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August 29, 2016

Microsoft-LinkedIn Deal: Will this Finally Boost the Dynamics CRM Market Share?

Photo by Johannes Hemmerlein

Now that the brouhaha over Microsoft’s $26.2-billion purchase of LinkedIn has died down, it’s time to look at the strategic implications of this deal. Will this be Nadella’s masterstroke for boosting Dynamics CRM or will this prove to be another Yammer in the making…?

It’s been roughly a month since the Microsoft-LinkedIn deal and, since, an eerie calm has taken over social media. OK, who am I kidding? With attention spans shorter than that of a goldfish, social media can never be calm. In fact, every one of those ‘Tweeples,’ those ‘Facebookers,’ and those ‘LinkedIn-ers’ are just waiting to go nuts over something else now. Yes, I know I am digressing, but this is the introduction, what else do I use to make you fall hook, line and sinker?

So, there’s no way you wouldn’t have heard of that $26.2-billion purchase of LinkedIn by Microsoft. Moreover, it’s all in cash (I can imagine LinkedIn founders diving in money like Uncle Scrooge). But why? That’s what got me wondering. After all, every business decision is a strategic one. Microsoft isn’t going to empty out its coffers for nothing.

For quite some time now, Microsoft has been looking for ways boost the market share of its CRM tool, Dynamics. In the $26 billion (coincidence?) CRM market, Dynamics currently ranks fourth and occupies a paltry four percent share. Well, I don’t know about you, but I certainly think that if Microsoft plays its cards right, this purchase is surely going to give a fillip to the software giant’s CRM tool.

As Microsoft tries desperately to get an in into the big boys club (that’s you Salesforce), the LinkedIn purchase shows that the ‘Windows’ maker (quite literally) is shifting its focus more toward enterprises.

So how will this purchase help boost Dynamics CRM?

Real Time LinkedIn Data in your CRM

Perhaps the biggest benefit that Microsoft can reap from this purchase is real-time access to all that sweet data from LinkedIn. Integrating the CRM with LinkedIn and enabling users to download data in real time can become the USP of Dynamics. What’s more, make this feature available to only premium LinkedIn users and enjoy all that moolah fill in the bank account.

Yea or Nay for Social Listening

Of course it’s never a ‘Nay’ for social listening. If it was up to us sales people, we would love to hear everything. But then we know when it comes to LinkedIn it’s a big NAY.

But maybe in a bid to defeat the army of Benioff, Microsoft will now loosen LinkedIn’s API control, which would enable some developer out there to develop an application which would crawl conversation in LinkedIn groups etc. Or even Microsoft could do that, either way, it’s a win-win.

Automate Recording Touch Points

For most sales people out there, recording touch points is somewhat of a necessary evil. You don’t want to do it, but you have to, especially if you are prospecting through a channel like LinkedIn. One of the few ways I think this deal can really make the Dynamics CRM tool stand apart is if Microsoft can automate this process so that touch points would be recorded automatically.

Prospect Prioritization and Lead Scoring

LinkedIn holds a lot of value when it comes to prospects and leads. As mentioned above, its API paranoia prevented anyone from cashing in on that value. But now, with the Microsoft purchase, maybe a new tool which would help sales people prioritize prospects based on their LinkedIn activity could be developed. What’s more, if Microsoft could develop something like this tool, it would completely destroy the competition.

On-Time Updates about your Prospects

You know about Sales Navigator, right? It’s LinkedIn’s very own tool that helps you stay up-to-date about your prospects by providing you custom lead recommendations etc. So why not integrate this with MS-Dynamics and simplify everything for sales people? On-time updates about your prospects right in your CRM! How cool would that be?

With the LinkedIn purchase, the possibilities for Microsoft are endless. I am sure Nadella and the boys would have already planned in detail about the future of Dynamics CRM and even Office365. In an e-mail to his employees, Mr. Nadella wrote:  “The opportunity for Office 365 and Dynamics is just as profound. Over the past decade we have moved Office from a set of productivity tools to a cloud service across any platform and device. This deal is the next step forward for Office 365 and Dynamics as they connect to the world’s largest and most valuable professional network. In essence, we can reinvent ways to make professionals more productive while at the same time reinventing selling, marketing and talent management business processes. I can’t wait to see what our teams dream up when we can begin working together once the deal closes, which we expect will happen this calendar year.”

What do you think?

Am I getting carried away thinking that this purchase is going to seriously benefit the Microsoft CRM or, as mentioned above, is this another Yammer in the making?


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Abeer Aulakh is a technical content writer at Grazitti Interactive, a company that specializes in providing CRM, marketing automation and business intelligence solutions.

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