The Salesforce Sales Cloud has over the years carved out a reputation for itself as being the go-to application for sales productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness. The secret of success is the platform constantly updating itself to deliver the best and the latest that technology makes possible. In tune with the trend, Salesforce announced a host of new features, power packed apps and enhanced capabilities for the platform at the Dreamforce ’14 conference. These improvements promise to take the platform to a whole new level.
Here is a run-down of the major improvements expected in 2015:
Apps to Improve Efficiency
Most salespersons spend a good amount of time in mundane administrative tasks, such as seeking contact information, updating accounts and data entry, and also on other non-sales activities such as prospecting, training and meetings. These jobs leave them with very little time to undertake the actual sales process. CSO Insights estimates that nearly 59% of an average salesperson’s time is spent on tasks other than selling.
In such a scenario, success depends on working smarter rather than harder to reduce the time spent on non-core activities. The Salesforce1 Cloud platform offers many new apps that allow sales executives to get their administrative and non-core activities done fast, leaving them with more time and ability to focus on their primary task.
The domain of analytics has until now been too complex for the average marketing professional, and they mostly depend on specialized data teams to receive analytical insights. Salesforce Cloud1 promises to change that and bring Analytics to the front-burner, to make it easy for marketers to crunch the required data and generate the required insights at the drop of a hat.
The new Sales Analytics app offers robust filtering options that make it easy to sort through the massive amounts of available data, and an intuitive visual interface that make it easier to identify patterns and insights. The app also offers mobile functionality, making analytics possible from the fingertips anytime, anywhere.
The possibilities are endless. For instance, a sales executive, \ who is aware of a prospect having accessed the pricing page of the website, could run an analytics on his preference through the smart phone on a real time basis and engage with him on a customized basis, armed with the latest and most relevant information.
Today’s prospects are highly aware and tech-savvy. They engage through multiple channels and expect marketers to engage with them on a customized basis, with information tailored to meet their needs at every stage and on any channel. While marketers understand this fact, actually doing so is a struggle for them, as they have to juggle conflicting priorities being hard pressed with too many tasks to pay too much time to any singe prospect.
The Salesforce 1 Sales Coach cloud app, however, has the potential to transform the way marketers operate and improve their efficiency in a big way. This app helps the marketer identify the stage of the marketing lifecycle a specific prospect is on, pull out the right data related to the prospect, and suggest guidance aimed at advancing the prospect to the next stage of the marketing lifecycle. It offers marketers advice on the right steps to take at each stage and the recommended course of action.
The Sales Coach app uses the in-built Smarter Agent Console to deliver recommendations to sales reps. For instance, when a customer calls with a known problem, the app console pushes up suggested articles, knowledge topics and experts.
Marketing automation tools have soared in popularity in recent times, for the obvious benefits in performance it delivers. Salesforce’s recent acquisition of Pardot has allowed it to enhance its automation capabilities in a big way. The new Sales Reach app directly leverages on the capabilities of Pardot.
Sales Reach offers a host of intuitive features such as
- Better Prospect Tracking: Marketers can now track the pages prospects visit on the websites automatically, and notify when they take purchase-ready actions such as viewing the pricing page.
- Better Engagement: Sales Reach empowers each salesperson to run their own micro-campaigns to nurture leads. The app also allows sales reps to track response to such campaigns and get real-time notifications when prospects do the call-to-action on campaign content, such as downloading a whitepaper or viewing a video.
The Sales path app allows sales managers and executives to create model sales processes in a drag-and-drop environment. This facilitates easy and seamless exchange of processes among the team, reducing the time spent in communications and meetings drastically.
New Apps for Breakthrough Possibilities
Sales has always been a difficult job. The sales executive has to juggle dozens of accounts, manage countless meetings, respond to hundreds of follow-up emails and tasks every day, and finally do everything at the right time to close a sale. In the digital age, it becomes even more difficult. Sales executives need to connect with their customers in new ways. They need to find new customers faster, close deals quicker, and be able to do all of this from anywhere. The Salesforce1 Cloud platform offers a host of new apps that would allow sales executives to keep pace with such demands, making their lives easier.
The Today APP
Salesforce plans to roll out a brand new “Today” App that would allow sales executives to stay organized and manage all their tasks easier. This app doubles up as a virtual personal organizer, allowing them to keep tab of all their accounts, tasks, and appointments. As things stand, getting a complete view of the day often requires visiting multiple apps. For instance, the day’s appointments are in the calendar app whereas the to-do list for daily tasks lies in another app. The Today App integrates everything in a single location, and also offers other value added features, complete from the day’s weather forecast to breaking news centered on the sales executive’s area. Needless to say, it would also offer a daily update on the status of target achievements.
Task, Notes and Events App
In addition to Today, Salesforce is also revamping its entire stable of apps, with the focus on improving efficiency and productivity of the end user. The redesigned Task Apps, for instance, make it easy to create tasks and receive alerts on the go. The Notes app make it possible to take meeting notes right on the phone, when the information is still fresh, thereby eliminating gaps that come when the salesperson has to access the desktop and recollect or refer notes. The old Calendar app has given way to a new Events app that allows sales executives to remain organized better.
New Territory Management System
The Salesforce1 Cloud offers a brand new territory management system that allows sales teams to create territory models on their own, without involving the IT team. This improves efficiency as it empowers those who actually use the system to create it in the first place. Sales teams can now optimize their sales coverage on the fly, in a matter of minutes, rather than the months it took earlier. It also improves flexibility, while reducing ambiguity at the same time.
SOS for Apps
Salesforce also proposes an “SOS for Apps” that, when invoked, would open up a video chat window in the customer’s mobile and allows sales executives to help customers navigate through the app to resolve whatever is bothering the customer. All this while, the sales executive is fed with real-time analytics related to the customer, such as the latest purchase list and support issues.
Data.com is one of Salesforce’s powerful tools to empower sales and marketing professionals. It offers instant access to millions of leads, including professionals and company lists, making it the most convenient and the fastest way to connect with decision makers. Marketers and sales professionals use Data.com extensively to get the latest data related to sales account, to find the right prospects, and to make the right pitch on an informed basis.
The Salesforce1 Cloud offers a revamped Data.com, packed with many powerful features not available before.
- The new Duplicate Management feature offers real-time duplicate alerts to improve the quality and accuracy of the Salesforce data.
- Mobile prospecting makes it possible for users to access relevant and personalized news, tweets and insights related to their accounts and contacts within the Salesforce1 mobile app, without having to look elsewhere.
- Apart from the historic tie-up with Dun & Bradstreet, Salesforce has entered into a new tie-in with Thomson Reuters, to make information in Data.com even more comprehensive. Clients can now view company news, financial summaries, transcripts of announcements, credit scores, regulatory filings, industry KPIs, and research reports along with other information.
Today’s digital workforce is on multiple devices and always connected. They use multiple tools to solve problems and enhance productivity. The flip side of such a trend is fractured attention, the risk of diluting focus and ultimately, loss of productivity. The new Salesforce 1 cloud platform, however, allows users to continue with their multi-device and multi-touchpoint strategy without the risks involved.
The Salesforce1 cloud platform offers a consistent user experience across different tools and devices through responsive design. The tools and their interface remain consistent across all devices and screens, regardless of location. The easy to create templates allow users to set up communities around specific products or services quickly, and ensure that these communities work across various devices automatically, and offer a consistent experience at the same time.
Overall, Salesforce aims at building up a complete and comprehensive set of Salesforce1 cloud apps in 2015.
Image Credit: Salesforce.com