Last week, Apple and Salesforce announced a new partnership that aims to create “powerful new mobile apps for business;” a move that could also be the solution to salespeople’s most common gripes with their CRM systems. 

After barely mentioning Siri at a the company’s latest event, the move could signal a shift in focus from consumers to enterprise for Apple’s voice assistant. A recent study by Adobe shows that smartphone owners simply aren’t as into using voice assistants as smart speaker owners. The study found that 76% of smart speaker owners increased their use of voice assistants last year, as opposed to just 38% of smartphone owners. In day-to-day life, smartphone owners are also more likely to be shy of using voice assistants. Just 29% are comfortable using voice assistants in front of others.

In order to make Siri relevant again, Apple needed to add some serious value. And according to experts, the Salesforce partnership does just that.

“Salesforce’s launch of Einstein Voice solidifies that there’s a place for voice in enterprise,” says Julia Stead, vice president of marketing at Invoca. Given the tedious nature of logging data into a CRM system, it’s easy to see how using voice to quickly and easily make these updates will be transformative for professionals working in sales and marketing.”

Taking the pain points out of CRM systems

Data entry is not generally a task that sales people relish, and the product demo for Einstein focuses on simplifying note-taking and documentation by walking users through the process of creating a meeting recap. And while it could potentially be beneficial to use a voice assistant for time consuming data entry, the value of that technology will come down to how well it actually works.

“One of the biggest challenges to CRM software’s effectiveness is people are lazy with taking notes, so naturally, there’s efficiency to be gained by leveraging voice here,” says Dan O’Connell, general manager of VoiceAI at Dialpad. I imagine they’ll expand this functionality to actually transcribe the meetings and ultimately the calls, too, so this is a strategic first step. A lot of the initial success will come down to transcription quality. Are my notes going to be dictated correctly, and will the NLP engine appropriately identify the key events that I want synced to Salesforce? If they can do that well, then they’ll have a great opportunity. Salesforce has the team and datasets to do this right.”

In the past, voice assistants have been notoriously fickle when it comes to understanding accents. Who can forget the loveable grandma who just wanted to know the time in Italy? However, if Apple and Salesforce are able to overcome the obstacles of accurately transcribing speech, the new tools could prove valuable for busy salespeople, since 58% listed “automated data entry” on their CRM wish lists, according to a study by Introhive.

Easier app development

Apple and Salesforce also announced plans to launch a Salesforce Mobile software development kit (SDK) using Apple’s programming language, Swift. The tool aims to make it easier for businesses to build and launch apps for iPhone and iPad on both the Salesforce Lightning Platform and the App Store. The SDK should launch sometime before the end of the year.

Career opportunities

The partnership also features an educational initiative focused on helping people learn how to build native iOS apps. Salesforce already runs an educational platform called Trailhead, and the company reports that one in four people who take courses about building businesses apps using Trailhead receive a raise or promotion afterward, according to Reuters. With Apple, Salesforce will launch the first-ever Trailhead Mobile App.

The announcement came just before Dreamforce, a Salesforce event where the company announced plans to focus on apps that incorporate mobile, social, big data, and AI, which Salesforce hopes will spur its target revenue of $23 billion by 2022.

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