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Salesforce Marketing Cloud Review

Sean Peek
Sean Peek
business.com Contributing Writer
Updated Nov 14, 2022

Among the best email marketing services, Salesforce Marketing Cloud is our top pick for larger businesses looking for an email solution that personalizes and automates email, mobile and web journeys for their customers. We love the Salesforce product because of how powerful its features are and the strength of the vendor’s customer service. The system also integrates with Salesforce Sales Cloud, allowing collaboration and data sharing between sales and marketing teams.

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Salesforce Marketing Cloud

The Verdict

Salesforce Marketing Cloud is perfect for larger businesses looking to invest in their email marketing strategy and manage bigger accounts. The system is built on Salesforce's renowned CRM platform, featuring advanced personalization and automation.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud Editor’s Score: 9/10

Pricing/value8.5/10
Features9.2/10
Customizations, add-ons and integrations9.2/10
Ease of use8.8/10
Customer service9.5/10

Why We Chose Salesforce Marketing Cloud as the Best Enterprise Marketing Solution

When looking at email marketing services, we chose Salesforce Marketing Cloud as the best option for larger businesses seeking enterprise marketing solutions, because of its rich feature set, intuitive user interface, guided training and helpful tips, and many software integrations. The price might be too high for smaller businesses, but bigger companies will likely find the software a worthy investment.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud is designed for enterprises but is intuitive with a simple interface that is accessible for most users. In addition to its ease of use, Salesforce Marketing Cloud has a library of features that make campaign management simple. Its tools are so customizable that companies can make even the largest of campaigns feel personalized, then generate reports to see customer satisfaction and where they can improve next.

FYIFYI:If your organization manages the brands of other enterprise accounts, you’ll need to go with Salesforce’s Enterprise plan as opposed to the Basic, Pro, or Corporate plan.

Salesforce drag-and-drop editor
With Salesforce’s drag-and-drop editor, you can quickly add, remove or rearrange content inside standard email templates.

What We Like About Salesforce Marketing Cloud

  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud is easy to navigate and has a user-friendly interface.
  • The cloud-based software integrates seamlessly with data from other products to streamline workflow.
  • The vendor offers free online training and helpful tips for new and existing users.

What We Don’t Like About Salesforce Marketing Cloud

  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud is pricier than other options.
  • The Email Studio feature has some limitations on mobile devices.

Ease of Use

User Interface and Navigability

Salesforce Marketing Cloud has a user-friendly interface that we found easy to navigate. The dashboard makes it simple to switch between the software’s features and create email campaigns. Users new to Salesforce may experience a learning curve while getting acquainted with the system, but there are plenty of internal resources to help you figure out its different settings and features.

Some users say they wish Salesforce’s template-based emails were more customizable. However, the average business wants a clean, well-designed email campaign, and we found plenty of desirable options for templated emails in the system. We also like that you can load a custom user interface into the platform to implement your own applications’ file structures according to your preferences and business needs. This isn’t something all email marketing software vendors offer.

Feature Accessibility

Salesforce’s feature-rich Marketing Cloud is built upon its core customer relationship management (CRM) functions. You can use this software to develop personalized campaigns for email, mobile, social media, digital advertising and data management. Within each of these marketing channels, there are numerous options for email automation, segmentation and one-to-one journey building.

Within the Marketing Cloud’s Email Studio, you’ll find a variety of tools that allow you to customize your email marketing workflow. We love that Salesforce makes it easy to scale your campaigns according to your audience size. Plus, the platform’s email customization features deliver unique and engaging options for your campaigns, all of which are easily accessible through the user interface.

Guided Training and Helpful Tips

Because of the enterprise-level features, Salesforce systems can be intimidating for new users. Fortunately, the vendor has a free online learning platform called Trailhead. This resource is chock-full of online courses and certifications designed to help you learn and navigate the Salesforce ecosystem.

We tried out some of Trailhead’s Marketing Cloud courses during our research and found them very easy to follow and helpful for learning how to use the program. Each course or module is broken up into 10- to 40-minute units of reading material, videos, quizzes and practices to test your knowledge. Upon completion of each module, users receive “points” that contribute to their overall Salesforce skill set. We didn’t see this innovative level of training in any of the email marketing services we analyzed and were very impressed.

