Tableau software with Salesforce Data Cloud for cost-effective insights

Nov 17, 2023

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Further to the Top takeaways Salesforce Dreamforce 2023 announcements, Salesforce clients now need to understand what Tableau software is, how to use it and what parts of it are now offered free for use with Salesforce Data Cloud.

Tableau software has emerged as a powerful ally for companies aiming to extract valuable insights from their data. With the integration of Salesforce Data Cloud, Tableau offers a compelling solution for companies seeking to gain a competitive edge in sales and marketing.

But, let’s start at the beginning as not everyone in business today knows what Tableau is. In this article, I’ll start with explain what Tableau is, cover its benefits, what it excels at, and its limitations, all while addressing the cost considerations that businesses often grapple with.

Why are you talking about Tableau and data?

Wonder: “Astrid, I thought you were an online sales & marketing expert, why are you talking about data now??!” Then, know that ever since being invited to Thinkers360 (a worldwide group of thought leaders), I publish predictions and one for 2024 is:

“Data is the new cryptocurrency. ”

– Astrid van Dorst, September 2023

In other words, data will be the hottest, most frequent and most difficult topic we’ll talk about in the year to come. It may be discussed in the context of AI, ChatGPT, GDPR, ‘dirty data’ or ‘data in silos’- problem terms. We need and will talk about data; how to improve it, use it and learn from it.

So, this is where this article about Tableau data visualisation and Salesforce data cloud come in.

Understanding Tableau software

Tableau is a renowned business intelligence (BI) and data visualisation platform that empowers organisations to transform raw data into actionable insights. It stands out for its user-friendly interface, allowing non-technical users to create interactive and visually appealing reports and dashboards.

Tableau let’s you quickly identify trends, spot outliers, and quickly connect to the data you care about. The platform is compatible with various data sources, enabling users to seamlessly connect to spreadsheets, databases, and cloud-based platforms, and let’s you shape or transform your data for analysis. Tableau lets you ‘easily’ combine data from multiple sources. It can be used as Tableau Cloud and Tableau Desktop. It comes with Tableau Certification and free onboarding training videos.

You might have heard of Tableau Public (to visualise public data), Tableau in Excel to give the Controller one up with the CFO for its Boardroom pack), and of course, since Tableau has been purchased by Salesforce, it’s all about the Tableau and Salesforce and its now use for Data Cloud.

(Actually, we’ve been talking about Tableau since 2014. The video here by Brandwatch analytics expert on Reporting Tableau software for business intelligence & analytics is still relevant today.)

Benefits of using Tableau

Most people don’t have the technical skills to connect to and analyse your company’s data. But once Tableau is set up, all can be empowered.

Tableau Data Visualisation Options

* Heard of Tableau accellerators? They are the pre-built dashboards tailor-made to specific applications like Salesforce.

  1. Data visualisation and drag-and-drop visual analysis (VQL): Tableau excels in creating interactive visualisations that help businesses grasp complex data quickly. Visual representations of data, such as charts, graphs, and maps, simplify the decision-making process.
  2. Real-time insights: With Tableau, you can access real-time data updates, ensuring that your sales and marketing teams make informed decisions based on the latest information.
  3. Easy accessibility: Tableau’s user-friendly interface allows employees from different departments to analyse data without needing extensive technical training, making it a valuable tool for CFOs and Directors of Marketing alike.
  4. Scalability: Whether your organisation is a small startup or a global enterprise, Tableau can scale to accommodate your data needs, making it suitable for businesses of all sizes.
  5. Integration: The integration of Tableau with Salesforce Data Cloud further enhances its capabilities. Tableau connector for Data Cloud is built-in and lets you seamlessly connect the two, providing a unified view of your (sales and marketing) data. And  if your data is not in Data Cloud, you can connect Tableau also directly to Salesforce Service Cloud, Sales Cloud, or Marketing Cloud data from within Tableau. In addition, Tableau has 100+ supported connectors*.

What Tableau software is good for

Tableau is particularly effective in the following areas:

  1. Data exploration: It excels at exploring and analysing large datasets to identify trends, patterns, and outliers. (Does that smell like AI applications?! Yes, it does.)
  2. Data storytelling: Tableau’s interactive dashboards allow you to tell compelling data-driven stories that can be shared across your organisation. (This is exactly what companies need today)
  3. Sales analytics: Sales teams can use Tableau to track key performance indicators (KPIs), monitor sales pipelines, and identify opportunities for growth.
  4. Marketing analytics: Tableau helps marketing teams assess campaign performance, analyse customer behaviour, and optimise marketing strategies.

