The Bold Orange Team showed up in force at Salesforce Connections in Chicago. The 2024 event was packed with groundbreaking announcements and innovative advancements that are set to reshape the landscape of business technology. The focus was clear: leveraging cutting-edge AI and data management solutions to drive efficiency, personalization, and growth. From our team to yours, here are the top five takeaways from the event that you need to know about.

1. Generative AI Statistics Were Everywhere…Here’s What Caught Our Attention

Generative AI was a major highlight at Salesforce Connections 2024, with 87% of companies using it to improve customer experience, streamline processes, and craft personalized marketing. Some notable statistics include:

  • Data Explosion: By 2025, 90% of the world’s data will have been created in the previous two years.
  • Skills Gap: 67% of employees think they’ll need new skills to keep pace with AI.
  • Efficiency Boost: Companies using AI report a 40% increase in employee efficiency.
  • Customer Engagement: 80% of business leaders believe AI can enhance customer engagement and loyalty.
  • Salesforce Predictions: Salesforce’s Einstein tool generates nearly 200 billion predictions daily.
  • Marketing Transformation: 57% of marketers think generative AI will reshape their roles in the next three years.
  • Revenue Growth: Businesses using AI are 2.5 times more likely to see significant revenue growth.

These figures underscore the transformative potential of generative AI on the way we work, from data creation to employee skills, customer interactions, and overall business growth. Salesforce’s own use of generative AI saved 50,000 work hours in a single quarter, highlighting its efficiency and effectiveness. Exploring how generative AI can enhance your workday has never been more available or easier to try.

2. The Future is AI, the Gateway is Data Cloud

Salesforce is going all-in on AI, and the key enabler is Data Cloud. Data Cloud is the rebranded, re-imagined upgrade to Customer Audiences 360, Salesforce’s CDP solution. And whereas CA360 was a nice to have, it seems Data Cloud is a must-have for anyone who wants to make the most of the growing suite of AI features, functions and integrations within the Salesforce ecosystem.

Data Cloud and AI were everywhere at Connections and implicit in multiple product enhancements on the Salesforce roadmap. Going forward, it will provide the kind of 360 customer view that has been the dream of CRM practitioners for decades. It will unlock untold business value through personalization, generative AI, segmentation and activation, reporting and analytics through data drawn from multiple systems and business functions. With the right connectors and business rules, the golden nuggets mined through Data Cloud can be processed and deployed through sales, marketing, ecommerce and service applications to deliver value untold.

3. Salesforce Creates Data Storage Efficiencies with Zero Copy Partnerships

Salesforce is tackling the challenge of data storage costs by expanding its “Zero Copy” partnerships. This approach allows data to reside externally while still being used within Salesforce, avoiding additional storage costs. New partners like AWS, Databricks, Google Cloud, and Snowflake have joined this initiative. This expansion offers more flexibility in data management, enhancing operational efficiency within the Salesforce ecosystem.

The Zero Copy Network allows companies to access and use data without extensive integration efforts. This innovative approach enhances the scalability of personalization and delivers unified customer experiences, driving more tailored interactions and cohesive engagement strategies.

4. Personalization Drives Results…If it’s Built on a Sound Strategy

The power of personalization was everywhere at Connections, with many Salesforce Customers telling their stories on stage, notably a joint presentation from Andersen Corporation’s Chief Digital Officer, Kelly Aronson and Bold Orange CEO, Margaret Murphy.

A packed and highly engaged crowd snapped away on their phones as Kelly showed how Andersen has activated a digital concierge experience, powered by Marketing Cloud Personalization, and delivered highly personalized cross-channel journeys that capture an anonymous site visitor, turn them into a known prospect, and nurture them through conversion and beyond.

From the perspective of Andersen’s strategy and implementation partner, Margaret emphasized that while the technology enabled the experience, much work had gone into the planning, design, content, and contact strategy, to deliver the right content through the right channel at the right time to move the customer through the purchase funnel. While technology enabled the shoppers’ experience to be more relevant, it was the strategy that brought it all to life.


5. The Faster AI-Enabled CX Software Evolves, the Greater the Need for Smart Strategy and a Clear Blueprint for Execution

It is clear that the opportunities provided by AI are driving rapid innovation within the Salesforce ecosystem and beyond. Connections demonstrated a dazzling array of new AI-driven use cases leveraging multiple data sources and business applications across the organization.

The marketing keynote focused on a case study with Aston Martin showing how the integration of data from social sources, web visits, vehicle telematics, sales interactions, and email responses created dynamically generated content, and fed models in applications such as Tableau to continually optimize the customer experience.

Integrations with collaboration tools such as Slack also ensure that key stakeholders are regularly updated on campaign performance without the need for manually created reports and distribution lists. These deeply connected experiences are the culmination of hundreds, if not thousands, of use cases that must be carefully assessed, prioritized, designed, and implemented in thoughtful ways.

Looking Ahead

As we close out another successful year at Connections, we feel inspired by the opportunity to connect, share, and learn from our peers in the Salesforce Ecosystem. These takeaways highlight the transformative potential of Data and AI for their profound impact on delivering real outcomes for the businesses that take on these challenging projects. Generative AI is not just enhancing customer experience but also driving operational efficiencies and substantial revenue growth. As data creation skyrockets, the need for employees to acquire new AI-related skills has become evident, with many finding it difficult to know where to begin. Salesforce’s Data Cloud has emerged as a critical enabler, offering a comprehensive 360-degree customer view and unlocking immense business value through sophisticated recommendations and interpreted analytics. Personalized experiences, powered by strategic planning and AI, proves to be a game-changer in customer engagement, as evidenced by real-world applications from companies like Andersen Corporation and Aston Martin. The rapid evolution of AI-enabled customer experience software underscores the necessity for well-defined use cases and execution blueprints to harness these advancements effectively.