Salesforce Inbox Calendar, the cloud CRM company's latest integration, is aimed at minimizing the amount of jumping around sales reps need to do, but it's what the service could lead to that has analysts excited.
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After converting the purchase of RelateIQ into SalesforceIQ, Salesforce integrated another acquisition, Tempo AI, to develop an email application that it hopes will keep sales reps within its platform.
"Salesforce has done a nice job of allowing a seamless user experience between CRM, calendar, contacts and tasks," said Alan Lepofsky, vice president and principal analyst at Cupertino, Calif.-based Constellation Research. "Is it part of a bigger plan? Absolutely, when you start looking at Salesforce's acquisitions in the AI space, you'll see them getting the core components combined. The next step is moving forward in what things can be automated and predictively taken care of."
Lepofsky added that Salesforce would be smart in adding natural language processing software to its integration, something that competitors like Microsoft and Google already possess.
Salesforce Inbox Calendar, which recently integrated with Microsoft Outlook, hopes to ease sales reps' workflow by reducing the amount of administrative work they need to do so that they focus on selling.
"Instead of forcing reps to look at different data sources, we're integrating this information," said Stephen Ehikian, general manager at SalesforceIQ. "We're smartly mapping their customer data directly into their email and every calendar event."
Alan Lepofskyvice president and principal analyst, Constellation Research
The new integration allows for customer data to be automatically included in emails and calendar events involving those prospective customers, including previous communications and sales' history, while also syncing calendar events to the Sales Cloud, allowing for all personnel working on the account to see the latest update.
Sales reps can also share available times for meetings through Inbox, allowing for the prospective customer to choose from the times and an event will be scheduled for each party involved.
"You don't need a third-party calendar app," Ehikian said. "Now you open Inbox, you have your email, and one touch opens the calendar view."
The event integration works with three popular digital meeting services: GoToMeeting, WebEx and Google Hangouts.
Salesforce Inbox Calendar is far from the first service to tie together its collaboration tools, as Microsoft and Google have done so, and smaller startups like Slack, Yammer and Nimble are also operating in the same space. The benefit Salesforce is offering is for users that more or less live on the Salesforce platform, as the integration provides less moving between apps and less updating.
"Any amount of time that you can save sales reps is a benefit," Lapofsky said. "The more you can reduce their need to jump around and switch tools, the more you can keep them in the context of what they're doing, the more informed they will be."
Salesforce Inbox Calendar will be generally available in October 2016 for no additional cost with a Salesforce Inbox license. Salesforce Inbox licenses costs $25 per month per user, and is integrated with Gmail and Outlook.
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