Selling and buying has been happening for thousands of years. But with advances in technology and more data and information available than ever before, it has become more complex to sell products and services. It’s no longer just about a pitch and a handshake. As selling has become more complex technology has become an integral tool to help sales professionals be more productive. But sometimes, the exact tools that are meant to save time, end up taking more away, along with energy and motivation. The latest Sales Performance Optimization Benchmark study from CSO Insights shows that sales people only spend around 34% of their time actually selling.

The Future of Intelligent Selling

In their keynote session at Dreamforce ‘15, senior executives from spoke to some of the struggles salespeople experience, and outlined how CRM and data technology are evolving to help move  closer to systems for inteligent selling. Those struggles can be summarized as three general challenges: 1) Discovering the best opportunities, 2) Prioritizing prospects and time, and 3) Understanding their customers better. In an ideal, intelligent world, CRM provides the tools and data for more easily finding, surfacing and even recommending the right opportunities, accounts and contacts to sell to. It should help guide reps first to the accounts and leads that are the best use of their time. And, it should more efficiently give you detailed info and insights on your customer’s business, competitors and industry trends.

Intelligence is only as good as the data behind it

As Michelle Huff, VP of Product Marketing for, pointed out in the keynote, to build toward an intelligent system you need a solid foundation of quality data. If you want the system to recommend the next best target prospects, it’s crucial to have accurate details on existing/past customers. To be able to efficiently score and route the best leads automatically, you must have detailed company and industry information. And in order to give salespeople a better understanding of their customers, you need to be able to connect to the right content, automatically feeding them with relevant news and insights about that specific company.

What does the future look like? SVP of Product Management, Jen Taylor, spoke to some of the new features and vision that her team has been working on for the coming year. New in the Winter ‘16 release, are a few valuable features that will help salespeople discover and prioritize the best opportunities.

With the Company Hierarchy feature (open beta in the Winter ‘16 Salesforce release for Premium Prospector customers), reps will be able to see a complete view of the corporate family, and explore relationships between subsidiaries and parents. They will also be able to see which accounts in the hierarchy are already in your Salesforce instance, along with the account owner, so reps can more easily collaborate. You’ll also be able to easily add accounts right from the hierarchy view.

Recommended Accounts (Winter ‘16 release pilot) is the first step toward applying data science to both internal and external data sources in order to surface new account opportunities that are similar to accounts a specific user has closed in the past. New account targets are pushed to your sales reps, so they can spend less time searching, and more time selling.

The team is also working on a Lead Append feature  (Winter ‘16 release pilot) that adds company details to incoming leads as they are entered in Salesforce for better scoring and routing. They’re also working to improve customers’ ability to clean data perpetually and in real-time, while building an extensible platform for integrating other referential data sources.

Beyond these features, has plans to further innovate and enable intelligent selling that really allows a salesperson to spend less time searching, managing and entering data, and spend more time selling.

The future is now!

Throughout Dreamforce week we got a glimpse at the new features available now, and shortly in the future, that show how CRM and data have evolved and are enabling a new era of intelligent selling. plans to be an integral part of that future, and hopes to work with you to help you build your intelligent system.

View the entire Keynote: The Future of Intelligent Selling here: