Salesforce.com aims to give SMBs more sophisticated selling tools by integrating a sales and support service to get a more complete view of customer needs.
Remember that breath mint commercial—"It's two, two mints in one." The same concept is at play in the latest announcement from Salesforce.com, an integration of SalesforceIQ and the Desk.com customer support app. SalesforceIQ gives sales teams ready access to the latest information on existing customers and prospects, better preparing them for sales calls while Desk.com tracks service and support issues.
The integration gives salespeople a feed of information from both sources, proactively showing, for example, a recent service call that could have a bearing on their interest in new products, services or upgrades.
A growing number of customers expect companies to know who they are and be current on their relationship with the company, said Hana Mandapat, marketing director for Salesforce's Desk.com.
"The big companies are doing this, but smaller ones maybe just have an online presence and that's not enough," Mandapat told eWEEK.
The integration of SalesforceIQ and Desk.com arms salespeople at small and midsize businesses (SMBs) with "predictive intelligence" to have a more informed conversation with prospects and clients by having instant access to their support issues and sales history, she said.
"Many SMBs are unequipped to do this because almost 80 percent of them are relying on spreadsheets and expensive custom code to track customer interactions," she said. "They're missing out on the intelligence they need to anticipate customer needs," in part, because the sales and support teams are siloed.
On the Desk.com side, the integration lets service agents automatically see sales activity, such as pending deals, that could be important in prioritizing work or providing extra levels of service.
The integration goes live Nov. 12 and will be free to current customers of Desktop.com Pro and Business Plus Editions and with SalesforceIQ Growth and Business Plans.
Salesforce announced SalesforceIQ (based on its acquisition of RelateIQ a year earlier) at the Dreamforce conference in September. SalesforceIQ for Small Business is a cloud-based service meant to help SMBs extract insights and recommendations from existing data without having to manually re-enter it. For example, data from email, calendar and marketing automation systems is automatically captured, and reports designed to accelerate the sales process are created. Designed for SMBs who aren't already Salesforce customers, SalesforceIQ for Small Business costs $25 per user per month.
While integration of IT services typically requires hiring consultants and weeks or months of work, Salesforce said the cloud-based systems are designed to be set up in seconds, a key selling point to SMBs that may not have a large IT staff or budget for new projects.
Some SMBs may even have an advantage over Fortune 500 competitors who can't as easily integrate legacy systems that have been siloed for years, if not decades, Mandapat said. "We encourage SMBs to connect these systems early because it's much easier than having to do it later," she said.
"Customers expect and deserve a cohesive experience every time they interact with a company," Steve Loughlin, CEO of SalesforceIQ, said in a statement. "SalesforceIQ's Relationship Intelligence technology enables SMBs to deliver that throughout the sales process. Now, with a Desk.com integration, SMBs are armed with a complete view of their customers across sales and service, enabling them to build deeper relationships and deliver a better experience at every touchpoint."