Sep
06
2018
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Salesforce updates Sales Cloud ahead of Dreamforce with increased automation

Dreamforce, Salesforce’s massive customer conference is coming later this month to San Francisco, but the news is starting already well ahead of the event. Today, the company announced updates to its core Sales Cloud with an emphasis toward automation and integration.

For starters, the company wants to simplify inside phone sales, giving the team not only a list of calls organized by those most likely to convert, but walking them through a sales process that’s been defined by management according to what they believe to be best practices.

High Velocity Sales is designed to take underlying intelligence from Salesforce Einstein and apply it to the sales process to give sales people the best chance to convert that prospect. That includes defining contact cadence and content. For calls, the content could be as detailed as call scripts with what to say to the prospect. For emails, it could provide key details designed to move the prospect closer to sale and how often to send that next email.

Defining sales cadence workflow in Sales Cloud. Photo: Salesforce

Once the sales teams begins to move that sale towards a close, Salesforce CPQ (configure, price, quote) capabilities come into play. That product has its roots in the company’s SteelBrick acquisition several years ago, and it too gets a shiny new update for Dreamforce this year.

As sales inches toward a win, it typically moves the process to the the proposal stage where pricing and purchases are agreed upon, and if all goes well a contract gets signed. Updates to CPQ are designed to automate this to the extent possible, pulling information from notes and conversations into an automated quote, or relying on the sales person when it gets more complex.

The idea though is to help sales automate the quote and creation of bill once the quote has been accepted to the extent possible, even providing a mechanism for automatic renewal when a subscription is involved.

The last piece involves Pardot Einstein, a sales and marketing tool, designed to help find the best prospects that come through a company’s marketing process. This is also getting some help from the intelligence layer in a couple of ways.

Einstein Campaign Insights looks at the range of marketing campaigns that are coming out of the marketing organization, determining which campaigns are performing — and those that aren’t — and pushing the art of campaign creation using data science to help determine which types of activities are most likely to succeed in helping convert that shopper into a buyer.

The other piece is called Einstein Behavior Score, which again is using the company’s underlying artificial intelligence tooling to analyze buying behavior based on intent. In other words, which people coming through your web site and apps are most likely to actually buy based on their behaviors — pages they visit, items they click and so forth.

Salesforce recognized the power of artificial intelligence to drive a more automated sales process early on, introducing Einstein in 2016. In typical Salesforce fashion, it has built upon that initial announcement and tried to use AI to automate and drive more successful sales.

The core CRM tool that is the center of the Sales Cloud, is simply a system of record of the customers inside any organization, but the company is trying to automate and integrate across its broad family of products whenever possible to make connections between products and services that might be difficult for humans to make on their own.

While it’s easy to get lost in AI marketing hype — and calling their AI layer by the name “Einstein” certainly doesn’t help in that regard — the company is trying to take advantage of the technology to help customers drive more sales faster, which is the goal of any sales team. It will be up to Salesforce’s customers to decide how well it works.

Oct
20
2016
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Salesforce looks to the future with Einstein artificial intelligence

einstein-thumb Salesforce has a history of staying close to the cutting edge of technology, so it shouldn’t be surprising that it announced an artificial intelligence initiative recently, it dubbed Einstein.
We caught up with some key members of the Einstein team at Dreamforce earlier this month and asked them to explain the new technology for us.
Einstein isn’t a product so much as a set of… Read More

Oct
10
2016
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Apttus looks to the future with bots and virtual reality

ron-apttus-hololens Last year Apttus, which provides pricing, quoting and contract building on the Salesforce platform was growing at a crazy rate. It appeared to be headed to IPO or a Salesforce purchase when it got a punch to the gut. Salesforce bought Steelbrick instead.
Sources say, Apttus might have gotten greedy, thinking it was the only enterprise CPQ product out there that provided the best fit for… Read More

Oct
08
2016
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The method in Salesforce’s M&A madness

Salesforce executive Keith Block speaking at a press conference at Dreamforce 2016. Salesforce has been on a shopping spree this year, spending in the neighborhood of $5-6 billion on 10 companies. That’s why it was interesting to hear company president, vice chairman and COO, Keith Block talk about what they look for in an acquisition target at a press conference at Dreamforce this week. This is particularly true in the context of rumors that Salesforce was interested… Read More

Oct
07
2016
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Salesforce took a horizontal turn when it bought Quip

Quip Chief Executive Officer Bret Taylor And Greylock Partners Partner John Lilly Interview When Salesforce purchased Quip last summer for $750 million, it seemed at face value to be an unusual acquisition for the cloud CRM company — Salesforce tends to concentrate on more vertical targets.
In fact, at a press conference this week at Dreamforce, Salesforce president, vice chairman and COO Keith Block — yes, he has all those titles — said when asked about the… Read More

Oct
07
2016
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Lights, cameras, Dreamforce

Marc Benioff, chairman and chief executive officer of Salesforce.com Inc. Salesforce chairman and CEO Marc Benioff knows a thing or two about how to put on a good show. As usual, he pulled out all the stops this week at Dreamforce, his company’s massive customer conference in San Francisco. He was boasting at the keynote that 175,000 people registered online (and another 15 million were watching online). I can tell you most people I spoke to didn’t… Read More

Oct
05
2016
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Zenefits makes licensing compliance app available for free in the Salesforce App Exchange

disrupt_sf16_david_sacks-3705 Zenefits announced this week, it was making a licensing compliance app it created in-house to ensure its sales people are properly licensed to sell insurance in a given state, available for free to anyone to download from the Salesforce App Exchange. Last winter Zenefits was sailing along providing HR services in the cloud for small and medium businesses when a bombshell hit. Buzzfeed… Read More

Oct
12
2014
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Salesforce Hopes To Ride Analytics Wave With New Business Intelligence Service

Business Intelligence concept picture: Guy leaning against a lightbulb with graphs drawn around the bulb. Salesforce.com will unveil a new analytics service tomorrow morning they have dubbed Wave. The product will be introduced by CEO Marc Benioff at the company’s Dreamforce customer conference in San Francisco, but according to a Salesforce spokesperson, it is already available in the AppExchange now. It was one of the worst kept secrets in technology as just about everyone I talked to… Read More

Oct
07
2014
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Salesforce Introduces Interactive Mobile Customer Service And Gives Core CRM A Makeover

Demo of Service Cloud 1 live customers service feature. Dreamforce, Salesforce.com’s conference extravaganza, is coming next week, and Salesforce has some big announcements ahead of their showcase starting with an update to their core CRM product, now known as Sales Cloud 1 and their customer service piece, now known as Service Cloud 1. All of their nifty branding aside, it is an attempt by Salesforce to spiff up the platform, which is 15… Read More

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