Bolster is not a CRM consultant or CRM purveyor but CRM does play a key role in the services that are discussed with client companies. Some of those conversations are centering around Salesforce Einstein, because Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) strategies are a core focus for Bolster. ML driven AI is the technology that the optional Einstein extension modules are constructed of.
These are AI services that snap into different versions of Salesforce.com. All Einstein components do something slightly different and all are additional money per user.
Last year at Dreamforce (Salesforce.com’s uber-conference), I spent a sizable amount of time jawing with the Einstein specialty group. Einstein seems to really take advantage of the part of AI that is bolstered by Predictive Analytics. I discuss the role of Predictive Analytics in prior blog entry – AI Simplified. Many of the Einstein modules analyze what has happened at your company and predicts what will or could happen in the future.
SFDC Einstein can do that kind of predictive work in the following areas of your business:
Sales (of course)
Some of the modules require data – meaning you have to have a certain number of contacts, closed opportunities or cases in Salesforce. Others do not.
We will mostly address thoughts on Einstein capabilities in Sales and a bit on Marketing functions as well here.
Lead and Opportunity scoring are two key predictive capabilities for Einstein. The Leads in your Salesforce CRM are analyzed based on your data and criteria to help reps decide who are the strongest customers in Accounts to work with over time. Opportunities that you have in Salesforce are deals that feature Leads, where the goal is moving the Opportunities over the goal line. Einstein will score Opportunities based on the shorter-term reward of revenue generation now, whereas a higher Opportunity score means reps work on those first if quota is to be made. For the long term, finding the best Leads to work with, at this moment, using Lead Scoring creates future Opportunities.
Similar to Scoring, Insights deals with Accounts and Opportunities. And while Opportunities wouldn’t exist without Accounts, Einstein separates them to help salespeople understand the information around developments, people and potential deals. With Account Insights, Einstein pulls in events in the external world with relevant news articles every day about your target Accounts. For Opportunities Einstein crunches fields that you have in Salesforce plus organizational email and calendar data (See Activity Capture). Einstein’s Machine Learning models will offer you what they call Predictions, Key Moments, and Smart Follow-Ups to apply to the Opportunity to move it towards close.
Einstein uses all of a company’s historical CRM data to reduce the manual motions and inaccuracies that takes place in sales forecasting. Using machine learning to spot problems, it can notify management when irregularities are uncovered. This kind of pattern spotting can also help spot best practices from the best, most effective reps. Models are rebuilt each month, and the forecast is recalculated through the model approximately every six hours. It’s very easy to see what revenue has already closed, what new revenue is expected, and how much revenue is expected to fall out of the forecast. Previously, this has all been guesswork.
Milk your Inbox / Calendar
Einstein Activity Capture is a key piece of this overall AI strategy. This is where AI meets Robotic Process Automation (RPA), in a way. I won’t delve deeply into RPA here; it may be a good future blog discussion. But the short story is RPA code is automating repetitive tasks in a company, like opening emails or spreadsheets, extracting the order details and filling out a sales order – on its own. It is more like keyboard macros than AI, but is viewed by many as a stepping stone to AI. In this regard, Einstein Activity Capture similarly scrapes relevant information out of connected email and calendar accounts at an organization and matches external info with Accounts, Leads and Opportunities. Activity Capture is actually required if several of the benefits of Einstein are to be used. Activity Capture will allow Automated Contacts to be added to your CRM and Activity Metrics relies on Activity Capture to analyze the effectiveness and timeliness of your rep’s activities.
Einstein Voice – Talk to Salesforce – Beta 2020
As of now, Einstein Voice is an umbrella product branch being tested in beta that allows a capability to use human voice to interact with Salesforce. It is divided into three components; this may change as it rolls out in 2020. Voice Assistant will be quite familiar in a world of Siri and Google Assistant. From within Salesforce, this Einstein feature lets folks view and manipulate Salesforce content by talking on a device such as a smartphone or speaker. For corporate custom developers, Salesforce offers Einstein Voice Skills – a kit allowing them to customize voice commands and actions for each role in the organization. This is similar to Alexa Skills for Amazon’s smart speaker. Call Coaching listens to sales rep’s conversations in order to spot patterns that are successful in winning business and gives management the ability to implement best practices.
Analyze this – Einstein Sales Analytics
Sales Analytics is just as it sounds. Using the overall capabilities that software has for Analyzing, this particular Einstein module provides customizable, built-in dashboards to relay the state of Sales in many ways. There’s something for everyone to be analyzed on – Sales Reps, Sales Managers, Sales Operations and VP’s of Sales. How are they doing on their KPI’s? Quota attainment, pipeline generation, bookings, sales next steps and sales cycles are laid out in easy to digest format.
The Marketing department gets some Einstein as well, although I won’t dive deeply here. The simplified overview is AI is applied to Customer Journey mapping, Content generation and many marketing Analysis tools are included too. Also, an organization’s Sales Engagement Scoring and Frequency are enhanced with AI by Einstein for Marketing.
Knowing AI for Sales and the solutions that live there very well, Bolster has a final take on the progress of Salesforce Einstein. The fact that the AI assisting technology is coming from the most established company in the CRM business is significant. The theory is that it will work well and integrate well because the AI is not from a dozen different companies that may or may not integrate well with Salesforce. Way back when, there were separate spell checkers that you could buy and run in your word processors. But when it was well integrated into Word by Microsoft, well that was a good thing. One less separate thing to run.
With that said, you have to ask: Are we at the point where the most useful, cutting edge AI is being done by the king of CRM? There are many AI services that work very well with and integrate smoothly into any CRM including Salesforce, so you don’t have to put all your eggs in one software basket. Also be aware that The King in a category can always charge a premium and Salesforce is no exception. Each of the components discussed here from Salesforce have very good competitors and many can be had for less money. AI for Sales shows a small part of these capabilities and in the next Blog post we will look at the difference between doing AI yourself as an end user (huge task) vs. off-the-shelf AI services.