Today on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we talk to Ketan Karkhanis, EVP and GM of Sales Cloud at Salesforce. Join us as we chat about all of the new Sales Cloud features that have gone live recently and how you can use them to transform your organization.

You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Ketan Karkhanis.

New features in Sales Cloud

Over the last year, Sales Cloud has gotten a lot of new features and updates. That’s why I was so excited to run into Ketan at World Tour London and get him on the pod. Who better than the EVP and GM of Sales Cloud to tell us all about what’s new?

One thing that the Sales Cloud team noticed was how often businesses have been turning to third-party tools to get things done. So they’ve overhauled features like forecasting and pipe inspection to give you more customization options and flexibility without having to use a bunch of different point solutions.

Drive adoption with Sales Cloud Everywhere

Another problem that Ketan and his team have been working on is how to help drive adoption. As much as we’d like it to be the case, most people don’t do 100% of their job on Salesforce. The added hassle of going into and out of the platform can create a lot of challenges for users trying to fit it into their workflow.

But what if Salesforce could follow you into other applications and be there when you need it? Sales Cloud Everywhere aims to do just that, with extensions for Outlook, Gmail, and more that will give your reps access to your full CRM no matter what they’re doing.

We need your help

If you only take one thing away from Ketan’s episode, it’s that there are so many new out-of-the-box features in Sales Cloud that it’s practically a new product. If you’re paying for third-party tools, you might be able to save your organization a lot of money just by turning something on.

Most importantly, Ketan and his team want you to know that they need your feedback to make Sales Cloud even better. Try Sales Planning, or Revenue Intelligence, or Einstein for Sales, or all of the above, and let us know how we can help you transform your organization with Salesforce.

Be sure to listen to the full episode to learn more about Sales Cloud, and what’s been added to Unlimited Edition.

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Full show transcript

Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins Podcast, where we talk about product, community, and careers to help you be successful. I’m your host today, Gillian Bruce. Missed you. Nice to be back. I’m here with a very special interview that I wanted to be able to share with you from Ketan Karkhanis, who is our EVP and GM of Sales Cloud at Salesforce. Now, he is a senior executive in charge of all things Sales Cloud. And we had a chat, just running into each other at London World Tour of all places. And it really sparked my idea to have him join us on the podcast, because Sales Cloud has gone under a huge reboot over the last year. There’s a ton of new features that I don’t think many people are aware of. So, we wanted to dig into that a little bit. And then also, talk about why Sales Cloud and core are developing the things they are, prioritization, especially in the context of AI and GPT these days.

And I promise you, Ketan is going to show you that, hey, core is getting a lot of love despite all of the hype around GPT, which is also very exciting. But we really focus more on that conversation around core development. And he gets into the importance and the role of Salesforce admins. One quick note before we get into Ketan’s interview. At the time we were interviewing, the product we were developing was called SalesGPT. That has since changed. And now our AI products for sales is Einstein for Sales. And so, anytime you hear GPT, just think Einstein. So, without further ado, please welcome Ketan to the podcast. Ketan, welcome to the podcast.

Ketan Karkhanis: Hey, thank you for having me, Gillian. So good to be here.

Gillian Bruce: Oh, it’s wonderful to have you on. I can’t believe we haven’t had you on before. So, first time guest, long overdue. Ketan, can you introduce yourself a little bit to our audience?

Ketan Karkhanis: Oh, I sure can. First, a big hello to all of you. I mean this is exciting to be on this podcast with all of you. My name is Ketan Karkhanis. I’m the executive vice president and GM for Sales Cloud. For some of you, I’m a boomerang. So, I was in Salesforce from 2009 to 2019, then I left, did a startup and supply chain, and then I came back to do sales in my prior stint. I’ve done Einstein Analytics, Lightning Platform, Salesforce Mobile, all the things you probably want to talk to me about also.

Gillian Bruce: Some things we’re very familiar with in admin land, yes.

Ketan Karkhanis: Yeah, great to be here.

