Salesforce Unleashes Sales Wave Analytics App, Updates Marketing Cloud

Salesforce bolstered its portfolio this week with tools that aim to simplify the lives of sales, marketing, and service reps by creating seamless connections between the departments. "Customers have one relationship with the brand; they don't necessarily care if it's a sales interaction or a service interaction or a marketing interaction," says Gordon Evans, vice president of product marketing at Salesforce. "They expect brands to know everything about them and be able to deliver to them an outstanding experience."

To ensure such seamlessness, Salesforce has made enhancements to its Marketing Cloud. The Next Generation Journey Builder helps companies stay connected with customers regardless of the device or channel customers use to interact with them. The Event and Activity Triggers function lets the Journey Builder incorporate account, lead, and case information. If a customer downloads an app or joins a loyalty program, for example, a company can apply that information to automate the journey. With the journey set in motion, the program can analyze the customer's decisions to determine which paths and messages makes the most sense for that particular customer, as well as how long a system should wait between sending messages. Users can also customize and upload audience and segment bases.

The improved Active Audiences feature integrates with Journey Builders to merge ad targeting with CRM, helping marketers execute stronger campaigns that are more relevant to customers. Key to such efforts is Salesforce’s partner system—the technology will work on social media and leverage partnerships with LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. 

"While we've been successful with Facebook and Twitter, we're now working with display advertising networks as well," Evans says.

Also released this week: Sales Wave Analytics, the first app to be launched for the Wave Analytics platform. Designed to help businesses act immediately on data, Sales Wave Analytics provides templates that draw data from the CRM system so that users can make instant decisions within the app. The Historical Analysis function will also help users make smart decisions, by using past insights to assess the risk factor of particular actions.

Sales Wave Analytics takes inspiration from consumer apps like Kayak and Google Maps, as it collects data and allows salespeople to act on it in real time. "If you're living in Excel, you're probably not doing what you want to be doing," says Anna Rosenman, senior director of product marketing at Salesforce. "When you look at something like Kayak, all the information you need is there." Sales Wave Analytics aims to give salespeople more efficient ways of overseeing processes that lead to growth, including forecast management, pipelines, and sales rep performance.

Dr. Natalie Petouhoff, principal analyst at Constellation Research, notes there has long been a need within organizations to connect experiences rather than have them in silos. Until recently, technology hadn't evolved to address that need. She says that the industry is closer than ever to integrating sales, marketing, and service, and the updates to the Marketing Cloud are a step in the right direction. "Even if it doesn't work today, they'll get it someday, and we're closer than ever," she says. "We shall see."

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