Quip: Rethinking Productivity Tools at SFDC

A few months ago, Salesforce.com purchased team productivity tool Quip.  This month’s  Dreamforce show was SFDC’s first opportunity to broadly promote Quip and their vision of productivity tools.  Quip’s mission is to “change the way people work together,” according to Quip CEO Bret Taylor.  Unfortunately, “the way that all of our teams work has completely shifted over the past decade, but the tools we use at work just haven’t kept up.”

The “path forward” is away from email attachments, meetings, and continuous monitoring of email inboxes.  Taylor was the CTO at Facebook when it transformed from a browser platform to a mobile first platform.  As this transformation took place, he realized that Facebook users were enjoying cutting edge apps running on a mobile phone while the state of the art inside the company was working with 8 ½ x 11 virtual documents and attaching them to email.  When founding Quip, he threw out the “preconceived notions” around productivity software and asked “what would productivity software look like in a decade if you were to start from scratch” if you designed it around mobility and communication?

One of the problems with building such a tool was that productivity has been defined by Microsoft and its Office Suite and has been framed by this unitary vision for decades.  They concluded that the goal of productivity tools was to “enhance communications.”  Thus, typewriters let anyone set copy and photocopiers let anyone run a printing press.  Likewise, the Office Suite digitized communication tools that already existed (e.g. typed documents to Word, overhead slides to PowerPoint, calculators to Excel).  Email then made it easier to attach virtual documents and transmit them globally in milliseconds.

But with the smartphone, productivity has failed to keep up.  Users have shifted to thumb typing emails on their phone instead of using productivity tools.  “All of us have willingly given up thirty years of R&D in the word processor to thumb type emails for one simple reason: it’s more important that the recipient of what you’re writing can click reply than that you have footnotes or fonts.  Communication is the most important feature of productivity and that’s why communication is the foundation of Quip.”

The goal of Quip was to avoid email entirely, otherwise they would simply be creating another attachment file type.  “Quip combines communication and writing in a single integrated product experience so you can work and communicate with your team without going back to our email inbox.”

Quip allows multiple simultaneous editors on any device with a chat thread attached to each document,” said Taylor.  “In Quip, that forty-email chain in making a decision is a shared document with a state of the decision right there for everyone to see.  And all the conversation that went into that decision is attached to it.”

Quip is based on four key values:

  1. Quip is built for teams with every feature “designed to move teamwork forward faster.”
  2. Quip was designed mobile-first.  While not all documents will be created on phones, they all will work on phones.  “With Quip, you can truly run your company from your phone.”
  3. Quip is deeply integrated with the Salesforce productivity cloud.  A Lightning module allows Quip documents to be embedded within SFDC records so that “all of the spreadsheets, documents, and discussions about an opportunity are attached to the opportunity itself.”  Salesforce fields can be pulled directly into documents and spreadsheets with automatic updating.
  4. Quip is collaborative.

A customer survey found that Quip reduced daily meetings by 28%, cut time to project completion by 28%, lowered email communications by 32%, and raised team communication by 43%.  The net was a 38% increase in team productivity.

A Quip document with text, spreadsheet, chart, and checklist.
A Quip document with text, spreadsheet, chart, and checklist.

Quip does not offer multiple tools, but instead provides a single app for mixing and matching checklists, spreadsheets, text, and images within a single canvas.  An integrated checklist provides a meeting notes canvas with assigned tasks via @mentions.  By tracking actions within the meeting notes, follow-up meetings are reduced.

Spreadsheets are embedded within documents such that “documents don’t need to be a separate file attachment that can live right in the context of the project you are working on.  And the data in spreadsheets isn’t trapped within a spreadsheet.  You can reference the data from spreadsheets inside of your document,” said Taylor.  “And it means that you can have an executive summary that automatically updates when the finance folks update the spreadsheet.  It’s a really connected platform.”

Quip embedded spreadsheet data updates automatically.
Quip embedded spreadsheet data updates automatically.

And because each document includes an integrated conversation, teams can work entirely within the document without returning to their email.

Quip is priced at $30 per month for a team of 5 and $10 per month for each additional person.  The Enterprise edition is priced at $25 per user per month.

Quip customers include Facebook, Electronic Arts, Ultimate Software, Instagram, CNN, Snapchat, Airbnb, and Pinterest.

