Integration of Genie, Tableau and Slack data into one place will supercharge Salesforce’s customers: Ketan Karkhanis

US based cloud firm Salesforce that delivers subscription-based software for the sales operations and customer connections for organisation, is supercharging its customers business with the integration of Genie, Tableau and Slack data into one place, helping turn raw data into actionable insights to drive better business outcomes and more efficient workflows.

In a recent visit to New Delhi, Ketan Karkhanis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Sales Cloud, Salesforce in an interview to Express Computers discusses how CROs, commercial officers, sales leaders are leveraging Sales Cloud, in difficult times and how they can raise the game of their teams to embrace and ride this wave, and grow efficiently. Read the full interview here..

The digital transformation movement, which surged in early 2020, helped all cloud-based businesses, and Salesforce took advantage of this chance with its subscription-based business model and proprietary apps. What has been the key learnings.

It’s an interesting time for anyone to take on the current challenges. While we are coming out of the pandemic, we are entering economic uncertainty. We are helping customers to navigate the new environment we are in. It’s all about value selling, ensuring that every customer understands the benefits that they are going to get back from the technology they purchase and how quickly they are going to get there. How you interact with your customer is changing, because now you have omnichannel interactions. For instance, B2B customers are demanding digital first interactions.

This means that businesses can no longer grow at all-cost and they need to ask the question about maximizing selling capacity without increasing operating expenses and how to do it profitably. To do all these things, businesses can’t continue the way they have been doing earlier. They have to embrace the new paradigm of working, which is a realization that all the leaders are having – this is the only way to do it now.

To make that job easier, we launched the Sales Productivity Bundle. This is our Sales Cloud Unlimited Edition, which includes all the powerful Einstein conversational insight, pipe inspection, and all those capabilities. In addition to that, it includes revenue intelligence, because now more than ever organizations need to be data driven. And to be data-driven, insights and analytics also need to be a part of the parcel. Moreover, it includes our brand new enablement product. The new enablement product is all about helping teams enable their sales teams on new programs, products, and technology. They’re going to use it for their end-to-end, lead-to-cash process. Sales Cloud unifies your technology needs on a single platform, allowing your sales team to be more productive so you can start seeing success, today.

What kind of challenges do businesses face and how does Salesforce help its customers become Digital First?

It’s not just about technology, it is about how to use the technology to the best advantage; it is about sales excellence. We invest a lot in it and we have a program called Premier Success, which is part of our Sales Cloud Unlimited. Premier Success is included in the Productivity Bundle, because we don’t believe in just giving technology, we believe in giving the support that businesses need to be successful with the technology.

We work with several leading brands in India, one of them being, Mahindra & Mahindra, which has united 18,000+ dealership users and 400+ call center agents on a single platform, enabling them to deliver connected customer experiences. With Salesforce, the entire customer journey from marketing and lead nurturing, to test-drive scheduling and vehicle bookings, is now managed on a single platform.

As trusted digital advisors to businesses we share the best practices with our customers in terms of how they can digitize their process, automate things, and what are the best governance and compliance things to do. We invest a lot in these aspects, we will continue to learn and will continue to do more. Today, sales leaders are curious to know how they can increase their selling capacity without increasing their operating expenses. The whole aim of Sales Cloud is to make the sales representative the ‘Hero’, to help close multiple sales deals simultaneously and more quickly. We are focused on sales rep productivity and all the tools we have built are for the salespeople. 

What it takes to address and meet the needs of SMB customers. Can you tell us how sales cloud being adopted by the SMBs segment?

When Salesforce was founded in 1999, the idea was how to make CRM simple, and it was always SMB first. In fact, for the longest time, Salesforce was not even available for the enterprise. Today, majority of our customers are SMBs, which have less than 100 employees. They like having a complete growth platform because if you are a small startup, you probably have two or three salespeople and you don’t even have a CIO, you don’t have the time to assemble five or six different products, negotiate contracts and then train them. You just need one thing – a smartphone for your sales team. That’s Sales Cloud.

The pandemic has definitely shifted the macro environment, wherein customers don’t need to be convinced about the need to go digital. They are already convinced and now they just want to focus on how best to do it. Therefore, to that degree, it has definitely been positive. Customers need even more help and support as they are coming out of this pandemic to face the new world. 

What are the key trends that are going to be the game changer in the year 2023?

Shifts are happening much faster than any one of us thinks. It’s not in the future, it’s happening now. Raising the game of your team and focusing on your people. Everybody has gone through a lot in the last two years. The pandemic, the economic uncertainty, and the way people work and interact with each other have changed a lot. And some things are not going back, especially in sales.

Sales Enablement is going to be a top priority for every sales leader out there in the market. That’s why we’ve launched the new sales enablement product. The second important trend is tech consolidation. According to our latest State of Sales Report, 94% of sales organizations plan to consolidate their tech stack in the next 12 months. Sales Cloud does exactly that. Another trend is AI/data-driven insights for running a data-driven sales organization. Now more than ever, sales are going to be a data-driven industry. We just launched a product called Einstein Conversational Insights and Revenue Intelligence, which is all about analytics embedded in Sales.

The biggest trend we are observing is the expansion of the Salesforce ecosystem and economy, which is accompanied by a massive uptick in new Salesforce users. We need to develop a workforce that is in line with the Salesforce trend since there is such a need for it. 

How Salesforce-Slack integrations grow deeper visibility into the sales pipeline and offer new digital means of closing deals that are not possible on the Salesforce platform alone.

We started with Sales Cloud but then we added Service Cloud because the customer said that they want to connect sales to service. And then they said that they want to connect marketing to sales, so we added Marketing Cloud. When they said they wanted to digitize commerce, we added Commerce Cloud. When they wanted a whole new way of integration, we added Mulesoft. They wanted actionable insights, so we added Tableau with analytics. Then we added Slack, which is a whole new way of digital collaboration. So, we have always been on the mission of Customer 360. We have always been focused on how we let businesses connect with their customers in a whole new way across all channels.

We are very much excited about Slack. We announced the new Slack integration that connects Slack and Sales Cloud. Built on the Salesforce Customer 360 platform, the new integration allows users to bring all their customer data together and offer scalable automation so sales reps can be more productive. With automated workflows and alerts, as well as invaluable best practices will help engage team members to work together quickly and easily across the organization to move business forward. It is a whole new way of working which is breaking down silos and creating an engagement platform.

Executive Vice President and General Manager of Sales CloudKetan KarkhanisSales CloudSalesforce
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