Supporter engagement

Salesforce Experience Cloud explained: A beginner's guide

The Salesforce CRM is one of the most customizable CRM solutions available. It provides nonprofits and associations the flexibility they need to handle their daily internal operations, address business needs, and engage with their communities. Salesforce also allows organizations to design and manage a variety of online experiences for supporters, staff, and partners with Salesforce Experience Cloud

Connecting with members of your organization’s ecosystem online is necessary for nonprofits and associations of all sizes, especially enterprise-sized organizations with a distributed workforce across geographic regions. These organizations likely already understand the utility of the base Salesforce CRM but may have yet to explore Experience Cloud. 

To help your organization better understand what Experience Cloud is and what it can do for your nonprofit or association, this guide will answer several common questions about Experience Cloud before exploring how to get started with its various templates.

What is Salesforce Experience Cloud?

Experience Cloud is a set of functionalities built atop the Salesforce CRM. These tools allow organizations to create online experiences closely connected to their CRM, developing a solid data flow and enabling nonprofits and associations to keep all their core information in one centralized system. 

Experience Cloud has several features that facilitate customizable experiences that are easy for your team to manage. These include: 

  • Flexible data integration. Like the rest of Salesforce’s tools, Experience Cloud is highly flexible and can integrate with many other platforms and applications. Keep your data organized by integrating it with information from Salesforce or third-party systems to manage any record or object. 
  • Accessible templates. Experience Cloud comes with several templates that can be used to create and design webpages. For example, you might use Experience Cloud to create a membership portal for your organization’s supporters to manage or self-service their accounts. Experience Cloud’s drag-and-drop design tools would let your organization design a login page, an account management page, and a members-only forum for your users. We’ll dive into more details about these templates later on. 
  • Top security measures. Nonprofits and associations may hesitate to create external-facing experiences that are so closely connected to their CRMs. Fortunately, you can use Experience Cloud to provide limited and controlled access to your CRM to supporters and partners at your discretion. Manage data access controls and adjust permission levels to keep sensitive information private. 

All of these tools work to help your organization manage unique experiences. Customize your Experience Cloud sites to match your brand and connect with supporters while collecting and storing all pertinent information in your CRM. 

How is Salesforce Experience Cloud different from Salesforce Community Cloud? 

Salesforce Experience Cloud used to be a similar product called Salesforce Community Cloud, but it has evolved in purpose and features beyond the name change. 

Core tools such as menus have been simplified to improve user experience while ensuring all features are available. Terminology has also changed to reflect that Experience Cloud allows organizations to develop “sites” that can host several online experiences. In contrast, the previously named “communities” suggested only forums could be created. 

If your nonprofit or association has used Salesforce Communities in the past, Experience Cloud brings all of the essential features while being clearer about its multifaceted utility.

What are some examples of how Salesforce Experience Cloud can be used?

Salesforce Experience Cloud’s greatest strength is its customizability. Organizations using Experience Cloud can develop several experiences for various audiences to engage them online. 

Here are a few examples of the types of sites your nonprofit or association can create with Experience Cloud:

  • Community self-service forums. While Experience Cloud may no longer be called Communities, it can still support community interactions with forums that allow users to talk to one another, answer questions, and generally complete various self-service tasks. 
  • Account portals. Associations or nonprofits with a membership program can use Experience Cloud to build account portals. From there, members can interact with your site built using Experience Cloud to manage their account information, adjust their giving levels, and perform any other activities you want to provide your members access to. 
  • Internal staff help desk. In addition to creating experiences for your supporters, Experience Cloud allows you to build sites for internal uses. For instance, an enterprise-sized organization might use Experience Cloud to set up a help desk that staff can use to ask questions about technical issues or send tickets to your technology department. 

This is just a small set of examples of how Experience Cloud can be used. Create an eCommerce site, an internal onboarding site, a site just for your partners, or a variety of other sites you need to create positive online experiences.

Salesforce Experience Cloud templates

To start with Salesforce Experience Cloud, users can access three out-of-the-box templates designed for three unique audiences: supporters, employees, and partners. Each template is highly customizable to match the rest of your website’s branding. 

Here’s a breakdown of what each of these templates can provide nonprofits and associations: 

  • Supporters. In addition to creating community and self-service tools, Experience Cloud’s AI can use information stored in your CRM to engage supporters further. For example, supporters of your membership program may receive recommendations from Experience Cloud about groups they can join or members to connect with who have similar interests. 
  • Employees. Allow remote teams to keep in touch easily and collaborate through internal sites. You can also integrate third-party apps that manage your team’s payroll, insurance, and training courses with Experience Cloud, enabling you to create sites dedicated to these critical resources. 
  • Partners. Connect with your partners online by creating sites that allow them to access analytics, contact forms, and reports to understand your community and how they interact with their products and services. 

While Experience Cloud templates are built so nonprofits and associations can design their pages themselves, your team may need assistance configuring your templates and getting set up with Experience Cloud.

If your team needs help, contact a Salesforce consultant to integrate third-party tools and set up your new sites.

Wrap Up

Creating experiences through Salesforce allows your organization to expand its functionalities while keeping data centralized in your CRM. To learn more about what Salesforce can do for your organization and how to get started with Salesforce, explore these resources:

Ready to transform your program management? Contact Fíonta for a consultation on Salesforce solutions.