Salesforce.com Unites SalesforceIQ and Desk.com

Salesforcetoday announced the integration of Desk.com, a customer service offering for small to midsize businesses (SMBs), and SalesforceIQ, a tool for sales professionals, to help growing companies better align their sales and service operations.

Formerly known as RelateIQ, and recently renamed, SalesforceIQ employs data science tools to gather, sift through, and analyze account information pulled from online sources, including email and calendar apps, and ultimately recommend actions that help sales reps close deals. Desk.com enables companies to quickly set up a help desk so that they can more efficiently address customer needs as their operations gain traction.

The integration of the two applications aims to give service agents and sales reps more informative views of the other’s activity to more effectively do their own jobs. A service agent using Desk.com to tend to a customer can leverage insight pulled from SalesforceIQ to inform the conversation. If the agent notices, for instance, that the ticket is linked to a particularly important deal that shows promise, she may treat the case with more care. Conversely, salespeople using SalesforceIQ can refer to service interaction history pulled from Desk.com during a sales call to understand the kinds of issues a customer has been having with a product or service. While the tool will be of use to companies who wish to upsell or cross-sell to existing customers, it could also prove useful to those who offer trial periods on their products and wish to finalize a deal.

For Salesforce, the announcement comes as part of an ongoing effort to make sophisticated CRM tools widely available to smaller organizations. According to Elise Bergeron, vice president of marketing at SalesforceIQ, the pressure is mounting on such companies to perform at levels comparable to larger competitors. "It doesn't matter to customers whether they are talking to a sales rep or a service agent," Bergeron says. "Customers just know that they're talking to the business, and they expect that person to be completely informed on everything that's going on with their account or particular situation." Yet, Bergeron says, many SMBs are often unprepared, and those businesses that recognize there's a disconnect between the departments often employ manual methods to unite them, either by trying to cobble together information from sales and service via Excel uploads or initiating more expensive integrations that are not in their budgets.

Esteban Kolsky, founder of ThinkJar, agrees that smaller companies lack options to place departments across the enterprise in communications with each other. "Most, if not all, SMB tools offer a single function or a compendium of functions under one single area" such as marketing or marketing automation, Kolsky says. "Those that offer an entire CRM suite offer very simple functionality."

Salesforce is not the first vendor to offer such functionality to growing businesses, points out Brent Leary, cofounder of CRM Essentials. Zoho, for one, has integrated its CRM system with a support app, enabling salespeople to similarly keep track of previous service interactions with prospects. But Leary points out the strength of Salesforce's ability to unite two solutions that "feature rich apps, each built for SMBs," and notes that both come equipped with a variety of third-party integrations that have the potential to yield even more insights.

While Kolsky says that it's hard to tell what type of organization will get the most out of such an offering, it should appeal to "SMBs that have strong sales departments and that need to integrate other functionality into those sales functions." Companies that have placed a stronger focus on operations, customer service, or back-office functionality, meanwhile, will not see substantial benefits just yet, he says. "But if Salesforce continues to evolve the deep integration, there may be something in the future for them," Kolsky adds. "Time will tell."

The integration is available now in Desk.com’s Pro and Business Plus editions, and in SalesforceIQ’s Growth and Business Plans. 

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