SFDC Einstein: Once Again We’re Discussing AI

einstein-artificial-intelligence-in-business

In the late 1980’s, when my career was first beginning, I worked on a technology helpdesk for an insurance agency automation system (Aetna’s Gemini platform).  Many of the calls were routine with an easily road mapped set of resolution steps.  So the firm decided to invest in artificial intelligence (AI) and began interviewing its most seasoned experts to identify the problem resolution path.

After several months of development, an AI module would be unveiled that walked the user through problem resolution.  It was basically a set of if-then-else and case statements providing pre-coded branching logic.  Support reps started with a category and were walked through a set of questions to ask and resolution steps to convey over the phone.

The solution was expensive and lacked the ability to learn.  Thus, if new problems arose or the problem resolution changed due to new hardware or software being introduced, the rules no longer applied.

It was far from intelligent.  Heck, I’d coded a twenty-questions game in a first semester programming class that was more intelligent than the service.  At least my Q&A game had the ability to learn new questions to ask without requiring an expensive consultant.

Finally, it was only used by new hires as much of the routine steps were just that — routine.

Solutions like this quickly proved that Artificial Intelligence wasn’t intelligent and after a few years, the term AI fell from favor and returned to the realm of sci-fi killer robots.

Nearly three decades later, the term AI is once again being rolled out.  But now it does convey an impressive level of intelligence which makes our devices feel smart.  It’s why we call them smartphones.  They are able to leverage vast amounts of data and make decisions in the blink of an eye.  Whether it is asking Siri a question or having Google map the best route to a location subject to current traffic patterns and transportation mode, we expect our devices to be intelligent.

AI represents a massive change in technology. You might call it a “paradigm shift” or “disruption” or we could just stick with “massive change.” What we’re trying to say is, AI is kind of a big deal. And just like the arrival of the personal computer, cloud computing, and the mobile smartphone, AI is going to fundamentally change the way things work, forever.

AI is not killer robots. It’s killer technology.

So it was with a smile that I saw the term AI being used by Salesforce in positioning their new Einstein service.  Each year at Dreamforce, CEO Marc Benioff discusses a new underlying technology or cloud.  Most recently it has been Lighting (UI and workflows), Wave (analytics), and the Internet of Things Cloud.  At Dreamforce 2016, it is Einstein, their artificial intelligence platform to assist with sales, marketing, and service.

Salesforce presents AI simply as

Lots of data + cloud computing + good data models = smarter machines

So while much of this technology has been provided as consumer applications for over a decade, businesses have been lagging behind when the scope goes beyond a mobile app or e-commerce portal.

Shouldn’t the full transactional and service history be available to help understand past purchases, preferences, and potential cross-sell and upsell opportunities?

Wouldn’t we want it delivered no matter the touch point?

That is the type of intelligence that Einstein is looking to bring to Salesforce customers.  Einstein is “the world’s first comprehensive artificial intelligence platform for CRM. I’ve never been more excited about the innovation happening at Salesforce,”  said Benioff.

Einstein is available both programmatically (for developers) and “declaratively for non-coders,” said Benioff.  It is integrated directly into the SFDC platform and available across all of the clouds.  For example, an Einstein widget displays a set of insights identifying competitor news, recommended actions, and account intelligence.

Einstein Insights Widgets provide intelligence both programmatically for developers and data scientists and declaratively for end users.
Einstein Insights alerts widget.

 

Einstein can surface competitor mentions even if the end user hasn't trained it to do so.
Einstein Insights surfaces insights both programmatically for developers and data scientists and declaratively for end users.  It can even infer competitors from emails and deliver alerts within SFDC widgets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Einstein builds models with no coding or initial training by users.  For example, the system is able to determine which trigger events are important to sales reps and surface news about competitors without asking “who are your competitors?”  The system also can make recommendations concerning high-scoring leads based upon both fit (firmographics, biographics) and behavior (e.g. recent viewing of a demo).

Einstein recommends actions to sales reps. In this case, it is suggesting an email requesting a meeting be setup with the VP of Sales at a high-scoring account.
Einstein recommends actions to sales reps. In this case, it is suggesting an email requesting a meeting with the VP of Sales at a high scoring lead who recently viewed a product demo on the website.

