On June 13th, Microsoft announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire LinkedIn at a valuation of over $26 billion, making it one of the largest acquisitions in the history of the tech industry.  While LinkedIn will retain its brand and independence, the acquisition – which is expected to close later this year — certainly opens the door for Microsoft to add a huge amount of value to Dynamics CRM by combining the massive amount of data under the LinkedIn umbrella with technology systems and platforms supplied by Microsoft.

Microsoft has a partnership with Salesforce, providing plugins for the Office Suite (Salesforce Lightning) which includes Outlook, Skype for Business and OneNote. LinkedIn already has Sales Navigator which can tie in directly with both Dynamics CRM and Salesforce allowing sales teams to search for leads much faster. It is also one of very few products that connect LinkedIn’s data with other third-party tools.  Now, with this historic acquisition, how will the landscape change?  Will LinkedIn limit its involvement with Salesforce in favor of Dynamics CRM?  I don’t think so, but I do think this merger will facilitate greater functionality within Dynamics and add features that might not otherwise be made available to other CRM platforms. 

Imagine you’re logged in to CRM viewing leads.  You click on a lead and it automatically loads information about that person’s industry, company, other contacts within that same organization, as well as their contacts and so on.  All by a single click. Imagine how rapidly a marketing campaign could travel and go viral with this sort of infrastructure at your disposal. By way of example, you could take notes directly in CRM, then pull open OneNote from your mobile device and review the information just before a sales meeting.

Microsoft has had varying degrees of success with its recent acquisitions, including a less than stellar outcome with the purchase of Nokia, but this massive deal is poised to provide a huge amount of impact to the sales world in the coming months – particularly if Microsoft sticks to its pledge to allow LinkedIn to operate independently.

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