Salesforce Einstein – A Year in Review
Salesforce Einstein is, at its core, an Artificial Intelligence powered analytic engine that allows companies to embed AI capabilities to the workplace, and virtually, offer the rank and file of the employees the services of a data scientist on call! With Einstein, CRM turns smart; increasing productivity, and by extension, customer satisfaction.
For all the advancements in technology, most sales teams still rely on incomplete spreadsheets and antiquated systems, to make sales projections. The result is management by assumption – all the guesswork leads to wasted effort, revenue leakage, under-performance, and overall inefficiencies. As a rule of thumb, fewer than half of the deals actually close as per expectation. Such a low conversion rate is a sure recipe for disaster in today’s highly competitive age, where pressure on margins is at an all-time high, and new customers are hard to come by.
Has Einstein Walked the Talk?
Salesforce Einstein pulls in data from various enterprises systems, including the CRM, and subjects it to analytics using various tools and techniques, such as data mining and machine learning. The analysis gathers insights and trends from the data, and delivers recommendations and predictions specific to the business. Einstein’s self-learning algorithms, which power the analysis, not only account for seasonal and other variables, but also understand individual and team forecasting behaviors, to identify whether the decisions made are optimistic, pessimistic or on target. The insights offered are unbiased, and grounded in reality.
The launch of Einstein has allowed decision makers and business executives to take the guesswork out of the equation, and make predictions with a high level of accuracy. Such analytics are combined with automation, to make Einstein a powerful tool that not just increases productivity and efficiency manifold, but also drives the transformation of the enterprise.
Key Einstein Milestones
Salesforce launched Einstein in September 2016, and has since then consistently improved upon the offering.
Salesforce’s acquisition of Demandware in July 2016 significantly added to Einstein’s capabilities. Demandware is basically a recommendation engine, which applies machine-learning to automatically recommend best-fit products for customers, by evaluating the customers’ history of purchase and also the purchase history of similar customers. The recommendation engine is already embedded to the Commerce Cloud Einstein.
The Einstein High-velocity Sales Cloud, the Einstein powered version of the quintessential Salesforce Sales Cloud, was launched in April 2017. This intelligent platform empowers sales teams to sell faster and smarter than ever before, besides offering unbridled flexibility. Companies deploying the revamped Sales Cloud experience about 35% increase in sales productivity, 30% increase in lead conversion, and about 25% increase in revenue, on average.
Salesforce launched three new AI-powered tools for developers in June 2017, at the TrailheaDX developer conference. The new tools allow even third-party developers to leverage the power of artificial intelligence. The new algorithms, grouped under a new Einstein Platform Services, help third-party developers add Einstein intelligence to applications built on top of the Salesforce platform.
The new services consist of sentiment and intent analysis, and high-tech image recognition analysis tools capable of counting objects and recognize attributes such as color or size. Developers leverage these new possibilities to route leads automatically, escalate service cases, and personalize the engagement to a deeper level. The Einstein Sentiment tool uses advanced technology to understand the sentiment, even when the sentiment is not entirely clear from the wording. For instance, keyword-based tools analyze sarcasm and complex wording wrong, but Einstein overcomes such pitfalls.
The Impact at the end of Year One
Einstein is now embedded across the entire Customer Success Platform, and is applied in several use cases.
Enterprises trying to build smarter applications often fumble at the point of having to infuse quality data to the powerful application. A year since its launch, Einstein has succeeded in bridging this critical gap in a big way. It draws accurate data from the CRM and other internal systems, but also draws on Salesforce’s access to a large body of information about customers, territories, and more.
Today, Einstein delivers 475 million+ predictions every day. Some of the top names using Einstein now in their day-to-day business operations include Room&Board, U.S. Bank, Silverline, FareCompare, Black Diamond, and more. However, Einstein empowers not just the big names, but even small businesses and ordinary users.
Use cases and testimonies are already abound. Silverline, a New York-based consulting firm, for instance, uses Activity Capture and Opportunity Insights to identify risks effectively, and in the process helps salespersons save an hour each day in manual data entry. The company is also able to target leads with a greater level of precision, and enjoys a 30% higher close rate. Room & Board, a furniture company, uses Einstein Recommendations to co-opt highly precise product recommendations in every email, and generates a whopping 150% increase in conversation rate.
The Future Works
To mark Einstein’s first anniversary, Salesforce has announced the infusion of even more capabilities. Salesforce Ventures, Salesforce’s corporate investment group, has also announced a new $50 million Salesforce Artificial Intelligence Innovation Fund.
The new Einstein Forecasting feature, promising to be a breakthrough innovation, would apply special logic, to translate the latent data behind the forecasts into human language, disclosing not just what to expect from the pipeline, but also the underlying rationale. Sales executives may use these insights to prioritize leads, and focus on the most valuable leads up front.
Einstein Opportunity and Account Insights prioritize high-value opportunities automatically. It recognizes when deals are on track or at risk, flags the marketer, and offers recommendations to better or salvage the situation. Sales reps are spared of spending long hours sifting through opportunities, with the system guiding them to the deals most likely to close, or most likely to be lost for want of attention.
Einstein email insights, another potential red-hot innovation, bring the power of artificial intelligence to the inbox. The tool automatically prioritizes inbox emails in order of relevance. It also throws in natural-language processing powered action and response recommendations.
Einstein is already well entrenched in the Salesforce ecosystems. The new tools, viz: Einstein Forecasting, Einstein Opportunity Scoring and Einstein Email Insights are currently in pilot and expected to be available by the first half of 2018.
Salesforce is always in a continuous improvement mode, and the pace of innovation continues unabated. Salesforce Research is currently focused on pushing the boundaries in deep learning. A team under Chief Scientist Dr. Richard Socher is working on bringing this cutting-edge technology to Salesforce customers. Though it is still early days, the next big thing in Einstein could be from this space.
A year in review, Einstein has equipped the Sales Cloud with unparalleled predictive and intelligent capabilities, and cracked the traditionally flawed forecasting model. The infusion of Einstein related capabilities enables the enterprise to become smart, and become more responsive to its customers and other stakeholders.