In lauding Salesforce B2B Commerce in its Forrester Wave: B2B Commerce Suites Q2 2020 report, analysts Joe Cicman and Emily Pfeiffer highlighted how Salesforce made “huge strides in search through its AppExchange partnership with Coveo.” 

The analysts went on to highlight what providers should strive for with their B2B experiences: 

  • Prioritize the end user experience without major upgrades or disruption to muscle memory of learned processes.
  • Look for ease of integration, meaning: 
    • The integrated solution is administrable within common tooling, and 
    • Changes are applied in real time and do not require batch processing or manual refreshes to take effect.
  • Continuous deployment with frequent, painless upgrades via Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) as a meaningful differentiator

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through how the combination of two industry-leading products—Salesforce and Coveo—empowers you to achieve the goals outlined in Forrester Wave. No slouch with Forrester itself, Coveo was recognized for the fourth time as a leader in the Forrester Wave: Cognitive Search Q3 2021. Coveo has been a strategic technology partner of Salesforce for the last 8+ years and together have over 180 joint customers. Coveo’s integration for Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud was officially launched in July 2019 and is available on Salesforce AppExchange. The integration helps customers increase conversions through the advanced search, recommendations, and personalized navigation—100% embedded inside the Salesforce B2B commerce experience.

Here are five ways Coveo and Salesforce help you with the goals outlined in Forrester Wave:

#1 Easily Build Slick, Omnichannel Experiences: 

It’s no longer enough to cobble together a great experience through one channel. Today’s buyer wants the same experience everywhere—be it on a website, dealer portal, mobile app, or physical store. B2B buyers expect the same friction-free multi-device experience as when they’re wearing their B2C consumer hats. With a combination of Coveo’s Advanced Commerce capabilities and the Salesforce Lightning platform, it’s easy to deploy such slick B2C-like experiences in any channel, within weeks.

All the Coveo UI components are available as Salesforce LWC components, giving you modular flexibility when building your ordering experiences in Salesforce. If you are heading into the world of headless commerce, Coveo provides a library for headless controllers. These headless controllers can be used inside Salesforce LWC (and coming soon in Salesforce LWR as well!).

Coveo also provides several pre-built bespoke lightning components to show machine learning (ML) driven suggestions and recommendations based on what other buyers have purchased. Across intelligent query suggest, automatic relevance tuning, product recommendations, dynamic facet navigation, and, of course, good old manual triggers, several pre-built components are available to create a rich buying experience.

Coveo Full Catalog Search inside Salesforce B2B Commerce

For B2B Buyers, the re-ordering process is equally important. Because the Coveo unified index lets you associate customers with prior purchases and their entire order history,  you can easily create a slick and intelligent reordering experience that uses those same powerful ML capabilities.  

#2 Bespoke for B2B Experiences:

Yes, corporate buyers expect a B2C-like frictionless experience, but B2B needs are unique. 

B2B ecommerce is inherently a lot more intricate,  often requiring authenticated portals due to complex product entitlements, assembly kits and spare parts, multipart product SKUs (sometimes needing to source disparate components from different vendors), and much more. 

So while inspired by B2C, combining Salesforce and Coveo provides a suite of features specifically designed for B2B including fast reorder, B2B Account Hierarchies, Contract Pricing, Multiple Buying Groups, and Custom Catalogs.

If you’ve built custom entitlement/business rules in Salesforce Platform, you can implement that with a snap in Coveo (don’t we all love Salesforce Apex triggers?). The integration between the two platforms is real-time. Search results and recommendations shown to a buyer are always limited to only the authorized products they are allowed to see.

Coveo Recommendations LWC Component on Commerce Home Page

And we know that you can’t just rely on ML to do all the intelligent boost and bury for B2B. Your merchandising teams do need those “manual knobs” for that, based on different business criteria: high-margin products, new products, seasonal products, low or high inventory or return rates. With a combination of Salesforce Platform and Coveo Query Pipelines, you can empower your merchandising teams with those manual knobs—all point and click and done in real-time.

