Dec
12
2019
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Salesforce promotes Bret Taylor to president and COO

Salesforce announced today that it has named Bret Taylor as president and chief operating officer of the company. Prior to today’s promotion, Taylor held the position of president and chief product officer.

In his new position, Taylor will be responsible for a number of activities, including leading Salesforce’s global product vision, engineering, security, marketing and communications. That’s a big job, and as such he will report directly to chairman Marc Benioff.

Taylor has had increasing responsibilities over the last couple of years, taking the lead on many of Salesforce’s biggest announcements at Dreamforce, the company’s massive yearly customer conference. In fact, Benioff said in a statement that Taylor has already been responsible for product vision, development and go-to-market strategy prior to today’s promotion.

“His expanded portfolio of responsibilities will enable us to drive even greater customer success and innovation as we experience rapid growth at scale,” Benioff said in the statement.

Brent Leary, founder at CRM Essentials, who has been watching the company since its earliest days, says it feels like this could be part of a succession plan down the road. This promotion could be a signal that Taylor is being groomed to take over for Benioff and co-CEO Keith Block whenever they decide to move on.

“It’s been feeling like he’s being groomed for the big chair somewhere down the line. He’s a generation behind the current leadership, but his experiences at startups and creating iconic technologies at iconic companies uniquely positioned him for a move like this at a company like Salesforce,” Leary told TechCrunch.

Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research, agrees, saying Taylor is a rising star at Salesforce. “As the guy who invented the Like button at Facebook, Google Maps and other innovations, he’s the Chosen One to take the technologies teams further,” Wang said.

Wang added that Taylor’s strengths are about quickly determining a pragmatic path to market for ideas, but also simplifying the complex. “It’s a good move for Salesforce, and shows the deep bench strength the team has,” he said.

Taylor came to Salesforce when the company purchased Quip in August 2016 for $750 million. He was promoted to president and chief product officer in November 2017. Prior to launching Quip he was chief technology officer at Facebook.

Mar
19
2019
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Salesforce finally embedding Quip into platform, starting with Sales and Service Cloud

When Salesforce bought Quip in 2016 for $750 million, it was fair to wonder what it planned to do with it. While company founder Bret Taylor has moved up the ladder to chief product officer, Quip remained a standalone product. Today that changed when the company announced it was embedding Quip directly into its sales and customer service clouds.

Quip is a collaboration tool with built-in office suite functionality, including word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software. As a standalone product, it enables teams to collaborate around a rich set of documents. Quip for Salesforce is embedding that kind of functionality at the platform level.

Alan Lepofsky, who recently joined Salesforce as VP of Salesforce Quip, says the announcement is the culmination of a desire to embed the tool into Salesforce. “By bringing productivity directly into the context of business workflows, sales and customer support teams can collaborate in brand new ways, enabling them to be better aligned and more efficient, ultimately providing a better customer experience,” Lepofsky told TechCrunch.

Quip appears as a tab in the Sales or Service Cloud interface. There, employees can collaborate on documents and maintain all of their information in a single place without switching between multiple applications or losing context, an increasingly important goal for collaboration tools, including Slack.

Photo: Salesforce

Administrators can build templates to quickly facilitate team building. The templates enable you to start a page pre-populated with information about a specific account or set of accounts. You can take this a step further by creating templates with a set of filters to refine each one to meet the needs of a particular team, based on factors like deal size, industry or location.

In the service context, customer service agents can set up pages to discuss different kinds of issues or problems and work together to get answers quickly, even while chatting with a customer.

Salesforce has various partnerships with Microsoft, Dropbox, Google, Slack and others that provide a similar kind of functionality, and those customers that want to continue using those tools can do that, but 2.5 years after the Quip acquisition, Salesforce is finally putting it to work as a native productivity and collaboration tool.

“As an industry analyst, I spent years advising vendors on the importance of purpose and context as two key drivers for getting work done. Salesforce is delivering both by bringing productivity from Quip directly to CRM and customer service,” Lepofsky said.

The idea of providing a single place to collaborate without task switching is certainly attractive, but it remains to be seen if customers will warm to the idea of using Quip instead of one of the other tools out there. In the meantime, Quip will still be sold as a standalone tool.

