The News: SAN FRANCISCO — August 17, 2021 — Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), the global leader in CRM, today announced new innovations that combine the power of Slack and Salesforce so teams can stay connected, productive, and get work done anywhere. Read the full release from Salesforce.
Analyst Take: Now that the Salesforce acquisition of Slack is final, the time has come to move from conceptual to actual, and given the two companies had months to coordinate efforts prior to the deal closing, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Salesforce has come to market quickly with its unified message and offering around Slack.
As I’ve alluded to for some time, the pandemic accelerated transformative workflows and Microsoft and Salesforce have emerged as the clear, fully integrated stacks that are looking not only to give employees a vehicle to communicate more efficiently, but are seeking to build workflows that are ubiquitous and inclusive of an organizations entire business application and data layer.
Of course there are a plethora of really comprehensive solutions for collaboration, contact center, business productivity, and business applications, but it seems the holy grail right now is the convergence of these forces into a business lifeblood of sorts where an entire enterprise can work–both synchronously and asynchronously.
A Kickoff With Great Testimonials
The vision for Slack-First Customer 360 was delivered during a digital event that was kicked off by Salesforce President and COO, Bret Taylor, and Stewart Butterfield, one of Slack’s founder and CEO.
From this event, I sought to not only visualize the features and functionality that would come from Slack’s deeper integration with Salesforce, but to also get a better sense of the vision for Slack, the timeline in which we will see increased functionality, and to hear any user insights via customer case studies or testimonial.
The event delivered on all three fronts. I felt Taylor and Butterfield did a good job delivering a broad vision of what they alluded to as a “Digital HQ.” This metaphor fits to what I referred to above as a “Business Lifeblood.” I would like to hear more about this in upcoming presentations, but a solid first pass.
The customer examples were also impressive. Salesforce was able to get IBM CEO Arvind Krishna to discuss the company’s extensive use of Salesforce and Slack, which is indicative of a solution that can scale to meet the needs of the largest organization.
I also thought that Sono’s provided a strong case study, especially the company’s ambition to use Slack in its Sales and Service workflows, which is something I like conceptually, but I still think is in early days–not just with this solution, but really using any of these fully integrated stacks in such a manner. Historically, it has been more API driven through a Zendesk or other cloud contact center tool integrated into the back end or into the Slack tool.
Breaking Down the Offer: Slack-First Sales, Service, Marketing
The launch revolved around three offerings that the company are building a common nomenclature around: Slack-First
According to the company’s release here is how they break down
Slack-First Sales: Salesforce and Slack are giving sales reps the ability to collaborate on deals in real-time and drive growth from anywhere, with sales reps using Slack seeing an average of 15% faster sales cycles. The new capabilities provide deeper visibility into account details in Sales Cloud and connect the right people to close deals fast – all in Slack.
Slack-First Service: Through Salesforce and Slack, teams can collaborate to provide real-time customer support, bringing customers directly into the channel when necessary. Service agents get instant access to relevant Service Cloud case data, experts and channels in Slack, resulting in a 11% reduction in ticket resolution time. Today’s innovations help service teams automatically identify and bring the right experts into a case, accelerating customer response times.
Slack-First Marketing: A global survey of marketers shows engaging customers in real time is a top challenge, but 76% of marketers agree Slack has helped improve their ability to make quick decisions1. Together, Salesforce and Slack give marketing teams and agency partners a shared workspace, and with today’s innovations, marketers can collaborate on customer journeys and get insights fast.
I appreciate the clear data points that show the value for the various business areas, addressing key needs. Essentially sell more, improve customer experience, engage customers quicker, and more deeply. Here, I let the collateral speak for itself. However, I am interested in hearing from customers after utilizing these services for an extended period of time.
Hybrid Work a Force in Making Slack + Salesforce Successful
As I alluded to earlier in this note, the forces that are driving vertical integration come down to the pandemic fueled transformation shifting how we work, and the equally, if not more important exponential data problem that exists within most enterprises.
With most companies going to hybrid work, we must make the right message in the right channel on the right tool ubiquitous, and appreciated by the work force. We also need tools that are seamless and capable of applying the right data to the right problem. I’m optimistic about this category of full-stack vertical integrations that shift work from the inbox to the digital core. This shift will pick up a “marketecture” aka name, in good time, but what we know is that platforms that are extensible and have a central nervous system tend to do well. The solutions winning in this space have similarities to hybrid cloud control planes that are being adopted to enable IT. Only in this case, to enable productivity, and collaboration.
A positive moment for Salesforce, following a big close of a $27 billion deal that has many eyes on it. It isn’t what Slack or Salesforce is today that put such a premium on the Slack deal, but what the company believes it can be. This seems to be a first glimpse, and I’m optimistic about what may come next.
Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice. Neither the Author or Futurum Research holds any positions in any companies mentioned in this article.
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Image Credit: Salesforce
Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. Read Full Bio