Not only does the system recommend activity, but it then offers recommended email copy including a proposed call time.

The platform is built on a series of recent acquisitions including RelateIQ (rebranded SaleforceIQ), MetaMind, Implisit, PreductionIO, and TempoAI.  The firm now has a team of 175 data scientists “stitching together this amazing platform,” said Benioff.

“The new platform will “democratize artificial intelligence” and “make every company and every employee smarter, faster and more productive,” continued Benioff.  “This is going to be a huge differentiator and growth driver going forward as it puts us well ahead of our CRM competition once again.”

The new platform infuses their sales, cloud, and marketing platforms with AI capabilities for “anyone” regardless of their role or industry.  According to Salesforce, Einstein lets employees “use clicks or code to build AI-powered apps that get smarter with every interaction.”

Einstein is positioned as having your own data scientist focused on applying AI to customer relationships.  Einstein has access to a broad set of intelligence including CRM data, email, calendar, social, ERP, and IoT to “deliver predictions and recommendations in context of what you’re trying to do. In some cases, it even automates tasks for you. So you can make smarter decisions with confidence and focus more attention on your customers at every touch point.”

Several predictive analytics companies used the launch to shout, “hey wait, we’ve already mastered AI for sales and marketing.”  LeadSpace CEO and former Salesforce CMO Doug Bewsher stated, “B2B marketers need a complete solution that works across multiple channels, in their existing marketing stack.”

“Bad data is the Achilles heel of AI,” continued Bewsher. “AI is only as good as the data available to it. Marketers who want to get the full benefit of AI need to address their data problems first, or they’ll see the same diminishing returns as with traditional marketing automation.”

Shashi Upadhyay, CEO at Lattice Engines was a bit more diplomatic in welcoming Einstein.  “After having led the market for several years, we are really excited to see the mainstream attention shifting towards AI-based solutions for marketing and sales.  The Einstein announcement from Salesforce is a great step forward, as it will serve to educate the market and signal that predictive solutions are here to stay.”

Image Credit: Salesforce.com

Data.com: Summer 2016 Release

The Salesforce Summer 2016 release contains over 200 new features and enhancements including Lightning support for Data.com and the Marketing Cloud, Wave Analytics for the Service Cloud, a native dialer, and SaleforceIQ Inbox for Outlook.

The Account Insights Tab provides integrated Data.com intelligence.
The Account Insights Tab provides integrated Data.com intelligence.

The Data.com Prospect Insights view is now Lightning enabled and can be accessed from Opportunity and Account Detail pages.  A “See More Insights” button (1) takes the user to additional business and financial details from Dun & Bradstreet.  Company intelligence includes D&B WorldBase firmographics and linkage, Hoover’s top company descriptions and competitors, and First Research industry overviews including call prep questions and industry summaries.  Hoover’s and First Research content sets are also licensed from Dun & Bradstreet. 

Clicking on Annual Revenue (2), provides additional details around revenue and growth.

Sales reps can further research the company by clicking on See More News (3).

According to the Summer 2016 release notes, “In Lightning Experience, Prospecting Insights give your reps highly relevant information that helps guide customer conversations. Account insights and company linkages are all in one location for a more efficient and customer focused experience.”

First Research industry overviews provide a set of plain-English primers.  While there is some international discussion, the profiles are US-centric and directed towards non-experts (i.e. sales reps).  Industry overview sections include:

  • Industry Details—View details about the accounts industry as identified by SIC and NAICS codes and descriptions.
  • Competitive Landscape—Understand the potential of the account in its related industry.
  • Trends—Understand the account’s financial situation and identify potential growth areas.
  • Opportunities—Peruse the various account opportunities.
  • Call Prep—Prepare for a call with detailed Q&A.
  • Industry Websites—Link to the websites of the account’s top competitors.

Data.com Lightning also includes the recently enhanced Company Hierarchy view.  The family tree information mashes together the Dun & Bradstreet global family tree (e.g. linkages, location type, city, country, revenue, and employees)  with Salesforce.com account intelligence including whether the location is already an account and the name of the account owner.

The Data.com company hierarchy is sourced from the highly respected D&B WorldBase file. SFDC has mashed together SFDC account intelligence with the family tree.
The Data.com company hierarchy is sourced from the highly respected D&B WorldBase file. SFDC has mashed together SFDC account intelligence with the family tree.

