Everyone in the B2B space knows about Salesforce and how it revolutionized the cloud computing industry in general and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery of customer relationship management (CRM) solutions in particular. Even given that, Salesforce still tends to mostly exist in the technology stacks of the larger B2B companies.
However, that’s starting to change. Salesforce recently launched the general availability (GA) version of its CRM application package for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) aptly called SalesforceIQ CRM. Actually, the tale of SalesforceIQ goes all the way back to Dreamforce 15 when the application was rebranded from RelateIQ, according to Chad Kutting, general manager, SalesforceIQ CRM.
“With SalesforceIQ CRM, we’re bringing relationship intelligence to all businesses across the globe,” Kutting says. “It’s less about features and more about the context of the customers.”
Specifically, SalesforceIQ CRM allows SMBs to surface thousands of emails and calendar items, according to Kutting. This then provides customer insights and relevant information so that business development teams can take actions and accelerate sales, according to Salesforce.
The initial reaction remains “tremendously” positive, as Kutting puts it, to this “powerful” out-of-the-box solution. And in anecdotal feedback from the field, the preliminary returns seem to bear that out.
On closer analysis…
“SalesforceIQ brings relationship intelligence to the lower end of the market,” says Brent Leary, managing partner, CRM Essentials, a management consulting and advisory firm. “It goes beyond integrating with email apps to make it easier to use CRM and email together, leveraging the actual email information to automatically provide users with insights that should help them more effectively connect with contacts at the right time with more relevant messaging.”
For example, using these capabilities, SMB customer teams could uncover and deliver nuggets of actionable information that might not be unearthed otherwise or that would require many man-hours, according to Leary.
Expanded integration for customer service
As reported in November 2015, SalesforceIQ now exists in tighter integration with Desk.com to enable better customer service for SMBs. In addition, with this close tie-in SalesforceIQ users can monitor how their customers are performing within the application, utilizing it for customer success management (CSM) functionality. And as has become apparent with other CSM applications, this kind of early warning information can prove vital in the total customer experience (CX).
“Integration with Desk.com allows service agents and sales professionals to share information and provide each with a more complete picture of what’s happening with a customer,” Leary says. “Having more information should allow for even more targeted, contextual interactions to help build the relationship and provide more cross-sell, up-sell opportunities.”
Some SalesforceIQ customers, including new startups, have already used the expanded information now available to provide treatment for which more traditional B2B organizations have become known. CX has always existed as an important touchstone for them, but this CRM for SMBs may have democratized the process more than ever.
“Startups are scrappy, and there is a lot of stepping on each other’s toes, but SalesforceIQ CRM provides our team with one centralized place to collaborate,” says Matt Bendett, co-founder and head of marketing and acquisition, Peerspace, an online marketplace that connects professionals and businesses to workspace providers. “It has been instrumental in growth of our company and critical in ensuring that we continue to provide the same white glove treatment our first customer received.”
Qualitative boon for productivity
Between the beta version and this GA release, SalesforceIQ CRM customers have recorded very impressive results judging by the numbers provided by Salesforce. Overall, customers have saved an average of 4.2 hours per week on data entry and increased deal closure rates by up to 70 percent, according to Salesforce.
“SalesforceIQ CRM is completely invaluable to our entire company,” says Cristian Robio, COO, Startupbootcamp, a global network of industry-focused startup accelerators. “Due to the coordination-heavy nature of my role, I am bombarded by daily communication with new investors, new startups we are recruiting and new mentors. SalesforceIQ helps me to make sense of this data—ensuring that I never drop the ball.”
And these accelerator-based startups seem the most likely users as well as biggest beneficiaries of SalesforceIQ CRM.
“Those on the upper end of the SMB spectrum—who are in high-growth mode—are interested as this gives them a better entry point with more functionality, and a better, smoother path to maintain growth trajectories while limiting disruptions that come with accelerated scaling,” Leary says. “They can more easily move up the solution path when they’re ready.”
With the launch of SalesforceIQ CRM, Salesforce has created a set of packages for those SMBs not ready to take full advantage of the flagship Salesforce1 platform. Three tiers have initially become available in this launch with different price points for each, the only limitation being that of the starter package to only five users.
According to Kutting, SalesforceIQ was built for small businesses to enable them to grow throughout the Salesforce portfolio. Eventually, SMBs could seamlessly port to Salesforce1 when they have outgrown SalesforceIQ.
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