The discourse of CRM editors is to say that their tools make it possible to improve the work of salespeople. The more critical discourse of certain analysts is to say that the CRM is above all a tool for supervising, or even monitoring, salespeople, and a means of centralizing customer data – first and foremost the salespeople’s address books. As a result, CRMs do not necessarily facilitate the daily work of sales forces. But things seem to be changing.
Several examples bear witness to this at Oracle, HubSpot or Salesforce. And today at Microsoft with Viva Sales, which will be released on October 3.
What is Viva Sales?
Viva Sales is a CRM automation tool. Its artificial intelligence (AI) infused features handle tasks like entering data into the CRM or taking notes during calls. AI relies on Microsoft’s NLP, speech recognition, and machine learning, for example, to track actions in Teams or leverage data in emails and calendar related to a business case.
In the marketplace, HubSpot’s “Operations Hub” already offers AI tools to automatically populate and cleanse CRM data. Salesforce for its part acquired Troops.ai earlier this year to build “Slackbots” that might look like some features of Viva Sales, but in the Slack environment.
For Dan Gottlieb, senior director at Gartner, these tools are signs of a long-awaited movement towards improving the sales experience.
“We clearly see the beginning of a significant investment in end-user applications,” said Dan Gottlieb. “It’s an example of what we’re going to see a lot of, I think, in the next wave of CRM.”
Automate manual, routine and non-value added tasks
AI helping sales reps reduce screen clicks and application switching in their typically complex daily workflows is great news for them, Gottlieb said.
Kate LeggettVP and Analyst, Forrester Research
Viva Sales’ ability to dig into Outlook calendar data and use AI to determine whether or not it should be imported into the CRM could in any case save sales teams a lot of time.
Any automation that eliminates note taking, summarizing calls, or manually scheduling follow-ups will make CRMs more efficient, adds Kate Leggett, VP and analyst at Forrester Research.
“It allows sellers to focus more on the negotiation […] instead of taking notes for reports, which are often done at the end of the day, [ce qui peut être] source of errors and omissions”, she explains.
As for Viva Sales, the tool integrates with Outlook and Teams – whose users are thirteen times more numerous than those of Slack (Salesforce). However, Salesforce users far outnumber those of Dynamics 365 CRM. The challenge for Microsoft will therefore be to convince Salesforce customers who also use Office 365 to subscribe to Viva Sales.
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CRM: Microsoft wants to simplify the daily life of salespeople with its Viva Sales offer
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