Top Challenges of Salesforce Marketing Cloud Implementation

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Once organizations understand the advantages of Salesforce sales cloud implementation, their next logical step may be implementing another Salesforce Cloud - often Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC).

Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) is Salesforce's marketing tools platform for multi-channel marketing automation, advanced personalization, and applied artificial intelligence. SFMC allows your organization to use data collected in Sales Cloud and other enterprise systems to increase engagement with customers and prospects more effectively.

Marketing Cloud connects engagement and interaction data from customers' interactions to Sales Cloud, the Salesforce Customer Data Platform, or other systems for a more complete picture of customers. Marketing Cloud's robust, feature-rich platform requires expertise to implement correctly for maximum success - when done so, it can bring substantial advantages to both organizations and customers alike.

How can you ensure you take full advantage of all of Salesforce Marketing Cloud's benefits, from helping meet business goals to making it a worthwhile investment? Success lies in avoiding some of its common pitfalls - doing so can make an enormous difference in terms of experience and results. In this article, we discuss some of the major hurdles organizations must navigate when implementing Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

What is Salesforce Marketing Cloud?

Salesforce Marketing Cloud, previously known as ExactTarget, is an innovative marketing tool platform with numerous tools geared to creating the optimal customer journey at every touchpoint.

This dynamic Cloud is considered the most powerful marketing platform, bringing all marketing channels under one umbrella. By connecting all data sources and devices, marketers can enable data-driven marketing while decreasing human intervention for creating personalized content for every customer. Among its capabilities:

  • It establishes a complete view of customer data by connecting various data sources, channels, and devices.

  • Making interactions meaningful and synchronized through Einstein's data intelligence capabilities.

  • They are delivering real-time engagement tailored to each customer's preferences in the two-way dialogue between marketers and customers.

  • They are monitoring, improving, and assessing the impact of marketing efforts as well as customer loyalty efforts.

Top Challenges of Salesforce Marketing Cloud Implementation

Let's examine some of the top challenges companies encounter when implementing Salesforce Marketing Cloud:

Challenge 1: Outlining an Ideal Vision for Your Salesforce Marketing Cloud Strategy

To maximize Salesforce's potential and gain lasting value from investing in Marketing Cloud, make sure your approach has a clearly defined vision of your desired objectives before commencing with implementation. Failure to do this may lead to subpar results and leave unsatisfactory outcomes behind.

Why does that occur? Quite frequently, we observe organizations who need a clear goal in mind for what they hope to achieve from implementing the Salesforce platform. Instead, their goals need to be more specific, or there is no assessment of expected business outcomes.

Implementing any major company changes without an overarching vision in mind can be risky business. As Salesforce represents an investment, its implementation may only prove challenging with clear sales and customer relationship goals in mind.

Successful companies that use Salesforce effectively align their implementation with overall strategic objectives, setting out a Salesforce Marketing Cloud strategy as part of their transformation plan.

Challenge 2: Integrating Existing Systems

Businesses often rely on multiple systems - CRMs and email marketing tools among them - which must work seamlessly in order to launch successful marketing campaigns. Integrating Salesforce Marketing Cloud into existing systems involves:

  • Identifying these systems for integration.

  • Mapping data fields onto them.

  • Developing custom integrations as needed.

  • Testing the integration thoroughly.

An implementation partner can assist businesses in creating a clear integration plan, guaranteeing data quality, and providing guidance on best practices for managing data and workflows - ultimately helping companies to get maximum benefit from their investment.

Challenge 3: Data Quality

Marketing Cloud relies heavily on data, so it must remain accurate, up-to-date, and error-free. Data quality can result in precise targeting or lower conversion rates, which saves both time and money. Ensuring data quality involves conducting an audit, implementing governance practices, and using cleansing tools to remove duplicate or incorrect records from Marketing Cloud's system.

Businesses can leverage Salesforce Marketing Cloud to develop a data quality plan, identify issues in data quality, and implement best practices to maintain it over time with help from a partner. By having consistently excellent data quality, businesses can create targeted campaigns, implement effective personalization strategies, and accurately measure ROI.

Nothing beats the disappointment of realizing midway through your Salesforce implementation or integration that your data has gone haywire. Bad data could result from several causes, including:

  1. Improper Data Mapping

Data mapping is an integral process in transferring information from source systems to Salesforce accurately and consistently, without which companies could face serious repercussions that negatively affect business processes and success. Without proper mapping practices in place, companies could experience issues with accuracy that threaten to undermine overall operations as well as missed revenue opportunities due to inaccurate reports and reporting.

