Salesforce updates its flagship Sales Cloud software-as-a-service with new features for managers and inside sales reps

By:  Tom Krazit

Salesforce plans to release some previously announced features introduce a few new ones Thursday for its Sales Cloud product, hoping to stay atop the customer-relationship management heap by giving customers incentives to put more and more of their sales tactics inside Salesforce.

Sales Cloud will soon give customers more flexibility over how they manage recurring billing contracts and sales managers more tools to manage inside sales reps, according to Salesforce executives. The company also plans to add machine-learning capabilities that it promises will help users of its Pardot marketing automation software better understand why their customers choose to be customers, and why they decide to walk away.

The company is adding two features to its High Velocity Sales Cloud feature designed for inside sales reps, who do a lot of the grunt work and get less of the glory but are an essential part of the sales process inside many companies. Sales Cadences will allow managers to help reps best understand when and how to contact potential customers during the various parts of the cycle, and Work Queues sets up a prioritized hit list for reps based on past activity.

A screen within Salesforce Work Queue, a new feature in Sales Cloud designed to improve the productivity of inside sales reps. (Salesforce Image)

Salesforce is also rolling out features for companies that do a lot of monthly or quarterly billing or need to project a sales quote based on past usage of a service. Salesforce Billing will be able to predict the cost of the next quote thanks to data about that customer already stored within Salesforce, and users will also be able to automatically bill customers who have reached a certain level of consumption.

“What people expect from a CRM has evolved, and we’ve evolved with the market needs,” said Will Moxley, senior vice president of product management for Sales Cloud.

No software-as-a-service announcement would be complete without some mention of how machine learning is making everything better, and Salesforce hit the mark with new features for Pardot, its marketing-automation service. Two new features under Salesforce’s Einstein machine-learning brand — Campaign Insights and Behavior Scoring — will surface the best-performing marketing campaigns and examine which customers in the pipeline are most likely to part with their money, meaning they might need a little more attention.

Pricing for these services will be released later, Moxley said.

Sales Cloud has continued to grow at a steady clip nearly two decades after the founding of Salesforce in 1999. During its most recent quarter, Sales Cloud revenue surpassed the $1 billion mark for the first time as part of a 27 percent jump in overall revenue to $3.28 billion.