Gillian Bruce: Excellent. Well, we’re happy to have you on. And since you are now leading Sales Cloud, we’ve got some good questions for you. So, first of all, I would love to know, and I think a lot of our admins are curious, what are some of the top things in Sales Cloud that maybe you think aren’t being utilized enough?

Ketan Karkhanis: Oh, that’s a great question. Look, I’ll tell you, and this answer might be slightly long. So, Gillian, you should keep interrupting me, because a lot has changed in Sales Cloud in the last year. One of the fundamental things we have focused on is there are two things that happened. Number one was we realized that there was this hyper proliferation of point solutions around Sales Cloud. To work on one opportunity, customers were using seven, eight different other point solutions. These are not market categories. They are features of Sales Cloud. So, one of the great examples I’ll give you is forecasting. And amongst all us, our admin friends, we had not innovated much in that space earlier. And it’s okay to be honest and say that.

Gillian Bruce: We like transparency on the podcast, Ketan. Appreciate that.

Ketan Karkhanis: But we really doubled down on it. And if you now go look at forecasting, you will see that there’s still a long journey. I invite you to join me at Dreamforce. But things like customizability, things like bring your own columns, things like adding manager judgment, things like coverage ratio, things like a better user experience, which does not require a help dock. Things like pipe inspection. I don’t know how many of you have turned on pipe inspection. Maybe it may not have one or two things you don’t need, but it’s the new list view for opportunities. Why would you look at opportunities in a list view? Why wouldn’t you look at pipe inspection? And everything I said, it’s part of core. It’s not something new you need to buy. I have a lot of new things I can sell you to. You know me, I’ll keep building new things.

But the idea is, how do we get more intrinsic value out? So, you asked the question, so I’ll say, I invite you all to check out pipe inspection. I invite you all to check out forecasting. I invite all of you to check out… And I’m listing, Gillian, things which are not like, hey, you need to call an AE right now. These are things which are probably already there, you just need to go turn it on or something like that. The next thing I’ll tell you is, look, one of the largest problems I’ve seen a lot of customers espouse is adoption. Gillian, you hear that from admins, and I hear that. How do I drive adoption? What do I do, right?

Gillian Bruce: 100%.

Ketan Karkhanis: So, one of the capabilities, and it’s a very counterintuitive thought, maybe this will work, maybe this will not work, but is we are like we were saying, okay, why can’t Sales Cloud or CRM follow you wherever you go? So, let’s say you are in Outlook. Yes, I use the O word, Outlook. I can do that on a Salesforce podcast, because hey, a lot of people use Outlook and it’s a great email client. I mean, it’s fantastic. But what if Salesforce side panel was there right with you? What if your entire CRM was accessible to your end user as a sales rep, while they were in Outlook or they were in Gmail? And even coming one more further is, what if you could do that while you are on LinkedIn? So, this is the idea of Sales Cloud everywhere. It’s the Outlook extension, it’s the Gmail extension, it is the anywhere extension that’s coming out. And again, these are what we think core capabilities, and I invite you to try them. One last thing, because we’ve just innovated a lot, so Gillian, please interrupt me, okay?

Gillian Bruce: Give us all the goodies. I love it. This is great.

Ketan Karkhanis: Now, these were just examples, but you can make a long list of this theme. Now, if you’re on unlimited edition. So, some of you might be on UE, you have a special bonanza for you now, because everything I said before is available everywhere. Now I’m focusing only on unlimited edition. We added a ton of capability to unlimited edition, which was previously add-ons kind of stuff. So, for example, conversational AI. How many of you have heard of conversational AI? It’s a standard capability. ECI, Einstein Conversational Insights. Go turn it on, try it in UE. I’ll tell you, sales engagement, some of you probably remember HVS. And again, transparency, there was some work to be done on that, which we have gotten done last year.

