Salesforce announces Meetings, Einstein Video Call Coaching and more tools aimed at improving virtual sales

As sales organizations shift to handling most, if not all, sales calls digitally, Salesforce is adding new functionality to its cloud-based software that the company hopes will help its clients adjust.

Salesforce rolls out Meetings, Einstein Video Call Coaching and more tools as sales orgs go virtual

On Tuesday, Salesforce announced new offerings for its Sales Cloud 360 platform that the company hopes will help clients better respond to the new normal of remote work and virtual meetings brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new tools and updates include Salesforce Meetings, Salesforce Maps Field Safety Kit, Enhanced High Velocity Sales and Einstein Video Call Coaching.

"The world's best performing sales teams use the #1 CRM, Salesforce," said Doug Camplejohn, GM and EVP, Sales Cloud in a press release. "And with our new innovations in Sales Cloud 360, you're seeing us continue to set the bar. We're enabling sales reps to stand out in a sea of virtual meetings, and helping remote teams to work together more effectively during these unprecedented times."

SEE: Digital Transformation: A CXO's guide (ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature) | Download the free PDF version (TechRepublic)

Salesforce Meetings

Salesforce Meetings

Salesforce Meetings

Credit: Salesforce

Salesforce Meetings is a new meeting management system lets sales reps prepare for, host, and follow up on calls from directly within Salesforce. Before the call, reps can getting information such as meeting attendees bios, customer history and open service cases. Reps will also be able to see if a key decision maker is not attending the call.

During the meeting, the presentation and presenter appear side by side on the attendees' screen. "We've learned a lot from broadcast television," Camplejohn said. "So, this idea of somebody sitting there with presentation material over their shoulder or by their side is a lot more engaging than jumping back and forth between a video screen and just a full slide screen."

Once the call is over, Meetings will provide automated action items and call notes that reps can access through the Salesforce Anywhere app. "For example, by integrating with Outlook and Gmail, we can pull the meeting attendees and see which ones aren't already in your CRM and suggest people to go add into your CRM," Camplejohn said. "Or we can suggest a followup step or even information that you might want to send out."

Salesforce Meetings with be compatible with all leading video conferencing clients. "What we're really doing is we're using the camera that's built into your laptop and we're creating a composited window inside of the browser tab," Camplejohn said. "So when you want to launch a Salesforce Meetings experience, all you're doing is sharing that tab that's combining the video coming directly from your camera and your presentation materials."

Salesforce Maps Field Safety Kit

Salesforce Maps Field Safety Kit

Salesforce Maps Field Safety Kit

Credit: Salesforce

Although many sales contacts are happening digitally in the wake of COVID-19, there are still times reps may need to travel for in-person meetings with customers. Salesforce Maps Field Safety Kit is a new feature within Salesforce Maps designed to help reps judge the safety of traveling to specific areas by showing COVID-19 trend information inside the Salesforce CRM platform. 

Companies can also "build travel approval workflows" and use "pre- and post-visit health checklist" to help mitigate potential health risks. And if the company needs to pull data from Salesforce's platform into a separate system used to track employee safety, Camplejohn said they could do so thanks to MuleSoft's APIs. Salesforce completed its acquisition of MuleSoft in 2018 and it serves as the integration layer for many of Salesforce's products.

SEE: Highlights: Salesforce TrailheaDX 2020 (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Einstein Video Call Coaching

Salesforce Einstein Call Coaching with Video

Salesforce Einstein Call Coaching with Video

Credit: Salesforce

Unveiled at Dreamforce 2019,  Einstein Call Coaching (a feature of the company's High Velocity Sales solution) uses automatic speech recognition and natural language processing to analyze sales calls and help managers pick out critical moments, such as when a rep has a positive interaction with a client or misses an opportunity to correct misinformation a caller has about a product.

With the release of Einstein Video Call Coaching, the system can now analyze both audio and video conversations. Many Salesforce clients will find this a welcome feature given the dramatic rise in video calls as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shift to remote work.

As Einstein Video Call Coaching is a deeper integration with Salesforce's platform than Meetings, it will only support Zoom at launch. Camplejohn said the company plans to support other video conferencing platforms in the future.

Enhanced High Velocity Sales

Enhanced High Velocity Sales

Enhanced High Velocity Sales

Credit: Salesforce

Salesforce High Velocity Sales is getting updates to help sales organizations better handle virtual sales throughout the sales cycle and not just during the prospecting phase.

"What we realized during COVID is everyone suddenly became kind of like an inside seller, virtual seller, working from home," Camplejohn told TechRepublic.

To address this change, Salesforce has created "cadence templates" inside High Velocity Sales that will provide recommend actions for people to take based on their role within the sales org. and where they are in the sales process. Think about as these automated prompts for reps to make sure actions don't fall through the cracks.

Availability

The company expects Salesforce Meetings to be available in pilot in October 2020 and generally available February 2021. Einstein Video Call Coaching, Salesforce Maps Field Safety Kit, and Enhanced High Velocity Sales are expected to be generally available in February 2021.

Also see

Updated 9/22/2020 12:26 ET: Added video interview

By Bill Detwiler

Bill Detwiler is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the ...