Microsoft Dynamics integration with LinkedIn: How will it challenge Salesforce?
When Microsoft acquired LinkedIn last year, the aim of the former was to integrate the world’s most popular and biggest professional social network with its range of cloud-based products, including Office 365 and Dynamics 365. As promised, three months down the lane, Microsoft announced its decision to integrate Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn, including integration with LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Customers will start getting the benefits of this integration from July 2017.
Integrating Dynamics with LinkedIn: What users will gain?
- Integrating LinkedIn Sales Navigator with Dynamics 365 helps salespeople effectively tap into their professional networks and contacts, and thus improve their pipeline.
- Providing contextual recommendations to salespeople by scanning their email, calendar and LinkedIn contacts.
- Engaging buyers with tailored content through the account lifecycle, and building strong relationships with existing contacts by accessing their latest profile details like current job, work history etc.
- Providing ways to save an “at-risk deal”; that is, reaching a colleague who is connected to a prospective customer on LinkedIn.
- Artificial Intelligence capabilities like helping salespeople take their own data and load it into AI for themselves.
Gaining the benefits of these enhancements will require Microsoft Dynamics customers to be also LinkedIn customers.
Dynamics 365 + LinkedIn vs. Salesforce
When Microsoft purchased LinkedIn for a whopping $26 billion last year, speculations started rising from all corners about the tech giant’s plan on how Microsoft will be using LinkedIn data. Salesforce, in particular, felt that this acquisition could throw up a great challenge to them. While Salesforce currently holds the largest share in the market of integrated sales tools, Microsoft is aggressively chasing behind. According to Reuters, Salesforce gained 26% revenue growth last year, while Dynamics has seen only 4%, which means Microsoft has a long way to go.
However, Microsoft has a great penetration in the enterprise market. The increased functionalities of Dynamics and more insightful information with LinkedIn integration could be a game changer, since this will help salespeople in a way Salesforce does not. The improvements to Dynamics 365, the sales software of Microsoft will be first major initiative that springs from Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn. Gartner ranks Microsoft to be fourth leader in the sales software market, while Salesforce, Oracle, and SAP occupy the first three positions respectively.
Integrating data from LinkedIn to Dynamics 365 sales software “is central to the company’s long-term strategy for building specialized business software”, says Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. While Salesforce declines to comment on Microsoft’s advancing competence, Nadella states that these advancements in sales and finance are critical to the company’s future. The visionary treats them as Microsoft’s “third cloud”, the first two being Office 365 and Azure.
“A common set of business data that can be mined for new insights with artificial intelligence”- goes Nadella’s bigger vision for Dynamics.
Bringing together LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales will reduce about half the cost of what a user would pay for a competitor CRM. The whole package which includes Dynamics 365 for Sales, Enterprise Edition, and LinkedIn Sales Navigator Team will be available for $135 per seat per month.
Benefits of Dynamics and Sales Navigator integration:
- Every Dynamics lead, contact, account, and opportunity page will display the Sales Navigator person and company details.
- Daily sync between Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn Sales Navigator- All the accounts and contacts the reps are currently working on will be automatically saved to Sales Navigator. All the information saved in Dynamics will be reflected in Sales Navigator and vice versa.
- Sales Navigator activities like InMails, messages, call logs, and similar details can be written into Dynamics 365 with a single click.
In April, LinkedIn announced that it has crossed 500+ million registered users globally, and Microsoft sees a huge potential in Dynamics-LinkedIn integration.
Dynamics 365 for Talent
Hiring and retaining the best talent is scarce as well as expensive. Microsoft is also introducing Dynamics 365 for Talent- a new application for HR organizations that helps them in managing and nurturing precious resources. Dynamics 365 for Talent gives organizations a 360 degree view of their workforce on all phases- sourcing, recruiting, onboarding, and retention.
- LinkedIn Recruiter integrations displays the most dynamic candidate profiles to hiring officers, thus giving them quick access to the best talents.
- Makes on-boarding a personalized experience for employees. Each recruit will get targeted goals and resources, besides access to relevant contacts.
- It’s possible to maintain a consolidated and up-to-date HR profile with Office 365, Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn profile information.
Dynamics 365 for Retail
Accomplishing holistic digital transformation is a challenge for modern retailers, as they need to identify and embrace the apt technologies pertinent for their future growth. Dynamics 365 for Retail is the latest cloud intelligent solution from Microsoft that offers retailers;
- Integrated 360 degree view of their operations with centralized management.
- Enhanced cross-departmental visibility among stores, staff, customers, inventory, and financials.
- Advanced and mobile-optimized point of sales experience that improves sales.
- Omni-channel capabilities that supports customers in engaging more effectively with retailers.
- Data driven retail experience that focuses on boosting engagement at every customer touchpoint.
Nadella states that Microsoft will continue to offer some of LinkedIn data to other organizations, including Salesforce, just like how LinkedIn used to do prior to the acquisition. Though Salesforce urged the European Union regulators to review the Microsoft-LinkedIn deal, they declined to do so and gave their nod for the unison.
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