In addition to Trailhead, Salesforce offers 24/7 customer service, with experts available via live chat and phone. There is also an online Trailhead community for fellow users to discuss their experiences and share their expertise.

Software Integrations

The Salesforce Marketing Cloud seamlessly integrates your sales, marketing and customer service data into Salesforce’s CRM platform. (You can learn more about the vendor’s CRM product in our full review of Salesforce CRM.) The software’s native integrations let you connect your Salesforce dashboard with the best accounting software, e-commerce tools, analytics platforms and cloud-based storage solutions, though you may require assistance from a professional developer to execute a full integration of these systems. For corporations with a dedicated development team, Salesforce has an open API that allows you to create your own integrations with software not supported by Salesforce’s native integrations.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud Features

Salesforce Marketing Cloud offers an array of features that any business would find helpful in its marketing efforts.

Email Designer

The ability to create compelling, engaging content is essential in any marketing campaign. With Marketing Cloud’s Email Studio, users can design emails with content blocks, including text, HTML, images, buttons and other dynamic content. Salesforce’s email designer is comparable to other top-rated email marketing tools.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud Email Studio
Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s Email Studio helps you create and scale campaigns with advanced automation tools and CRM integration.

Tracking

A good email marketing solution allows you to track and analyze your data to make better decisions about future campaigns. The Marketing Cloud’s Email Studio lets you monitor all the standard metrics, such as email opens, clicks, undeliverable messages, new subscribers and unsubscribes. From there, you can create customized reports based on this data for your internal teams.

Did you know?Did you know? ecause Salesforce is a charter member of Facebook’s Strategic Partner Program and Twitter’s Ads API program, you can use your collected data to enhance your email and social media strategies simultaneously.

A/B Testing

Salesforce A/B testing tools
Salesforce offers A/B testing tools to help your marketing team create an effective campaign.

Like many of its competitors, Salesforce allows you to run A/B test campaigns within Email Studio. You can vary one element of your campaign and send each version to a different test audience to determine which receives the highest open and click-through rate (CTR). From there, you can send the winning campaign to the rest of your contact list. [Related article: 15 Ways to Build a Quality Email List]

AI Einstein

Salesforce AI Einstein
AI Einstein is available in the Corporate and Enterprise Cloud plans.

The AI Einstein feature is unique to Salesforce and could be a game-changer for companies using the platform. This artificial intelligence tool helps businesses turn their data into actionable insights so they can find and prioritize sales leads. By leveraging AI Einstein, Marketing Cloud users can fully optimize all the tools offered within Email Studio. However, this special function isn’t available with all plans.

Journey Builder 

Salesforce’s Journey Builder is a feature that manages the customer life cycle for a business. This tool allows companies to customize the customer journey based on needs, preferences, demographics and behavioral input. Journey Builder has a simple interface that lets users build and customize individualized interactions within a campaign. 

Salesforce Marketing Cloud Pricing

Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud is an enterprise-level product, and it’s priced for enterprise-level businesses. The Basic plan – which includes email marketing tools, content creation and integrations – starts at $400 per month, which may be prohibitive for smaller companies with limited budgets.

If you’re undeterred by that cost, there are three higher pricing tiers worth considering, each with additional useful marketing features. The Pro plan, whose price jumps to $1,250 per month, adds automation features to the Basic offerings. The Corporate plan, starting at $3,750 per month, adds Journey Builder, mobile messaging and AI Einstein. The Enterprise plan includes every available feature while also allowing users to manage multiple businesses within the same platform. Companies interested in the Enterprise plan must request a custom quote from a Salesforce sales representative.

FYIFYI: Salesforce allows you to select specific products and add-ons at each package level.

Salesforce doesn’t offer a free trial of Marketing Cloud, but there is a free trial for the company’s CRM software, which has a much more affordable starting price of $25 per month. As part of this free trial, you receive preconfigured processes and dashboards, a guide to email marketing and online training. From there, you can decide whether you’d like to also invest in Marketing Cloud to enhance the capabilities of the CRM.