What Tableau is not good for

While Tableau is a versatile tool, it has limitations:

  1. Advanced analytics: It is primarily a visualisation tool, so complex statistical and predictive analytics may require integration with other software.
  2. Large-scale data warehousing: For organisations dealing with massive datasets, Tableau may need additional data warehousing solutions to handle the load efficiently.
  3. Heavy data manipulation: Complex data transformations and cleansing may require more robust data preparation tools.

Leveraging Tableau software and Salesforce data cloud for sales and marketing

Of course you can leverage Tableau for all business functions, but at CloudAnalysts we focus on Sales and Marketing. E.g. This is a sample of sales by category, period by period.

Tableau Sales by Date by Category

Tableau’s integrated with Salesforce Data Cloud means you’ll get to enhance sales and marketing strategies at another level. Here’s how businesses can leverage the synergy between these two systems:

1. Unified data view

Think: “Single Customer View! Combine your Salesforce data with other sources to create a comprehensive view of customer interactions and preferences. This holistic view enables targeted marketing campaigns and more personalised sales efforts.

2. Real-time analytics

With Tableau’s real-time capabilities, monitor marketing campaign performance as it happens. Adjust strategies on the fly to maximise ROI and customer engagement.

3. Sales forecasting

Utilise Tableau’s data visualisation capabilities to create accurate sales forecasts, helping your organisation allocate resources effectively and set achievable sales targets.

4. Customer segmentation

Segment your customer base using Tableau’s visualisations and Salesforce data. Tailor marketing campaigns to specific customer segments, resulting in more relevant and effective messaging.

Considering Tableau cost

When assessing Tableau and Salesforce Data Cloud, it’s essential to also consider the associated costs. At Dreamforce 2023, the story was .. free, free, free. But when you look at it closely, it meant 2 free Tableau Creator licenses. But how many licenses do you actually need?

Chances are, you will want more than that and so it’s a good idea to have a close look at Tableau’s pricing structure now. Tableau cost varies based on users, data sources, the level of support required:

At the time of this writing:

  • Tableau Creator licenses cost $75/user/month (equiv. £60)
  • Tableau Explorer licenses cost $42/user/month
  • Tableau Viewer licenses cost $15/uses/month
  • All prepaid annually.
  • There are extra options/associated products for additional cost (E.g. CRM Analytics, Tableau Pulse, Tableau GPT, etc.) You may also need connectors etc.

However, the benefits of improved data analysis, enhanced and faster decision-making, plus increased sales and marketing effectiveness can often outweigh the costs.

We recommend that CFOs, Sales Directors and Directors of Marketing work closely together to evaluate the return on investment (ROI) that Tableau can provide for their organisation.


The 3 common issues with data when companies start are:

1) Volume: the volume and location of data: it’s everywhere.

2) Diversity: your data is in different file formats.

3) State: with data in silos, your data might in different states and version. Some might be updated weekly, others daily. Certain data might be recorded in £, other in $. Some data bases are cleansed on a regular basis, others are ‘dirty’ with incomplete records, or old information.

You’ll need a data plan to chart your data sources. Work through the data format compatibility issues; and then align data states. Working with Tableau will help you sort through these data management issues.

Over to you

Tableau software, with Salesforce Data Cloud, offers a robust solution for businesses looking to gain a competitive edge in sales and marketing. It simplifies data analysis, empowers data-driven decision-making, and enhances the overall effectiveness of sales and marketing strategies. Cost considerations are essential. But, the potential benefits make Tableau with Salesforce Data Cloud a compelling choice for organisations seeking to thrive in today’s data-driven business landscape.

What’s nice is that Salesforce has paved the way for you. Salesforce helps you explore how this could work for your organisation, without the starter-pack license costs. We help companies like yours to start. Together we develop a roadmap of Salesforce technology adoption and innovation.

Like to have a private chat with one of our experts?

Book an appointment straight into their diary here:

Interested to learn more?

We would be very happy to help you.

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