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How to get started with Salesforce for small business

That first step toward adopting a full CRM strategy is the hardest part for many small and medium-sized businesses, but it needn't be.

There are out-of-the-box CRM options from Salesforce for small business owners, such as SalesforceIQ. A step further for fast growing companies is Sales Cloud -- a more complete platform that can scale with the business, explained Jamie Domenici, VP of SMB marketing for Salesforce.

Salesforce for small business owners

Many small business owners are not only the CEO, but also CMO and CTO, and they wear many other hats. The best thing overwhelmed entrepreneurs can do with Salesforce, Domenici said, is focus on one problem at a time, such as sales, and how to solve for service or marketing issues down the road. That step-by-step vision allows business owners to build out their roadmap for success, she said during an interview with SearchSalesforce at Dreamforce 2016.

The ultimate goal for business owners is to find potential customers, win them over and keep them. Salesforce has tools to help with each of those; marketing automation to find customers, Sales Cloud to win them, and, to keep them happy, a customer support platform such as Service Cloud.

Beyond the basics, though, SMBs also have to compete with larger companies that may have the capital to invest in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to grow their customer base and maintain a competitive edge. SMBs can get the advantages of AI without hiring a data scientist through Salesforce Einstein, which is being built into all of the company's platforms. SMBs can take advantage of the AI technology for tasks such as lead management, Domenici said.

"You go to a trade show, you get 1,000 leads. You go back home and have a thousand leads -- that is a lot to get through," she said. Einstein brings valid leads to the surface through lead scoring and uses predictive intelligence to suggest next steps.

In addition, Salesforce is a low code, no code platform. The steps to build out customizations can be learned by SMB owners so they can build out their environment, Domenici said.

Check out our full coverage from Dreamforce 2016 here.

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