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Manage Customer Data Across Clouds

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain the different possible data models for managing customer data attributes across Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Salesforce B2C Commerce, and Marketing Cloud Engagement.
  • Find resources for implementing this solution.

Too Many Data Models, Too Little Time

Our merchant, Northern Trail Outfitters (NTO), is an outerwear, apparel, and gear retailer for outdoor recreation and fitness. NTO stores customer data across B2C Commerce, Marketing Cloud Engagement, and Service Cloud. 

Pia Larson, NTO’s enterprise architect, wants to improve the way it engages customers and establish a common profile for each customer across its entire platform. 

Having lots of customer data to manage is a great problem to have, but a problem nonetheless. In order to have the unified experience they expect, each NTO customer needs to have a common profile across clouds. This profile includes basic info about each customer, such as name, address, birthday, phone, and email, as well as consent and compliance preferences, case and order history, and subscription preferences. 

So What’s the Solution?

Salesforce lets you build a profile based on person accounts, accounts and contacts, or a combination of both.

With multiple data modeling options available, NTO has its own specific requirements for the model it implements here. For example, some NTO customers are individuals purchasing an item for personal use, and others are business buyers purchasing items for a company. Individual purchasers and business buyers can be the same person; other buyers can be part of a household that purchases an item. 

Pia discovers a solution kit that can help NTO get a handle on its data. The kit outlines how to adopt a primary key that persists across the platform. By making intentional choices about their Salesforce implementation data model, Pia takes advantage of out-of-the-box cross-cloud integrations.

You Say Customer, We Say Person Account

Although Pia has a few options, she is planning to use person accounts, which combine Account and Contact object attributes to create an independent person without having to attach them directly to an existing business account. Person accounts have a few advantages.  

  • They work with core object functionality.
  • They handle the mixing of B2B and B2C relationships.
  • They connect a person account to a business contact using a contact relationship.

A person account includes two key identifiers, which map to the contact record and account record, respectively: Account:PersonContactID and Account:ID. Pia’s goal is to map every customer to one PersonContactID, which is a unique, case-insensitive, 18-digit CRM record ID. 

Importantly, Pia has already done most of the work around integrating the Salesforce products that NTO uses, including Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud Engagement, and Commerce Cloud. These integrations, which she built out using the other solution kits and Salesforce connectors, allow data from one cloud to be seen in another (for example, allowing agents to see customer order history from B2C Commerce in Service Cloud). 

Let’s look at the customer identifiers Pia is working with: 

  • Sales Cloud and Service Cloud: The contact record ID is the primary ID across the Salesforce Platform.
  • Marketing Cloud Engagement: The contact key in Contact Builder is designed to be the cross-channel customer ID.
  • B2C Commerce: CustomerID is the system-generated ID for a customer, whereas Customer.Profile.customerNo is the number that identifies customers.

All that’s left for Pia to do is to make sure that as she integrates across clouds, she’s paying attention to which fields map to which. When she syncs the Contact object to Marketing Cloud Engagement, for example, it brings both records from a person account (the business account and the person account). And when she syncs the Account object to Marketing Cloud Engagement, it maps to the related contact record. 

Other Data Models

Although Pia chose to use person accounts to unify customer identity across clouds, there are several other possible data models. 

  • Individual object: For compliance use cases, the Individual object helps aggregate compliance flags for data related to people in Sales Cloud and Service Cloud.
  • Leads: Lead records include details about people who are interested in your products and services. Salesforce stores lead details in lead records.
  • Accounts and Contacts: The original structure offered by Salesforce, Accounts and Contacts (household and organization) support B2B and B2C, make reporting simple, and support third-party integration.

Read more about each data modeling solution in the Explore Cross-Cloud Engagement Data Models solution kit


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