Salesforce's has always been unapologetically designed with small companies' needs in mind. 

The default assumption about these companies is that they run their CRM operations using some combination of email and spreadsheet. Ditto their finance ops, their procurement ops and so on. 

What San Francisco-based Salesforce did when it released its first version of was give these companies an affordable,  scaled-down simplistic system that kept to this tradition of certain features running double duty.

But clever Salesforce has also been slipping in some sophisticated functionality every few releases — such as relationship intelligence — to the delight of this user base and its latest upgrade of is no exception. Dubbed 360, this version offers opportunity management for the first time.

Focusing on Customer Service

If 360 had an unofficial motto it would be 'we are all about customer service' or something along those lines.

The new opportunity management function, for example, is aimed at reps that handle service calls but might see an opportunity to up-sell and cross-sell -- a very typical function in most full-fledged CRM systems.

What Desk 360 has done is put sales and service on the same platform, Katy Dormer, CMO and VP of Marketing at Salesforce, told CMSWire.

She described a typical scenario — typical, that is, to any regular-sized company using a standard CRM system. A client calls in about an incomplete order that it received and the agent handles the call. She notices that this company places a large order each month, and to make up for the error, the agent is able to offer a discount on the next order on the spot.

Again, happens every day in contact centers of larger companies. Applications and product suites aimed at smaller companies, however, have focused on sales to the exclusion of other aspects of CRM. But service counts too, as Dormer put it, perhaps even more so for smaller companies where every client win or loss matters a great deal.'s Genius

That is the genius of, says Esteban Kolsky, an independent CRM strategist: it makes its limited features as flexible as possible to meet multiple needs for its users. 

And it has an unerring instinct about what matters to SMBs, he said. "SMBs want simple sophistication," he said. "Certainly they want to be able to cross-sell and up-sell in service situations when it is appropriate."

"It really is common sense, but not all vendors apply this kind of thinking to their product lines, especially when they are working with smaller users,"he told CMSWire.

Agile Agents

The opportunity management feature comes with a range of tools for agents. For example, they are able to set parameters, sort, filter and view a history of a particular customer, or an entire company.

There are also reporting tools for the agent to help them identify issues with customers, especially repeat issues.

Salesforce gives this example: Say a client works with different people within the same service provider. The service provider's employees always seem to have the same question about the client's technical specs for a project. Instead of asking the client over and over, the agent sees this is a perennial questions and reports the specs to the team proactively so the client doesn't have to be bothered.

Also, because this is all on the same platform, sales can see the service that its clients are receiving and work that into their client calls as well, Dormer said.

"In this market companies of every size have to distinguish themselves any way they can,"  she said. "And providing excellent service is an important differentiator."

When and Where 360 will be released in the second half of 2016.  Two of the new components — the customer view within the agent console and the customer and company insights — will be available in all versions of The opportunity management component —  the platform by which sales and service are able to management the same product and customer — will be part of Business Plus.