Companies looking to maximize data mapping must gain a comprehensive knowledge of both source system and Salesforce data fields and structures in order to map them effectively. Care should also be taken during the mapping process itself to ensure it captures all necessary information while also maintaining consistency across systems.

  1. Poor Validation Rules

Validation rules serve as your data quality superhero! They serve as safeguards that set forth criteria that all data must meet before being saved to Salesforce, with any deviations prompting a warning and request to correct.

Implementing validation rules allows businesses to ensure all necessary fields are completed or data formats properly and avoid common data quality problems like duplicate records, incomplete information, or irregular structures. Validation rules provide a safeguard that helps your business avoid costly data errors while helping make better-informed decisions.

  1. Loose User Permissions

User permissions serve as a virtual safeguard that keeps unauthorized hands away from sensitive data. Companies can tailor access permissions for individual users or teams, so they have access to perform tasks without risking sensitive information being compromised.

User permissions help companies maintain data accuracy by limiting only authorized users from making changes or deletions to important information. By doing this, they can ensure their data remains in safe hands and focus on core business activities without worrying about maintaining the accuracy of records.

Challenge 4: Staff Training

Salesforce Marketing Cloud is an extensive platform requiring businesses to gain an in-depth knowledge of its features and functionality in order to use it effectively. With proper staff training, employees may be able to navigate its navigation, leading to suboptimal usage and missed opportunities.

Your Salesforce Marketing Cloud implementation partner can offer staff regular training and workshops to ensure they're utilizing all the latest features efficiently, such as data quality, personalization, campaign automation, content creation, and more. Training may include sessions on data quality management, personalization, campaign automation, and content creation - among many other topics.

Challenge 5: Personalization

Customizing marketing efforts according to individual customer needs and preferences by using data to craft personalized campaigns can be challenging for businesses, however. Building customer personas and using targeted campaigns using this approach are two effective methods that businesses can employ for this goal; however, accurate customer data access remains key in successful personalization initiatives.

Engage with your Salesforce Marketing Cloud implementation partner in crafting personalization strategies and customizing campaigns according to each customer's individual needs. They can develop data-driven personalization plans, produce targeted content creation services, and utilize Marketing Cloud's features for creating unique customer experiences - increasing engagement rates, conversion rates, and brand loyalty, in turn driving business growth and success.

Challenge 6: Campaign Automation

Campaign automation with Salesforce Marketing Cloud can automate marketing campaigns, streamline workflows, and enhance efficiency - but planning and executing campaign automation requires careful consideration and an in-depth knowledge of Salesforce's Marketing Cloud features and functionalities.

Businesses can consult a Salesforce Marketing Cloud implementation specialist in order to create effective campaign automation strategies and execute campaigns flawlessly. This involves creating detailed campaign workflows, testing campaigns thoroughly, and using Marketing Cloud's automation features to schedule and deploy campaigns automatically.

Employing campaign automation allows businesses to enhance efficiency, reduce workload, and deliver targeted campaigns more efficiently. Campaign automation also enables them to respond swiftly to changing market conditions or customer requirements - increasing the overall effectiveness of marketing efforts.

Challenge 7: Budgeting

Marketing Cloud can be an expensive tool, so businesses must carefully budget for its implementation in order to spend their money wisely and maximize its return. Conducting a cost-benefit analysis and prioritizing spending based on business requirements is the best way to optimize investment returns.

An implementation specialist for Salesforce Marketing Cloud can assist businesses in creating a realistic budget and spending their money wisely, including identifying key features and functionality, comparing pricing plans, and pinpointing potential cost savings opportunities.

Challenge 8: Security

Marketing Cloud stores sensitive customer data such as email addresses, purchase history, and other personal details that should remain protected from unapproved access. Therefore, establishing strong security protocols and testing regularly for vulnerabilities are essential steps in protecting this information from unwelcome access.

Businesses can turn to experts for assistance when developing security strategies to safeguard their data. Comprehensive Salesforce implementation services will implement data governance policies, conduct regular vulnerability tests and security audits, as well as implement best practices in data protection.

Prioritizing security allows businesses to protect the sensitive data of their customers, prevent expensive security breaches, and uphold their reputation in the market. Furthermore, prioritizing safety enables compliance with regulations like GDPR and CCPA.

Challenge 9: Establishing KPIs and Assessing ROIs

Establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) and measuring returns is integral to measuring Marketing Cloud implementation's success and meeting business objectives. Measuring ROI involves tracking these KPIs alongside data to analyze for areas for optimization or improvement. Hence, businesses need to ensure they follow accurate measurements in order to calculate their return accurately.

