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Salesforce Marketing Cloud Review

Nicole Fallon
Nicole Fallon
  • In addition to its popular CRM, Salesforce offers Email Studio as part of its Marketing Cloud.
  • Email Studio is feature-rich and highly customizable email marketing software, and it integrates seamlessly with Salesforce's many other marketing modules.
  • In our evaluation of the top email marketing software, we chose Salesforce Marketing Cloud as the best for larger businesses.
  • This review is for business owners looking for a software solution that streamlines their marketing capabilities and helps engage their target audience with email marketing campaigns.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud's Email Studio helps businesses build smarter emails, from basic marketing campaigns to enhanced one-on-one messages. Salesforce's email tools allow you to send your target audience great content, using it to grow your subscriber base and automate all of your email responsibilities. This tool is great for sales teams and larger corporations that want to improve their email marketing efforts through email.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Salesforce Marketing Cloud

The Verdict

Salesforce Marketing Cloud is best for mid- to enterprise-sized sales teams looking to improve their email and overall marketing strategies. It provides email personalization abilities to maintain relationships between your customers and sales team.

Salesforce Editor's Score: 90/100

Pricing/value 86
Features 92
Customizations, add-ons and integrations 92
Ease of use 90
Customer support 92

Why Salesforce Marketing Cloud Is the Best Choice for Larger Businesses

Salesforce Marketing Cloud combines dozens of features into an integrated marketing solution that can improve email campaigns, overall marketing strategies, and customer relationship management for sales teams. The software offers an easy-to-use interface that streamlines communication between business and consumer.

Salesforce
Email Studio is part of Salesforce Marketing Cloud, a comprehensive digital marketing platform that's ideal for larger businesses.

Pros

  • Salesforce offers dozens of features and options to customize emails for your unique customers' journeys.
  • The customer service team provides 24/7 service by live chat and phone.
  • The AI Einstein tool offers insights based on real information from the database to help sales teams find and prioritize leads. 

Cons

  • Salesforce's Email Studio is expensive.
  • Salesforce isn't the best choice for small businesses looking only for basic email marketing functions.

Usability

We found Salesforce Marketing Cloud's interface easy to use and navigate. As with all Salesforce applications, the interface is clear, bright and well designed. It's easy to switch between different features and create emails. If you or your team members are new to Salesforce, there will be a slightly steep learning curve to get acquainted with the system and navigate it.

Some online user reviews have reported UI issues with respect to template-based emails, as users have found them to be not as customizable as they need. However, for our research purposes, Salesforce had plenty of customizable options for a variety of email templates. 

Salesforce also allows you to load a custom UI, so you can implement your applications' file structure according to your preferences and your business's needs.

Salesforce
An overview of the records screen in Salesforce, which shows all active campaigns, contacts and tasks.

Accessibility of Features

Salesforce is incredibly feature-rich and has an incredible amount of core CRM functions that allow deep customization. Marketing Cloud delivers personalized features for email, mobile, social, and digital advertising and a data management platform. Within these customer journeys, there are plenty of opinions for automation, email list segmentation and one-to-one journey building.

Email Studio alone offers limitless options to digitize and customize your workflow. We love that you can easily scale your campaigns to as small or large of an audience as you need. This solution's email customization features offer plenty of unique and engaging options for your campaigns. All of these features are easily accessible through Salesforce's user interface.

Flexibility and Customization

This is where Marketing Cloud really shines. As the market leader in customizable CRM software, Salesforce is known for its practically infinite customization options.

Guided Training and Helpful Tips 

Salesforce systems can be intimidating at first and complex to learn. Luckily, Salesforce offers one of the most detailed training and certification systems via Trailhead, the company's online learning platform. Trailhead is free to use and provides courses to help users learn about Salesforce’s systems. 

We found Trailhead's Marketing Cloud courses easy to follow and helpful in learning how to use the program. Each course or module is broken up into multiple units that are 10 to 40 minutes long. These units consist of easy-to-read teachings and videos, and they conclude with quizzes and practices to test your knowledge. When you finish the module, you earn a certain number of points toward your overall "skill set." 

In addition to Trailhead, Salesforce has 24/7 customer service, including experts available by live chat and phone. There is also a community within Trailhead where customers discuss their experiences and share their expertise. 

Usability of Integrations With Other Software 

Marketing Cloud allows you to seamlessly integrate your sales, marketing and service data with the rest of your Salesforce CRM. When collecting data or crossing projects over into other Salesforce systems, we had no issues at all. 

For integrations with outside software, Salesforce provides an open API that allows development teams to create their own. There are also native integrations for Salesforce to collaborate with other industry-leading accounting, e-commerce, analytics and cloud-based storage services. While Salesforce makes it possible to connect all these systems, some require the help of professional developers.

Features

Here are some of the most prominent features of Salesforce Marketing Cloud's Email Studio:

Tracking This allows you to see and collect data about your email campaign.
A/B testing A/B testing allows you to send two versions of your email campaign to two test audiences.
AI Einstein Salesforce's artificial intelligence solution helps with decision-making.
Content creation You can create personalized emails to send out to your subscribers.
Salesforce
Salesforce helps track leads so members of your sales and marketing team can use that data in future efforts.

Tracking

The ability to track and use data is one of the most important functions of any email marketing software. Email Studio allowed us to view elements such as email opens, clicks, undeliverable messages, new subscribers and those who unsubscribed. We could then make reports based on this data.

