In 2019, it was Tableau and Mulesoft that got acquired by Salesforce. This year, it’s Slack’s turn.
At $27.7 Billion, the Salesforce- Slack deal is Martech’s most prized integration ever; beating last year’s mega acquisition deal of Tableau ($15.7 billion). Salesforce is getting good at mergers and acquisitions, targeting the app economy that could further bolster Salesforce Connected Economy benchmarks for 2021. For some, Slack’s sell-off to Salesforce is the end of an era in productivity-focused business apps.
After surpassing the $20 billion annual revenue targets for 2020-21, Salesforce dived into the acquisition deal to snatch Slack from competitors. The Martech deal ensured that the $27.7 billion is a good enough investment to meet the current work-from-home scenario and growing demand for 100% secured Cloud-based apps for the digital economy.
We spoke to leading Martech experts and industry veterans who shared their thoughts on the Salesforce- Slack deal.
How Slack Fits well with Tableau and Mulesoft Family
Salesforce is targeting Beyond the obvious SaaS and Cloud App Economy
Gregg Johnson, CEO of Invoca said, said
“Acquiring Slack would be a game-changer for Salesforce. It gives them the opportunity to turn itself into a digital network where businesses can interact (like they have tried in the past with prior M&A interest in both Twitter and LinkedIn). Beyond that, Salesforce has ambitious plans to grow beyond Sales, Service and Marketing teams. The acquisitions of Mulesoft and Tableau were a first step in unifying back office and front office data, but both of those tools are used by a relatively small set of power users. Acquiring Slack would represent an important second step in this direction by extending Salesforce’s reach to all employees across the organization.”
Invoca is an AI-powered call tracking and analytics platform for Inbound Marketing and Sales teams.
Improving Enterprise Application Adoption
According to Salesforce Enterprise Tech Report, only 25 percent of the global IT leaders say their current technology maximizes employee productivity. As a result, organizations are increasingly turning to new workflow automation technology to help employees become more productive and do their best work.
Slack provides that option on top of an existing Salesforce platform.
Slack’s Entry Could Improve Salesforce’s Service Cloud Workforce Engagement Platform
Salesforce recently announced the launch of its Service Cloud Workforce Engagement platform.
A sizeable volume of business groups use Slack to stay on top f their business messaging. According to latest Mulesoft research, the Line Of Business (LoB) managers acknowledge that they find it extremely hard to connect systems, applications, and data, and hence these negatively impact customer experience — a fundamental prerequisite for business success today.
At the time of this announcement, Bill Patterson, EVP and General Manager, CRM Applications at Salesforce, explained his company’s stance regarding CRM and connected app models. Bill said,
“Delivering service is more complex than ever with agents working from anywhere and volumes of customer support requests spiking. With Service Cloud Workforce Engagement, Salesforce will arm the contact center with a connected solution — all on one platform so our customers can remain resilient and agile no matter what tomorrow may bring.”
This is what Alex Ortiz, VP of Marketing at Tray.io said about the Slack-Salesforce deal.
According to Alex, the acquisition shows us that collaboration software is here to stay and we will continue to see the collaboration space thrive.
Alex said, “No one wants to go back to the times of corporate email systems for internal communications – a system full of spam, unthreaded conversations, and heavy-handed IT governance of email distribution memberships that made quick collaboration difficult. We can expect an uptick in startups looking to challenge Microsoft Teams and Salesforce Slack in the future. But for now, Salesforce should focus on making the acquisition a success. Salesforce and Slack must learn from Yammer’s past mistakes and be cognizant of Slack Cloud’s product roadmap, as its lack of independence may be a turn-off for users.”
Alex added, “We will also see the continued blurring of product lines as applications that we once considered distinct continue to converge. At Tray.io, we are observing a new stack forming for our customers where SaaS applications are stitched together through APIs into composite apps, making cross-application processes flow more smoothly.”
