Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) wants to give small businesses like yours, the power that previously was reserved for bigger companies.
Sales Cloud Lightning Essentials is such an example, as Salesforce announced the general availability of what the company says is one of the best CRM platforms for small business from the annual Dreamforce conference.
With Essentials, small businesses are going to have the same capabilities as large enterprises for working smarter and faster, while growing without worrying about scalability issues. Small sales teams will have access to the latest Salesforce innovations, including Lightning, Trailhead and Einstein artificial intelligence.
Salesforce Essentials Addresses Small Business Needs
According to Salesforce, 66 percent of small business leaders are in charge of three or more areas of their company’s operations. And when it comes to IT, only 26 percent of them have one or more in-house IT staff, leaving the remaining 74 percent with contractors or to fend for themselves. So the implementation of new technologies has to be easy.
Salesforce Essentials has been designed with this in mind, the company says. On the its blog, Brent Leary, small business analyst and co-founder of CRM Essentials, explained the need for simplicity. Leary said, “Small businesses, especially those new to CRM, need simplicity and guidance. Salesforce Essentials has an approachable interface, and Trailhead offers the guidance small businesses need to develop quicker leads and see results faster.”
Trailhead, Einstein, and Lightning
The simplification process begins with Trailhead, a free interactive, online learning platform integrated into Sales Cloud Lightning Essentials. The company said this was essential because 93 percent of small businesses stated easy setup was important when they were evaluating new technology for their company. Trailhead provides guidance for easy setup as well as additional topics to increase business knowledge and implementing innovation.
When a small business uses its manpower to manually input data, it takes away from other tasks instead of focusing on identifying new opportunities. Einstein is an artificial intelligence solution built in Essentials to automate basic sales activities. It also keeps customer records up-to-date by connecting a user’s email and calendar with Einstein Activity Capture automatically.
Just as with the setup process, ease of use is equally important. For 95 percent of small businesses, it is a key requirement when evaluating new technology. Essentials delivers a consumer-like experience for any device because it is built on the Salesforce Lightning framework. Workflows become more intuitive by bringing information relevant to the user on each screen to streamline processes.
When it is combined with the many Salesforce Apps, small businesses can manage their entire sales conversation, from leads to contacts, accounts, and opportunities on their phone or laptop out in the field or PC in the office.
All of these features come with a scale-able solution capable of addressing the CRM needs of any size organization. With 74 percent of small businesses stating scalability is important in the evaluation of a new technology, capacity is in the back of the minds of decision makers. Sales Cloud Lightning Essentials is built on a global CRM platform, solving yet another problem. When a small business is ready to upgrade, it can do so anytime.
What is it Going to Cost You?
For all the enterprise-grade features Lightening Essential provides, it is surprisingly affordable. If you are a small business and only need up to five users, it will cost you $25 per user per month when billed annually. The price structure changes if you need more than five seats. And if you want to give it a try, there is a free trial period.
The service also comes with three months of G Suite by Google Cloud at no cost as part of a new strategic partnership between Salesforce and Google just announced this week.
If you’re going to do this, understand it’s a serious commitment. You have to immerse yourself in this. You can’t try it out halfway or you’re going to have a terrible experience.
Agreed. I did the 30-day trial, and I am a Salesforce Admin. I know this is touted as good to go out of the box, but your success with it will be tied entirely to the tech savvy of the person on staff you entrust with its setup–and then on how much time they have to spend with it, and how well they can train the rest of the users. Personally, I’m rather excited to jump in and try it out, especially since it does permit a fair amount of customization. However, when I try to imagine using this with no experience in Salesforce, it seems like it could be daunting! If you do this, take the trial period seriously and dedicate real time to set it up right to match your processes. It appears to have real promise.