Users may expand or collapse nodes and quickly add an account via clicking on a Plus button.

Data.com Lightning also supports an Add New Account feature located on the Account page.  The quick search feature supports filtering by Revenue, Country / Territory, State, Name or Website, Location Type (Headquarter, Branch, or Single Location).  While reviewing the company list, users can mouse over a company name to see additional company details.  Up to twenty accounts may be added at a time.

The Add New Account selects help filter through the very large universe of Dun & Bradstreet data but appears to be under-featured.  Similar filters are available in company lookups in sales intelligence services, but they provide filters with counts that can be applied via a single click.  They also provide one click sorting by clicking on headers and filtering by regions within countries (e.g. Provinces and Territories).

Last month, Data.com pricing was simplified to a single tier for Prospector and Clean.  Thus, all Prospector and Clean users now have access to the full WorldBase file including company hierarchy, secondary industry codes, and broader financial details.

In Data.com Clean, Lead records are now enriched with the Dun & Bradstreet WorldBase file.  The release notes state, “Even if your leads have only a name and email address, you can add a ton of valuable company information. That could be the difference between converting a lead and wasting your reps’ time.”

On the negative side, Data.com has retired its Social Keys which matched records with social profiles.

Other Features

Other new Summer 2016 features from Salesforce include

  • Lightning Voice: Click-to-dial and inbound call support native to SFDC
  • Email Studio: “an all-new, streamlined, intuitive email creation and send workflow” for the Marketing Cloud.
  • Lightning Pages: Configures new Lighting home pages by “dragging and dropping standard, custom, or partner” components on the page canvas.
  • Service Wave: Service analytics provide “visibility into KPIs like open cases, agent productivity, and customer satisfaction”

On Monday, I will touch upon SalesforceIQ enhancements in the Summer 2016 release.

Lightning Strikes SFDC Again

SalesforceIQ Inbox_Hero
The SalesforceIQ Inbox provides a set of desktop and mobile productivity apps for which bring Salesforce intelligence to the email Inbox.

Salesforce.com had another beat and raise quarter where they beat expectations and raised their revenue guidance.  When you are growing at 27% year over year (28% once currency headwinds are factored in), it is easy to have a succession of beat and raise quarters — All you have to do is figure out how to add two billion dollars in revenue this year and then continue to do so geometrically every year forward.

On Wednesday’s earnings call, CEO Marc Benioff claimed that SFDC continues to invest heavily in its sales cloud platform while competitors have invested elsewhere.  Remarking on SFDC’s continued leadership position in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, he stated that

Everyone else kind of abandoned their technology in this area and they are trying to give it a lot of lip service, but the reality is there is just no comparison between what we have and what the other vendors have at this point.  It’s incredible and it comes through in our demos, it comes through in our wins, and it comes through in the core customer success.”

The Sales Cloud, their oldest and largest cloud, saw an acceleration in its growth rate due to its Salesforce1 “rebooting” combined with the new Lightning user experience which was designed as mobile first.  Other growth drivers were Pardot, their B2B marketing automation platform, and the recently acquired SteelBrick CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) service.

Lightning also supports the Force platform.  It’s mobile development capabilities help developers “rapidly build and expand and create these applications using Lightning and deploy them on all these different devices,” said Benioff.  “Lightning is so unique and so special in the industry.  It lets our customers build these applications quickly at a very low cost and deploy them across so many different platforms that we’re going to see a continued growth in core clouds.”

The Next Growth Driver: Artificial Intelligence

Benioff also discussed past and future growth drivers for Salesforce and the tech industry.  Past drivers include cloud computing and social with mobile as a key current driver.  Moving forward, growth will come from the integration of artificial intelligence across SFDC to improve customer experience and workflows.  Benioff provided the new SalesforceIQ Inbox service as an example:

[The] Salesforce Inbox is very exciting because it uses artificial intelligence and machine intelligence to work with our users, to work with our emails, to work with their calendars, and work with their CRM data to give them perspective ideas on exactly how do be more efficient in the sales, service, and marketing processes of their companies…

This is another major growth factor because it will appear in sales, it will appear in service, it will appear in marketing.

