Comparing Salesforce Sales Cloud and Financial Services Cloud
Salesforce’s product suite has expanded greatly over the last several years to both enhance its base offerings and to compete with smaller CRM competitors that offer niche products within specific industry verticals. Financial Services Cloud (FSC) is no exception to this rule, as financial services organizations now (within the last few years) have an option that comes with “pre built” functionality that addresses the common customization requests from back when Sales Cloud was their only option.
“Comparing” the two may be a misleading term, as FSC will come included with all the potential Sales Cloud functionality, and then some (FSC features and Service Cloud features as well). What is more appropriate is an analysis of what your firm or client might get more value from, as FSC has a sticker price that is approximately twice as much per user per month as Sales Cloud. You might even want to consider a move to FSC if you have been using Salesforce since before its release, but again, it is important to keep the opportunity costs in mind. Here are the main points to consider when evaluating between the two:
1. Would you benefit from the full features of Service Cloud?
Even if the answer to this question is yes, you might not need full FSC licenses, but it is a step toward confirming your firm or client would be better suited for them. As mentioned previously, FSC comes equipped with all Service Cloud functionality, whereas Sales Cloud grants basic use of the Case object and not much else.
If you have a more mature client service organization with well-defined processes, etc., you may benefit from features like Entitlements which can be used to meet and report on service-level agreements, Knowledge which can be used to provide solutions to common issues both internally and externally, Service Contracts which are useful for products like warranties and maintenance plans, or Omnichannel which can handle complex routing of Cases, chats, calls, etc.
If your organization is more sales oriented or would not get the necessary value from the added costs associated with Service Cloud features, however, you are on step one down the path of not needing to invest more into your software licensure budget.
2. Will the standard Sales Cloud data model provide enough utility?
Many businesses can get by with the generic functionality that Salesforce comes with, especially if your financial services company is more B2B focused. But one of the primary benefits of FSC is the ability to create Household units for B2C customers which are essentially groups of Person Accounts. This is incredibly useful if you do end up needing to use Person Accounts but may not be as much of a payoff if you are forced to record all your individuals as Contacts for whatever reason (a common deciding factor is which model is supported by integrations).
Either way, be sure you are aware of the following specifics about FSC’s householding, as well as its fresh take on Activities and Opportunities, when going through the decision-making process:
As mentioned, FSC provides a very practical data model that is substantially different from Sales Cloud. In addition, it includes some user-friendly UI customizations for digesting the special data model, as well as out of the box functionality for rolling up values such as Financial Account balances from a Household’s members to the Household itself.
- The important questions to ask yourself here are:
- Will we use Person Accounts or Contacts (lean toward Person Accounts unless you are limited by something)?
- Can we live without enhanced visuals or as robust of rollup functionality (some data can be rolled up from Contacts to their related Account)?
- Perhaps most critically, do we find value in the relationship building functionality that FSC offers, which goes far beyond the members of a single Household?
In addition to how customers are modeled, FSC offers an alternative data model for Activities, which are referred to as Interactions. Ultimately, Interactions serve about the same purpose with two important distinctions. First, perhaps the most useful FSC component (which is for Interaction Summaries) summarizes call notes into a running filterable, searchable list which makes it much easier for users to find past conversations with a certain customer or about a certain topic. Second, Interactions are compatible with a feature called Compliant Data Sharing, which allows your organization to configure truly private Activities that are not as dependent on a given user’s access to the related Contact or Account. In the financial services world, these are generally accepted and used as valuable features, so it is important to understand that with Sales Cloud alone they would be left out.
c. Financial Deals
One of the newest additions to FSC, Deal Management is an alternative to the traditional Opportunity data model. Many of the attributes are similar, however it is slightly more geared toward a financial services sales cycle. The apparent main reason for its existence is because it is also compatible with Compliant Data Sharing, breaking Financial Deals free from the traditional restrictions around sharing based on related Account records.
3. Are you able to integrate your Financial Account data?
If your firm or client has Financial Account data and a means to integrate it with Salesforce, great. You will benefit from the Financial Account object that comes packaged with FSC as well as its related objects. If, however, integrating this data is not currently in the picture, you might not be able to get maximum value out of FSC.
- Here are a few of the features that are rendered less effective without the use of Financial Accounts:
- Record Rollups from Person Accounts to Households will not include Financial Account data.
- The Alerts API which is used for alerts on transactional data is not going to be relevant without the Financial Account information.
- Tools like Financial Goals become more difficult to maintain without a more real time context of a customer’s assets.
4. Do you have strict requirements for your security model?
As previously alluded to, if you need to restrict visibility for things like Activities and Opportunities within your organization so that some users can see or edit and other users cannot, especially independent from the Accounts and Contacts that you track, FSC’s Compliant Data Sharing will provide a more admin-friendly mechanism for addressing your business requirements. On the flip side, if your organization prefers a more open, 360-degree view of the customer, standard Salesforce sharing settings might do the trick. Within the heavily regulated financial services industry, the most critical part of this discussion is performing the necessary due diligence in identifying what truly needs to be restricted by law versus what is a legal or compliance department playing it safe. There can be substantial costs in trying to construct a security model that has unnecessary complex restrictions, both visible (the cost you must bear in paying someone to design and build it) and hidden (the cost of ongoing user and model maintenance).
5. Do you have the expertise to build & manage customizations if you do not need all the FSC features?
If you have resources, whether it be internal or via a third party, that are capable of building functionality that will address your financial services organization’s specific needs in a more valuable way than FSC features, it is still important to remember the cost associated for both the initial time and the time to maintain in an ongoing state. This cost can be compared to the difference in Sales Cloud and FSC licenses, but it is not advisable to make the comparison against sticker prices. It is imperative to factor the volume of users into the equation, and that there will likely still be some build and maintenance costs associated with configuring FSC for use, especially if you have a desire to extend those features even further. Ultimately, the analysis comes down to if the incremental functionality provides enough value to your users to offset the additional licensure cost.
If you are considering purchasing either license or migrating between the two and have further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out! The team is always happy to provide additional advisory guidance while navigating the decision-making process.