Like two siblings who resemble each other in looks and are only a year apart in age, SalesforceIQ and Salesforce Wave Analytics were often mistaken for twins at Dreamforce ’15 last month.  

In my meetings with vendors and enterprises seeking to improve their sales analytics and data savvy, hands down, the question they asked me most often was, “Can you explain the difference between IQ and Wave?"

Déjà vu All Over Again

It’s easy to see how confusion might arise, since the two blockbuster products share more than a few  similarities: Each was launched to great fanfare at Dreamforce ― Salesforce Wave Analytics last year at Dreamforce ’14 and SalesforceIQ just last month at Dreamforce ’15.  

Salesforce also refers to both products as “data-driven" solutions that help support sales decisions. And although each is a game-changing solution in its own right, Salesforce insists on calling both of them “add-ons” that support its core CRM capabilities.

In reality though, the two solutions share a lot of DNA but have very different personalities when you get to know them.  Let’s take a look at what sales and marketing managers need to know:

Salesforce Wave Analytics

Salesforce Wave Analytics took Dreamforce ’14 by storm last year by promising the kind of business intelligence that was previously available only through enterprise giants such as Oracle, SAP, IBM and Microsoft and upstarts such as Birst, GoodData, InsightSquared, Qlik, and Tableau. 

Wave Analytics utilizes Salesforce's Analytics Cloud to offer users data-driven shortcuts to performing the next correct action in Salesforce. For example, users can access all of their sales reports and then move directly between sections such as account updates or task creation using Wave Actions.

By integrating Salesforce data across platforms, Wave Analytics allows for the creation of data visualizations such as charts, graphs and tables. What’s more, users can embed Salesforce objects into those charts and graphs to provide direct access to Salesforce functions through a given report. 


SalesforceIQ is the branded delivery of the $390 million RelateIQ acquisition made in July 2014. On September 15th, Salesforce users got the answer to how the RelateIQ functionality would be  incorporated into Salesforce.

As opposed to Wave Analytics, SalesforceIQ doesn’t offer insights so much as efficiency.  It’s a tactical tool that links emails, calls and calendar invitations together to provide users with a clear view of the behavior occurring with each account. Its purpose is to accelerate sales opportunities by speeding up communication and setting up new appointments. 

Unlike Wave Analytics, that puts SalesforceIQ’s "data science" behind the scenes and focuses its functionality on a very specific set of sales outcomes rather than analytics or Big Data.

Tailoring a Solution

Depending on their decision-making and sales management needs ―as well as budget ― organizations may initially decide to phase in only one of the new solutions, and Salesforce is working to make adoption as flexible as possible.

SalesforceIQ is currently offered as both a standalone CRM solution for new clients and as a beta application to support the Sales Cloud associated with standard Sales-based Salesforce CRM deployments. 

As a standalone solution, SalesforceIQ can be connected to Gmail or Microsoft Exchange email accounts to capture a variety of interactions such as emails, meetings and phone calls and harness that information to provide recommendations regarding whom to call or when to take action.

Savor This Moment of Clarity

Yet Salesforce clearly sees longer-term potential in marrying the data captured by SalesforceIQ to analytics to provide less rote, more robust insights to what sales actions should happen next.

The beta application is looking at ways to generate guided and data-contextualized recommendations to salespeople based on learning from the same basic logic that sales people pursue on their own.

Using both SalesforceIQ and Wave Analytics in the right context provides more real-world data, analytics and insight. This should mean more clarity for us Salesforce-watchers ― at least until Dreamforce ’16 rolls around, that is.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License Title image by  chintermeyer