You’re always on the lookout for new ways to differentiate and compete, but business disruptions can put you on your heels looking for greater visibility so you can respond where others react. One obvious way is by creating tighter relationships with your customers. Nowadays, that visibility also extends to helping build and nurture relationships with your suppliers, vendors, resellers, and other partners. Creating a strong, well-run ecosystem lowers costs, improves communication, and increases competitiveness, among many other benefits.

You can invest in providing more services to those in your ecosystem, but that’s expensive and thinly spreads your limited resources. Instead, you can focus on continuously improving the great relationships you’ve worked so hard to build. What’s important is creating an experience for your customers and partners that makes them love working with your business. Salesforce Experience Cloud gives you the capabilities to build secure websites, portals, and apps, all with the goal of strengthening these oh-so-important relationships. Best of all, it’s built on the same platform as your Rootstock Cloud ERP so your manufacturing, sales, and operations data is instantly available.

The Experience Imperative

It’s been more than 20 years since the “experience economy” suggested the importance of building memorable interactions to add value to goods. With companies like Apple and Peloton leading the way on the B2C experience, the experience expectations are growing on the B2B side as well, and manufacturers are not exempt.

The focus on experiences is trending in manufacturing, too. An Accenture report, “Industrial Consumerism,” found that 84% of industrial executives believe “differentiated experiences that customers increasingly expect can boost their competitive advantage.”

The increasing importance of the experience is not new. Your tools and systems must have an intuitive user experience. Those who pay for your products want a great customer experience. And partners and suppliers want an intuitive, efficient, and valuable ecosystem experience, too. In today’s environment where many suppliers have the upper hand, experience matters more than ever.

But while you may be thinking your experience deficit will require huge investments and massive projects, the answer is already at your fingertips: Salesforce.

The Salesforce Experience Cloud—previously known as Salesforce Community Cloud–lets you quickly and easily create secure desktop and mobile-ready websites, portals, communities, and apps that unleash the customer, product, order, operations, support, logistics, and other data already in your Salesforce CRM, Rootstock Cloud ERP, and other connected solutions. It’s ideal for creating tailored cloud solutions to bolster the experience of your customers, partners, suppliers, and every other critical component of your business ecosystem.

Benefits of Salesforce Experience Cloud

Salesforce Experience Cloud brings the power and flexibility of the Salesforce platform to build the experiences you need. You get prebuilt templates and drag-and-drop, low-code/no-code tools so you can quickly build bespoke, secure digital experiences for any element of your ecosystem. Those experiences are all in the cloud, accessible by any web browser or mobile device. Experience Cloud even utilizes Slack and Chatter so you can instantly communicate and collaborate across your ecosystem.

The flexibility of Experience Cloud provides fast, easy to use templates that allow you to quickly launch partner portals with robust sales data; customer portals with account, product, and service information; service and support destinations with self-help forums, knowledge bases, and access to support cases; and many other experiences. The Salesforce platform’s flexibility lets you create tailored experiences built with your custom branding, colors, designs, and more. For more customization options, Experience Builder provides prebuilt, drag-and-drop components to easily create a modular experience to fit any unique needs.

Those experiences can then pull data from  the secure Salesforce Platform to deliver personalized information, create seamless journeys, and strengthen business relationships. One of the major hurdles when building experiences for external parties is getting data from your internal, behind-the-firewall systems to an externally accessible portal. But that’s not an issue with Experience Cloud because the data comes from the same unified data model as all solutions on the Platform. It even lets you connect data from off-platform cloud and legacy systems..

Salesforce’s world-class security ensures your data is only accessible by authorized parties, so you never need to worry. Personalization features further allow you to control who sees what so specific users can only access specific data or pages or portals.

Creating Experiences for Your Ecosystem

Experience Cloud brings business data, personalization, mobile capabilities, and more to enhance, accelerate, and expand your supplier, contractor, partner, and vendor relationships. So where should you get started? Anywhere you please, actually! Here are a few examples of how manufacturers are using Experience Cloud:

  • Let contract manufacturers access up-to-the-minute production plans and purchase orders while you can access real-time inventory data for materials and products at the contractor’s facilities.
  • Give suppliers real-time visibility into production schedules, order pipelines, and inventory data so they’re prepared for changing needs and quickly collaborate to be responsive instead of reactive.
  • Bring channel partners into the fold faster with instant access to product information and marketing tools, while your sales and operations teams have real-time insight into partner-driven pipeline metrics, opportunities, accounts, and everything else you and your channel partners need to be more effective.
  • Centralize customer service and support to increase customer satisfaction and provide your sales and service teams, plus external partners, with visibility into RMAs, cases, and ongoing issues.
  • Stay aligned with third-party logistics providers (3PLs) on orders, inventories, locations, deliveries, and more for greater agility by sharing information and working from a single data platform.
  • Democratize your content management by giving partners, vendors, customers, and others customized access to manuals, safety data sheets (SDS), bills of materials, and more.
  • Give customers and channel partners custom portals where they can place orders, review invoices, chat with product experts, and quickly gather the information they seek.
  • Create self-help forums and communities where customers can easily find and share answers to common issues and avoid opening new support cases.

Get Started With Salesforce Experience Cloud on Rootstock Cloud ERP

As you might have gathered, it’s easy to get started building any experience for your vendors, suppliers, and partners. You already have the data in your Salesforce platform and Rootstock solution, and Experience Cloud has templates, drag-and-drop tools, and low-code/no-code flexibility to help you create flexible, mobile-optimized, value-driving portals, communities, and sites.

In Part 2 of this blog post (coming soon) our partners at Nubik will offer their technical expertise and organizational transformation experience to help you get started on creating new experiences for your stakeholders.