Why Sales Teams Should Be Excited About Winter '14

09/18/2013 by Larry Salvatoriello
A look into some new features released in Winter '14 that sales teams should be excited about.

The 2013 NFL season is here and there is nothing better then after a long day of watching your favorite team battle it out on the gridiron snuggling up on the couch with the Salesforce 300+ page Winter ‘14 Release notes.  

For all of us Sales Cloud lovers, Salesforce added some very nice features and enhancements in this release.  As done for Summer '13,  here are three features from Winter ‘14 every sales team should be excited about and why.

Salesforce Console for Sales

For an additional cost Salesforce is offering a Console in the Sales Cloud.  Since this was covered in our Rapid Reaction Blog, I am not going to go into details about what it offers but I am going to touch on what it could mean in the future.  Many prospective clients with high volume sales call centers have asked about something like this and until now, the only option was to look at the Service Cloud or another 3rd party product.  This new console makes managing their leads and activities a seamless process which is great but what about lead routing?  In addition to ease of use, the other big question asked when it comes to these types of sales organizations is can it handle complex lead routing logic like a shark tank.  Without the use of a lot of custom code, the answer is no. Is this an indication of things to come?  I would think it makes common sense but we will have to wait and see.  Maybe Dreamforce 2013?

 Salesforce for Outlook Enhancements

In Winter ‘13, Salesforce unveiled Salesforce for Outlook Side Panel which seems to be a nice enhancement among Outlook users.  With any new feature, there are always enhancement requests to follow the release.   In Winter ‘14, Salesforce delivered a few nice ones. To add an email to a Salesforce record from the Outlook Side Panel is not efficient. It is time consuming to create the email, send the email, and then have to navigate to the Sent folder, select the email, and use the Sidebar Panel to attach it in salesforce.  With this release, you can now Send and Add at the same time which should be a huge time saver.  Actually, Salesforce mentions in the notes that this was a serious deterrent of adoption of the Panel.  

Keeping with the Side Panel theme, Salesforce has also given you the ability to easily attach an Outlook event to a record. With this enhancement, when a user selects an event in their Outlook calendars, the side panel displays related contacts and leads. From there you can easily link the event to the relevant contacts or leads. Something to note about this feature is that it works regardless of whether you have events syncing setup. If users add an Outlook event to Salesforce record, the side panel triggers a sync to Salesforce calendar for that event. Another nice time saver.

Historical Trend Reporting

Analytic Snapshots do exist but most of the people I speak with would not consider them quick and easy to use.  With Historical Trend Reporting you get the ability to analyze day-to-day and week-to-week changes in the Opportunities object and up to three custom objects with standard Salesforce reporting. There is a new custom report type designed to highlight changes between five snapshot dates, such as five business days or weeks and you can visually represent the data changes in charts and dashboards.  This is a great feature for Sales Managers who can now see the actual changes in pipeline numbers over time.  A great example as mentioned in the Release Notes is the ability for a manager to monitor their company’s sales pipeline to make sure it contains enough activity to meet current and future sales goals.  

There are many new features and enhancements in Winter ‘14 and I would recommend you take a look at our rapid reaction blog as well as skim through the release notes to see if anything else catches your attention. (There is 300+ pages worth.)  Also, stay tuned for a review on some of the cool Service Cloud features in our next blog.  Hopefully these few got you as excited as they got me.  If you would like to discuss further tweet at me at www.twitter.com/Salvatoriello or comment below.