The pandemic has clearly had an impact on the way we work, and this is especially true for salespeople. Salesforce introduced a number of updates to Sales Cloud this morning, including Salesforce Meetings, a smart overlay for Zoom meetings that gives information and advice to the sales team as they interact with potential customers in online meetings.
Bill Patterson, EVP and general manager of CRM applications at Salesforce says that the company wanted to help sales teams manage these types of interactions better and take advantage of the fact they are digital.
"There's a broad recognition, not just from Salesforce, but really from every sales organization that selling is forever changed, and I think that there's been a broad understanding, and maybe a surprise in learning how effective we can be in the from anywhere kind of times, whether that's in office or not in office or whatever," Patterson explained.
Salesforce Meetings gives that overlay of information, whether it's advice to slow down the pace of your speech or information about the person speaking. It also can compile action items and present a To Do list to participants at the end of each meeting to make sure that tasks don't fall through the cracks.
This is made possible in part through the Einstein intelligence layer that is built across the entire Salesforce platform. In this case, it takes advantage of a new tool called Einstein Conversation Insights, which the company is also exposing as a feature for developers to build their own solutions using this tool.
For sales people who might find the tool a bit too invasive, you can dial the confidence level of the information up or down on an individual basis, so that you can get a lot of information or a little depending on your needs.
For now, it works with Zoom and the company has been working closely with the Zoom development team to provide the API and SDK tooling it needs to pull off something like this, according to Patterson. He notes that plans are in the works to make it compatible with WebEx and Microsoft Teams in the future.
While the idea was in the works prior to the pandemic, COVID created a sense of urgency for this kind of feature, as well as other features announced today like Pipeline Inspection, which uses AI to analyze the sales pipeline. It searches for changes to deals over time with the goal of finding the ones that could benefit most from coaching or managerial support to get them over the finish line.
Brent Leary, founder and principal analyst at CRM Essentials says that this ability to capture information in online meetings is changing the way we think about CRM.
"The thing the caught my attention is how tightly integrated video meetings/collaboration is now into sales process. This is really compelling because meeting interactions that may not find their way into the CRM system are now automatically captured," Leary told me.
Salesforce Meetings is available today, while Pipeline Inspection is expected to be available this summer.