Salesforce plans to make generally available a new productivity tool later this year called Salesforce Inbox Calendar. It's an intelligent calendar that continues the story started by the SalesforceIQ Inbox feature set.
Earlier this year SalesforceIQ Inbox for Outlook and SalesforceIQ for Chrome debuted as add-in extensions for the Microsoft Outlook and Gmail, respectively. The extensions allowed sales reps to access leads, opportunities and log events into Salesforce via their email clients.
The extensions also brought a measure of intelligence to the process as they were based in part on the technology developed by the relationship intelligence startup RelateIQ, which Salesforce acquired in July 2014 and rebranded as SalesforceIQ.
Tempo AI Reappears
Now Salesforce is repeating that formula with Salesforce Inbox Calendar.
Much as the name suggests, Salesforce Inbox Calendar pulls relevant CRM records from Salesforce to populate a sales rep's appointment logged into his calendar. The technology is based on Salesforce's acquisition of smart calendar app Tempo AI last June. Tempo AI was built as an assistant for the mobile business professional, not only designed to step up mobile productivity but also automate as many tasks as possible, like a virtual assistant.
There are echoes of that theme in Salesforce Inbox Calendar. Besides surfacing context for an upcoming meeting, it also performs certain tasks such as integrating with conference dial-in services such as like GoToMeeting and WebEx and syncing the meeting's events back to Leads and Contacts in Sales Cloud using Lightning Sync Integration. A tool called Meeting Notes facilitates this -- reps attach the meeting notes directly to the account in Salesforce from their calendar. Using another tool called Record Creation lets sales reps create an opportunity from their calendar.
Little Steps That Add Up
Admittedly these are little things, small steps in a sales rep's workday that might not even be noticed they are performed so automatically. But taken as a whole they become a major productivity drain, Stephen Ehikian, general manager of SalesforceIQ told CMSWire.
"The sales rep's workflow is highly fragmented -- I would even call it broken. The systems are all separated and rarely integrate." This inevitably means missed opportunities, he said.
Salesforce cited a CSO Insights study that found that sales reps have to search as many as 15 data sources to find relevant information on a single customer or prospect. As a result, reps are spending up to 70 percent of their time on tasks other than selling.
The email inbox is a natural central staging area for this data -- a point that has hardly been lost on Google and Microsoft, which have been making their own productivity enhancements to Gmail and Outlook on a regular basis.
As will Salesforce. There will be more features in the next iteration of Salesforce Inbox Calendar -- the team is working on the next version already, Ehikian said. And when the product rolls out in October as part of the Salesforce Inbox license, Salesforce may make further future enhancements depending on how its customers use it, he said. "We take a lot of our cues from our users."