Have you been wondering why Salesforce has recently been acquiring companies such as Demandware, BeyondCore and MetaMind? The company is on a spending spree and emptied their coinpurse to a tune of over $4 billion in acquisitions over the last year and a half. Recent acquisitions include:
- Gravitytank, Undisclosed amount - The acquisition is expected to help Salesforce design and develop better software solutions to help customers across various industries to connect with partners, clients and employees in newer and more innovative ways.
- Demandware, $2.8B - Offers new tools including personalization across mobile, web, and social media.
- Krux, $700M - Is a cloud-based software with data tools that help marketers, media companies and ad agencies reach and engage customers.
- Quip, $750M - Is a collaboration app featuring word processing, spreadsheets and a group of built-in editing and messaging tools.
Most recently, Salesforce threw its hat into the ring with Apple, Disney and Google to express interest in a Twitter acquisition. Why Twitter? The simple reason: acquisition of information!
Anyone who watches the Netflix hit, House of Cards, can tell you information is a far more valuable currency than any government-backed, monetary note. With the right information, the probability of determining exact customer needs and best moment to position a product or service dramatically increases. The landgrab for information to be inserted into CRM systems has intensified because the payoff is enormous. That’s why Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff, was reported to have tried to outbid Microsoft's $26 billion offer for LinkedIn.
Tapping into this rich vein of data has become headline news in top business journals. Quentin Hardy from the New York Times, recently wrote, “Twitter would fit into a vision that Mr. Benioff has had for Salesforce... Twitter, in Mr. Benioff’s eyes, is already a powerful customer service tool that airlines, restaurants, banks and many other companies use to field consumer complaints and requests. Companies can also use what people post on Twitter to glean consumer habits.”
Note: consider “glean consumer habits” as information currency. But information acquisition is only half the battle -- it must also be refined, correlated and presented in an understandable manner for people to access and use -- enter the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Only companies with a clear vision to automate the process of locating information, in all its forms (social media, data sheet downloads, web searches, website visits, webinar attendance and others), and prioritize the profiles that fit the success patterns for lead development, will prevail. Salesforce is well aware of how valuable information is and has been acquiring companies at a rapid pace to ensure they have this silver lining within the company’ cloud offering.
Barb Darrow from Fortune, recently pointed to AI as a market driver at Salesforce’s Dreamforce event, “Some customers at the show said they were eager to try out the new AI perks, lumped under the “Einstein” label. That’s despite the fact that it’s not quite clear which of these smart features will be folded into existing Salesforce software subscriptions at no extra charge, and which will cost more money.”
Barb has Paul Leary, chief executive of Bespoke Collection, a Napa, California company, underscoring AI’s increasing importance, “If a customer buys $500 worth of wine online, I need to be in touch with that person. Being able to track customers across wholesale, retail, online, and brick-and-mortar store channels would be extremely helpful,” he said.
When it comes to predictive intelligence for sales acceleration, here are five CRM solution enhancements we view as driving this information frenzy:
- Integration - CRM systems must be fully integrated into other business solutions in order to drive revenue and business growth. No more productivity loss due to data silos!
- Productivity - If it's not useful for lead development and conversion, it does not belong as a sales tool. There are hundreds of project management apps and dozens of communication platforms - if a CRM system does not streamline lead scoring and communication (outbound dialing, emailing, texting, etc), it’s not worth the cost or training disruption.
- Intelligence - Often viewed as an oxymoron for CRM solutions, intelligence is a primary lead generation driver. The next-generation sales acceleration tool needs to follow a buyer’s bread crumb trail across the IP universe and automatically assemble only the common elements that pertain to a salesperson’s particular product or service.
- Opportunity - Information can no longer be contained within siloed applications and scattered across the web. Opportunities will begin to emerge from AI-defined prospects that are then correlated with patterns from historical interactions and exploited with sales acceleration features such as agent-assisted dialing software.
- Interaction and sales performance monitoring management - Today’s CRM systems must be cross-functional and present real-time collaboration between all sales individuals. Team motivation through gamification is important.
ConnectLeader is a company that is ahead of the information landgrab craze and has already developed Adaptilytics™, an AI-enhanced CRM solution, proven to accelerate accurate sales profiling decisions--based on the five CRM solution enhancements mentioned above.
Adaptilytics is a predictive sales intelligence engine that analyzes, prioritizes, and scores prospecting lists. In addition, Adaptilytics further improves the outcomes of outbound dialing, emailing, and texting by enabling users to customize the prediction algorithm based on a prospect’s installed technology, intent to buy, contact data and best time to reach.
We invite you to learn how our leading CRM value add software is making a positive impact as a sales acceleration and pipeline tool by viewing this demo.
Author: Senraj Soundar, Founder/CEO
Senraj leads the management team at ConnectLeader towards the primary goal of “engineering excellence and great customer service.”