These were the words that marked the start of the partnership between Salesforce and Google, announced by Benioff at the Dreamforce main Keynote last week.
This newly-formed relationship between the two is strategic in a number of technology and market ways, particularly to strengthen themselves against Microsoft and other SaaS behemoths.
Many have voiced that this could signal a future acquisition of Salesforce by Google. This would not be the first time such an acquisition has been speculated, reaching the press earlier this year, and previously back in May 2015.
Regardless of the array of reasons, Salesforce and Google both agree that the top priority in this partnership is to bring success to their mutual customers, as Benioff stated:
“Our partnership with Google represents the best of both worlds for our customers. There has never been an easier way for companies to run their entire business in the cloud – from productivity apps, email and analytics to sales, service and marketing apps.”
In this post, I will talk through why this partnership is mutually beneficial, and then go on to outline how Salesforce and Google will be marrying up their products, services, and influence to create one supercharged customer success platform.
What Salesforce Gains
Salesforce can now use Google Cloud infrastructure to host their core products in unchartered territory, hoping to accelerate Salesforce’s international expansion. It follows the same logic as the Amazon Web Services (AWS) partnership mid-2016, which rooted them in international markets, such as ANZ (Australia/New Zealand). At the same time, Salesforce can now offer their customers a choice of which cloud services vendor to use: Google Cloud or AWS, a deal-breaker for some prospects. Google will use Salesforce as preferred CRM provider – a great advertisement for Salesforce.
What Google Gains
Google are currently third in the cloud services ranking, and have their sights set on overtaking Microsoft and Amazon, the infamous leaders in the cloud services space. With Salesforce advocating Google Cloud, it’s likely that Google can increase market share by capturing Salesforce’s supreme quality customer base.
The tagline for G Suite is: “Do your best work with Google’s suite of intelligent apps”, and includes some of our best-loved work apps such as Gmail, Google Drive, Docs, Sheets and Calendar.
The Gmail Lightning Connector has existed since June this year. This Chrome plugin adds a sidebar to the message UI, which pulls in the records associated to that recipient: Contact/Lead, Account, Opportunity, Cases, Activities and even Custom Objects. Emails are automatically logged as a result of this tight integration. Plus, there’s been hints that this connector may be enhanced further in the coming period.
What’s new is in the realm for document management. Live Apps connect Google Drive (Docs, Sheets, Slides) and Google Calendar with Salesforce CRM data for real-time collaboration that maintains Salesforce as the one source of truth for data. Live Apps are supported by Quip, an acquisition Salesforce made in 2016. Although the interface has the look and feel of a document, the bi-directional sync takes away the pain of updating standalone documents, or information vanishing into the shadows.
You can take it one step further with Salesforce Lightning for Google Sheets. Users can embed Sheets into Salesforce, and populate them with data from a single record, or a report you’ve run. Again, this is a bi-directional data sync, so it takes out the tedious csv. export process users have put up with, and no reimport required!
Google Analytics is accepted as the gold standard for website analytics. The tool aggregates data about customer journey touchpoints, such as browsing, transactional and advertising data. Google Analytics 360 is the advanced version, aimed at larger enterprises. AdWords, DoubleClick, and Youtube are also included in the package, with a price tag attached.
How Google Analytics data can be used inside Salesforce Marketing Cloud combined with email interaction data, as shown in the B2C Marketing Keynote demo.
Google Analytics 360 will connect with Salesforce’s Sales Cloud and Marketing Cloud products. Salesforce is clearly a leader when it comes to engagement and Sales ROI tracking; however, the products will be immensely boosted with the richer engagement and audience data that Google Analytics opens up to us. When combined with Salesforce automation capabilities, Salesforce customers can get more granular with customer journey analysis, and boost the capabilities in modules such as Journey Builder – the automated marketing flow canvas.
Salesforce and Google are a good match for a partnership, both customer-centric organisations that treat the success of their mutual customers as a top priority. This strategic partnership clearly has other motives attached to it, such as customer loyalty, cross-sell and market share domination, in order to ultimately strengthen their position in their respective markets.
The products I have referenced in this piece are:
- Google Cloud
- G Suite
- Gmail Lightning Connector
- Live Apps
- Salesforce Lightning for Google Sheets
- Google Analytics 360
Although the connected features are not generally available yet (unless stated), that’s hasn’t stopped both organisations making their partnership known. To celebrate the announcement, Salesforce customers can get a 1 year subscription to G Suite, providing they are not existing G Suite customers. This is the first of the partnership’s assumed benefits, with many, many still to come.
Google Cloud Dreamforce booth collateral