Sales people and the companies that support them are always looking to shave time off the selling process. The latest release of Sales Wave analytics application aligns with that goal by making rich analytics and sales performance data part of the Salesforce Customer Relationship Management system so users don't have to go elsewhere to a separate app to get those insights.
Jamie Domenici, Vice President of Marketing Analytics at Salesforce, told eWEEK that many customers use data analysts and separate data analytics products to obtain sales performance data.
She mentioned the example of a publisher that has recently switched to Sales Wave. Previously, the company had a team of 15 people produce a 40-page excel file every two weeks containing the kind of information Sales Wave produces automatically.
"Unlike Sales Wave, it wasn't interactive so when there were questions the team of analysts had to do more research and rework the data which made delivery of the final report even longer," said Domenici.
Leveraging feedback and analysis from more than 150,000 Sales Cloud customers, Domenici says Sales Wave has been designed as a "lightweight app" that's easy to get started with out of the box. It includes 13 templates focused on the activities salespeople and managers typically do on a daily basis.
One of the new features is Pipeline Activity Management that produces a graph that shows sales professionals such metrics as how long sales are taking on average and how long to complete specific tasks.
Clicking through the Pipeline can show open sales opportunities and where goals are not being met. Once a sales representative identifies a shortfall for the quarter, he or she could also use Pipeline to identify deals that can potentially be pulled forward to meet goals.
Domenici says Sales Wave acts as a kind of control cockpit for sales reps and managers, letting them navigate the sales process and potential prospects via various dashboards that come with the app. "A rep can see visually where things are at and, for example, easily identify an account that's been inactive for 30 days that is worth following up on," she said.
Sales Wave also offers suggestions for follow through with clients, identifying what activities are used most and ranking their effectiveness. A Player Stats feature compiles such metrics as won opportunities, lost opportunities, win rate, quota attainment, average sales cycle, open pipe and completed activities in a single table.
For sales managers, Sales Wave gives them a visual summary of individual reps' performance and how it matches up to forecasts.
According to research from Peerless Insights cited by Salesforce, 52 percent of sales professionals say they don't have the ability to analyze their sales figures and 50 percent say they take action "with incomplete data insights."
Analyst Jeff Kaplan of Think Strategies says the additional analytics capabilities should be a welcome addition to Salesforce customers, though he warns the CRM giant has to be careful not to alienate its ecosystem of third party Salesforce developers which includes several that offer analytics features.
"It's always a tug-of-war as to how far a vendor should go to provide as much basic capabilities as possible, but leave room for a vibrant third party group of developers to enhance the platform," said Kaplan.
"This is going to be a key battleground because as Salesforce brings new capabilities to the platform, outside developers are going to have to raise the bar or disappear," he said.