Salesforce Spring 21 Features – Lightning Sales Cloud, Einstein Sales Cloud, Manufacturing Cloud and Force
I hope everyone out there had a Happy Holidays and even though this probably wasn't…
Alright, we’re on the last part of our Spring 20 release write-up. It’s getting hard to keep up with all of the different products & clouds, but even with just the areas we write about, this was a huge release. In Part 1 we discussed the Sales Cloud and Platform features and saw a ton of new enhancements around Einstein – including some great new free Einstein features. For Part 2 we covered Service Cloud and Field Service Lightning which had a ton of new features, especially around Einstein Bots. Then in our previous post, we covered Communities and Quip which included some really big foundational changes for Communities (if you have a public community, you must read up on the changes to the guest user). Finally, this brings us to our last post which is always our rotating topic. This time we’re going to write about Manufacturing Cloud – Salesforce’s latest vertical cloud.
Salesforce released Manufacturing Cloud right before Dreamforce with the Winter 20 release. Spring 20 brings some enhancements that we’ll discuss below, but we’re going to start off with an overview of Manufacturing Cloud itself and what it’s intended to solve for Manufacturing customers. It’s a very exciting new cloud and one we are thrilled to have already developed offerings around, and we’re off and running to implement with our customers. In addition to this blog, we’re also doing a live webinar around Manufacturing Cloud where we’ll cover some of these details, but we’ll also be including a live demonstration of these features. If you’re interested, here are the details:
Alright, let’s get into it. Atoms for Peace and some Thom Yorke is playing, so here we go.
Manufacturing Cloud was created to help manufacturers get a better grip on their forecasting and order volume tracking. Salesforce already has forecasting built into Sales Cloud – so why do they need this? The big reason is, manufacturers typically track their forecast at multiple levels. First, a salesperson will win an opportunity. For this opportunity, they have sold 10,000 widgets for $120,000. For a manufacturer, that is just the first step in the process and basically this is a “booking forecast” which tracks what was sold. However, they don’t get to recognize this as revenue until that order is fulfilled and those 10,000 widgets have been manufactured and shipped to the customer. Depending on the product they sell, the capacity and backlog of their plants, and sometimes even the complexity of shipping the product, this could take weeks or even months to fulfill. It’s not uncommon that this might be fulfilled by multiple plants, with each shipping a portion of this order on their own schedules. In more complex scenarios, those 10,000 widgets might be part of a sales agreement where the customer has agreed to purchase those widgets over the course of a year – and not all right away. In those cases, it would be many shipments that make up the sales that would all be recognized once they are shipped.
This fundamentally is the challenge a manufacturing company is facing when trying to manage their forecasts. First, they need to be able to track the pipeline of incoming deals from their sales teams. Unlike a software company that has no limit to how many seats they can sell (unless their servers are about to tip…), a manufacturer is not only trying to track the dollar amounts being sold but also the number of units / SKUs being sold so they can ensure that they can actually manufacture what their sales reps are selling. This booking forecast is obviously key for sales leaders, but also to the operations and manufacturing teams that are trying to manage their plant schedules and capacities. Sales Cloud has been able to mostly handle this booking forecast. The second forecast is around the fulfillment of these deals and this is where Manufacturing Cloud steps in. It’s all well and good that you can track how much was sold, but unless you can track what has been fulfilled and what is yet to be fulfilled, you’re missing a critical component of your forecast. Prior to Manufacturing Cloud, most manufacturers would use their ERP for this. Essentially this led to a disconnected forecast process as most sales teams don’t have access to the ERP, and the ERP wouldn’t have the pipeline data. With Manufacturing Cloud this is all brought into Salesforce so you can get the full forecast visibility in one place.
To achieve this, Manufacturing Cloud leverages the Orders object to create Account Forecasts, which provide insights at the Account, Product, and Product Family levels and introduces a new concept called Sales Agreements. Whether you use one or both of these really depends on the type of manufacturing business you have. The below picture (which was created by Salesforce) is a good representation of the two streams of business a manufacturing company tracks. New Business is pretty self-explanatory – it’s a customer that has ordered a product for the first time. You track these from Lead –> Opportunity –> Quote –> Order and as we explained above, that Order is then fulfilled at some point to be recognized as revenue.
A run-rate business is a bit different where these are follow-up orders from existing customers on an existing agreement. Think of a component manufacturer who sells gears. Those gears are being sold to be included in other manufacturers’ products. So, when they first sign the agreement that they can purchase this gear from you for $10 a gear, they might buy 500 upfront and then, assuming your gears are top-notch and you shipped them on time, when they use up all those gears they will place another order from you at the same price. Ideally, this just keeps happening. Sometimes, they will agree to a Sales Agreement where they commit to buying 5,000 gears over the course of the year to get better pricing.
Not all manufacturers build products that have a run rate business. For those that don’t, you wouldn’t use this part of Manufacturing Cloud. For those that do, these Sales Agreements are a huge pain point for them. A lot of times, they give better pricing for that 5,000 gear commitment, but it’s super manual to track if the customer ever purchased all 5,000 gears. You could be in month ten of the agreement and they’ve only purchased 500. Here’s a good example of that below:
This customer above committed to 10,000 Dash Mats over the course of the year. They are 7 months into the agreement, and they’ve only purchased 2,781. With this visibility, Sales can easily see who is behind in their commitments and act upon this. On the example above, it’s an even distribution over the year for the planned quantity, but what if there’s a hockey stick and you’re expecting more during the last 3 months? You can actually update your forecasted quantities to map to when you expect these orders to come in. Now, what happens if you have a customer buying faster than their agreement? See below for how this looks.
