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Salesforce Delivers Machine Learning To Microsoft Outlook

Salesforce announces Salesforce IQ Inbox for Outlook, bringing relationship intelligence to Microsoft's email service.
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Salesforce has announced the availability of Salesforce IQ Inbox for Outlook. The partnership will take Salesforce IQ Inbox, an intelligent app for Gmail, and extend its capabilities to people using Microsoft's email service.

This integration aims to ease the information overload common among sales professionals. Sales reps typically comb through at least 15 disconnected sources to find data on customers or prospects, noted Salesforce in a statement, and as a result, most executives say they believe sales reps are missing opportunities.

Salesforce adds that the average sales rep spends more than 70% of his or her time answering email each week. SalesforceIQ Inbox was built to handle the onslaught of data and manage customer relationships for professionals who spend most of their time working in email.

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The service connects users' email, Salesforce CRM, and customer social data. It relies on Relationship Intelligence technology, which pulls customer data from email, calendar, and marketing tools using data science to analyze and present information that reps can use to build relationships.

When you reply to a message, SalesforceIQ will give you the option of inserting a pre-written message for easy follow-up. Another feature, Email Tracking, lets you see when recipients are engaging with your contact so you know the best time to reach out.

The Insert Availability feature was designed to help with scheduling meetings. As you write an email, you can view availability on your schedule and directly insert a time that works best for you. If the invitation is accepted, a calendar invitation is generated and automatically added.

For more than 400 million Outlook users, this technology presents an opportunity to focus less on data entry and more on sales. SalesforceIQ makes it easier to recognize and grow relationships. It's a handy tool for sales reps in large corporations, which typically use Outlook rather than Gmail.

"Companies deserve a tool that allows them to spend time focusing on what matters most, connecting with their customers," said Steve Loughlin, CEO of SalesforceIQ at Salesforce, in a statement. "SalesforceIQ Inbox supercharges productivity by streamlining tedious tasks that sales reps are inundated with like updating CRM data, scheduling meetings and answering emails."

Salesforce IQ Inbox for Outlook is generally available for Web access as of March 10. For Sales Cloud users, the cost of $25 per user, per month.

SalesforceIQ was created following the Salesforce acquisition of CRM startup RelateIQ in July 2014. RelateIQ had created a relationship intelligence product designed to gather data from email and draw conclusions on the connections between customers, prospects, and partners.

The launch of SalesforceIQ Inbox for Outlook is the latest sign of an evolving partnership between Microsoft and Salesforce. Their collaboration was officially announced in May 2014, when they brought closer integration between Salesforce CRM apps and Office 365 apps.

Both tech companies already have overlapping solutions, such as Files Connect's integration with SharePoint and OneDrive for Business, and Skype for Business's integration with Salesforce Lightning Experience.