I know there was a little bit of a pause on that, but we have rebooted everything in the past 12 months. It’s included in powerful cadence automation. Every inside sales teams needs it. It’s out of the box in Sales Cloud UE. Automated capture, Einstein Automated Capture. Do you know more than 20,000 customers have already used Einstein Automated Capture? Are you one of those 20,000? If you are, thank you very much. If you aren’t, why aren’t you on that list? Because why do you want sales reps to enter data manually? It should be automatically synced. But anyways, I can keep going on, Gillian. There’s just a lot. There’s just a lot.

Gillian Bruce: That is a lot. And you know what I really like is all of these features that you’re talking about are, like you said, your team’s been working on this in the last 12 months. But I mean really these are things that are going to help admins make their users happier. And so, especially when you were talking about basically the pipe inspection is a better list view that’s going to give you so much more information. So, why train your users on how to use a list view when you’ve got this? And they can get the insights just from looking at the list of their opportunities. And then in context, I mean when you’re talking about the extension, where you can bring Salesforce and your CRM in the context of which you’re already working. Because the last thing a sales rep wants to do is switch windows or have multiple tabs open, as all of us are guilty of having too many tabs open as it is.

But the idea of having that contextual as you’re looking at a LinkedIn, as you’re looking at your email, that’s fantastic. I mean, those are amazing features. And like you said, they’re already part of your core experience. So, I’m going to use a Mike Gerholdt analogy here. “If you paid for the Ferrari, don’t just use it to drive to the grocery store.” You’ve got all these bells and whistles, you should use them. And I think another thing that I hear often when I’m at community events or at user groups, is you hear people that are paying for all of these third party solutions that do a lot of the stuff they don’t realize core already does.

Ketan Karkhanis: Yeah, I mean they’re spending a lot of money. You could be a hero by taking all that out and showing your organization, “Hey, guys, I saved you a lot of money.”

Gillian Bruce: Exactly. Yeah. I mean it’s one of those maybe not so secret, should be more overt awesome admin skills, is that if you are really truly an awesome admin, you’re probably going to uncover so much money your organization can save when you open the hood and look at all of the third party things that maybe you are paying for, that you already have included in core. It’s akin to declarative first development. Use what’s out of the box before you go building a custom solution. And I think that is one of the things that we don’t talk about enough, having that admin eye to look at all the things that maybe we already have on core, but we don’t realize, or whoever was managing the org before you didn’t realize.

Ketan Karkhanis: Or maybe we at Salesforce didn’t talk about it too much. I think, so there’s some responsibility I need to take too, just because I can. And you’re going to see me and my team… As I said, look, it’s a new Sales Cloud. Simple as that. The last 12 months, it’s a new Sales Cloud. And I invite you, I encourage you, I will gently push you and nudge you to take a look. And more importantly, the two motivation I have behind saying these things is, if you take a look, you will give us great feedback. And that’s truly what we want is your feedback. But you can’t give me feedback if you have not tried something. It’s like a virtual cycle.

Gillian Bruce: This is taking me back to when we rolled out Lightning back in, what, 2015. And we were doing all those Lightning tours with our product managers. I was doing a ton of them. The feedback we got from people when we were actually getting them hands-on with the new platform and how it worked, I mean every single piece of feedback got incorporated in some way. And I think that’s one of the unique things and special things about Salesforce, is that our product is only what it is because of the feedback that we get from our customers. And we definitely take into account. So, Ketan, as leader of Sales Cloud, how important is it for people to give you feedback?

Ketan Karkhanis: I’ll just tell you all my best ideas are not mine. They’re yours. So, if you want me to do something good, give me feedback. I’m half joking. But you understand the spirit of that comment, I think. So, it’s really important we connect with each other in the true sense of the word connection. Look, you all have made Sales Cloud what Sales Cloud is. You are the reason Sales Cloud is here. And I really, really aspire for you to be part of the journey. The last year, we have rebooted it a lot. We have a lot of new capabilities across the board. And I ain’t even talking to you about new things like… Do you know last week, Gillian, we just launched a new product called Sales Planning? Now sales Planning can be done native on your CRM. Do you know we’ve got a brand new product around enablement to run sales programs in context and outcome-based? That’s brand new. We just launch a buyer assistant. That’s cool. And Gillian, I’m not even talking about GPT. We are going to need a whole podcast on SalesGPT.

