Vendors Integration Targets SMBs

Salesforce on Thursday announced the integration of and SalesforceIQ to better let SMBs tie customer service with sales. is the company’s all-in-one customer service app.

SalesforceIQ for Small Business is a sales solution whose relationship intelligence feature uses data science to automatically capture, analyze and bring forth information relevant for customer relationships from email, calendars and other applications, the company said.

The integration is included for free with Pro and Business Plus editions — which are priced at US$60 and $125 per user per month, respectively — and SalesforceIQ Growth and Business Plans — which are priced at $65 and $125 per user per month, respectively.

Integrating and SalesforceIQ gives service and sales teams a unified view of the customer and gives SMBs the power of relationship intelligence to grow their business, remarked Elise Bergeron, VP of marketing at SalesforceIQ.

It provides “the sales and service teams the best products for each of their functions while enabling them to stay perfectly in sync across teams,” she told CRM Buyer.

“Letting sales and service each know what the other’s doing has always been important, and large enterprises have had an advantage because they have more people and systems to surface information,” said Denis Pombriant, principal at Beagle Research Group.

More on the Applications launched in 2012, starting at $49 per agent per month. Flex pricing, which cost $1 per part-time agent per hour, was an option for companies that fielded only a few queries weekly.

SalesforceIQ was launched in September at Dreamforce. Its relationship intelligence technology comes from RelateIQ, whichSalesforce acquired last year for a reported $390 million. RelateIQ provided relationship intelligence through data science and machine learning.

With the integration, service agents will be able to see sales activity and get information about other relevant sales team efforts such as future scheduled sales meetings, the size of the opportunity a customer seeking help provides, and inactive days, the company said. Thus, a service agent fielding an inquiry, for instance, can see when an important deal is on the table and act accordingly.

Service agents also can flag a customer’s latest service case for sales reps to give the latter deeper knowledge about a customer.

Meanwhile, sales reps can see whether customers or prospects have any open cases or are experiencing service issues.

The integrated application can be set up “in seconds with no technical expertise,” SalesforceIQ’s Bergeron said. “Data is automatically populated across systems in only a few clicks.”

“SMBs need an automated approach to help them compete,” Beagle Research’s Pombriant told CRM Buyer.

“As we transition to business models based on the idea of automated processes as opposed to automated transactions, it’s critical for employees to be able to synthesize data from various parts of the business to provide customers with tailored answers, products and services,” he said.

Giving SMBs a Business Advantage

Integrating customer interaction information across sales, marketing and service to give customers a positive and consistent interaction at any point of contact is one of the biggest problems businesses of all size face, according toNucleus Research.

The integration of SalesforceIQ integration with lowers the barrier to access for sophisticated customer interactions for SMBs, Nucleus reported. SMBs with this kind of end-to-end visibility have experienced 25 to 30 percent greater margins than their peers.

“Salesforce is leading the way and making this capability accessible,” said Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research. “Even large corporations haven’t managed to do that integration well.”

A quick Google search turned up lots of companies offering CRM for SMBs, some of which offer their applications free with limits.Zoho, for example, doesn’t charge anything for up to 10 users.

“Free doesn’t necessarily mean positive ROI,” Wettemann told CRM Buyer. “Users considering free tools have to look at the training time and whether or not the tool actually drives results.”

Richard Adhikari

Richard Adhikari has written about high-tech for leading industry publications since the 1990s and wonders where it's all leading to. Will implanted RFID chips in humans be the Mark of the Beast? Will nanotech solve our coming food crisis? Does Sturgeon's Law still hold true? You can connect with Richard on Google+.

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