Did you know?Did you know? Salesforce is the only company that's a charter member of both the Facebook Strategic Partner Program and the Twitter Ads API program. This allows you to use your data to enhance both your email and social media strategies.

A/B Testing

With Salesforce A/B testing, we were able to send out two different versions of an email campaign to two test audiences. We could track which version received the highest open rate and click-through rate, which would allow a business to make more informed decisions about its email campaigns.

AI Einstein

This feature is unique to Salesforce and could be a game-changer for many companies. AI Einstein helps you turn your data into insights and find and prioritize leads for your sales team. We found that AI Einstein could really help users fully optimize all the tools that Email Studio offers.

Content Creation

The fundamental tool of any email marketing program is the ability to create content. Email Studio gives you the ability to create content blocks that include text, HTML, images, buttons and more dynamic content. Its offerings in this area are similar to other email marketing tools. 

Cost

Pricing for Marketing Cloud and its email, mobile, and web marketing modules comes in four plans: Basic, Pro, Corporate and Enterprise.

  • Basic offers email marketing, content creation and integration for $400 a month. 

  • Pro adds automation features and starts at $1,250 a month. 

  • Corporate adds Journey Builder, mobile messaging and AI Einstein for $3,750 a month. 

  • Enterprise has all these features and allows you to manage multiple businesses. You'll need to request a custom quote from a sales representative for this plan's monthly pricing.

Key TakeawayKey takeaway: Within these subscription plans, you can choose the Salesforce products you want to buy and add on.

While there is no free trial of Salesforce Marketing Cloud, you can try Salesforce's core CRM software for free. All you need to do is answer eight questions and a sales representative will get you set up. There is no credit card required or any software to install. Within this trial, you'll receive preconfigured processes and dashboards, guided content, best practices, and online training.

TipTip: Looking for a free or low-cost email marketing software solution? Consider our review of Constant Contact or our review of Benchmark.

Setup

Depending on the scope of your business, Salesforce may take some time to deploy. Again, the learning curve can be steep. However, with Trailhead, anyone can learn the software. To get your business up and running quicker, Salesforce offers the Jump Start program. This costs an extra $5,000 and provides eight six-hour meetings so that you can complete your setup within two weeks. To learn about an email marketing solution that's easier to set up, read our Freshsales Suite review.

Customer Service

Customer service for Marketing Cloud and Email Studio is available 24/7. We contacted Salesforce through both its live chat and its phone number. In both instances, we found the support team incredibly responsive and helpful. During our discussions, we asked them about audience building and an error we created, and they quickly resolved our issue and provided additional resources to support us.

There is also an abundance of support within Trailhead. For our research, we engaged with the Email Studio community and found many helpful hints from other users about building a campaign and using the system.

Drawbacks

One of the major drawbacks of the Salesforce Email Studio is the price point. While Email Studio has the most customizable features, you can find similar ones in significantly cheaper or free software, such as Sendinblue and Mailchimp. Small businesses looking for email marketing software may look to one of those tools for their price points unless they plan to implement Salesforce in their other operations.

Email Studio also has limited mobile capabilities. We found the mobile systems to be lacking compared to the desktop interface. 

Methodology

To determine the best email marketing services, we compiled a list of popular platforms based on our careful research of each service's online reputation. We spent several weeks researching each of these email marketing services further by investigating their offerings, watching tutorials and how-to videos, testing the software (when possible), and reading user reviews. We also evaluated each service's pricing structure and customer support by contacting each of our finalists, posing as a business owner looking for email marketing software. When researching Salesforce, we considered which features would be most important to a larger business with a hefty budget for email marketing.

What Is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is a highly effective direct marketing strategy that allows businesses to send targeted emails, communicate directly with customers, and build brand engagement, all with the click of a button. The top email marketing platforms allow you to create visually engaging email correspondences, build and segment contact lists, and track subscriber behavior to see which campaigns are most effective. To learn more about email marketing and the types of services available to business owners, you can read our reviews of the best email marketing services.

FAQs

Does Salesforce include the Marketing Cloud?

Salesforce Customer 360 does include the Marketing Cloud. You can also pick and choose specific Marketing Cloud products to purchase.

How much is Salesforce Marketing Cloud?

The price of Marketing Cloud largely depends on your business's needs. Salesforce encourages prospective customers to call for an exact quote, but the most basic package for email marketing, content creation, and integration costs about $400 a month.

Overall Value

Salesforce is a good solution for businesses that make email a pivotal part of their marketing strategies. It has an incredible range of features to automate triggered emails. While these many features can get complex, Trailhead and Salesforce's other onboarding services make learning the software accessible for all customers.

We recommend this product for ...

  • Midsize to enterprise-sized businesses.
  • Large sales teams.
  • Businesses that already use other Salesforce products.

We don't recommend this product for ...

  • Small businesses on a tight budget.
  • Companies with a large mobile presence.
  • Companies looking only for basic email features.

Image Credit: anyaberkut / Getty Images
Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Salesforce Marketing Cloud

The Verdict

Salesforce Marketing Cloud is best for mid- to enterprise-sized sales teams looking to improve their email and overall marketing strategies. It provides email personalization abilities to maintain relationships between your customers and sales team.

Nicole Fallon
Nicole Fallon
business.com Member
Nicole Fallon has written hundreds of B2B-focused articles on topics such as marketing, business technology, leadership, and HR/organizational management. In addition to covering small business trends and software reviews, Nicole runs a digital marketing agency, where she and her team create high-quality content for a wide range of B2B and B2C brands.