Salesforce Pushes AI Into Sales Cycle

With the launch of Einstein High Velocity Sales Cloud today, Salesforce deploys AI to speed up the sales cycle, and align sales strategy with marketing.

In an environment where inside sales are growing faster than field sales, the initiative is designed to boost sales productivity by integrating existing and new cloud components:

  • Einstein Lead Scoring
  • Einstein Activity Capture
  • Lightning Sales Console
  • Lightning Dialer
  • Salesforce Engage

In a demonstration yesterday, Salesforce showed Einstein surfacing the most promising leads from a long list of prospects, and automatically recording the sales reps responsive activity by crawling email and calendar. The information displays a personalized workspace (powered by Lightning), from which smart dialing sets up and captures information about a call. Finally, recent engagements by the prospect (website activity, white paper downloads, etc) display in the console to inform the sales call.

The final part of that process, Salesforce Engage, is powered by Pardot, Salesforce’s B2B customer engagement solution, but the larger theme seems to be the use of Einstein to automate — intelligently — the task of sifting through a long list of leads to find the gold, as well as the data entry chore of recording the sales reps actions.

There’s nothing new about lead scoring, of course, and in a conversation with Sara Varni, SVP of product marketing for the Sales Cloud, I asked whether Einstein was simply applying static rules to identify the most promising prospects. That, of course, would hardly count as AI.

“A lot of solutions do advocate for the admin setting up a rule,” she agreed.  “That’s not what this is. No configuration is required. Einstein will generate a score and a likelihood to convert, but it’s learning, it’s changing. It’s evolving all the time.”

In other words, Varni told me, this is an example of authentic machine learning, with Einstein refreshing its own algorithms based on success (or failure) of its recommendations.

Lightning Console is in open beta, but is expected to be available in June, 2017 with any Salesforce license, at no additional cost. The other components listed are generally available today, at a cost per user.

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