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Will the Integration of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn Trigger a CRM War?

For all those who regularly use and follow CRM related updates, this news was something that was due. Microsoft purchased LinkedIn late last year and now the integration of their CRM platform with the social network was inevitable. LinkedIn is the world’s primary professional social network.

Apart from meeting new people and creating professional networks, LinkedIn is a great tool for recruiting people and generating cold leads as well. With over 500 million active users and growing every year, it is a useful platform that recruiters and people of all professions use to gain a background on business associates.

Emergence of Dynamics 365

Dynamics 365 is a Microsoft program that combines ERP and CRM and fuses it into a single cloud based platform. That means Microsoft has the power to reach 500 million professionals across the board when the bringing together of Dynamics 365 to LinkedIn happens. It goes without saying that customers who need this level of engagement and services exist and they are going to turn to Microsoft for these services.

The speculation though is on two levels. First, how will these added services on a CRM platform be better for the users in term of utility and usability and what effect will these features have on the competition. There is obviously going to be a large migration of customers toward the Dynamics 365 platform, so how are competitors going to respond?

In the now

A larger number of features and gadgetry does not also automatically mean Microsoft is going to win based on just the claims. Experts agree that there is still a long way for Microsoft to go before it becomes the biggest player in the CRM market. As of now, SalesForce commands a 20% chunk of the market share while Microsoft only had a comparatively paltry 4% when they started off in 2015. What Microsoft does have is the financial backing of one of the biggest names in the tech industry as well as other products that add to the Office ecosystem including Outlook.

In spite of this, it is yet to come close to the SalesForce product, a specialized software package that CRM users have just gotten used to. SalesForce is simpler to use and more reliable because of their expertise in this sector.

Microsoft’s Dynamics is coming out, all guns blazing not just in the way they are marketing their product right now, but also offering more services at a price point that is cheaper than the competition. Considering just these options, it becomes clear that Microsoft is looking directly at SalesForce with an intent to start a war. Their marketing materials in fact take a thinly veiled swipe at SalesForce, calling out the price difference. Microsoft claims that their services are up to $470 cheaper to use per month.

Quality comes first

While people do like to pay a smaller price, that is not the only determinant for those who use CRM services. The quality of the services and the software is paramount. It is not just that Microsoft is offering a suite of services for cheap right off the bat.

The running and operating costs at the end of the day can add up to quite a bit in the long run. LinkedIn integration will open up services that were previously possible to attain only after heavy investment in analysts, data miners, and acquisitionist. Through Dynamics 365, a lot of data will be made readily available to subscribers. So by bringing a host of services under one banner and offering prices that the competition cannot possibly afford to operate at, it is pretty much the makings of a classic price war.

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