On Thursday, Satya Nadella wrote a blog, conveniently on LinkedIn Pulse, announcing the official close of the agreement between Microsoft and LinkedIn for $26 billion. In the post, he detailed the excitement he had for the acquisition and some of the first steps Microsoft will be taking to integrate LinkedIn’s powerful professional network.
Here are the specifics he pointed out for integration right away:
- LinkedIn identity and network in Microsoft Outlook and the Office suite
- LinkedIn notifications within the Windows action center
- Enabling members drafting résumés in Word to update their profiles, and discover and apply to jobs on LinkedIn
- Extending the reach of Sponsored Content across Microsoft properties
- Enterprise LinkedIn Lookup powered by Active Directory and Office 365
- LinkedIn Learning available across the Office 365 and Windows ecosystem
- Developing a business news desk across our content ecosystem and MSN.com
- Redefining social selling through the combination of Sales Navigator and Dynamics 365
Sounds exciting! I think we could all get on-board with these integrations. I mean… updating your LinkedIn profile as you update your resume in Microsoft Word… that’s a huge time-saver for professionals searching for a new job! But, how will the acquisition of LinkedIn effect the Microsoft Dynamics community?
LinkedIn and Microsoft’s Initial Announcement
Back in August, SBS Group CEO and President, James Bowman, wrote a telling piece about the benefits of Microsoft purchasing LinkedIn. He wrote that as the news had broken that Microsoft was indeed acquiring LinkedIn. At that point, Microsoft laid out some specifics on what they saw as key advantages of LinkedIn and how they could benefit Microsoft’s current business solutions. Since then, we have learned more about the capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the future of Dynamics CRM.
How will LinkedIn Acquisition Impact Microsoft Dynamics 365?
Satya Nadella and Brad Smith have both alluded to the inclusion of LinkedIn capabilities coming to Microsoft Dynamics. Some tools will come quicker than others like the integration of Sales Navigator to Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Dynamics 365. So what changes can we expect for Dynamics?
Microsoft Dynamics CRM + LinkedIn
Naturally, LinkedIn will probably have its biggest impact on Dynamics CRM and Office365/Outlook. The professional network created by LinkedIn is powerful, and that’s an understatement. LinkedIn now has 433+ million members (19% increase year-over-year) and 105+ million monthly active users (Credit: Microsoft & LinkedIn). For those using Dynamics CRM, access to LinkedIn’s rolodex of professionals will be huge for sales reps and recruiters. I would expect LinkedIn to directly integrate with Dynamics CRM including updating contact, account and lead profile’s as they change on LinkedIn.
Also like Jim Bowman mentioned in his post, there will be serious intelligence capabilities for companies that leverage Dynamics CRM. Sales reps will have up-to-date information on their contacts and leads. They will also probably be able to see how they are connected to them and what type of posts they are looking at on LinkedIn. Power this data with Cortana, and sales will be more prepared than ever walking into client or prospect meetings.
On a different note, the integration of Sales Navigator will encourage sales reps, more than ever, to utilize the authority of social selling. Sales reps will be able to find new prospects to engage as well as new communities to share product and service material with. After all, there are over 9 million company pages on LinkedIn to connect with.
Marketing-wise, one has to think that email sends, marketing lists and form captures will be more useful and effective since the marketing department will have access to additional customer information. Integration with LinkedIn will give marketers a holistic view of the customer as a professional, instead of just a name on a list of a few hundred or thousand. Each name will have a face – which leads to better marketing.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 + LinkedIn
Much like Dynamics CRM, sales reps and the marketing department will be more prepared than ever. I would expect the Sales, Customer Service, Field Service and Marketing business apps available on Dynamics 365 to be tightly meshed with LinkedIn. This means better customer data, better customer communication and deeper customer insights.
Another surprise that Microsoft unveiled at the User Group Summit in October was the Customer Insight module they have planned for Dynamics 365. Customer Insights will give your business a 360-degree view of your customers so you know exactly what they need, when they need it, before then even know themselves. For example, at User Group Summit, Microsoft brought up Mike McMinn from Marston’s, a British pub chain, to discuss how Dynamics 365 and Customer Insights transformed the way they interact with their customers. McMinn went on to describe how Marston’s can now track the full customer journey from knowing which beer they like to order to how often that customer visits their pubs. Imagine the possibilities for your business if you had that type of information. That is customer service on another level!
More to Come for Microsoft Dynamics
I’m sure as time goes on, more specifics will come to light about the integration of LinkedIn to Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Dynamics 365. For now, we at least know that there is a definite interest from Microsoft to improve their Dynamics solutions with the acquisition of LinkedIn.
What are some ways you think LinkedIn will change Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Dynamics 365?
VP Enterprise Solutions and Services, SBS Group
Robbie Morrison has spent nearly 20 years helping customers build and deploy elegant technology and business solutions. From start-ups to enterprise-class organizations worldwide, his knowledge of the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem helps SBS Group customers maximize benefits from the ERP investments.
Today, Robbie serves SBS Group customers in his role as Vice President, Enterprise Group where he provides thought leadership and manages the enterprise delivery team. Robbie received his MBA from the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business.