Data Privacy and Customer Engagement with Salesforce


As a Salesforce Admin, you play an important role in helping your users honor your customers’ wishes for privacy. You know how important regulations, such as the General Data and Protection Regulation (GDPR), are to you and your company. But how do you handle the growing tensions between your customers’ expectations for personalized sales, service, marketing, and your customers’ trust for you to handle their personal data responsibly?

At Dreamforce ’18, we got a sense of what Salesforce is doing to help you make the most of personalizing your customers’ experiences while honoring your customers’ wishes for privacy.

VP and Associate General Counsel, Lien Ceulemans, kicked off a discussion with our subject matter expert on customer data management and Sr. Director of Product Management, Mehmet Orun, for Salesforce Customer 360. Marla Hay told us what we’re doing to better support efforts around managing your data governance and honoring your customers’ requests for privacy. And Brad Write explained a conceptual model for capturing customers’ consent.

Lien addressed how we’ve witnessed a growing tension between personalization of customer experiences and customers’ trust for how companies handle their data.

The GDPR has been a blueprint for how to responsibly handle customer data and honor your customers’ requests for privacy. The regulation takes customers’ expectations of increased privacy seriously. And it outlines that every customer, every consumer, every data subject, and every individual has rights for privacy and data protection under the GDPR.

Salesforce has seen an ongoing demand for personalization because customers expect it. At the same time, they’re concerned with what happens to their personal data in the hands of the companies that market and sell to them.

Specifically, customers want to know:

  • How your company treats their data
  • Whether they can tell you to stop using their data

Lien said, “On one hand, you need more data to personalize the experience. On the other hand, consumers are more and more concerned about how any company that collects their data is using it.” Trust is the #1 value at Salesforce. And that means we put the customer at the center of everything we do. We’ve seen over the last couple years more regulation that puts consumers at the center, too.

Our business model, our goals, and the products we offer help give you visibility of your customers. That visibility helps you understand your customers’ expectations, and how you should communicate with them through email, for example, by putting them at the center of your thought process.

Consent and What’s Right for Your Customers

Giving your customers control over how you use their data is a great way for you to build on your customers’ trust. Consent represents a big part of that trust. Because your users rely on you as their trusted Salesforce Admin, it’s important that you help your teams honor your customers’ wishes for privacy. Your customers want you to look out for them, regardless of whether regulations enforce that. Mehmet pointed out, “At the end of the day, customer understanding should not just be driven because it’s the law; it should be done because it’s the right thing to do.” Understanding your customers help your company better market and sell to your customers too.

Mehmet also explained, “The reason this has been a challenge for many of our customers is that the data is not only distributed across applications; sometimes it’s even distributed within the application.”

But to get a full understanding of our customers, we need to pull together these touchpoints.

For example, Mehmet showed us how a customer’s data becomes disconnected—or how it’s possibly never connected in the first place. We can see how our customer, Sam, has data about her related to service, commerce, and marketing. And it’s all disconnected.

What’s Salesforce Doing about Consent Management?

We’re working on a solution for pulling together that disconnected data. That involves creating unified IDs for customers, and then creating a master profile for each one. Ultimately, you map the touchpoints from siloed sources, so that you get a 360-degree view in that master profile.

And that master profile, or the Salesforce Customer 360 ID, is essential for:

  • Delivering exceptional service
  • Establishing and actively practicing your data stewardship
  • Managing your customers’ consent

Pulling together this data helps identify whether your customers have:

  • Ordered items and checked out as guests, so that you can connect those orders to the customers you market to
  • Multiple person accounts
  • Already signed up for the loyalty programs you offer
  • Communicated with multiple areas of your company
  • Indicated that certain email addresses are OK to use, but others aren’t

Data Governance and Data Stewardship

Salesforce Admins are key to helping their teams honor customers’ wishes. That’s why we’re working diligently to make it easy for you to treat your customer data the way that your customers expect you to treat it. Marla told us that one of the first things that we wanted to do at Salesforce with our own data was to categorize and classify it so that we can have our data house in order.

To do that, we added metadata fields to every standard object and every custom object that lets you better understand and categorize the data that you have.

How You Can Work Toward Data Privacy Efforts Now

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