Salesforce Introduces Lightning Experience for Sales Cloud

Aiming to give its platform a consumer-friendly makeover, Salesforce today announced Lightning Experience alongside an updated version of the Sales Cloud, to allow sales reps to work quickly and efficiently on one platform.  According to Will Moxley, senior vice president of product management at Salesforce Sales Cloud, the reconfiguration will present "a whole new user experience for the CRM app."

Situated on the Salesforce1 platform, Lightning Experience combines the Lightning Design System, which enables developers to build components and integrate them with Salesforce, with Lightning App Builder and Components—drag-and-drop app blocks.

The updated version of the Sales Cloud—the "flagship app," according to Moxley—leverages the strengths of Lightning Experience to deliver a cleaner design. Its home page is a hub of useful tools for sales reps: The Account Insights feature gives users updates on key accounts and prospects; the Assistant feature suggests actions to take on various opportunities; and the Pipeline Board gives a visual representation of current deals—reps can drag deals around and hover over them to get bits of pertinent information. An Activity Feed shows reps ongoing activity pertaining to a deal, as well as suggested next steps, all in one screen. Users can also interact with team members, swapping emails and files with a collaboration tool that uses Chatter. And these features are customizable to accommodate an organization’s particular needs.

For Salesforce, the makeover is part of a "multiyear mission to reimagine CRM," which, according to Moxley, began in 2013. That year, the company released its mobile Salesforce1 solution; the company continued the effort in 2014 when it announced new platform technologies, including the Lightning App Builder and Components. Today's announcement comes as a response to requests for a intelligent system that provides more guidance, emulating the sorts of experiences people have been conditioned to expect from companies like Apple. "[Our customers are] now bringing those expectations to enterprise software," Moxley says.

According to Sean Alpert, senior director of the Salesforce Sales Cloud, the new interface is designed to save reps time. "Our customers want to know two main things: what have I just accomplished, and what do I need next," Alpert says. "We're trying to reduce the amount of clicks people need to go through to see the information in their CRM."

Also released today: the Financial Services Cloud, Salesforce's first industry-specific product, designed to help advisers connect more meaningfully with investors as well as prioritize on daily assignments. It also runs on the new Lightning Experience interface and gives users instant access to client information and collaborative tools on a single screen.

"We believe this product can fundamentally change the way wealth managers engage with their clients by providing a complete customer ecosystem perspective," said Michael Spellacy, principal, global wealth leader at PwC, in a statement. "It transforms the experience of the wealth manager and gives them a more integrated perspective on their client interactions."

The Lightning Experience features will also be rolled out on other Salesforce cloud platforms, including Service Cloud and Community Cloud, Moxley says. 

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