For the past few years, Benioff has been discussing the importance of being a customer company that interacts with customers across a broad set of platforms and departmental touch points with “systems of intelligence.”  It is along this front that SFDC has staked out its most recent competitive differentiation:

We’re in the midst of a massive generational shift; a new generation of customers and consumers is clearly emerging. We have been calling them here at Salesforce C generation customers. Customer generation, consumer generation that these are people who want it now, they want it fast, they want it easy, and they’re mobile, they’re social, they’re always on, and our customers are working to connect with the C generation in new ways, very exciting. I mean this is really part of a huge shift that’s happening in computing. We’ve gone from the first generation of computing which was very much about systems of record to the second generation which was systems of engagement we talked about that on these calls many times over the last 10 years. And we are clearly moving into this incredible world that the system of intelligence that’s all yielding these incredible systems of customers or C generation customers that are — that our customers are connecting to. And that’s we’re so excited about.

Focusing on the customer, delivering systems of intelligence, developing a mobile-first platform, betting on the cloud when the tech market is collapsing, and embracing social.  These decisions all seem obvious in retrospect, but in the fog of corporate battle, the trick is to identify and implement the next wave early and better than anybody else.  When you think about it, that’s easy — sort of like growing revenue by two billion dollars this year.

To Become a System of Intelligence, SFDC is Getting Serious about Data.com

Data.com Prospecting Insights Financial Details from Dun & Bradstreet.
Data.com Prospecting Insights Financial Details from Dun & Bradstreet.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Salesforce.com is evolving towards a System of Intelligence.  At her Data.com Keynote at Dreamforce, VP of Product Marketing Michelle Huff noted that CRM has been evolving from a system of record to a system of engagement.  This involves not only reducing data entry, but evolving CRM for mobile, social, and account maintenance.  The next evolutionary step is becoming a system of intelligence which supports account planning, account awareness, and recommendations from within the CRM.

Historically, sales reps have conducted most of their account research outside of the CRM, but Data.com is adding additional Dun & Bradstreet datasets to deliver account intelligence within SFDC.  These information sets move CRM from being a reactive tool for selling to a proactive tool for customer intelligence.  Insights include account targets, task prioritization, and alerts.

At the base of customer intelligence is good data.  If your system of record is out of date or filled with gaps, your insights will be limited or inaccurate.  “intelligence just becomes less intelligent,” said Huff.  “Recommendations will be great, but just not as helpful.”  For example, leads will be passed to the wrong rep if sizing and industry data is missing.

According to Data.com Senior Director of Marketing Beth Fitzpatrick, data quality is the number one reason that CRM implementations fail.  Data.com addresses this problem through both a Clean service for maintaining data quality and Prospector for list building and account planning.  She also noted the value of a high quality referential data source such as the Dun & Bradstreet account file.  “When you leverage the D-U-N-S Numbers as a kind of identifier across your system, it allows you to organize and structure that data…you have that index, kind of keeping things in order.”

Christoph Gerz, Director of Global Sales Operations at Polycom noted that after standardizing on Data.com, 90% of his pipeline is DUNSRight matched from a dollar perspective.  Prior to Data.com, there was no standardization on company names and addresses.  They also lacked firmographic and linkage data.

Jennifer Taylor, SVP of Product Development, began by stating, “we can’t create time for you, but we can create intelligence in our system that will hopefully make you more effective and more productive and enable you to cover more ground in less time.”

According to Data.com, the pillars of improved sales productive come from being able to

  • Discover the Best Opportunities
  • Prioritize Your Prospects
  • Understand Your Customers Better

I would argue that this list of requirements is too narrow and should also include

  • Monitor your Customers and Prospects Better
  • Sell Deeper into the Organization

Data.com has omitted these two as they do not offer significant monitoring, organizational research, or relationship management tools, though this weakness is beginning to change.  The new SalesforceIQ for Sales addresses some of the relationship tools through its who knows who feature and email mining to prevent customer and prospect requests from slipping between the cracks.  The addition of the Dun & Bradstreet family tree to Data.com in Winter 2016 (classic version only) is another step towards addressing these gaps.

