Salesforce.com eyes small business customers with more data science

SalesforceIQ stems from the CRM giant's $390 million acquisition of big data and machine learning startup RelateIQ in 2014.

zdnet-salesforce-iq-dreamforce-2015-1.png
SAN FRANCISCO---The customer relationship has been the foundation of Salesforce.com's multi-billion cloud empire for more than 15 years.

Now, the CRM giant famous for coining buzz terms such as "social enterprise," "social revolution" and "customer revolution" is leaning on a new phrase that harks back to that original purpose: "relationship intelligence."

Building off an acquisition last year speculated to be patching up some glaring gaps in the portfolio, the San Francisco-headquartered company unveiled SalesforceIQ as a new method for spotting trends and potential deals based on inbox data, among other customer service channels.

"The future of CRM needs to be intelligent," insisted Timothy Fletcher, vice president of product for the RelateIQ team. "It needs to feel different too."

Fletcher suggested this means what could have consisted as two hours blocked off on a Friday afternoon now needs to be something that is automatically synced moments after it happened without requiring extra (and perhaps easily forgotten) actions required by the user.

Thus, SalesforceIQ is the result of the CRM giant's $390 million purchase of big data and machine learning startup RelateIQ in 2014.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company came with its homegrown, data-driven CRM platform spewing out real-time sales insights stemming from a number of sources such as email, calendars, smartphone calls and social media.

SalesforceIQ has been configured to automatically take raw material data between sales teams and customer service reps and clients, storing and organizing that data in a single place for analysis identifying patterns, relationship intelligence.

After going through redevelopment over the last year, SalesforceIQ is initially launching with two different branches: one for Salesforce's cornerstone Sales Cloud and another for small businesses.

zdnet-salesforce-iq-dreamforce-2015-2.png

The Sales Cloud channel aims to connect dots between CRM, sales reps' email inboxes, and the Salesforce1 platform, tapping into mobile (iOS and Android) apps.

"Sales reps are spending two-thirds of their work week in email and being very reactive about it," reflected Fletcher.

Most of the data in that email (among roughly 15 other sources ranging from calls to Facebook) is not getting into the system, Fletcher lamented, positing these sales reps are triaging what is critical for that day but not being put into use for future sales.

The SMB line of service is being introduced as the new entry point into the Salesforce portfolio, aimed toward customers who have never used a single Salesforce -- or even CRM -- product before.

It also replaces the old Group-branded subscription option to Sales Cloud previously pitched to SMB customers. With the same price point in place, Salesforce will continue to support customers on that plan but will be funneling them toward SalesforceIQ in the future.

SalesforceIQ for Small Business is rolling out immediately across the United States, Canada and Australia. Pricing starts at $25 per user per month. Promised with an out-of-the-box experience that can start running in minutes without much configuration, SMBs can opt for a free trial.

SalesforceIQ for Sales Cloud is currently in beta and free for all Sales Cloud users in English. Pricing, additional language support and general availability are scheduled to be announced in early 2016.

zdnet-salesforce-iq-dreamforce-2015-3.jpg

Images via Salesforce.com