Salesforce Lightning: The Future of CRM Design


Customer relationship management (CRM) is a crucial aspect of modern business operations. With customers at the centre of every business, managing their interactions and experiences is vital to ensuring long-term success. Salesforce, a leading provider of cloud-based CRM software, has been at the forefront of CRM technology for over two decades.

In 2014, they launched Salesforce Lightning, a new user interface for their CRM platform. Lightning was designed to provide a more modern and intuitive user experience while also enhancing the platform's capabilities. Since then, Lightning has become the future of CRM design, and businesses that adopt it are reaping the benefits of a more streamlined and efficient workflow.

History of Salesforce

Salesforce was founded in 1999 by Marc Benioff, Parker Harris, Dave Moellenhoff, and Frank Dominguez. At the time, Benioff had left his job at Oracle and wanted to create a new kind of CRM software that would be entirely cloud-based. The company's mission was to "democratize enterprise software" by making it more accessible and affordable for businesses of all sizes.

Salesforce quickly gained traction and became known for its innovative approach to CRM. In 2003, they launched the AppExchange, a marketplace for third-party applications that integrated with Salesforce. This allowed businesses to customize their CRM software to meet their specific needs, without having to build everything from scratch.

Over the years, Salesforce has continued to expand its offerings, adding new products and features to its platform. They've also acquired several companies, including ExactTarget, Demandware, and Tableau, to broaden their capabilities and improve their offerings.

Evolution of CRM Design

CRM design has come a long way since the early days of Salesforce. When the company first launched, their interface was relatively basic and utilitarian. It was designed to provide users with access to customer data and help them manage their interactions with clients. While this was a significant improvement over traditional on-premises CRM software, it was still far from perfect.

Over time, Salesforce began to add more features and functionality to their platform. They also started to invest more in design, recognizing that a more intuitive and user-friendly interface would be crucial to their long-term success. In 2013, they hired John Maeda, a renowned designer and technologist, to lead their design team. Maeda's influence can be seen in the company's renewed focus on design and user experience.

Features of Salesforce Lightning

Salesforce Lightning is a complete overhaul of the Salesforce platform, providing users with a more modern and intuitive interface.

Some of the key features of Lightning include −

Customizable Home Page

The Lightning home page is fully customizable, allowing users to create a personalized dashboard that provides quick access to the information they need most. Users can add and remove components, such as charts, tables, and lists, to create a dashboard that meets their specific needs.

Kanban View

The Kanban view is a new way of visualizing data in Salesforce. It provides users with a card-based interface that allows them to drag and drop records between columns. This is particularly useful for managing tasks or projects, as it provides a more visual way of tracking progress.

Enhanced Search

Enhanced Search is another feature of Salesforce Lightning that provides improved search capabilities within the platform. It allows users to search for records, files, and other information using natural language, making it easier to find what they need. Additionally, Enhanced Search provides results that are personalized to the user based on their past behaviour and preferences, making it even more efficient and intuitive.

Lightning App Builder

The Lightning App Builder allows users to create custom applications without needing to write code. It provides a drag-and-drop interface that allows users to add and configure components, such as charts, tables, and forms, to create a custom application that meets their specific needs.

Lightning Experience

Lightning Experience is the new user interface for Salesforce, designed to provide a more modern and intuitive experience. It includes features such as contextual hovers, where users can see additional information about a record by hovering over it, and split view, which allows users to view two records side-by-side.

Lightning Components

Lightning Components are reusable building blocks that can be used to create custom applications and pages. They provide a consistent look and feel across the platform and can be used to create custom functionality that integrates seamlessly with the Salesforce platform.

Salesforce Einstein

Salesforce Einstein is the company's artificial intelligence (AI) platform, which is integrated into Lightning. It provides users with insights and recommendations based on their data, helping them to make more informed decisions.

Benefits of Salesforce Lightning

There are many benefits to using Salesforce Lightning for your business.

Here are some of the most significant −

Improved User Experience

The Lightning user interface is designed to be more intuitive and user-friendly than the previous interface. This makes it easier for users to navigate the platform and find the information they need quickly.

Increased Efficiency

Lightning's customizable home page, Kanban view, and other features allow users to work more efficiently, reducing the time it takes to complete tasks and improving productivity.

Better Data Insights

Salesforce Einstein provides users with insights and recommendations based on their data, helping them to make more informed decisions. This can lead to better business outcomes and increased revenue.

Increased Customization

The Lightning App Builder and Lightning Components allow users to create custom applications and pages without needing to write code. This increases the platform's flexibility and allows businesses to tailor the platform to their specific needs.

Better Integration

Lightning's modern architecture and open APIs make it easier to integrate with other systems and platforms, such as marketing automation tools and ERP systems. This improves data visibility across the organization and streamlines workflows.

Real-World Examples

Many businesses have already adopted Salesforce Lightning and are seeing the benefits of the new interface.

Here are some real-world examples of how businesses are using Lightning to improve their operations −


Groupon is a global e-commerce marketplace that connects customers with local businesses. They use Salesforce Lightning to manage their sales and marketing operations, allowing them to track customer interactions, analyze data, and improve their marketing efforts.

The American Red Cross

The American Red Cross is a non-profit organization that provides disaster relief and other humanitarian services. They use Salesforce Lightning to manage their donor relationships, allowing them to track donations, communicate with donors, and analyze data to improve their fundraising efforts.

Updated on: 16-May-2023


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