Data.com has implemented a series of enhancements over the past year.  Whereas it was a somewhat ignored platform for the prior few years, Salesforce has increased its investment in both content and functionality through an extension of the Dun & Bradstreet partnership:

d1

“We have to ensure that you have a solid foundation of data, that that foundation of data continues to be enriched and stay clean.  So we’re constantly expanding our data sets, improving our data quality, religiously helping you manage your dupes, providing you scalability so we grow as your business grows and then always making sure that everything we build, of course, is API first so you can integrate it into any workflow or process that you use within your system,” said Taylor.

Prospecting Insights was released this summer and provided broader business details, industry and competitive intelligence, and call prep questions.  The extended company intelligence is from Dun & Bradstreet with the call prep content written by First Research editors and the competitors lists assembled by Hoover’s editors.

“One of the things we talk a lot about at Salesforce is customer love.  The first step to love is knowledge…and Prospecting Insights aims to give you that intelligence.” — Jennifer Taylor, SVP of Product Development

Winter 2016 brings the Dun & Bradstreet family tree, Recommended Accounts (cloning your top customers), Lead Appending which adds firmographics to incoming leads, and Clean Enhancements including perpetual update and geocoding.  All of these items are listed as beta or pilot in Winter 2016 so will hit general availability later in the year.

The Dun & Bradstreet family trees are global in scope and include location, sizing, and ownership type (e.g. Headquarters, Branch, Division).

The Dun & Bradstreet Family Tree (beta) supports one-click addition of new Account records.
The Dun & Bradstreet Family Tree (beta) supports one-click addition of new Account records.

If a location is currently within SFDC, a green flag is displayed along with the account owner’s name.

By scrolling over and clicking on any location, it is immediately added as an account and assigned to the rep.

Trees are collapsible at the node level so users can hide divisions that are of little interest.

They plan on additional features in future releases including white space analysis and performing account and opportunity analysis.

The Recommended Accounts feature is a black box prospecting engine that utilizes customer win / loss information to identify companies similar to the reps’ top customers.  Data.com states that Recommended Accounts is “based on your past successes.  Our algorithm learns from your Salesforce data to find accounts similar to those you have closed.  Accounts are listed in ranked order, those at the top have the greatest possibility of success.”  Reps can then filter the results to further refine the list (e.g. limit recommendations to headquarters) and then select proposed accounts to be added to SFDC with one click.

The description sounds fairly rudimentary as it basically looks at basic firmographic variables to find “good adjacent, highly probable opportunities.”  It should not be confused with predictive analytics features that look at thousands of Business Signals matched against an Ideal Profile.

Lead enrichment provides web form enrichment based on two fields, name and email.  Data.com then appends firmographics and phone information to the record based upon the email domain.

And since firmographics and linkage are derived from Dun & Bradstreet, leads are properly routed to the appropriate rep and the lead is given a quality and priority score.

Only a high level slide was provided on their roadmap, but it included market analysis, customer analysis, news, financials, account prioritization, and significant event alerts.  Several of last year’s announcements went unremarked including the Thomson Reuters partnership and third party services (Data.com Connect and the Data.com Exchange).  The third party services no longer appear to have their own mini-site with Data.com sending customers and prospects to the Data Apps on the AppExchange.

For a long time, Data.com was simply the Dun & Bradstreet WorldBase file sold by SFDC reps.  It was strong on brand but weak on content and functionality.  It now appears that Salesforce is getting serious about Data.com.

SalesforceIQ: Baby Steps towards a “System of Intelligence”

 

Follow ups generated by SalesforceIQ

At Dreamforce, Michelle Huff, VP of Product Marketing at SFDC, noted the historical evolution of CRM from a system of record to a system of engagement.  This shift reduced data entry and supported mobile, social, and account maintenance.  SFDC is now evolving into a system of intelligence which enables account planning, account awareness, and recommendations from within the Sales Cloud.  This evolution can be seen in enhancements to Data.com (my next post) and the newly launched SalesforceIQ for Small Business and SalesforceIQ for Sales Cloud services

The goal of SalesforceIQ is to shift CRM from relationship management to relationship intelligence while automating key activities and proactively suggesting tasks and making recommendations.  Thus, if a prospect states in an email, “can we connect to discuss a contract?” SalesforceIQ flags the request and schedules it as a high priority task

The service is built on the 2014 acquisition of RelateIQ and mines emails, calendars, marketing apps, and other data sources to gather customer data.  The service offers “smarter selling” through lead prioritization and relationship capital management (RCM) recommendations concerning contact introductions.  The RCM feature is integrated into inboxes, mobile (Android, iOS), and Chrome apps.