Gillian Bruce: We can do that. That’ll be the follow-up episode, because I know a lot of people are curious about that. But I think speaking of that, we get a lot of feedback, especially now because everyone’s excited about AI. Everyone’s talking about it, GPT, all the things, great. But the majority of admins I talk to are way more concerned with core features, stuff that their organization’s already using. And so, you mentioned that the last 12 months, Sales Cloud has gotten a reboot. Can you give us a little insight into why there was a reboot? What is the priority with Sales Cloud and core features? And give us a little insider lens to why.

Ketan Karkhanis: No, no, it’s a very fair question. Look, the way I think about it is adoption fueled growth is a key strategy for me and my business. And I use the word adoption as the first word in that sentence, because it’s really the key word. To me, one of the thoughts I have after talking to countless customers, I went on the road and I met so many customers, and I’ll tell you, it was amazing. You sit down with the customer and one of my favorite questions is, how long have you been using Sales Cloud? That’s my first question I ask them. And you will be amazed. Some of them were saying 10 years. I met a customer who’s been using it for 18 years.

Gillian Bruce: That’s almost as long as Salesforce has been around, right?

Ketan Karkhanis: Incredible commitment, incredible partnership. And then as I look at their journey and we talk to them, they’re like, okay, here’s where we need help, here’s where we need help, here’s where we need help. And how do you build that bridge for them to create a modern selling environment, to create a data-driven selling environment, to create a selling environment where reps are spending less time doing entry, but more time driving deals. And to do all of this, it’s not just new capabilities or new products like Planning, like GPT, all those things I talked about, but it’s also the foundation capabilities of, okay, let’s ensure forecasting is amazing out of the box. Let’s ensure a lot of our features are turned on out of the box. Let’s ensure we are really funneling our energies into bringing more, I keep saying out of the box, out of the box, out of the box.

That’s my way of saying core, core, core, core. But it also implies I want to simplify setup and onboarding. We have some more work to do there. It’s not done. And I will be the first person to say, hey, need your help, but trust me, we are committed to doing it. I’m committed to doing it. So, there’s countless examples I can give you around all these things we are trying to do. But the strategy is adoption driven growth. Element of the strategy is I really don’t want our customers to use seven or 10 different products, because I think…

So, our customers are giving me feedback. They’re like, “Ketan, and this is becoming a bit…” I have seven to 10 different tools I have to use, and this happens in the industry, it’s cyclical. There’s a hyper proliferation of point solutions, and then we go into a tech consolidation phase. So, that is a very key part. That’s what we did with Sales Cloud Unlimited. We took all this. We are like, these are not add-on, we just get them. It’s like, okay, Gillian, when you buy a smartphone or you just buy… Nowadays, nobody calls it a smartphone.

Gillian Bruce: They’re all smart now, right?

Ketan Karkhanis: They’re all smart, right? Yeah, exactly. But there’s a point in that comment. Do you have to choose whether you get the maps functionality or not?

Gillian Bruce: No.

Ketan Karkhanis: It’s there. It’s a feature, it’s not a category. That’s what we think when we think about things like sales engagement, when we think things like revenue intelligence, when we think about enablement, when we think about planning, when our conversational AI. These are capabilities of the new CRM.

Gillian Bruce: I love that.

Ketan Karkhanis: These are not categories. So, anyways, it was a great question. Thank you for asking that.

