Knowledge bases are centralized and searchable content repositories designed to provide access to FAQs, case studies, manuals, troubleshooting guides, and more–that can be used both by internal teams, or external customers and prospects. A Salesforce knowledge base is as it sounds–a centralized source of Salesforce knowledge articles.
According to research by McKinsey, employees spend 19% of their workweek searching for information, and searching for answers can be disruptive to their workflow. A sales team, for example, should have quick access to information on the company and its products so that they don’t fall into a rabbit hole while looking for answers to customer queries and objections. To meet this expectation, you need to build a user-friendly knowledge base.
Salesforce’s knowledge base platform enables users to build an intuitive content repository. In this article, you will learn about the salesforce knowledge base, how to use it, and the limitations you might encounter while using it.
What is the Salesforce Knowledge Base?
The Salesforce knowledge base is a knowledge management software that enables you to create and manage a collection of relevant information about your business that can be shared both internally and externally.
It’s a centralized platform where you can provide valuable information to your customers, from technical documents about your product to something as simple as where to purchase your product.
As a self-service tool for customers, building a knowledge base with Salesforce has benefits like scaling customer support, increasing sales with value selling, better customer service, and reduced support costs. You spend less time and effort helping customers easily find important information.
Salesforce Knowledge Base Example
A sales team might build a Salesforce knowledge base to create, organize, and share internal sales content like pitch documents, playbooks, product training manuals, battle cards, etc. By centralizing all this information on one platform, the team has access to everything they need to make informed pitches and counter customers' objections.
Creating a comprehensive Salesforce knowledge base streamlines their search for information. If a sales rep is speaking to a customer and quickly needs information on some product features, they can simply log on to the knowledge base and search for a product features document.
How to Use the Salesforce Knowledge Base
Let’s look at how to build an effective knowledge base using Salesforce:
Classic vs Lightning Knowledge
Classic is the original interface for Salesforce’s CRM platform. It is a compact platform that is not very user-friendly, with small texts and low-resolution graphics. Classic is mainly used by businesses that prefer its functionality to Lightning; however, it has an outdated interface that might phase out soon.
Lightning Knowledge has a modern, flexible, and intuitive interface with high-resolution graphics and easy-to-read texts. It offers more features than Classic, like detailed reports, extensive charts, a drag-and-drop functionality, an automated sales pipeline, and centralized security.
While both platforms cost the same, lighting has a more robust functionality. Salesforce recommends that organizations using classic knowledge switch to lightning using the knowledge migration tool.
Creating knowledge articles
Creating knowledge articles will help customers solve their queries without asking for help. This reduces your call center's caseload and improves the customer experience. Knowledge articles should be easy to read, helpful, and engaging. Effective knowledge articles have a clear title, media-like images or videos, and subheadings or bulleted lists.
Salesforce has customizable knowledge article types. The types provide the structure and format in which your article is displayed. For example, if you want to create an FAQ, you would select the FAQ article type and then create custom fields to add the information you want, remove fields/sections, and select a template for each publication channel.
In the Lightning knowledge platform, you can enable salesforce knowledge management. You’ll have access to the article management tab when you do this.
The article management tab is a collaborative homepage where you can assign articles to writers/collaborators and monitor the creation of knowledge articles. It supports authoring actions like editing, publishing, translating, deleting, and restoring articles.
You can use data categories to group articles for easier access. The tab also provides multiple language translations with the option to translate articles in-house or outsource them. The refined search feature allows you to streamline article searching using filters like category, language, query, article type, etc. This is particularly useful if you’re a large company with up to thousands of support articles.
Once your articles are published within the knowledge base, you can share them through Channels. Channels are basically the various audiences for your article. Salesforce classifies them into four: internal, customer, partner, and public KB.
- Internal Channel: Only permitted internal users (i.e., sales team, marketing & revenue team) can access the knowledge tab to find articles.
- Partner Channel: Allows you to share knowledge articles through Salesforce partner communities. You can easily share updates on your products or sales processes with licensed business partners.
- Customer Channel: Share knowledge articles like how-to guides, step-by-step documents, FAQs, etc., to customers so they can resolve their queries.
- Public KB: This lets you share articles with the general public via email, messaging, social posts, or chats.
You can specify which channel you want to publish when publishing knowledge articles. For instance, if you’re sharing an internal sales training article, you can share it with only the internal channel.
The user license determines what features a user can access and lets you specify who has access to what within the knowledge base. You can create user profiles with specific permissions and assign people to user profiles. This feature lets you determine who can create, edit, share, and delete articles.
User licenses must be purchased; however, you only need licenses for users who create/edit knowledge articles. Read-only users get free licenses. In addition, each user gets just one license. Salesforce offers various user licenses with different permission sets.
Salesforce Knowledge Base: Limitations
Here are some pain points you might experience while using Salesforce to build your knowledge base:
Salesforce’s integrations do not extend to its knowledge base, so knowledge articles can only be accessed on the Salesforce platform. Let's say your marketing team is collaborating on a campaign on Slack, and they need a particular knowledge article.
