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PHOTO: Artem

Salesforce named Microsoft Azure its public cloud provider for Salesforce Marketing Cloud this week. It also announced new integrations that connect Salesforce's Sales Cloud and Service Cloud with Microsoft Teams.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a software suite that supports marketers in creating personalized marketing campaigns through use of Einstein, Salesforce's AI engine, and campaign performance analytics. Salesforce officials promised that by moving to the Microsoft Azure architecture customers will see improved onboarding times and better access to local data security, privacy and compliance requirements.

The new Microsoft Teams integration aims to provide sales and service users the ability to search, view and share Salesforce records directly within Teams, according to company officials. The integration is expected to be released in late 2020. 

In other customer experience software news ...

Adobe Deepens Microsoft Partnership

Continuing with Microsoft partnerships, Adobe announced deeper integration across Adobe and Microsoft with the Adobe Experience Cloud and Document Cloud software suites. The Experience Cloud, built on Microsoft Azure, includes the following:

  • Integration of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Marketo Engage, part of Adobe Experience Cloud, for personalized multi-channel marketing and sales campaigns and workflows. The company states it offers real-time insights into buyer behavior.
  • Integration between Adobe Campaign Standard and Microsoft Dynamics 365, which is designed to allow users to send personalized messages to profiles in their CRM database and track marketing interaction history.
  • Integration between Marketo Engage and LinkedIn, allowing brands to reach specific audiences with targeted engagements. 

LinkedIn Debuts Data Validation

LinkedIn added a solution called Data Validation to its Sales Navigator tool. According to LinkedIn officials, Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, customers sync their CRMs to Sales Navigator in order to log Sales Navigator activities to CRM, auto-save accounts and contacts associated with active opportunities, and run searches filtered by whether or not a match is in the CRM.

The Data Validation tool automatically flags if a contact is no longer at the company listed in the CRM and is checked daily against LinkedIn data. This allows sales reps to deploy contact cleanups, remove contacts from marketing campaigns and leverage it with other applications that sync to the CRM. The Data Validation tool also allows sales reps to identify when a buyer has left a company, identify current contacts who have joined new companies and update out-of-date contacts.

Directly Acquires Kylie.ai

Directly, an intelligent automation provider for customer support, acquired AI startup Kylie.ai. The Kylie.ai team and its proprietary technology will be brought under the Directly name. Kylie.ai offers enterprise-grade artificial intelligence (AI) to automate customer conversations. 

Directly’s intelligent automation solutions can now intelligently trigger an action from an internal system, providing an automatic answer for an interaction without live agents. Kylie.ai’s technology will be fully-integrated into the Directly expert intelligence platform and available to all customers by spring of 2020.

Punchh Nets $40 Million Funding Round

Punchh, which provides customer marketing solutions for physical retailers, announced it has raised $40 million in a Series C funding round led by Adams Street Partners and Sapphire Ventures, with AllianceBernstein also participating in the round. Punchh integrates with existing point-of-sale and ecommerce systems and collects in-store and online customer data. The new funding will be used to further augment Punchh’s AI capabilities as the company expands into new verticals such as convenience stores and other physical retail segments. Robin Murray of Adams Street Partners will join Punchh’s board. 

Drift Names CMO

Drift, a conversational marketing platform, hired Tricia Gellman as CMO. She will drive Drift's marketing strategy, brand management, lead generation and overall marketing planning and execution. 

Gellman last held the CMO position at Checkr. Prior to Checkr, she spent nine years at Salesforce, starting in product marketing and then rising to the role of CMO of Salesforce Canada. Before Salesforce, she held leadership roles at Adobe and Apple.

Talkdesk Hires CMO

Talkdesk, which provides cloud contact center software, hired Kathie Johnson as CMO. Johnson will be based in the company’s San Francisco headquarters and reports directly to Tiago Paiva, Talkdesk CEO.

Before joining Talkdesk, Johnson held executive marketing and communications positions at Salesforce and Dassault Systèmes. During her tenure at Salesforce, Johnson served as SVP of marketing and was part of the organizational transformation following the Demandware acquisition. Johnson will focus on shaping corporate brand and strategy.