#3 Simplified Content Aggregation At Large Scale:

Another challenge inherent to B2B Commerce  is that sourcing is often done for domain experts. This means they need to find not only the product—but also corresponding documentation, like CAD drawings, specifications, assembly instructions, spare parts and materials, or customer Q&A. This type of heterogeneous search is impossible unless you have a unified index that aggregates all that content together into a single unified index. The Coveo Unified Catalog is optimized for such content aggregation across multiple sources—and at a large scale: 

  • Large catalog with tens of millions of SKUs and variants? No problem! 
  • Complex customer entitlements running into hundreds of thousands of Buying Groups? No problem! 
  • Want to provide powerful filtering and faceting to users? No problem! 
  • Want to have blazing fast performance for search and facets? No problem!

The Coveo Commerce platform comes with a built-in Catalog Manager that lets you harmonize and standardize your data across multiple sources. Once the catalog aggregation is taken care of in Coveo, it’s easy to plug into the Salesforce B2B Experience using the Appexchange Package and Getting Started guide. The Coveo experience (Search, PLPs, PDP components, Home Page Components, etc.) can be seamlessly plugged into the B2B Experience you are building in Salesforce—they are 100% integrated with the rest of the checkout and payment process. 

Coveo Catalog Manager

#4 One-stop Shop Across Commerce and Self Service:

For B2B, it’s all about retention, reorders, and repeat buyers. To wow them, you need a truly one-stop experience that pulls content and assets from commerce, sales, service, community, PDF manuals, videos, reviews, and everything else in between. 

How about automatically serving up relevant “Getting Started” knowledge articles after the buyer has just purchased a product? How about showing popular videos from your Youtube channel on the product details page? How about pinning installation manuals and discussion threads related to the products the buyer already owns to the top of the home page ?

Coveo Product and Knowledge Recommender on Salesforce Product Detail Page (PDP)

With the Salesforce B2B Commerce Lightning Platform and Coveo, you can easily provide these “Netflix-like” experiences for returning buyers. 

#5 Built for Business Users:

Lastly, as the Forrester analysts say, all of this has to be easy. Whether adding new products or launching a new storefront and running reports—it should be easy to complete. Rolling out campaigns & promotions and performing A/B testing should be a snap. 

Salesforce and Coveo both believe in low-code development—the two cloud platforms and the integration between them is built with that core philosophy. Admin tools for both are business user friendly. Both are multi-tenant clouds with seamless upgrades. The Coveo Appexchange package is upgraded four times a year to keep up with the latest innovation. If you are moving to headless and runtime environments, the Coveo-LWR integration is already in the works.

The UI layer and business logic layer are decoupled from each other, meaning developers can focus on the frontend experience while business analysts can do all the marketing campaigns and A/B testing they want.

Both Salesforce and Coveo platforms come with powerful and easy to use native analytics capabilities—and the Coveo Analytics backbone is super extensible for you to merge and combine the data with Salesforce Analytics. You can get started and start measuring your performance within weeks!

Coveo Commerce Dashboard

In Summary

For customers looking to provide slick, B2C-like experiences on their B2B Commerce portals—while managing all the complexity that comes with B2B—Salesforce and Coveo together offer a powerful joint “best of two breeds” solution.

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About Sawan Deshpande

Sawan Deshpande is Vice President, Salesforce Line of Business at Coveo. He joined Coveo in 2013 and previously served as Director, Global Sales Engineering. An experienced leader in sales engineering and product management for software applications, Sawan held various roles at Oracle and was Sales Architect, Emerging Products at Salesforce before joining Coveo. Sawan has a consistent track record in building and selling best-in-class software products. He was part of oDesk’s executive team that successfully raised $8M Series B funding from Benchmark Capital and was part of the founding technical sales team at LiveOps. Sawan has a master’s degree in Technology Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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About Jason Rieckewald-Schmidt

Jason Rieckewald-Schmidt (aka JRS) is a Principal Solution Engineer for Salesforce B2B Commerce. Prior to that, he was in the Salesforce ecosystem for over a decade at different implementation partners. Jason loves helping customers solve problems and utilizing Salesforce for Digital Transformations. He is based in the Los Angeles area, and when not working, he loves spending time with his family and being outdoors.

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