Two new additions are joining companies that are integrating their services with the Salesforce cloud in order to support customer service as well as sales. Announced on February 18th this year both ShoreTel and SearchBlox bring some powerful new tools for customer facing support folks.
SearchBlox is an enterprise search solution that allows users to search not only Salesforce but multiple other data sources without ever leaving the SF platform. For users in the past, searching beyond Salesforce meant going back and forth between multiple applications and systems to find answers to customer inquiries. Now a single search from within SF will seek out the answer within multiple data and content stores.
“A single search term can now be used to recall information from Salesforce itself and external sources such as websites, file systems, data/news feeds, social websites and custom applications. Search results are returned to Salesforce users on a single screen, either directly through Salesforce itself or through the SearchBlox™ web interface,” says Timo Selvaraj, Co-Founder of SearchBlox Software, Inc.
“This prevents Salesforce users from having to juggle multiple data and content repositories, allowing them to assist customers faster than ever before and ultimately expand their bottom line. SearchBlox™ literally brings all of their data sources into one place, by allowing federated search from a single screen.”
And to facilitate the call and everything else under the category of “unified communications” ShoreTel’s integration with Salesforce, announced the same day as SearchBlox, is touted as giving SF “end-to-end communications platform integration”. According to ShoreTel’s press release, “By integrating two mission-critical platforms – the communications platform and a company’s critical enterprise application – businesses now have comprehensive reporting on the effectiveness of all communications and customer interactions. ShoreTel’s single source view provides insights that enable higher productivity and more effective collaboration of sales, support and marketing organizations for greater customer satisfaction and better business results.”
Two applications are involved, ShoreTel for Salesforce and ShoreTel Sky to provide “provide powerful integration between Salesforce and the ShoreTel on-premises IP-PBX system, the ShoreTel Sky cloud-based phone system, ShoreTel Workgroups, and ShoreTel Sky Contact Center.”
This in theory allows users to manage all their business communications within a single application and facilitating “collaboration in real-time.”
“Finally, phone data is aligned with business data in the CRM system. By integrating the ShoreTel communications platform with Salesforce, one of the most valuable business applications, customers gain new insights, more effective collaboration, higher productivity and better business results,” said David Petts, senior vice president of worldwide sales at ShoreTel. “Automatic logging of all sales activity, regardless of a sales person’s location or device, together with prompts for agents to schedule follow-up actions can lead to closing deals faster and higher overall sales team productivity. For example, a road warrior using a mobile phone with ShoreTel Mobility software will still have the activity logged.”
As it is with all things Salesforce, these new assets fit into a fairly complex to implement and manage platform. Even small to mid-sized firms can benefit from these and other Salesforce capabilities, but to avoid costly mistakes they would be well advised to seek out Salesforce experts, particularly in the planning stage.
On occasion some companies will find a need to modify either the Salesforce applications themselves or those application and data stores these apps aim to have a connection with. A company with a strong track record in deploying, managing and developing for Salesforce could save you time and money.
Salesforce remains the number one CRM platform in the world and the additions of these new features will make it even harder for many of their competitors to keep up.