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SalesforceIQ Inbox now includes Outlook integration

This week, Salesforce rolled out Outlook integration with SalesforceIQ Inbox, a sales productivity add-on to its CRM, targeting longtime woes for sales reps.

This week, Salesforce rolled out SalesforceIQ Inbox for Outlook, which integrates Salesforce's CRM application with Microsoft Outlook. The integration enables reps -- notoriously overloaded and time-strapped -- to better organize communication with customers, without wasting time toggling between applications.

SalesforceIQ Inbox strives to address major pain points in the sales process that stand in the way of sales productivity. According to recent data from CSO Insights, 80% of sales reps are drowning in information and unable to close deals because of information overload. SalesforceIQ Inbox targets this overload by enabling reps to work natively in their primary tool of the trade -- email -- rather than having to travel between apps to get work done.

Salesforce, the leading cloud-based CRM vendor, is no stranger to company acquisitions -- from marketing automation software to social monitoring tools -- to augment its core customer relationship management platform. Similarly, Salesforce IQ Inbox was originally known as RelateIQ, a product Salesforce purchased for $390 million in mid-2014.

Donned with the cumbersome name SalesforceIQ Inbox, the offering was rolled out in beta at Dreamforce 2015, Salesforce's annual conference. Initially, it offered integration with Gmail for desktop, and for iOS and Android on mobile. But this week, SalesforceIQ Inbox debuted its integration with Microsoft Outlook, which lays claim to 400 million users.

SalesforceIQ Inbox enlists what Salesforce calls "relationship intelligence;" that is, it enlists information directly from the Salesforce CRM application to give reps greater context on their accounts.

This intelligence is critical to give reps information that helps them organize and cultivate their customer accounts. They can get data on the participants before a client meeting, or help reps schedule meetings in Outlook Calendar, while dynamically updating messages to meeting invitees as meeting time slots are taken. It also can help sales reps more easily update customer accounts and lead information directly in email, without having to toggle back to Sales Cloud -- or SalesforceIQ for CRM, the small and medium-sized business offering.

The New York Post, the oldest newspaper in the country, started using Inbox in its efforts to become a digital-first newsroom, where sales teams had become decentralized out on the road. To complete tasks and stay on top of their accounts, reps often had to go back to their desks to log opportunities. Now, they can log information into Salesforce directly from the field. It has allowed the sales team to "focus on how they are communicating with clients," rather than administrative tasks, said Sean Giancola, chief revenue officer of the New York Post. That has helped boost sales, he noted.

"At the core, we don't want to change users' behavior; people will spend their time in email," said Stephen Ehikian, general manager of SalesforceIQ Inbox. "How do we augment that email experience? It allows reps to spend less time on administrative work, and more time selling."

SalesforceIQ Inbox for Outlook is generally available for Web Access today at $25 per user, per month.

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