Microsoft headquarters sign
Microsoft deepened the integration between LinkedIn and Dynamics CRM yesterday PHOTO: Wonderlane

Microsoft launched a salvo at Salesforce last November with the release of Dynamics 365

Yesterday the company raised the stakes with the announcement of several updates to Dynamics, including integration with the LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

Putting the LinkedIn Data to Work

According to a statement from Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft, the combined products will dramatically increase the effectiveness of salespeople by tapping into their professional networks and relationships. The statement pointed to three distinct advantages the integration provides:

  1. Using signals across emails, CRM and LinkedIn, Dynamics 365 will offer users next best action recommendations, allowing for direct introductions through the company’s network.
  2. Provides tailored content to customers throughout the entire lifecycle, including account and lead updates as well as news mentions and job changes.
  3. Builds stronger and better relationships with existing contacts through access to LinkedIn profiles.

Microsoft claims the move will save users money as well: by offering LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Dynamics 365 for Sales together — and presumably integrated — Microsoft says users will be paying half of what they'd pay for a competitor's products.

Microsoft also announced the release of a new HR-focused version of Dynamics 365 ERP called Dynamics 365 for Talent, providing the HR team the ability to search for new talent directly from LinkedIn’s Recruiter and Learning solutions.

Developing Dynamics 365

Microsoft first mentioned Dynamics 365 last July, unveiled it in October, billing it as a Salesforce killer, and finally launched it in November, 2016 with a pricing strategy calculated to persuade enterprises to make the jump from Salesforce.

The idea was a good one too. The reasoning went that for customer engagement, or better customer experiences, it was necessary to break down the siloes that prevented enterprises from getting a comprehensive view of what content and data they had. 

Dynamics 365 aimed to change that by providing a set of cloud-based services that connected data from multiple departments. Microsoft bet on the high number of current Microsoft product users to see the value that such an integration could provide.

Jujhar Singh, corporate Vice President, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, described Dynamics 365 at the time as a way to, “better enable end-to-end business processes, we have unified the navigation and core user experience across each of the Dynamics 365 applications.”

Microsoft's Goal: 'Redefining Social Selling'

Microsoft's $26.2 billion purchase of LinkedIn in December 2016 was followed by speculation about what the company would do with the social networking platform. Some suggested the purchase was only done to prevent Salesforce from buying it.

CEO Satya Nadella explained that the information in LinkedIn would be used to redefine social selling through the combination of Sales Navigator and Dynamics 365.

Last night Microsoft pulled the two together. Among the other updates, Microsoft stated it will also release a small-to-medium sized business offering in preview from July 1, called Dynamics 365 Business Edition apps for Sales and Marketing.

For the international market, it plans to deliver Dynamics 365 from local data centers in the U.K. and Germany.