With Salesforce World Tour London now in the rearview mirror, we reflect on what was a hectic yet exciting week.
At World Tour London, the focus was firmly on the future of Generative AI. With the main tagline around “AI + DATA + CRM”, we knew we were in for some exciting announcements, and it didn’t disappoint (more on that later).
The team arrived early to set up the booth and get everything ready for the day. Doors opened at 9am, and as the floor started to fill, the excitement level increased. Before long, it was time for the highlight of the day - the keynote.
Every year, this event, held at London's Excel Centre, is highlighted by the keynote address delivered by Zahra Bahrololoumi, CBE, Salesforce UKI CEO.
With AI very much at the forefront of people's minds, this year’s keynote saw the announcement of Generative AI functionality across the entire Salesforce platform. With these new capabilities, sales, service, and marketing teams can transform their interactions with customers. Generative AI, according to Salesforce, has the potential to revolutionise the way professionals across industries do their jobs. However, a significant percentage of professionals still lack the skills to use generative AI effectively and safely. Enter Prompt Studio:
One feature that really caught my attention was the introduction of Prompt Studio. Prompt Studio enables every business to have its own prompt engineer. "Prompt engineering" refers to the practice of creating, writing, and testing prompts. Admins now have the ability to write and create prompt templates to share with specific teams, so agents and employees can use them to speed up processes - like writing sales emails to prospects or service case follow-ups.
Salesforce’s Einstein GPT can also use merge fields for super-powered prompts that understand your data. It also keeps your data secure with data masking, zero retention prompts, and toxicity detection.
Trust at a Foundation
The use of customer data by Large Language Models (LLMs) and the degree to which users of these platforms can feel secure about their most valuable asset are two issues with AI that have come up in several conversations with our clients.
And this topic was at the centre of Zahra’s keynote. She emphasised that trust and innovation are the twin pillars guiding Salesforce's approach to Einstein GPT. Zahra also unveiled AI Cloud, Salesforce’s trusted enterprise AI for CRM, with the trusted Einstein GPT layer at its core. This allows applications to harness the power of generative AI with trust and privacy for enterprises' most sensitive customer and business data.
As per Salesforce’s vision, AI acts as the fuel that enables the platform to establish new connections with customers, with trust being the cornerstone of these relationships. She also highlighted that data forms the foundation of AI, and the era we are entering is one of building trust for generative AI collaboration.
Salesforce's prowess in AI was laid bare, with Zahra revealing the company's 227 published AI research papers and 300 patents. Salesforce has also made significant investments in large language models (LLMs).
Salesforce doubles down on AI
At the World Tour, the company also announced plans to invest $4 billion in UKI to support its expanding customer base and foster innovation. This move aligns with the company's ongoing rapid growth in the UK as companies invest in digital transformation.
On the day, the Merkle team also had a speaker session in the Campground Theatre. Our very own, Colm Barry, Head of Marketing, was hosting the session with the brilliant Marie-Elodie Fardin , Senior Product Manager from the Financial Times.
The session titled “Enabling Subscription Growth at the Financial Times with Salesforce”, deep-dived into the FT’s CRM journey to date and covered some of the key challenges they faced, how they overcame them, and some of the strategies they implement to drive success. After a decade of using Salesforce across FT’s divisions, they formed a central CRM team three years ago, seeking sustainable growth.
Colm Barry had this to say about the session:
“The Financial Times has undergone a remarkable transformation with Salesforce over the last number of years, and it was a pleasure to present this story alongside Marie-Elodie. Partnering with Merkle, the FT began transforming its B2B CRM system from a complex, hard-to-scale setup to a streamlined, efficient platform through a two-step journey. Migration to Salesforce Lightning enhanced their processes and data quality, while introducing Salesforce Configure Price Quote (CPQ) vastly improved the FT’s product offering and pricing system. This journey continues, with a focus on transitioning the FT’s Customer Care team to a more outbound model. We look forward to continuing this journey with Marie and the FT team.”
As a result of the work completed to date and improvements to its processes, the Financial Times was able to increase platform-wide efficiency by 52%. You can read the Financial Times case study here.
The culmination of the World Tour can feel a bit like a comedown as a result of the extensive internal and external planning that goes into it, as well as all the excitement of the day.
After the event, what is clear is that we are entering a new era of Artificial Intelligence. Despite many companies recognising the benefits of AI, there is a trust gap between them and their customers, with 59% of customers reportedly not trusting companies with their data. This highlights the importance of facilitating the trust needed for generative AI.
Highlighting the rapid adoption of AI technologies, Zahra pointed out that it took only two months for Chat GPT to garner 100 million users, a speed of technology adoption that is unprecedented. Salesforce is taking the right steps towards closing the trust gap, and it will be fascinating to watch new use cases emerge in the coming months.