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CRM reimagined: Salesforce strikes back with Lightning

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25th Aug 2015
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These days it’s not good enough to simply relaunch something; you have to reimagine it.

This kind of thing happens all the time in Hollywood, where studios need to regularly resurrect film franchises once audiences tire of lazy and lacklustre productions. But it has never happened to the CRM sector. Until now.

With the launch of its new product Lightning, Salesforce.com has announced that it has “reimagined CRM for the modern era”. And the accompanying press release taps into familiar Hollywood tropes to reinforce that this is the summer blockbuster the business world has been waiting for.

“CRM is the new center of gravity for businesses," it notes, setting the scene. "Companies of every size and industry are looking to transform how they work and engage with customers to drive growth.”

Salesforce.com, it says, has undertaken a “multi-year journey” to unlock the secrets of CRM - a hero's journey, if you will.

And having spoken to over 150,000 of its customers, Salesforce.com has subsequently overhauled its Sales Cloud, which has been “rebuilt from the ground up” – what mythologist and writer Joseph Campbell would refer to as ‘the resurrection’.

The result of this hard work (which would probably make for an effective montage, set to some soft rock), is Lightning – a redesigned, relaunched, rebooted, reimagined version of its core CRM product.

The three star components of Salesforce Lightning are Lightning Experience (which delivers a responsive design and “consumer-grade” experience to whatever device the user wants), Lightning Design System (which provides CSS to third-party designers, so they can create apps consistent with the new look) and Lightning App Builder (to allow any user to build apps using the drag-and-drop visual interface of Lightning Components).

Overall, there are around 25 new features and functions, with notable additions including a Pipeline Board that enables salespeople to drag and drop opportunities, and a new Sales Cloud homepage that not only aggregates insights, but also recommends actions to take.

Want a tagline from the press release? How about: “Sell faster. Sell smarter. Sell the way you want.”

And of course the press release wouldn’t be complete without some fighting talk from a company exec: "We designed and built a completely new Salesforce based on the collective feedback of more than 150,000 customers and 16 years of experience delivering the world's leading CRM," says Mike Rosenbaum, executive vice president of Sales Cloud, Salesforce. "Salesforce Lightning is the future of CRM - and it is here today."

Salesforce.com is presently demoing Lightning for analysts, so we now eagerly await the reviews from these advanced screenings. 

UPDATE:

Initial feedback on the demos is creeping in:

"This is a dramatic update that is long overdue. With the new Lightning Experience, Salesforce is making headway to unify both the mobile and desktop experiences. No matter what device or form factor a user chooses to use, now there is a version of a page that makes contextual sense specifically to the user." Eric Berridge, CEO of Bluewolf.

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