Salesforce.com Updates Sales Cloud Einstein

Salesforce.com unveiled today an upgraded version of its Sales Cloud Einstein offering that included three new features: Einstein Forecasting, Opportunity Scoring, and Email Insights. According to Will Moxley, senior vice president of Sales Cloud Product Management at Salesforce, the three enhancements embed Salesforce's Einstein artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities into the "lead-to-cash" stages of the sales cycle, which includes building a prospect pipeline, closing deals, and gaining recurring business from existing customers.

According to Moxley, fewer than 50 percent of deals aren't closed as forecasted, thus leading to missed quotas and lost revenue. The Einstein Forecasting solution aims to leverage CRM data to take out the guesswork involved in forecasts by "combining the art of mining data with the science of machine learning" algorithms. Using these in conjunction, it can analyze, process, and understand factors such as historical performance and seasonality to make accurate predictions about projected revenues for a given time period. The system's self-learning algorithms can pick up individual and team behaviors to analyze whether they are consistently positive, negative, or on point and then synthesize the findings for sales leaders. The technology then translates insights into language that leaders can read for explanations about what is happening during different stages of a sales cycle.

Einstein Opportunity Scoring works to identify, prioritize, and surface the most valuable deals (i.e., those with the greatest potential earnings and the most engaged prospects) into the Sales Cloud Lightning Console. The deals are each assigned a score from 0 to 100 to indicate their relative value, Moxley says. It can also monitor opportunities that are under way and signal to salespeople when one of them might be at risk so they can take immediate action to revive it.  

Einstein Email Insights aims to serve as a "personal assistant" that helps sales reps prioritize the messages in their inbox and streamline communications. Taking into account the "entire history of what's happening in an opportunity," the tool uses natural language processing (NLP) capabilities to identify important emails that deserve attention and follow up, Moxley says. Then, it recommends in shorthand the actions and responses they should take to keep the deal moving: for instance, it can recommend that the rep schedule a call or in-person meeting or send a price estimate.

The new Sales Cloud Einstein tools join a suite of capabilities that includes Activity Capture, Lead Scoring, Opportunity Insights, Account Insights, and Automated Contacts.

Einstein Forecasting, Opportunity Scoring, and Email Insights are undergoing a pilot testing and will be generally available in the first half of next year.

Sheryl Kingstone, research director at 451 Research, said in a statement that the forecasting feature addresses a "long-standing" sales challenge:

"Predictable and profitable business growth is something that every company strives to achieve. However, accurate sales forecasting has been a longstanding challenge for many companies. By combining intelligence, pipeline transparency, and key sales data, Einstein Forecasting provides a crucial view of sales revenue indicators that helps business leaders correctly predict business growth."

In another statement, Bill Hoffman, chief analytics officer and head of CRM at U.S. Bank, was enthusiastic about the release's predictive capabilities:

"At U.S. Bank, we're committed to delivering trust, transparency and a smarter banking experience for the customers we serve. Salesforce provides us with a single platform to empower every customer and employee interaction, and we're excited about the predictive abilities Einstein Forecasting will further deliver."

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