How AI and Cloud 3.0 Are Poised to Usher in a New Era for Sales
When Warren Wick joined Salesforce nearly 20 years ago, he never could have imagined what the next two decades had in store: sales roles building world-class teams, relationships with the world’s best-known brands, and of course, a complete transformation to an all-digital, success-from-anywhere world.
Today, Wick serves as Salesforce’s EVP of Amer Commercial Sales and Sales Cloud CRO, a new role that gives him a front row seat to the evolution of both the sales profession, and the Sales Cloud product he now helps to run.
As the next generation of Sales Cloud launches, we spoke to him about the evolution of sales, of Sales Cloud, and the new challenges and opportunities for salespeople in the post-pandemic world.
Q: You’ve been with Salesforce since 2002. How has sales changed in that time?
Over the last almost 20 years, Sales Cloud has transformed from a sales force automation solution — a way to digitize your rolodex — to a selling platform with automation and artificial intelligence and a massive partner ecosystem.
Obviously, the world has gotten a whole lot more complex since then, and Sales Cloud has become a lot more powerful.
“We know deals today are won on video, so we’ve used AI to help ID cues and give sales people more information to understand those customers, get closer, and provide a better experience.”Warren Wick, EVP of Amer Commercial Sales and Sales Cloud CRO, Salesforce
Sales leaders nowadays face unprecedented challenges. Customers are behaving differently — they expect sales and support to be one joined up experience. Sales people are having to adapt to virtual selling — there’s no more flying across the country to meet in person. And for a sales person who relies on understanding their customers, losing the huge amounts of information you get when talking in-person — from body language to understanding who the unseen decision makers are — is a challenge.
Q: How has Sales Cloud evolved to meet the changing needs of the sales professional?
Right now, CEOs are figuring out how to get back to growth after a really challenging, scary year. We’ve been working to build a Sales Cloud that measures up to those challenges, and that’s why we’re so excited about last week’s announcement.
Look at something like virtual selling. We know deals today are won on video, so we’ve used AI to help ID cues and give sales people more information to understand those customers, get closer, and provide a better experience.
You can see clearly that our customers have been using the product differently. Just look at Honeywell — the company has integrated sales, service, and data together, so that sales teams have better visibility into the accounts they manage. Sales Cloud helped their teams to work from anywhere and still stay on top of customer relationships without the daily interactions employees were used to.
Q: What does it take to build successful sales organizations in this new normal?
Sales are driven by how well you understand the problems your customers are facing and how you can help solve them.
Two of the critical factors in that equation, empathy and relevance, are finally getting the attention they deserve in sales. It shouldn’t have been a pandemic that made those human-first factors so critical, but they’ll be necessary from here on out.
“Sales are driven by how well you understand the problems your customers are facing and how you can help solve them.”Warren Wick, Chief Revenue Officer of Sales Cloud, Salesforce
Our One Million Calls challenge really brought this to life. At the beginning of the pandemic, Salesforce set out to connect with our customers to understand how they were feeling, what they were facing, and how we could help.
These conversations weren’t just product or business focused — for example, we listened to the challenges parents were facing as they learned to homeschool their kids. Those broader discussions gave us a far deeper understanding of how our customers’ lives were changing during such a crazy time.
We then put that understanding to good use in upgrading and evolving our products. That’s why we’ve developed features for managers to aid in coaching and building relationships with their team, for instance — it came from the challenges we heard leaders faced when managing teams virtually.
Q: We’re hearing a lot about Cloud 3.0. How does Sales Cloud help salespeople adjust to the challenges and opportunities of Cloud 3.0?
Cloud 3.0 is the third era of technology that we’ve witnessed over the last couple of decades. Cloud 1.0 was about the internet, Cloud 2.0 was social and mobile. Cloud 3.0 is predicated on this idea that we are all working from anywhere now — and tools like Slack, Zoom and Salesforce are helping us work across time zones and locations.
For sales, Cloud 3.0 can mean connecting with your customers and partners in Slack to collaborate. You can use Zoom to connect more spontaneously with busy executives rather than schedule a day-long meeting weeks in the future. An account executive can send a contract over with a recorded video explanation so that the customer can review it on their own time, without scheduling a meeting.
The next generation of Sales Cloud is designed to help our customers enter Cloud 3.0. Tools like Pipeline Inspection, which help managers see changes in pipeline week by week, and Einstein Conversation Insights, which visualizes trends happening in video and voice calls, give sales teams the tools to collaborate remotely and succeed from anywhere. Combined, these tools give managers a new way to coach and guide their teams in this new hybrid world.
For more information about how Sales Cloud is evolving for the future of Sales, read the press release here.
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