Salesforce is opening up its SalesforceIQ user base to include the not-so-inconsiderable universe of Microsoft Outlook users via a new add-in. 

It is a significant enhancement standing on its own, but the release also validates the promise Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made at Dreamforce last year to better integrate their respective products better.

“This is an important benchmark for that promise,” Alan Lepofsky, VP and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research told CMSWire. Last September Benioff and Nadella promised it would happen and here we are at the beginning of 2016 and it is happening.”

Enhanced With AI

Perhaps most significant of all, at least in the industry big picture sense, SalesforceIQ for Outlook illustrates the market demand for this next generation of productivity and collaboration tools that are enhanced with some level of artificial intelligence or assistance. 

"We are all overloaded and overburdened not just with too much information but also too many tools to handle that information," Lepofsky said.

"This new breed of smarter software can suggest to users who to call or what to do to get a particular task done or goal accomplished."

A Relationship Intelligence Application

Suggesting who to call is, roughly, the raison d'être for the former RelateIQ, a relationship intelligence startup that Salesforce acquired in July 2014 and rebranded at its Dreamforce conference last year as SalesforceIQ.

"By capturing digital information and analyzing it, we can surface insights to drive action such as closing a deal," SalesforceIQ GM Steve Ehikian tells CMSWire.

"The industry is moving away from relationship management to relationship intelligence," and the software needs to reflect that, he said.

The beauty of SalesforceIQ's approach is that it is based on that universal, now almost instinctual behavior pattern of regularly (almost obsessively for some of us) checking one’s email inbox.

"We don’t want to change user behavior — we want to augment it," as Ehikian said.

"Sales reps can access leads, opportunities and log events into Salesforce within their inbox – their smart inbox."

Even better, he added, the data science behind SalesforceIQ helps the rep identify new opportunities she might have otherwise missed.

All Done with Email Clients

SalesforceIQ will not be adding additional email clients in the foreseeable future now that it has brought on Outlook, Ehikian says. Salesforce has also launched a SalesforceIQ Chrome extension for Gmail

Outlook, of course, is among the largest email clients for the desktop. It is no longer the largest (ITALICS) thanks to mobile’s inexorable advance.

Mobile email was barely a blip on the industry radar in 2011, making up just 8 percent of email opens, according to Litmus. Today more than half are opened via mobile.