRM and BI products are nothing new; Microsoft offers integration between its Power BI and its Dynamics CRM products. However, this Salesforce/Google Analytics partnership seems more prolific. Ask anyone who doesn't work with business software in any capacity, for instance, and there's a good chance they have at least heard of Google Analytics or Salesforce. These are some of the biggest names in the space, and is likely one of the biggest collaborations we'll see for business-related software in 2018.
Through the rest of the year, Google and Salesforce will roll out more integration features. The companies plan to bring data prediction, diagnostic tools, and other features that will work between Sales Cloud and Analytics. What's perhaps more interesting beyond the scope of this single partnership, however, is the implications it has for the future of both CRM and BI platforms. A cross-pollination of features between these two product categories could very well create new expectations among business customers going forward. And as integrations continue to grow, so could the lines between software categories themselves. The road ahead for Business Intelligence looks bright, and with this new partnership, Google and Salesforce could quite possibly lead that future.
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