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AI in Salesforce – What are the Capabilities?

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By Himali Shah |December 18, 2023

Salesforce has been at the forefront of AI in CRM technology ever since it first introduced an AI tool, Salesforce Einstein, to the platform in 2016.

Ever since, Salesforce has been testing, launching and expanding those AI capabilities, giving organizations using the platform more and more insight and efficiency, so they can make the most of every opportunity and deliver the best customer, donor or membership experience. At fusionSpan, we’ve been supporting non-profits to take full advantage of this.


Contents :

  • Salesforce AI capabilities
    • Predictive AI capabilities
    • Generative AI capabilities
      • A copilot for every Salesforce user
      • Tailored AI capabilities
      • Easy creation of new Salesforce applications
    • Challenges and considerations of using AI in Salesforce
    • Partner with fusionSpan to start making use of AI for Salesforce

AI in Salesforce – What are the CapabilitiesThe Salesforce platform hasn’t embraced AI for AI’s sake. At the heart of every effective Salesforce implementation lies a good data strategy. Its AI can simply help make an organization’s data more accessible, more relevant, and more actionable than ever before – all with the safeguards that make for responsible AI use.

All this is just the start, however. At Dreamforce 2023, Salesforce’s annual conference, CEO Marc Benioff showed how the timeline of AI was fast accelerating, with four easily identifiable waves:

  • Predictive
  • Generative
  • Autonomous and agents
  • Artificial general intelligence (AGI)

Salesforce was one of the first CRMs to introduce predictive AI in 2016, and while Salesforce has an eye to the future of autonomous AI and AGI, everyone else’s eyes are first looking to the introduction of generative AI. This is already being piloted and will be widely available for Salesforce users in 2024 as part of the new Einstein 1.

So, without further ado, we’re going to dive into some of the details of Salesforce AI and how it can make a positive impact on the work of nonprofits and membership organizations.

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Salesforce AI Capabilities – and how they’re changing

Salesforce AI Capabilities – and how they’re changingSalesforce’s AI capabilities help users to automate existing processes and improve the experience they’re offering members and donors. Salesforce Einstein also helps provide users with an even clearer picture of what’s happening in their organizations so they can make better informed decisions.

In the near future, generative AI is going to define what Salesforce is capable of. This is going to include the automatic creation and drafting of marketing assets, emails, transcriptions and code. It’s also going to lower the entry bar to data analysis, giving everyone in your organization the ability to make better decisions on the fly.

Salesforce’s predictive AI capabilities

Salesforce’s predictive AI, known as discriminative AI to the data scientists out there, can draw on your data to provide:

  1. Predictive analysis of member outcomes – for instance, whether a member is likely to renew their membership for another year, and how likely that is to change if your team intervenes.

  2. Classification of data, so you can automatically pre-populate or see suggestions for field values that describe a member or donor. Where relevant, you can also train Salesforce Einstein to recognize images and classify them, so you can quickly discover more insights about your leads and members.

  3. Scoring of how good a new lead or prospect is, so your team knows who to prioritize in their interactions, and so you can evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing.

  4. Automate aspects of your member journey. For instance, you might automate the triaging of new but lower-value leads, so that your team can focus on the cases where they can win the support of the most high-value donors and potential members.

  5. Natural language processing to automatically recognize and classify the intent behind a member’s question or request.

Salesforce’s generative AI capabilities

Salesforce’s generative AI capabilitiesSalesforce announced a partnership with OpenAI, the creators of ChatGPT, in March 2023, and ever since they’ve been searching for ways to safely integrate this breakthrough technology to better serve Salesforce users.

The introduction of generative AI capabilities to Salesforce will enable Salesforce users to achieve what they used to achieve – but faster, more easily, and with more insight. It’ll also give Salesforce users a way to complete tasks that were once beyond their technical, design or analytical capabilities.

The main difference between generative AI and predictive AI is that, while the latter can detect patterns and suggest actions, generative AI can detect patterns and create something new.

For a nonprofit looking to take advantage of Salesforce’s Einstein 1, for instance, generative AI can create you a landing page for a new fundraising campaign, or a new way of measuring your donors’ impact on your cause, or a personalized email campaign to disengaged members.

