Microsoft’s LinkedIn buyout will certainly bolster its Customer Relationship Management (CRM) offering – having a self-maintained repository of customer and prospect information goes a fair way towards justifying the eye-watering $26 billion price tag. The question is how much of a chunk can Microsoft steal from the Salesforce majority market share in business CRM.
It is fairly standard practice to manage client relationships through CRM systems. In fact, according to Cloudswave 61% of sales distributors use a CRM system and 75% of sales managers say that CRM has helped increase their sales.
CRM systems clearly add value but are they a broken promise?
Do they really develop customer relationships?
Yes, they are a powerful tool for storing, managing and measuring client facing teams and customer interactions but gathering data is not the same as building connections and relationships.
CRM falls short on one key ingredient: intelligence.
To build a relationship you need valuable intelligence about your ecosystem of customers, prospects, partners and competitors.
And you need the ability to filter through vast amounts of big data to uncover relevant insights and identify triggers – opportunities to engage, establish credibility and identify new business, upsell or cross-sell opportunities.
Engagement is the new frontier. Real-time actionable insight combined with an ever broader spectrum of channels to reach clients through have become the drivers of relationships and revenue.
This is the crux of the matter. Microsoft says the merger will take its CRM product Dynamics beyond productivity and collaboration, and into true professional networking and sales enablement.
Time will tell.