Other mobile features include an integrated inbox with the CRM, email shortcuts to quickly enter common phrases, cloud storage integration, and a notifications feed.  For users in Gmail on Chrome, a plug in ties Gmail back to SalesforceIQ and supports its tools from within the Chrome browser.

The new service “seeks out the patterns needed to provide insights into future outcomes and proactively recommends actions to build stronger relationships with customers and accelerate sales,” said Salesforce.  “SalesforceIQ for Small Business manages deals, accelerates pipelines and proactively guides SMBs through every step of the sales process, allowing them to focus on closing deals and building 1:1 relationships with their customers.”

The Small Business service is generally available in the US, Canada, and Australia and is priced as low as $25 per user per month for up to five users.  For $65 per user per month, the system provides potential introductions, CRM data in your Inbox, Sales and Activity reports, and direct integrations. SalesforceIQ is offering 14 day free trials.  Pricing is based on annual contracts.

The Sales Cloud edition is currently free in beta with general availability in early 2016.  Sales Cloud pricing will be announced at general availability.  The beta version is English only with additional languages planned.  The Sales Cloud version includes a new email app where “Salesforce is your Inbox” connected to the Sales Cloud.  The system automatically associates emails with contacts.  Users can create opportunities from the app, respond back to the prospect with macro-based comments, and schedule a meeting using the scheduling assistant.

“Today’s massive influx in communication data creates powerful signals about the health and potential of business relationships. It also creates a lot of noise,” said Steve Loughlin, CEO of SalesforceIQ, Salesforce. “With SalesforceIQ, companies can now make sense of this data and pull out insights to drive their businesses forward with intelligence.”

The service promises standard sales intelligence benefits including reduced time gathering data, smarter selling, and immediate benefits with no setup costs and easy onboarding.  Along with RCM and opportunity prioritization, the service provides read receipts, suggested tasks, dynamic scheduling to improve calendaring, and shortcuts which “allow customers to quickly insert commonly used phrases to reduce time spent composing emails.”

It should be noted that SalesforceIQ is not prioritizing leads, but providing a set of recommended actions based upon the semantic mining of emails.  Thus, the system evaluates whether a customer has asked a question or has been untouched for a while.  Through machine learning, the system tailors recommendations based upon each reps’ style.

SiQ2

An Opportunities Intelligence report provides “instant visibility” into account status by providing metrics such as days in current status, inactive days, last communication date, and next follow up due date.  A stream view provides “a centralized view of all communications between your team and the customer.”  Users can leave comments in the stream and @reference coworkers for a quick response or follow up.

Calendaring is improved by a Chrome extension app that inserts free times into messages, manages the auto invite process with the customer or prospect, and creates the meeting in the user’s calendar.

Integration partners include MailChimp, Hubspot, and Pardot.

Beta customers include ClassPass and News Corp.

Jamie Grenney, VP of Marketing at predictive marketer Infer, commended Salesforce for implementing basic predictive tools into its product line noting that “these improvements will help Salesforce with product adoption for a large swath of its customers.”  Grenney continued that the SalesforceIQ offering “only scratches the surface of what predictive can do” as it is limited to internal email and calendar data and lacks external data.  “There are many other data sources that can provide important clues. These signals that go into a model are different from one company to the next. Without a solid understanding of a company’s process, their data, and what outcome they’re trying to predict, it is difficult or even dangerous to build custom-fit models. You run the risk of setting bad targets, overfitting models, and ultimately making the wrong recommendations.”

“SalesforceIQ is designed to capture inferential data from emails, meetings, and logged calls and then present intelligent suggestions and timely reminders for things like new meeting appointments and follow-up actions,” said Nancy Nardin of Smart Selling Tools.  “I love the concept of using inferential data to eliminate time spent on searching for past activity for the purpose of formulating action plans and next steps. However, the solution has a long way to go before it can be wholly relied on.”

In short, SalesforceIQ sounds like a sales rep toolkit which offers small ways to improve rep efficiency and task awareness.  It is not so much focused on surfacing new insights but in reducing task work, leveraging colleague relationships, and ensuring prospects do not fall between the cracks.  As such, Salesforce is a baby step in the “System of Intelligence” evolution.