Implementation partners can assist businesses in creating effective ROI measurement strategies and ensure they reap maximum benefit from their investments. This may involve identifying key metrics aligned with business objectives, creating reporting dashboards, and conducting regular data analyses in order to detect trends and patterns.

Utilizing Salesforce Marketing Cloud will enable your business to stay ahead of the competition by reaching customers in novel ways and expanding your marketing strategy with unprecedented success. So, get onboard today and unleash its full potential to meet all of your business goals!

Challenge 10: Knowledge and Technical Proficiency in Salesforce Marketing Cloud Implementation

Clients that utilize Marketing Cloud tend to understand its current configuration well yet often need more technical know-how to expand its usage. A common scenario involves companies using it in its initial implementation and configuration state for an extended period - not taking advantage of more comprehensive capabilities or newer releases such as mobile features.

This can occur across industries and teams of any size; individuals in smaller groups typically hold multiple marketing responsibilities without access to an individual with specific Marketing Cloud expertise.

On larger teams or in larger organizations, IT organizations may support SFMC as one of their many responsibilities for multiple tools. While their knowledge may extend to Marketing Cloud tools specifically, their primary role often remains administrative or "keep the lights on."

Challenge 11: Team Capacity

Marketing Cloud teams were exceptional and focused on daily operations. Therefore, they may need more capacity for more complex projects that would expand the use of their capabilities even if they know them inside out.

This problem affects companies of all sizes, and adding resources isn't always enough to address it. A backlog of existing campaign work often consumes them, or they become side-lined to support another project or goal instead of working on Marketing Cloud projects that advance.

Challenge 12: Strategic Ownership

Your organization requires someone who will take ownership of its marketing technology stack, including Salesforce Marketing Cloud. This ensures it receives adequate resources to fully develop it, maximize utilization, and incorporate it as part of an overall business strategy. They should understand how Marketing Cloud can be strategically used to advance both its business goals as well as customer experience goals.

This ownership means establishing strategic and business goals, metrics to demonstrate Marketing Cloud's impact, and return on investment of related projects. This step moves beyond simple Salesforce Marketing Cloud data analysis into business outcome reporting. Ultimately, our aim should be to quantify all the true benefits of the platform in measures relevant to our businesses.

Business outcomes often involve incremental revenue, faster sales conversions, greater customer engagement, and an increase in product downloads or usage.

Challenge 13: User Adoption

Salesforce provides many advantages, yet companies often need help with user adoption. Employees may be resistant to changing their existing workflows or may not understand all its capabilities.

Poor training or communication regarding the benefits of Salesforce may also contribute to low adoption rates, creating problems as such low user adoption limits the platform's effectiveness and prevents companies from realizing its full potential.

Challenge 14: Selecting an Ideal Salesforce Implementation Partner for Your Organization

Implementing Salesforce could be one of the greatest investments your business can make, offering great returns but also carrying great risks and uncertainties. Making cost savings by choosing an inexperienced Salesforce implementation partner could prove disastrous, often communicating poorly and failing to achieve expected outcomes within your budget and scope. That is why you must work with experts who will deliver what is promised.

However, in order to successfully implement Salesforce, you require significant experience. Unfortunately, many organizations find their implementation partner's project management and delivery less than adequate, as their consultants may still be learning about the needed Salesforce platform.


Salesforce Marketing Cloud represents an extensive investment for both your finances and organization, so it is in your best interests to learn how to maximize this asset.

Salesforce consistently updates Marketing Cloud with new features and capabilities through multiple releases every year, adding value while at the same time demanding active ownership from its customers. View Marketing Cloud not as a one-time launch but as an ongoing evolution with an orchestrated approach towards continuous advancement.

Stay calm about potential pitfalls. Many companies use Salesforce development solutions as a way of avoiding these potential dangers and expanding their Salesforce Marketing Cloud instances. Utilizing such partnerships has many advantages over going it alone.

Contact us to discover more! Our experts offer technical expertise for advanced projects that exceed your team's capabilities while providing strategic guidance regarding Marketing Cloud.


Assim Gupta

Saurabh Sharma linkedin-icon-squre

VP of Engineering

VP of Engineering at Closeloop, a seasoned technology guru and a rational individual, who we call the captain of the Closeloop team. He writes about technology, software tools, trends, and everything in between. He is brilliant at the coding game and a go-to person for software strategy and development. He is proactive, analytical, and responsible. Besides accomplishing his duties, you can find him conversing with people, sharing ideas, and solving puzzles.

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