How Salesforce Could Plan to Use Slack within its Service Cloud Workforce Engagement – A Speculative Idea
We know how competitive the modern Enterprise App and Instant Messaging platforms have become. Slack had a formidable presence in the enterprise segment, which only recently got a major shake since the arrival of Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, RingCentral Glip and Atlassian. Today, a majority of business owners want a dynamic workforce planning product that will help service leaders organize their entire workforce from anywhere and distribute the right work to the right agents based on skills and service channel. With Salesforce, Slack has that chance to cope with the market demands.
By integrating Slack into the Service Cloud Workforce Engagement platform, Salesforce intends to fend off the perils of the COVID-19 crisis that took a huge toll on the existing and traditional Contact Center frameworks. Service teams now have to face a barrage of questions across various contact points, including Website forms, tele-calls, online chats, SMS, text and social media.
In today’s all-digital, work-from-anywhere world, companies need technology that offers a connected view of the employee and customer, all on one cloud-based platform. The Salesforce Service Cloud Workforce Engagement with Slack could help companies deliver exceptional service by using artificial intelligence (AI) to predict customer service demand, enabling companies to staff the right agents, with the right skills, at the right time.
With Service Cloud Workforce Engagement, agents will have a single workspace that connects to all major contact center and service tools, such as-
- Core Service, Digital Engagement,
- Service Cloud Voice,
- Salesforce Field Service and
- Customer 360
Acquiring Slack would Prepare Salesforce Groups Manage Messaging Across Any Digital Channel
Omnichannel Sales and Message Forecasting Using AI
Slack would help Salesforce groups manage the workforce across digital channels. For example, the Service Forecast for Customer 360 uses AI based on data from the Salesforce platform and integrated third-party tools to help service leaders organize their workforce and predict how many requests will come into the contact center in real-time, across all digital channels and regions. Slack + Salesforce would enable a user to predict the number of Cyber Monday support requests and adjust their forecast accordingly, to account for expected phone demand versus chat.
Service leaders will also be able to easily adjust in real-time to account for unplanned events, like an influx in calls in response to a social media influencer promotion.
Optimizing Contact Center Resources to Deliver Best Experiences
Contact center agents are overwhelmed by the volume of inquiries they receive every hour. Salesforce with Slack could reasonably reduce the pressure with on-demand inquiry attention. Salesforce’s Omnichannel Capacity Planning enables service leaders to balance staffing needs across any digital channel — including phone, email, web chat, text and social channels — by assigning the right agents at the right time based on their skills and availability.
With Slack, Salesforce users can implement omnichannel capacity planning to address unique coverage gaps by cross-training agents to support multiple channels and businesses.
Personalized Agent Engagement provides real-time coaching and on-demand training from anywhere by integrating myTrailhead, Salesforce’s online learning platform, directly into the Service Console. To increase agent engagement and performance, companies will be able to quickly onboard and continually train agents by delivering bite-size, guided learning paths directly in the agent’s workspace during their shift. For example, if a service leader at a meal subscription company identifies an agent who needs help understanding new pricing details, they will be able to deploy a guided learning path that explains a customer’s options.
At the time of Slack’s acquisition by Salesforce, Scott Webb, CEO of Avionos spoke to us.
Scott said, “Salesforce will announce strong earnings yet again, demonstrating its forward-thinking business strategy targeted at customer-centricity and collaboration. It continues to position itself squarely in the center of internal and external challenges facing organizations today, many of which accelerated seismic shifts that were already underway.”
Scott added, “Salesforce’s Digital 360 announcement in September showcases it is doubling down on customer-centric digital offerings like commerce, sales, marketing and experience. Its potential investment in Slack shows they understand the way organizations function have changed for the long-haul. Remote collaboration and streamlined communication will be the norm going forward.”
Slack Competitors to Watch out for in 2021
There are tons of Slack alternatives in the market that sell products in categories related to Business Messaging, Customer Service Messaging, and Enterprise Communication tools. Some of the key players in this segment are:
- Cisco Jabber
- Microsoft Teams
- Zoho Cliq
- Facebook’s Workplace
- Google Hangouts
- RingCentral Glip
- Zoho Cliq
With the arrival of WhatsApp for business and Instagram Messengers, we can see much fiercer competition with Slack in the coming months.