What Does Microsoft’s Acquisition of Linkedin Mean for Marketing and Sales?

What Does Microsoft’s Acquisition of Linkedin Mean for Marketing and Sales?

On Monday, June 13th 2016, Microsoft announced a $26.2 billion acquisition of Linkedin. Terms of this acquisition have been reported to be unanimously accepted by both organizations, but beyond the benefits to these two soon-to-be-merged businesses, this news has significant bearing across multiple markets. In the spheres of marketing and sales, customer experience, and even human capital management (HCM) the intersection of the offerings of both Microsoft and Linkedin have sizable implications. While my colleagues Omer Minkara, and Howard Adamsky share their insights on customer experience and HCM in their own posts (which are well worth a look/click as well), what follows is my synopsis specifically on marketing and sales. In the world of marketing and sales, individually, Microsoft and Linkedin have been dominant players in their own respective ways. Through its Dynamics platform, Microsoft has positioned itself as a system record for both vital sales functions as a CRM, and through marketing automation integrations, a driver of sophisticated marketing campaigns. For individual sales reps, Linkedin has also been an invaluable source of prospecting information and research, and from a marketing standpoint, a highly valuable source for pulling in contact data, and pushing out engaging communications or highly targeted advertisements. With this merger, the primary implication is that these two companies are addressing a significant gap in the present marketing and sales market place. Organizations can purchase solutions to store, manage, and organize data and workflows from one place, and then must go elsewhere to actually get names, or share content that furthers demand or purchase intent. Traditionally, such business users would then have to try to understand their buyers based...
Microsoft/LinkedIn and the Business of Doing Better Business

Microsoft/LinkedIn and the Business of Doing Better Business

Earlier this week, one of the biggest technology deals of recent years happened when Microsoft announced their acquisition of LinkedIn. Did this announcement elicit cries of wonder, excitement, or even general interest? Nope. Looking at most of the responses from pundits, social media, and technology watchers, the most common responses were either skeptical, scornful, or just straight: “this is boring.” And why did we see these kinds of responses? Because these two companies are highly focused on providing tools and services for business. And I guess a lot of technology pundits just hate the idea of people using technology to do business. Think about it. If this had been Apple buying Twitter. Or Apple announcing just about anything. Or a cool company buying virtual reality technology. Or anything that seems neat but doesn’t really have much potential to, you know, make money or help people do things that they actually need to do. Any of the above scenarios would have had the technology pundit class drooling in excitement. But an announcement that combines the company that controls all the software that organizations use to do business, with the firm that has so much become the way people handle business connections that it has essentially replaced the business card, gets greeted by one big yawn. Well, that all ends here. Because I think this is a great deal, and has the potential to actually affect the way we all do business. From a LinkedIn perspective, I don’t think too much will change. In most ways, it will probably stay pretty similar to how it is now. But I do think...
Customer Experience Management, HCM, and Microsoft’s Acquisition of LinkedIn

Customer Experience Management, HCM, and Microsoft’s Acquisition of LinkedIn

On June 13, Microsoft announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire LinkedIn, the world’s largest social networking platform for professionals. This marks yet another major acquisition in the tech world in 2016, following close on the heels of Salesforce’s acquisition of Demandware, NICE Systems’ acquisition of inContact and Vista Equity Partners’ acquisition of Marketo. This is one of the costliest acquisitions, if not the costliest, in Microsoft’s history. To put it in perspective, when Microsoft acquired Nokia in 2013, the final deal was valued at approximately $7.9 billion. At $26.2 billion, the deal to acquire LinkedIn is more than three times that. Microsoft serves a wide set of stakeholders across the enterprise. In addition to the billions (!) of Office and Outlook users in businesses around the world, Microsoft also offers solutions for customer experience management, human capital management (HCM), and, of course IT. The acquisition of LinkedIn has the potential to impact all of these stakeholders, but I would like to focus specifically on the customer experience and HCM spaces. Customer Experience Findings from our recent CEM Executive’s Agenda study revealed that creating a unified view of the customer journey is one of the top challenges facing customer experience executives. For its part, LinkedIn contains a wealth of data that sales, marketing, and service employees could use to build comprehensive account profiles. If Microsoft can successfully enable the easy integration of LinkedIn data into Dynamics CRM, for example, this will seriously boost its ability to improve sales productivity. Marketers also have an important role in managing customer experience. Specifically, they are involved in, among other things, building brand awareness and retargeting current clients for cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. LinkedIn...
Why LinkedIn is One of the Best Tools Out There for Social Selling

Why LinkedIn is One of the Best Tools Out There for Social Selling

We are truly in the digital age, and sales strategies have changed to reflect that. With over 360 million members, LinkedIn has become the go-to social network for companies when it comes to B2B sales. What used to be considered a site solely for job searching, LinkedIn is putting an end to traditional cold calling sales tactics and providing salespeople with a way to prospect for leads that is both efficient and far-reaching. The old way of thinking about prospecting is changing, and LinkedIn is leading the way. Guest Post by Lindsey Boggs, VP of Enterprise Sales and Social Selling at etailinsights. Before social selling and sites like LinkedIn, sales people were relegated to the “more calls equals more leads equals more sales” model. They had to reach out, either by phone or in person, to a huge number of potential buyers in order to generate leads, leads which may or may not turn into closed sales. That way of thinking is outdated, and LinkedIn is the major player in teaching sales teams to focus more on the quality, rather than the quantity, of leads. The following are some of the ways that LinkedIn helps you find the right leads to prospect, generates more sales, and makes sales teams successful. LinkedIn lets you target the ideal customers. About 45% of the people on LinkedIn are in upper management. They are the decision makers. You no longer have to make it past the gatekeepers to get to them; you can connect with them directly via InMail. LinkedIn allows you to get to know prospects before you reach out. There is plenty of information on a person’s profile,...