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New Salesforce feature aimed to improve data accuracy

Sales Cloud feature Lightning Voice can improve sales engagement, while decreasing data entry.

Hoping to make selling more seamless and efficient, the newest Salesforce Sales Cloud feature, Lightning Voice, can help sales reps keep track of potential leads, with increased data accuracy and sales engagement.

Moving beyond a typical click-to-call feature, Salesforce Lightning Voice allows sales reps to call a potential lead through their desktop and receive detailed information about that lead's previous phone calls, as well as documenting the time and duration of the current call. These features are the early forms of Salesforce incorporating its recent machine learning technology into its existing platforms.

"There's always been click to call, but what differentiates this is tying the call into what they're trying to do in the application itself," said Sheryl Kingstone, research director for business applications for 451 Research. "The traditional way of looking at a CRM is very system of record. Anything that helps it become more of a system of engagement is a good thing."

Salesforce Lightning Voice, which will be available in July, gives sales reps a full view of customers when they're making a call, including what previous products were offered, documents who was called, when the call took place and for how long, and it allows for the sales rep to continuously take notes on the call while toggling through other tabs in the application.

Like other applications, including ConnectLeader, eGain and CloudCall, Lightning Voice allows users to click on a phone number on their desktop and initiate a phone call, while also logging vital information from the call that can be seen by other sales reps and managers.

"We wanted to make it easier for sales reps to talk to customers," said Will Moxley, senior vice president of Sales Cloud product marketing for Salesforce. "Typically, what they have to do is look up a customer and pick up the phone and dial and have the call, and then ideally log the customer interaction after the fact. Sometimes, they forget and don't put all the notes in. Now, when they hang up, we automatically log that call interaction, and everyone who needs to can see what happened with that customer."

By reducing the amount of steps a sales rep has to take, Salesforce Lightning Voice can increase data accuracy and efficiency for both sales reps and managers.

You're putting more into the context of the sale, and you can't put a price on that.
Sheryl Kingstoneresearch director, business applications, 451 Research

"To me, it's putting a dollar amount on data accuracy," Kingstone said. "Sometimes, the people making the decision don't look at it through the eyes of a sales rep. With this feature, you can get that contextual information at the right time and get it back to management."

Beyond the click-to-call feature and automated data entry, being able to quickly identify the content of previous calls and interactions with the customer through Lightning Voice allows for a more intelligent sales conversation.

"We're increasing call productivity by making it one process," Moxley said, adding that a feature in Lightning Voice allows a sales rep to redirect the phone call through the customer's local area code, increasing the likelihood of the customer answering.

The feature is primarily for outbound calls, but it does include collecting information on inbound calls if that customer's number is already in the system. Moxley said development will be done to allow Lightning Voice to work on mobile devices, as well.

"What we want to do is integrate it with the Salesforce1 application so we can capture the interaction right in the app," Moxley said, adding that more of the vision for Salesforce Lightning Voice will be discussed at Dreamforce, Salesforce's annual conference in October.

While Salesforce Lightning Voice was built out of customer feedback and as a way to increase sales engagement and improve data accuracy, the implementation could be lackluster at the beginning, as users decipher its capabilities. The feature costs $45 per user, per month, plus $5 per user, per month for the inbound calling feature.

"I think it will be slow at first, primarily because I don't know if users will understand the automation of it and will think it's just click to call," Kingstone said. "It's so much more than that. You're doing things at the point of interaction and won't forget them. You're putting more into the context of the sale, and you can't put a price on that."

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The features of Salesforce Sales Cloud

Lightning's impact on the Sales Cloud

Challenges in adopting Salesforce Lightning, Wave

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