For the most part, the leading technology companies in North America have kept their distance from the cannabis industry. Sure, there are traceability solutions that operators are forced to use and a variety of software systems to help manage production facilities and retail stores, but there hasn’t been that much crossover from the bigger Silicon Valley companies into the cannabis space.
As an official partner with Salesforce, the No. 1 customer relationship management (CRM) platform in the world, Cannabis Cloud Solutions for Salesforce & Mulesoft is a rare exception.
Cannabis Cloud provides an all-in-one solution to manage every aspect of a modern cannabis company, even unifying all the data and technology needs for multi-state operators working on different compliance platforms.
Gary Strahle, the CEO, founder and Salesforce architect of Cannabis Cloud, built the software as a holistic tool for cannabis operators, capitalizing on the strengths of Salesforce, while also integrating with state traceability requirements and providing retail management features.
“With our Metrc API connector, we feature seed-to-sale enterprise platform capabilities so you can run your cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and retail all in one single Salesforce.org login,” Strahle says. “You can have multi-state operations and still be on one single Salesforce login, overseeing it all and customizing it to your particular requirements and needs.”
The core of Cannabis Cloud is its connectivity with Salesforce, the multibillion-dollar CRM provider with about 50,000 employees.
While numerous companies have attempted to replicate Salesforce’s capabilities within the cannabis space, those startups ultimately pale in comparison to the San Francisco-based tech giant, because Salesforce has thousands of software engineers constantly working to evolve the platform, fix bugs, add new value and collectively push the technology forward, Strahle says. Cannabis Cloud leverages that existing technology and makes it accessible and functional for cannabis businesses.
Strahle, who has nearly a decade of experience with the ubiquitous CRM platform, introduced Cannabis Cloud as a Salesforce partner on the Salesforce AppExchange in 2019.
“We are very proud to be the first Metrc-integrated supply chain and retail management solution on Salesforce,” Strahle says. “It’s a great advantage and something the industry is looking for.”
Salesforce allows Cannabis Cloud to work with any cannabis business anywhere in the world, regardless of what tracking system is required in that particular jurisdiction. This feature is incredibly important for multi-state operators, who might have one point-of-sale system in one state and completely different systems in several other states.
“You have data all over the place, siloed, not connected,” Strahle says, explaining the challenge.
And that’s just looking at the retail side. Factor in cultivation, processing, manufacturing, warehousing and distribution, and it’s easy to see how complicated everything becomes.
The Next Generation of Loyalty Programs
Cannabis Cloud’s loyalty program, Nug Wallet, is a web app that is integrated into Salesforce. It’s a dynamic departure from typical reward programs in that it gives operators precise control over rewards to customers and incorporates Google campaign-tracking URLs that feed into Salesforce to provide more options for advertising, more customer engagement, more data collections and more savings for the retailer.
The program is a new addition to Cannabis Cloud’s retail management solution, and it immediately begins collecting data and maximizing savings for the user.
“When new customers sign up, we don’t ask them about how they heard about us, because we already know — it’s in the campaign tracking URL,” says Cannabis Cloud CEO and Salesforce architect Gary Strahle. “It doesn’t just stop with a standalone campaign tracking URL; we’re taking that data out of Google and lining it up to give users real-time stats.”
Unlike other ordering services that are embedded into an existing website, Cannabis Cloud’s loyalty program is a native website that comes complete with SEO enhancements and instantly works as a native app on Android, Apple and all web browsers.
“In a nutshell, the loyalty rewards program and the website are one, meaning the website is the loyalty rewards program and the loyalty rewards program is the website,” Strahle says. “So say goodbye to your outdated website. This is the cutting edge.”
Having a unified, comprehensive solution is “something everyone in the cannabis industry needs, but not everyone understands how to get,” Strahle says. “That’s why we’re here.”
A Simple Solution
Cannabis Cloud also puts a heavy emphasis on data security and privacy for its clients, something that sets the company apart from many competitors. The company does not share or compile client data on third-party databases, which are more vulnerable to breaches than Salesforce. And, unlike many modern tech firms, Cannabis Cloud does not secretly sell its clients’ data, Strahle says.
“We don’t even see the data unless we’re asked to see it,” he adds.
Cannabis Cloud also offers Metrc audits, where a technician thoroughly examines the backend of a company’s Metrc configuration to find anything out of compliance, areas that could be improved and if there are any missing or unused functions. The Metrc audits typically take an hour to complete. The company also offers an economical version of its software that does not require companies to have their own Salesforce license.
Cannabis Cloud also sets itself apart from its competitors with its consulting arm. Strahle works with industry experts such as Kevin Lawrence, Alex Leon and Adam Knopf to help their businesses do everything from win licenses to streamline operations with third-party distributors.
In addition to his work on the tech side of the industry, Strahle is the chief growth officer for Golden State Greens, a popular cannabis retail store in San Diego, and he’s active with the National Cannabis Industry Association, serving as vice chair of the organization’s retail committee, retail representative of its policy council and a member of the sustainability task force.
Diligence in Development
Strahle has spent years developing Cannabis Cloud, utilizing his vast experience with Salesforce and as a software architect.
He started implementing Salesforce in 2013, originally using it to integrate external data sets to manage his affiliate marketing business. At the time, his company, 3KEYMEDIA LLC, which was named for Strahle’s background in art, film and software development and now serves as Cannabis Cloud’s parent company, was building software solutions for businesses that used Salesforce but needed extra integration to keep everything under one software provider.
In 2015, the San Diego-based company started building software for cannabis businesses. This work became the foundation for the Cannabis Cloud Metrc API connector, the software that links Salesforce with the common track-and-trace platform. It was also during that time that Strahle, in partnership with Golden State Greens dispensary owner Adam Knopf, designed the company’s retail management technology as an alternative to inferior point-of-sales systems on the market.
By 2019, Strahle had authored a comprehensive catalog of software built specifically to help cannabis operators as well as an equally impressive array of software built to handle the needs of traditional businesses in a variety of industries. The company recently hit a milestone for automating compliance for 1.4 million plants in a single plant batch lifecycle using its Salesforce to Metrc Integration. And Cannabis Cloud continues to develop its full suite of products and services to give cannabis business the technological power they need to compete in today’s rapidly evolving industry.
“Our main objective is to create omni-channel enterprise platform solutions,” Strahle says. “That’s what we’ve done, what we’re doing and what we are going to continue to do.”
To learn more about Cannabis Cloud, Solutions for Salesforce & Mulesoft or to schedule a Metrc audit, visit Cannabis.Cloud or email G@Cannabis.Cloud.