They would have to switch from Slack to the Salesforce KB to get the article. Traditional approaches often require reps to switch between multiple documents or applications, eating up valuable time and disrupting the flow of conversations.
Spekit’s knowledge base is accessible and easily integrated across tools and applications. The Speks and Sidebar tool lets you take knowledge base articles to wherever your teams need them.
It minimizes context switching by embedding relevant content directly into the tools sales professionals use daily. This allows them to stay focused on engaging with clients rather than hunting for information.
While the Salesforce knowledge base makes it easy to deliver training articles to your employees, you need a way to assess training effectiveness and whether employees are learning/retaining information.
Spekit solves this issue with Knowledge Checks. Knowledge Checks are bite-sized quizzes and assessments that you can use to track training progress and learner retention. You get insights that help you check the effectiveness of knowledge articles the minute an assessment has been completed.
The best part is that Knowledge Checks are simple to create and even simpler to take. Compared to traditional, boring, long-form quizzes, employees enjoy taking knowledge checks because it does not disrupt their workflow.
Did you just complete a training session and want to reinforce the training content? Simply send a Knowledge Check.
Wouldn’t it be great if all channels in your knowledge base were alerted when updates are made? That way, you’re sure users know crucial changes or important information. The Salesforce KB does not offer a real-time alert feature.
Let’s say you’ve published a new training article on MEDDIC sales; you would have to inform the sales team via another platform without assurance that they see your message.
Now, imagine having to notify users about every update made to the knowledge base.
With Spekit’s Spotlights feature, you won’t have to bother about that. This feature automatically sends changes and updates to users via notification. Here’s what you can achieve using Spotlights:
- Reach Target Audience: Specify who receives updates
- Measure Engagement: See who engages with or snoozes notifications
- Continuous Reminders: Set evergreen for indefinite information or expiring notifications for time-bound updates.
This dynamic feature streamlines communication efforts. For example, after sending out an update to the revenue team, you can see users who did not engage and reach out to them to find out why. This ensures accountability amongst your employees and keeps everyone in the loop.
It would be helpful to know whether the articles in your knowledge base are effective. Analytics help you track content metrics like engagement, conversion, content usage, etc., which offer insight into the performance of knowledge articles.
Analytics is crucial in a knowledge base platform, but does Salesforce KB offer robust analytics? No. This means that to analyze the performance of knowledge articles you’ve created with Salesforce, you may have to use a third-party analytics tool.
Spekit enablement analytics lets you build a knowledge base to monitor user engagement and behavior. This feature enables you to:
- Uncover gaps in your knowledge base
- Understand which articles are most helpful
- Ensure users review updates to processes
- Measure knowledge article's engagement and impact
- Quickly get feedback from users about knowledge articles.
Spekit’s analytics tool is about enablement and leveraging data, helping you visualize deeper trends and insights.
Simplified content creation
To create or edit knowledge articles in Salesforce KB, you have to go through a 10+ step process, which is time-consuming and not very convenient if you especially want to create and send out a knowledge article quickly.
With Spekit, you can narrow down those ten steps to just two. SpekitAI lets you create, edit, or revise any article type in minutes: playbooks, SOPs, FAQs, battle cards, guides, etc. You can generate knowledge articles from a single sentence, summarize ineffective long-form content, automatically proofread articles, and even translate content to multiple languages. In addition, you can assign subject matter experts to create and own content.
Step-by-step guides help knowledge base users flow from one article to another without confusion. If you’re looking for a platform that offers this, try Spekit Flows. Spekit Flows enables you to create no-code walkthroughs for knowledge base users.
For example, if you want to coach customers on assembling or setting up your product, you could create a Flow tutorial that guides them from identifying different product parts to putting them all together.
Creating Flows is so easy! Flows work by capturing clicks, so all you have to do is open the website you want to capture and navigate through your normal step-by-step routine while Spekit automatically captures the flow.
Salesforce is known to be a technical platform; users often need an expert to help set up their knowledge base. You either spend more money hiring an expert or face a steep learning curve.
Compared to Salesforce, Spekit's Knowledge base supports faster and streamlined implementation. You can deploy your knowledge base within a week with access to prebuilt and custom content/templates around a sales knowledge base.
Use the Best Alternative to Salesforce Knowledge Base
When choosing a platform to deploy your knowledge base, you need to consider how easy it is to use the tools on that platform, create content, provide access to articles, and measure content engagement.
From limited integrations to technical knowledge requirements to bottlenecks in creating knowledge base content, it can be complicated using Salesforce KB because the platform is not intuitive enough, especially if it's your first time building a knowledge base.
With Spekit, you can set up your knowledge base in no time and equip your employees, partners, and customers with all the information they need to know about your product, services, and processes.
Make use of pre-built customizable content, sort knowledge articles into categories for easy access, and embed content into the interface of other platforms.