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Salesforce Communities 101: How to Get Started

Typically, a community is defined as a unified group of individuals. When it comes to business and marketing outcomes, the word “unified” is the most important part of that definition. You want to be unified in your goals. Unified in product and brand strategy. Unified in the desire and passion to grow your customer and partner base. 

To me, community also means a sense of belonging, as well as the ability to share ideas and feedback with others who share similar interests.

Community, in all these forms, can be achieved using Salesforce Communities.

“In today’s business world, customers, employees, and partners expect constant connectivity with each other and the ability to access information at any time, from any device. These shifting demands require a new platform for managing those relationships: the Community Cloud.” Forrester

In a nutshell, communities are branded extensions of the Sales Cloud platform that allow you to utilize and share data, drive communication and collaboration, and increase engagement and loyalty.

3 Things to Know About Communities
Sure, that all sounds great. But how do you even begin planning and developing a community for your partners or customers? There are a lot of things to consider, but let’s break it down into a few bites.

1: Understand Your Audience.
Often, we begin conversations with a client who wants to build a community with: “What do your partners/customers want?”

When that answer is unknown or assumed, the end result is not ideal – and it can lead to the opposite of what a community is intended to do. By taking the time to talk to your partners and customers through interviews, focus groups and surveys, you will have a clear picture of the pieces that are important to them. This will help you build and launch a community that is useful and drives the right results.

2: Align Your Business Outcomes.
When we are beginning any new project with our clients, it is important to define business outcomes and continue to tie development and implementation back to those outcomes. For example, if a key business outcome is to increase communication with your users, Chatter would be a high-priority module, since it is a great collaboration tool. Having well-defined and aligned business outcomes, along with understanding your audience, will be critical to setting priorities for scope, timelines, and budget.

3: Drive Adoption.
A community is only as strong as its members, so driving adoption is critical. Even before you officially launch, it is important to promote the benefits of the community, and begin identifying those who will champion it. Change management will be necessary for full engagement and adoption. This is important and cannot be overlooked. Engaging your audience early in the process to understand what matters to them is also crucial to success. So is getting them excited for the collaboration, data, and tools that will come with their new community.

Ready to get started? Let our experts help guide your journey and create the best possible community experience for your customers and partners.

For more on Saleforce Communities, continue reading about the importance of Partner Communities here.

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