Mar
19
2019
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Salesforce update brings AI and Quip to customer service chat experience

When Salesforce introduced Einstein, its artificial intelligence platform in 2016, it was laying the ground work for artificial intelligence underpinnings across the platform. Since then the company has introduced a variety of AI enhancements to the Salesforce product family. Today, customer service got some AI updates.

The goal of any customer service interaction is to get the customer answers as quickly as possible. Many users opt to use chat over phone, and Salesforce has added some AI features to help customer service agents get answers more quickly in the chat interface. (The company hinted that phone customer service enhancements are coming.)

For starters, Salesforce is using machine learning to deliver article recommendations, response recommendations and next best actions to the agent in real time as they interact with customers.  “With Einstein article recommendations, we can use machine learning on past cases and we can look at how articles were used to successfully solve similar cases in the past, and serve up the best article right in the console to help the agent with the case,” Martha Walchuk, senior director of product marketing for Salesforce Service Cloud explained.

Salesforce Service Console. Screenshot: Salesforce

The company is also using similar technology to provide response recommendations, which the agent can copy and paste into the chat to speed up the time to response. Before the interaction ends, the company can offer the next best action (which was announced last year) based on the conversation. For example, they could offer related information, an upsell recommendation or whatever type of action the customer defines.

Salesforce is also using machine learning to help route each person to the most appropriate customer service rep. As Salesforce describes it, this feature uses machine learning to filter cases and route them to the right queue or agent automatically, based on defined criteria such as best qualified agent or past outcomes.

Finally, the company is embedding Quip, the company it acquired in 2016 for $750 million, into the customer service console to allow agents to communicate with one another to find answers to difficult problems. That not only helps solve the issues faster, the conversations themselves become part of the knowledge base, which Salesforce can draw upon to help teach the machine learning algorithms about the correct responses to commonly asked questions in the future.

As with the Oracle AI announcement this morning, this use of artificial intelligence in sales, service and marketing is part of a much broader industry trend, as these companies try to inject intelligence into workflows to make them run more efficiently.

Nov
06
2017
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Quip adds an App Store as it pushes toward full-blown collaboration platform

 When Salesforce bought Quip, a document-based, mobile-first collaboration tool for $750 million last September, it may have seemed like an odd purchase, but Salesforce and Quip have been hard at work enhancing the product. Today at the Dreamforce customer conference in San Francisco, the company announced significant updates to the product designed to make it more of a central way to… 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

Sep
01
2016
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Salesforce paid $110M for BeyondCore, made $4B+ in acquisitions in 6 months

clouds Salesforce may have missed out on buying LinkedIn, but it has had a whopper of an acquisitions spree so far this year anyway. The enterprise cloud and CRM services company put down over $4 billion to buy eight startups in areas like workplace productivity, machine learning and e-commerce solutions, according to the company’s 10-Q filed with the SEC today. The majority of that $4… Read More

Aug
31
2016
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Salesforce shares face plant despite beating analyst expectations

salesforce Salesforce earnings came out today! They’re not great, either, and it looks like a weak outlook for the company’s third quarter is doing some damage to its shares, which were down as much as 8 percent. For a company that literally defined the phrase “software as a service” — basically, running your business online — and one that’s had a decent year… Read More

Aug
28
2016
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What Salesforce’s acquisition of Quip means for enterprise software startups

Statistics and Analysis A new player has entered the enterprise productivity race. For decades, Microsoft reigned as the market leader in enterprise productivity — until Google pushed into the space with Google Apps. Now, with the acquisition of Quip, Salesforce is joining Microsoft and Google in the race. Read More

Aug
03
2016
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Dropbox launches an iPhone and Android version of its document-editing app Paper

Dropbox Paper Beta It’s an interesting time for Dropbox’s document-building tool, Paper. Quip, in a similar vein to Paper, was bought for a whopping $750 million by Salesforce earlier this week. This deal surprised a ton of people, but made a lot of sense given that Salesforce has seemingly been dipping its toes into collaboration software. So Quip is a great, and natural, fit for Salesforce and… Read More

Aug
01
2016
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Salesforce buys word processing app Quip for $750M

quip-screen Salesforce is continuing its buying spree to expand the kinds of cloud-based apps and services that it offers to its customers beyond basic CRM. The company has just announced that it is acquiring Quip, the cloud-based word processing app that was co-founded by Bret Taylor, formerly CTO of Facebook. We understand from two sources very close to the deal that the total price is $750 million. Read More

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