Implementation and Onboarding

It can take time to implement and learn the Salesforce software, especially with the more complex plans. Fortunately, Trailhead makes this process easier for users who are good at self-guided learning. The platform is a great tool for onboarding your employees and teaching them the Marketing Cloud system.

If your team requires a little extra hand-holding, you can sign up for Salesforce’s Jump Start program for an additional $5,000. Jump Start gives you access to eight six-hour meetings so you can complete your setup with the help of experts within two weeks. While this opportunity is pricey, we appreciate that it’s available for those who want more support during the implementation and onboarding process.

Customer Service

Salesforce’s customer service team is available 24/7 to help with any questions you may have about Marketing Cloud, which is far better availability than what some rival vendors offer. To help us gauge the level of service we might receive as a Salesforce customer, we contacted the company via live chat and phone and found the support reps to be exceptionally responsive and helpful.

During our interactions, we asked questions about how to build an audience in Email Studio and inquired about an error we experienced when using the tool. The representatives quickly provided resolutions and additional resources.

There are also abundant online support resources via Trailhead. We explored the virtual Email Studio community and found helpful insights from other Salesforce users about building campaigns and using the system in general.

Limitations

The most obvious drawback of the Salesforce software is its high price. Though Marketing Cloud is a robust marketing solution with tons of customizable features, you can get a similar experience at a much lower price from competitors. See our Freshworks review for one such option. Businesses looking for email marketing services only may be better served by a dedicated email marketing solution. You can get more details on one reputable alternative in our full review of Benchmark. That said, it’s hard to beat Salesforce Marketing Cloud as an overall marketing solution if your company has the budget and resources to invest in it.

We also found that Email Studio has limited mobile capabilities. When we used the platform on a mobile device, our experience was not as smooth as on the desktop version. However, a large vendor like Salesforce is likely to build out its mobile capabilities in the future, so this drawback may be temporary.

Methodology

To discover the best email marketing services, we conducted online research to identify the most popular platforms and examined each vendor’s online reputation. After narrowing down our list, we did a thorough investigation of each platform, including hands-on testing when possible, reading user reviews, and watching tutorials and how-to videos. Our examination also took into consideration each solution’s customer service and price points. When searching for the best email marketing service for larger businesses in particular, we paid extra attention to features that would be most important to bigger enterprises with hefty budgets to invest in email marketing tools.

Salesforce FAQs

What does Salesforce Marketing Cloud do?

Salesforce Marketing Cloud helps businesses create multichannel marketing campaigns through audience building and email list segmentation. It integrates seamlessly with CRM systems to help businesses personalize advertising and improve social media engagement.

What is the difference between Salesforce Sales Cloud and Salesforce Marketing Cloud?

Salesforce Sales Cloud is classified under CRM software, while Salesforce Marketing Cloud is considered a marketing automation platform. Sales Cloud stores all customer data in one area, while Marketing Cloud uses that data to send and improve marketing campaigns.

How much does Salesforce Marketing Cloud cost?

The cost for Salesforce Marketing Cloud starts at $400 per month for the Basic plan and is billed annually. The Pro plan is $1,250 per month, while the Corporate plan starts at $3,750 per month. The Enterprise plan requires a custom quote.

Bottom Line

We recommend Salesforce Marketing Cloud for …

  • Large enterprises.
  • Companies with large sales teams.
  • Businesses that use other Salesforce products.
  • Organizations that manage multiple business accounts.

We don’t recommend Salesforce Marketing Cloud for …

  • Small businesses with limited budgets.
  • Companies with significant mobile needs.
  • Teams that are new to email marketing.

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Salesforce Marketing Cloud

The Verdict

Salesforce Marketing Cloud is perfect for larger businesses looking to invest in their email marketing strategy and manage bigger accounts. The system is built on Salesforce's renowned CRM platform, featuring advanced personalization and automation.

Sean Peek
Sean Peek
business.com Contributing Writer
Sean Peek has written more than 100 B2B-focused articles on various subjects including business technology, marketing and business finance. In addition to researching trends, reviewing products and writing articles that help small business owners, Sean runs a content marketing agency that creates high-quality editorial content for both B2B and B2C businesses.