Bluewolf’s 2017 State of Salesforce offers a wealth of information on how best-in-class Salesforce users get the most out of its platforms, the gaps that still exist in technology and the teams that use it, and how to close those gaps. Released annually before Dreamforce, the State of Salesforce delivers both quickly digestible stats on how companies use Salesforce, as well as deep-dive analysis into the Sales, Marketing and Service clouds and how teams use them.

This year’s report constructs a narrative around data: how companies gather it, how they use it, and why it’s become more important than ever to derive useful insights from the data they already have. For sales and marketing, data is both an advantage and a burden: while it helps them do their jobs better, it’s also sometimes unreliable and difficult to collect. This year’s State of Salesforce predicts that intelligent applications will assist sales, marketing and service teams in leveraging existing data, collecting new and useful data, and using that data to create a seamless and compelling customer experience.

The Challenge of Intelligent Apps and Accurate Data

Salesforce’s applications give sales and marketing teams the ability to collect a vast amount of data about prospects and customers. But gathering and maintaining accurate data is a challenge for both teams: according to the report, 79 percent of salespeople regularly spend time during their workday inputting the same data into multiple systems, which increases human error. It’s no wonder that just 26 percent of marketers believe data quality is a competitive advantage or strategic asset.

The solution, according to the State of Salesforce, is making data collection and opportunity management “intuitive rather than mandatory.” Adoption of intelligent apps that gather and parse data in the background not only removes the possibility for human error, it also makes the data passed along to marketing more accurate and useful. While 52 percent of the companies surveyed believe their core applications are already intelligent, 80 percent of their data is “dark and untouched.” Adding solutions to a company’s tech stack that can run in the background can improve accuracy, accelerate the sales cycle and help salespeople derive more detailed customer information.

The Secret to Sales-Marketing Alignment

Creating a seamless customer experience has become more important than ever: as prospects and customers steer the navigation of the buyer’s journey, sales and marketing teams must be nimble enough to meet their needs, no matter where they are in the sales cycle. That’s what makes a multi-device, multi-channel approach critical for Salesforce users. But sales and marketing teams have always struggled to work together during the early stages of the sales cycle.

For sales, the ability to access Salesforce from any device helps them sell smarter: 88 percent of salespeople believe logging into Salesforce from anywhere makes it easier for them to work. And 67 percent of them believe they could spend more time selling if opportunity management were optimized for multi-device, multi-channel users. Marketers, too, believe mobile is an essential element of creating a successful customer experience: 61 percent of marketers surveyed believe there is significant opportunity to improve how they use mobile to achieve their goals.

They’re statistics that mirror how B2B buyers navigate the buyer’s journey: using more than one device to research, read content and share that content with other decisionmakers in the buying process. When sales and marketing teams can use Salesforce to align efforts from early to late stages in the cycle – using mobile as a guide on how to reach and engage customers – they can work together to facilitate stronger, better informed customer relationships.

The 2017 State of Salesforce sets intelligent apps as the next big wave for Salesforce users, but also emphasizes the importance of accurate data to the customer experience. That Salesforce suggests one depends on the other offers a clear path for Salesforce and its users in terms of product development.