Selling in the Cloud: Adds Content Management and Opportunity “Genius”


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Not surprisingly, has dubbed 2009 as the “year of the cloud.” And, no, they’re not talking about the cloud over the global economy.

First the Service Cloud and now the Sales Cloud. Is the Marketing Cloud next to round out the CRM portfolio?

Following up on last month’s blockbuster announcement of the “Service Cloud,” today announced the “Sales Cloud” as part of its Spring ’09 release. Al Falcione, Senior Director of Product Marketing, characterized this a “big release,” with some 50 enhancements in all. But, but it didn’t seem as momentous as the recent CSS move, which featured social media collaboration.

In many ways, though, this announcement will add value more immediately to the company’s core customers, which tend to use sales automation. The biggest enhancements involve content management and helping reps collaborate.

Community content management makes it easier to store, share and rate content that might help in the sales process, like presentations, documents, videos, etc. Subscribers can find relevant/valuable content, based on ratings and other criteria, then assemble selected content into a custom deck for use on an opportunity. Content Pack

Opportunity Genius helps sales organizations arm their reps with best practices and the right knowledge, by connecting different reps that have worked on similar deals, based on industry, competitors or other data in the opportunity record.

This system will only be a good as the content put into it, of course. And no automation will help the rep seeking advice to pick up the phone, offer to buy coffee and say “thank you.” Opportunity Genius

The Spring update also helps reps send large content packages to prospects via download link rather than email attachments, and to track what prospects view. This should help reps get a better idea if a prospect is really interested, and enable marketing professionals to identify content that is most useful (and stop wasting money on the stuff that isn’t.)

Of course, this kind of functionality is available to varying degrees in many other marketing automation systems, especially those focused on complex B2B sales. has many partners in this area, including Eloqua and Marketo. Should they be worried?

My take is that the Sales Cloud is a nice marketing spin on a solid add-on for SFA users, and may help generate a bit more growth in a tough economy. In the near term, it won’t threaten more sophisticated marketing/content systems. It will be interesting to see what comes next, because it’s a safe bet that this isn’t the last “cloud” announcement we’ll see from this year.

Further reading:
* Harnesses the Wisdom of Crowds in the Service Cloud
* Kicks Off the Year of Cloud Computing With Salesforce CRM Spring ’09
* Tough Times at


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