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Salesforce Enhances Lightning CRM Platform

CRM giant Salesforce is adding some lightning to its customer success platform. The latest iteration of Salesforce Lightning aims to raise the bar on customer relationship management by with a platform that taps cloud, mobile, social, IoT (Internet of Things) technologies and data science.

Salesforce launched Lightning in 2015 as a multi-tenant, next-generation metadata platform that enterprise workers can use on any device. It quickly gained traction, boasting 90,000 customers and 55 partners today.

Salesforce SteelBrick CPQ, SalesforceIQ Inbox and Field Service Lightning are the latest features and functions in Lightning. The company also announced new tools for Sales Cloud Lightning and Service Cloud Lightning.

Salesforce Innovation

Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce, is hyping Lightning as a “game-changer” for Salesforce and its customers. But is he overselling the platform? Mary Wardley, vice president of enterprise applications and CRM Software at market research firm IDC, doesn’t seem to think so.

“Salesforce has set the standard for innovation in the cloud, and by association, CRM, delivering an unprecedented three releases per year for the last 17 years,” Wardley said in a Salesforce statement. “Maintaining that pace of innovation is even more crucial as both the pace of technology and customer requirements continue to accelerate and become more complex.”

Salesforce SteelBrick CPQ is built on the Salesforce platform and taps Lightning power. It’s part of the Sales Cloud and is based on the company’s acquisition of SteelBrick. Lightning Voice is natively embedded in Sales Cloud Lightning and promises to help customer service agents connect with leads quicker with auto call logging, click-to-call and call forwarding features.

With the SalesforceIQ Inbox in conjunction with the power of relationship intelligence in Sales Cloud, employee e-mail inboxes are essentially transformed into a quasi-CRM app, according to Salesforce. Android, iOS and Chrome apps blend the data into e-mail and calendar apps to make it easier to manage communications with prospects. And the Sales Wave App serves up data-driven insights to customer service agents across devices so they can collaborate, as well as create and update customer records directly in Wave, the company said.

Lightning Clouds

On the Service Cloud Lightning front, Salesforce is trying to help enterprises keep up with rapidly changing service requirements. Customers today are contacting companies in many different ways, from phone calls to social media, to e-mail, to mobile and even in-app experiences, Salesforce noted. Service Cloud Lightning aims to offer a unified platform so that customers get the same service across devices, the company said.

With Field Service Lightning, Salesforce said enterprises can offer consistent service experiences. For example, dispatchers can use smart scheduling while service employees can create and update work orders and change job statuses from any device. Omni-Channel Supervisor gives call center managers more insight and visibility into agent workloads and overall operations so they can staff each channel appropriately.

Salesforce will roll out the new editions in the third quarter. Sales Cloud and Service Cloud customers will get the updates automatically. New Lightning Editions will also start rolling out in the third quarter. Prices on the apps range from $25 per user per month to $300 per user per month.

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