During the Microsoft Business Forward conference in May, Microsoft announced their Relationship Sales solution, a bundle of LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Dynamics 365 for Sales. While still awaiting the July release of this offering, today we can look at how Microsoft keeps transforming the concept of CRM software. From a system recording sales activities retrospectively, the CRM is turning into a sales assistant influencing the future of a company’s business.
What’s in it for enterprises?
Dynamics 365 already offered a bunch of relationship guiding features, such as those for monitoring relationship health or getting customer insight. The idea behind the integration with LinkedIn Sales Navigator is to improve the quality of the contact points that a company develops with a customer.
A deal success depends a lot both on the quality of a relationship with the lead and reaching out to the right people, aka decision-makers. Also, Doug Complejohn, Head of Products for LinkedIn Sales Solutions, says that sales reps who win deals on average connect with 3x more people in the target account than those who lose deals. So, keeping in touch with more stakeholders on the customer’s side is important.
In this regard, the key advantage of the Microsoft Relationship Sales solution can be described in short as nurturing broad and valuable contacts with a customer with less time required from sales people. In more detail, the integration solution helps to resolve 4 daily challenges of the sales department.
Challenge 1. Your contact is not a decision maker
However strong the relationship with a contact person is, unless they make the final decision it’s not clear whether a sales rep’s efforts will pay off. LinkedIn Sales Navigator suggests a tricky way of getting in touch with a customer’s decision-makers. It’s in using PointDrive to deliver customized content to the contact person and tracking shares and likes so as to learn who the key people are and what they think of your company’s offering.
Once desired contacts are detected, it’s time to approach them correctly. By leveraging LinkedIn capabilities, Microsoft Relationship Sales allows searching through the company’s network for the colleagues that may know the prospect. If successful, the sales person can ask for a warm introduction to the contact via InMail, direct message, and custom connection requests.
Challenge 2. The only contact is lost due to staff turnover
If the contact person resigns, a long-nurtured relationship with the lead can come to nothing. However, if the sales person quickly notices changes in the contact’s career (for example, through automatic notifications), they can timely ask for an introduction to the customer’s new rep.
Challenge 3. Monitoring communication in several apps takes much time
Perhaps, the greatest strength of Microsoft Relationship Sales from a sales agent’s perspective is an opportunity to establish a relationship with a contact person without jumping back and forth between the CRM and LinkedIn. As the data from LinkedIn Sales Navigator is available directly via Dynamics 365, a sales person gets a complete picture of activities, including messages and calls on LinkedIn. A sales person can easily access a contact’s LinkedIn profile details, including the latest career history updates, so as to find icebreakers for communication. As an extra benefit, the Microsoft Relationship Sales solution can use CRM data to identify and suggest the sales person which testimonials from the company’s portfolio may help to convince the lead to purchase.
Challenge 4. Getting services from several vendors is pricey
LinkedIn Sales Navigator Enterprise and Dynamics 365 for Sales independently cost $1,600 and $1,380 per user per year respectively. The common Microsoft Relationship Sales Solution will cost a company $1,620 per user per year, which is indeed cost-effective considering the functionality of both products.
So is it worth going for it?
While the benefits are many, we think that one of them will be most long-awaited by companies, that is dumping manual logging of LinkedIn-related activities in the CRM. This out-of-the-box integration will also reduce the amount of required Microsoft CRM customization and this way will let a company make extra savings in addition to those resulting from subscription for a bundle plan. With this in mind, the future of Microsoft Relationship Sales solution looks very promising.
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