Microsoft Connects LinkedIn and Dynamics 365 for Sales

Microsoft's new Dynamics 365 integration uses data from the massive professional network to help customers boost sales.

Dynamics 365 LinkedIn

Microsoft is making good in its pledge to integrate LinkedIn with the rest of its business software empire.

When Microsoft acquired LinkedIn last year for $26 billion, the company explicitly stated that one of its goals plans to integrate the massive professional network with its cloud-enabled software portfolio, including Office 365 and Dynamics 365, specifically the latter's Sales Navigator tool. This week, Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the Cloud and Enterprise Group at Microsoft, announced that Microsoft has fulfilled part of its promise.

Guthrie said the Dynamics 365 for Sales-LinkedIn Sales Navigator integration "will help salespeople deliver better outcomes using insights from LinkedIn Sales Navigator and LinkedIn’s 500 million professionals," in an April 24 announcement. "Sales Navigator with Dynamics 365 will dramatically increase the effectiveness of salespeople by tapping into their professional networks and relationships, giving them the ability to improve their pipeline," he added.

The integration will use data drawn from email, the customer relationship management modules in Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn to provide users with contextual recommendations on the next steps to take in the Dynamics 365 for Sales. Features include the ability to send customized connection requests and communicate using InMail, LinkedIn's messaging platform.

Guthrie said the integration will enable sellers to better engage with buyers with tailored content. The application also delivers account and lead updates based on LinkedIn activity like a job change. It will also provide a clearer picture of existing Dynamics 365 contacts by pulling in photos, job histories and other information from LinkedIn profiles.

This summer, Microsoft intends to sell a standalone package based on the integration, according to Doug Camplejohn, head of Sales Solutions Products at LinkedIn. "On July 1st, 2017, Microsoft and LinkedIn sales teams will begin selling the Microsoft Relationship Sales Solution, a new offer that combines Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 for Sales and LinkedIn's Sales Navigator Team Edition, starting at $135 per seat per month before volume discounts," he wrote in a blog post.

Also arriving in July is Dynamics 365 for Talent, offering human resources organizations a consolidated profile for each employee that spans LinkedIn, Office 365 and Dynamics 365 profile data. Managers and job interviewers can use the product's integration with LinkedIn Recruiter to scan candidate profiles that containing up-to-date information, Guthrie added.

In addition, Microsoft unveiled Dynamics 365 for Retail. The cloud-based offering provides retailers with centralized management over their customers, employees, financials and inventory across multiple store locations.

Microsoft also welcomed industry-specific software as a service (SaaS) applications to the AppSource marketplace, including Apttus Quote-to-Cash app for manufacturers and KenSci Clinical Analytics for health care organizations. Slated to launch in the coming months is a Numerix FRTB (Fundamental Review of the Trading Book) app for the banking industry and Flintfox Pricing & Promotion Execution for retailers.

Finally, Microsoft is gearing up for the July 1 launch of Dynamics 365 Business Edition apps to serve sales and marketing for small and mid-sized businesses and has announced plans to deliver Dynamics 365 out of its cloud data centers located in U.K. and Germany.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...