This customer is also 7 months into their agreement to buy 50,000 axles, but they have already purchased 56,000 units with 5 months still to go. Every single month they have exceeded what we expected from them. Terrific, right? Well, that depends. Remember, manufacturers have capacity constraints – they can only make what their plants can support. So, if they have excess capacity and inventory to create these products, then yes, this is great. But if they don’t, this could result in shipping delays to this customer or other customers. This insight is just as important to a manufacturer – where sales can now call this customer and see if this is just a blip or if this is going to continue. If it’s going to continue, they can adjust the forecast so operations knows what to expect and maybe even reset shipping expectations with the customer. It’s also possible that you can execute a new Sales Agreement here and get them locked into 100,000 units instead. Again, a lot of actionable information here.
Whether you have a run-rate business or not, Manufacturing Cloud provides critical data to better track your manufacturing forecast. It starts with the Account level forecasting like the below.
With this Account level forecasting, you can see what units have been closed with opportunities, what units have already been fulfilled via orders, what units are being forecasted in the pipeline and even what units were ordered last year at this period so you can see some year-over-year trending. If you do have sales agreements, that is also added in. This view lets you get a holistic picture of your forecast by account and by product / product line. It can also be flipped to a revenue view that shows the same data by revenue instead of units.
All of this Account-level data is terrific, but we’re also going to want to look across all accounts. You can use standard reports and dashboards for this, but this is where Einstein Analytics really shines. It’s an added cost, but Manufacturing Cloud has a Manufacturing Analytics App that has 14 pre-built dashboards and they are terrific. A lot of the Einstein Analytics apps are well done, but I think this is the best we’ve seen as far as pre-built capabilities (the Einstein Bots one is a close second). This is definitely something you are going to want to add with Manufacturing Cloud.
We obviously can’t go into all of these dashboards here (register for our webinar for an in-depth demo!) but let’s quickly look at three of my favorites: Product Performance, Accounts Health, and the Account Insights – Agreements Performance. The Product Performance dashboard gives you a view of the performance of your products at the product level or the product family level. You can chart how each product / family has performed each month relative to each other from a revenue or unit quantity metric. A slick details table at the bottom shows even more metrics around this. Even cooler, you can switch this to the Demand Goals view which shows the realization of each product / family to the goals and how they are performing. The really cool middle chart shows where the differences are by month, comparing sales vs. plan. All of these are easily filterable by Account Owner, Account Type, Account Name or Account Parent, Country, Product Family or even Sales Agreement. Super cool dashboard.
Next up is the Accounts Health dashboard. This one focuses more on the overall Accounts instead of the Product level and does a terrific job showing the revenue realization (are they hitting their commits) and actual revenue by account. For each month you can see the plan vs. the actual amount and in the Accounts in Focus tab it gives great insights into which customers need to be followed up with due to gaps in those actuals. There’s also a nice view that highlights how long you’ve had a relationship with each Account and how long the relationship is contractually active based on the Sales Agreement end dates. This is also filterable by multiple variables to let you narrow down that list of Accounts you’re viewing.
Finally, the last highlight is on the Agreements Performance dashboard. This one narrows down to specific Accounts and lets you view how their Sales Agreements are performing. It provides some nice AI-driven insights about the agreements like how much they have contributed to the total bottom line and if any are expiring soon. A really cool chart shows the monthly actual revenue and a cumulative planned vs. actual revenue as well as a confidence line on where the agreements are trending. On another tab you can see what the product performance is for these agreements and which ones are performing the best. Finally, it also includes an Order view where you can analyze the most valuable orders and which ones still need to be fulfilled.
As you can see, all of my favorites have a ton of valuable dashboards and metrics, but really the entire 14 dashboards are loaded with great functionality. Keep in mind, we’re using dummy data for these, so it looks even cooler once you get all of your real data in there. In addition, all of these dashboards (all Einstein Analytics dashboards in general) allow for alerts to fire out automatically based on thresholds with the metrics. Lots of uses here, but in particular with the Sales Agreements and achievement metrics there is a ton of power with this.
Speaking of real data, this is a good time to mention a key part of Manufacturing Cloud – and that’s integration and data. As we mentioned above, all of the fulfillment data for the orders typically lives in the ERP. To get these consolidated insights, integration to the ERP will need to be part of every project. With the out-of-the-box objects Salesforce provides, it makes it clear where to integrate to and the hardest part is mapping out what needs to come over and getting that set up with the ERP itself. MuleSoft has pre-built connectors to the Manufacturing Cloud objects, but no matter what your integration platform is you can build those out as needed. In addition to the integrations, you’ll most likely want to do a data migration of some period of time so that you start with live data. At a minimum, you’ll want to migrate in all active Sales Agreements and orders that have not been fulfilled, but there’s a lot of value in bringing in a few years of data as well for trending.
Well, that’s the overview of Manufacturing Cloud. Now, let’s go into some of the new features that are coming as part of Spring 20.
Alright, that’s our write-up on Manufacturing Cloud. It really is an exciting new product and we can’t wait for this to be built out even further over 2020. To see all of this cool stuff in action, make sure to sign up for our webinar – even if you can’t attend live, we’ll send you the link to the recording if you register. As always, if you have questions or want to learn more about how to take advantage of Manufacturing Cloud, please reach out and one of our Solution Architects will get right back to you. Spring 20 is almost here and our write-up is now complete! Thanks for reading.