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Salesforce introduces AI-powered features to improve meetings and identify sales

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Salesforce today announced new features designed to help companies transform their organizations for digital sales during the pandemic and in a post-pandemic world. Beginning this week, following new AI-powered account-based marketing tools, Sales Cloud 360 is gaining Einstein Conversation Insights, an AI-powered technology that analyzes video call transcripts, as well as global models for opportunity scoring and precall summaries with customer histories.

According to Salesforce, 61% of salespeople believe their roles have changed permanently since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Even when salespeople are able to return to the road and in-person workplaces, 51% expect to travel less than they did before the pandemic — and fewer than half expect to go back to an office.

To address this new normal, Salesforce is introducing Einstein Conversation Insights, which gathers insights on the frequency of certain keywords or types of interactions during video calls. The goal is to create customized training and one-on-one coaching that aligns with teams’ needs, according to Sales Cloud chief revenue officer Warren Wick.

Above: The new Meetings Digest screen in Sales Cloud 360.

“Salesforce created the playbook for sales 22 years ago, and today we’re rewriting it for an all-digital world,” Wick said in a press release. “Over the past year, we held more than 6 million calls with customers to understand what they needed to be successful as they worked to transform their business with more urgency than ever before. We’ve reimagined Sales Cloud to guide every company as they rethink the digital sales experience, from leads to coaching to processing revenue.”

Alongside Einstein Conversation Insights are new features in Salesforce Meetings, including post-call action items that Einstein automatically surfaces to keep deals moving. Meanwhile, global models for opportunity scoring use aggregated, anonymized trends across Salesforce customers to empower teams with AI before they have enough of their own data. Einstein shows the factors that have contributed most to the score, both positively and negatively. For example, when extra steps are added to an enterprise deal, it indicates that the deal is progressing.

Forrester predicts that spend for marketing automation tools will grow “vigorously” over the next few years, from $11.4 billion annually in 2017 to $25.1 billion by 2023. It’s estimated that 55% of marketing decision-makers plan to increase their spending on marketing technology, including AI and machine learning, with one-fifth of the respondents expecting to increase by 10% or more.

Above: Salesforce’s AI-powered Einstein Conversation Insights.

Another new capability in Sales Cloud — pipeline inspection — helps track changes week by week, using AI to focus on the deals that ostensibly matter most. Other additions include in-app learning for MyTrailhead, which surfaces relevant education materials like competitor analysis in sellers’ workspaces; Tableau Business Science, a set of AI-generated predictions, insights, and automated explanations from Tableau; and Mulesoft Composer, which allows sales operations teams to connect apps and systems to Salesforce, automate sales processes, and get end-to-end sales data visibility without have to write code or wait on development resources.

Salesforce says that Einstein Call Insights, Mulesoft Composer, and the new Salesforce Meeting features will be generally available as of March 24. Tableau Business Science in the 2021.1 release will be available later this month. And in-app learning for MyTrailhead, the global models for opportunity scoring, and pipeline inspection will arrive in summer 2021.

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