Here are some of the generative AI capabilities that will be a part of Salesforce once Einstein 1 has launched:

  1. A copilot for every Salesforce user. Einstein Copilot is going to integrate with every application in Salesforce, so no matter whether you’re on the events, marketing or fundraising team, you can get the insight you need simply by asking questions.

    For those of you who can remember it, it might well feel like an AI-powered version of the old Microsoft office assistant known as Clippy that used to accompany Windows users – though you might be glad to hear that Einstein Copilot doesn’t have the same big eyes and dated technology under the hood. That’s because, like ChatGPT, Salesforce’s assistant will make use of Natural Language Processing.

    When given a prompt, Copilot will be able to automatically prospect leads, draft answers to member or donor questions, send out action items to relevant parties after meetings, design aspects of your fundraising campaigns, and automatically create new segments and journeys, so you can make your membership experience even more personalized and effective.

    It’ll also be able to provide insight on the fly like never before. So if your fundraising team is on a call to a major donor, Copilot will be able to coach them through the process – making suggestions based on the donor’s data and the outcomes of interactions with other similar donors.

  2. AI capabilities designed specifically for your organization. Through Einstein Copilot Studio, you will be able to create reusable prompts that are connected to your organization and data, so that you can effectively run these as aspects of your member, donor or event participant journeys.

    You’ll also be able to use the Copilot Studio to teach your Copilot new skills, so that it can support your users and different parts of your organization in new ways.

  3. Easy creation of new Salesforce applications. Historically, if you wanted to create a new function in Salesforce, you would need the code to do it. Now you can create the same code through conversations with Salesforce’s Copilot Studio – which can convert natural language prompts (NLPs) into code

    This means that, in theory, anyone in your organization can ask questions of their data – effectively adding data analysis to their skillset without having to be a data analyst.

    At the very least, it gives the average user the tools to get started. You will still want experienced developers to review the code, but it gives your users a starting point, so they can get past the blank page and begin to test their theories.

Challenges and considerations of using AI in Salesforce

Although Einstein 1’s capabilities are built on the system OpenAI created with ChatGPT, Salesforce have been careful to de-risk it for organizations.

Those familiar with ChatGPT and its limitations will know the Natural Language Processing tool, while impressive, is vulnerable to problems such as hallucinations (i.e. presenting false or illogical information as fact) and a lack of transparency on where its data is sourced.

The Einstein Trust Layer will ensure that none of this is an issue for Salesforce users, so long as their organization’s data is clean. All prompts will go through a process designed to ensure data integrity, security and transparency.

The Einstein Trust Layer:

  • Prompt
  • Secure data retrieval
  • Dynamic grounding
  • Data masking
  • Zero retention
  • Generation
  • Toxicity detection
  • Audit trail

System administrators can even customize how Einstein Copilot will work within their own company, including designating what data the app can access and reference. This will ensure that Salesforce masks any sensitive or proprietary information from unauthorized users.

You don’t have to bear responsibility for this alone. By working with a Salesforce partner, such as fusionSpan, you can ensure that Einstein 1 and your organization’s data is set up for compliant success from the start.

Partner with fusionSpan to start making use of AI for Salesforce

AI is not a guaranteed win. Parker Harris, Salesforce co-founder and CTO, said in a September press release that an organization’s AI strategy is only as good as its data strategy. To succeed you need clean data, effective integration and a strategy that is designed to achieve your organization’s goals.

Compared to their commercial counterparts, associations and the non-profit sector don’t always hold new technological adoption as the highest priority. However, we’d recommend that all organizations lean in to AI, since it’s going to affect you, whether you start using AI in Salesforce now or not. You might as well begin now so you can start to understand it and monitor it.

At fusionSpan, we’re ready to help here, distinguished by our singular focus on the association and nonprofit sector. If you’re working outside the commercial sectors, our team is ideally positioned to help you succeed with AI in Salesforce.

Himali Shah
AI in Salesforce – What are the Capabilities?

Himali joined fusionSpan in May 2017. She brings her expertise and passion for working with associations and enjoys helping them use Salesforce as a tool to make their jobs easier and provide a better service to their members/customers. Prior to joining fusionSpan, Himali was a Senior Membership Associate at Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) for four years. Himali graduated from the University of South Carolina, with a B.A. in International Studies. In her off-time, Himali is an amateur photographer, and has a penchant for laughing while attempting to tell a horrible corny joke.

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