Lynne Zaledonis used to be a sales rep--so she knows better than many the challenges that today’s sales teams are facing, and what they need from a CRM system.

“Sales is changing,” Salesforce’s vice president of product marketing told the audience at Salesforce World Tour London 2017. “Today, 80 percent of customers expect a sales rep not to sell but to add value. They expect a personalised and knowledgeable approach, they expect fast delivery of quotes and contracts, and they expect post-sale support to be seamless.”

The good news is that, according to Salesforce’s State of Sales research from 2016, 86% of customers are willing to pay more for this kind of helpful, joined-up experience.

The key to getting it right is a CRM system that enables reps to do the right things, at the right time, to wow the customer and get the deal closed. 

And that’s what Salesforce enables with the new features in Sales Cloud. During the Salesforce for Sales keynote Lynne Zaledonis looked at how Sales Cloud enables reps and sales teams to sell smarter, sell faster and sell in the way that suits them best.

Sell smarter with AI-powered insights

Sales Cloud draws on Salesforce’s artificial intelligence software, Einstein, to guide sales reps with predictive insights. A demo at the event showed how Einstein can provide a Predictive Lead Score, predicting which leads are most likely to convert based on the dynamics of previous similar sales -ensuring reps can always prioritise the most promising opportunities. 

The Opportunity Insight feature, meanwhile, can analyse activities like emails and phone calls to spot deals that are slowing down--and suggest remedial action, like getting a senior executive involved, or finding someone with a contact inside the prospect company who can expedite a meeting.

“It’s like having your own personal deal coach,” said Zaledonis, noting that most reps would love to know exactly what to do at any given moment, to give every opportunity the best chance of closing within the current business period. 

Sell faster with productivity-boosting features

All sales reps want to be as productive as possible, as any obstacles to productivity slow down the process of closing deals. A demo at the event showed the many ways in which Sales Cloud makes reps and teams more productive--from automatically appending call notes to an activity record, to enabling reps to drag an opportunity to a new stage using the Opportunity Kanban feature, and see the pipeline automatically update.

One way reps can be more productive is to work more closely with Marketing, and the new Salesforce Engage function lets them do just that: taking ready-made marketing emails and email templates to use with customers - ensuring they have a consistent experience of the brand.

One very useful feature is the ability to Configure, Price and Quote very easily from within Sales Cloud, on a desktop PC in the office, but also--crucially--from the Salesforce1 mobile app. 

With customers demanding ever-quicker quotes and proposals, the ability to quote on the fly without having to request information from sales operations teams can make a huge difference to close rates. “Our customers typically see a 25% increase in conversions from quotes to orders,” said Zaledonis.

Sell the way you want with App Builder and AppExchange

Every company has its own processes and ways of thinking about sales, so Salesforce makes it easy to configure and customise the Sales Cloud environment. 

Teams can build their own functionality with Salesforce Lightning App Builder, and add third-party functionality from among the 3,000+ partner solutions available from the AppExchange app store. Many teams co-sell with partners, and Salesforce Communities makes it easy for them to define processes and collaborate around them.

An apple a day…

One Salesforce customer that takes a unique and creative approach to selling is UBM plc, the FTSE 250 events company with 3,750 employees and operations in 20 countries. Its head of business development, Charles Oakley, took to the stage at Salesforce World Tour to talk about how an unusual approach to Salesforce has encouraged reps to input data and focus on effective activities.

“Everyone’s familiar with the five-a-day healthy eating guidelines,” he explained. “The introduction of Salesforce allowed us to track many more sales behaviours than we used to. So we allocated certain fruits to certain activities--an effective call logged in Salesforce is a strawberry, an effective email is a lychee, progressing an opportunity through a pipeline stage is an apple.” 

Now, the 5-a-day culture is embedded in the sales team, and is incentivising reps to achieve their daily target of effective sales activities. “The sales team don’t refer to logging activities in Salesforce,” said Oakley.  “They talk about getting their fruit for the day!”

Sell smarter and faster with Sales Cloud

With Salesforce continuing to invest in Sales Cloud and add new, innovative features that let reps sell smarter, sell faster and sell the way they want, it’s no wonder it’s the #1 CRM powering the world’s most effective sales teams. Find out more about Salesforce for Sales.

Download our e-book on AI for CRM to find out everything you need to know to start selling, smarter.