Gillian Bruce: Yeah. No. And I appreciate the transparency. And I think what you described about the cyclical cycle, about how tack, the many, many points coming together into being one solution. And I think I feel though we’re in the consolidation moment right now, especially with Sales Cloud, which I think that’s pretty exciting. Now, in the last minute or two here, I would love to hear from you, Ketan. As someone who has been in the Salesforce ecosystem and at Salesforce for I think as long as I have, seems like forever at this point. Can you talk to me a little bit about how you view the role of the Salesforce admin in a successful-

Ketan Karkhanis: You’re the quarterback. You’re the quarterback. Or if the people from other regions, I can use a cricket analogy, I can use a soccer analogy, I can use any analogy you want me to use, but you get the spirit of what I’m trying to say is yes, it’s a critical role, it’s a pivotal role, it’s an important role. Because it’s also the role that drives, not just governance and compliance, which is one way to think about it, but also what I call agile innovation. You can show the organization a way to move fast. The person who understands the power of clicks, not core, is connected to the community to bring those best practices from the community into your organization, is connected to product at Salesforce to bring that feedback back to product. You are also now the face of Salesforce in front of your organization, and that’s why we love you so much.

It’s a tough job. Look, it can be stressful, because you’re juggling many balls. There’s like every day you’ve got 10 things you’re juggling. You are like, oh, I’ve got these five requests from this business unit, but I need to do this project, which is long-term. And I’ve still not gotten done with my data governance priorities, which I had. But it’s a critical role, and that’s why it’s my commitment to you that I want to be held accountable by you. And I would aspire to be more connected to you. So, I don’t know how we do-

Gillian Bruce: Well, this is a first step, Ketan, now everybody knows who you are. So, you’re going to start to get feedback as soon as this episode goes live, I promise you.

Ketan Karkhanis: I had to open my mouth.

Gillian Bruce: You asked for it. You asked for it. Well, Ketan, I so appreciate you coming on the podcast and giving us some context and insight to what’s going on with Sales Cloud, priorities within Sales Cloud, some of the features that maybe we don’t know about very much and that we should start be using. And then I also just really appreciate your insights and appreciation for Salesforce admins. I think it’s always really helpful to hear from someone who’s in the leadership position about how Salesforce really does view the role of the admin and prioritizes it and thinks it’s so important. So, I appreciate you.

Ketan Karkhanis:
Thank you so much.

Gillian Bruce: And we’re going to do an episode about SalesGPT coming up soon. Don’t you worry about that.

Ketan Karkhanis: Yeah, yeah, 100%.

Gillian Bruce: Thanks, Ketan. One quick note and reminder, SalesGPT has changed to Einstein for Sales. So, we’re Salesforce, product names change, especially as we come into Dreamforce. So, just wanted to remind you of that. Anytime you hear SalesGPT think of Einstein. Well, that was amazing to have Ketan on the podcast. Appreciate his time. And yes, we are going to do more with him. So, I am looking forward to getting him back on to talk a little bit more about SalesGPT, which I know everyone is clamoring to learn more about. But I did appreciate his honesty and transparency about how Sales Cloud needed a reboot, how they’re prioritizing reducing all of the different points of use of other products and other solutions, and trying to consolidate everything into one seamless Sales Cloud solution that helps you with adoption as you’re trying to get your users on board.

I love the couple of features he mentioned that I didn’t even really know about, was the extensions to bring CRM into your email or into LinkedIn, wherever you’re working. And then, I mean, gosh, who doesn’t love an improved list view, right? So, go ahead and check out the pipeline inspection list view. I mean, I guess it’s technically not called a list view, but what a better way to look at your opportunities. So, we’re going to do more with Ketan. I also thought it was great how critical he thought the admin role is, as we all know it is. But I hope that gave you a little insight into how our executive leadership views the role of Salesforce admin and how we are really prioritizing making the admin job easier and helping you make your users more successful. Enough from me. Thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today.

As always, if you like what you hear, please leave us a review. You can also get more information on my favorite website, admin.salesforce.com, for more great content of all kinds. And if you’d like to follow us at all, we are on all the social medias. You can find us on LinkedIn, or Twitter, or X or whatever it’s being called these days, at Salesforce Admns, no I, and all over LinkedIn as well. Thanks to the main host of this podcast, Mike Gerholdt, for giving me the chance to bring this interview to you. And I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day. I’ll catch you next time in the cloud.

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