Earlier this week, Microsoft announced the general availability of Viva Sales, a new seller experience application that brings together any customer relationship management technology (CRM), Microsoft 365 and Teams to provide a more streamlined and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered selling experience.
Every business function – including marketing, sales, customer support, and supply chain – will need to be reimagined for an AI-first and collaboration-first world. And the silos between communications, collaboration, and business process have to be broken down.
It has been just over a year ago since Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, said the above. Today, with Viva Sales, powered by the Microsoft Cloud and running alongside Dynamics 365 and Microsoft 365, we are starting to take down those silos of disconnected business and collaboration systems. Viva Sales makes a salesperson’s day to day job more pleasant and enables them to do what they enjoy – connecting more with their customers by reducing the part of their job they don’t like – administrative busy work and CRM manual data entry.
Top challenges for sellers
Every company wants to expand their business and grow sales. To get there, you need productive and efficient salespeople and effective tools to empower your sales teams.
The past two years have had a profound impact on work. Employee expectations concerning how, where, and when they work have significantly changed and continue to evolve. While these work trends are pervasive across the workforce, they have especially reshaped the expectations of sales professionals who have had to adapt to an increasingly digital workplace. Prior to 2018, digital selling was already gaining popularity but forced adoption of remote and hybrid work, brought on by the pandemic, put a spotlight on the top pain points common across sales organizations by highlighting the gaps and limitations in the tools that enable, and support sellers.
For sellers, who are working more than ever, the hybrid work environment means spending more time in video conferences, chats, email, and documents to connect with customers and close deals. Microsoft own Work Trend Index report, released at the end of September, research indicates the number of meetings per week had increased by 153% globally for the average Microsoft Teams user since the start of the pandemic. What’s more, people are flooded with meeting invites — declines and tentative RSVPs have soared in the past two years (84% and 216% growth, respectively).
Sales professionals spend less than one-third of their time (30%) selling, spending more time on administrative and other non-selling duties – LinkedIn’s Global State of Sales 2022 report
Among the biggest challenges identified by the salespeople across the world, manual data entry across disconnected processes and digital tools, as well as the inability to capture customer engagement data in productivity applications, where sellers spend most of their time, are at the top of the list of complaints. Furthermore, sellers mostly fail to benefit from the power of AI, and its recommendations delivered to the point of action, even though AI has proven itself as a major help in many other applications and business functions.
Transforming the salesperson experience
Imagine for a second that, instead of forcing your sellers to jump between the CRM and productivity applications multiple times a day, everything a salesperson needed to do their job was brought together in one place – where they already spend most of their day – in calls, meetings, and chats? What if their customer records, data and tasks were intelligently organized and accessible in the tools they use every day? What if the collaboration environment sellers use to talk to customers automatically provides the next best action and sentiment analysis?
Viva Sales addresses the most challenging and unpleasant part of a salesperson’s job – entering data into their CRM tool, by taking the power of the Microsoft Cloud and extending it to all the great Microsoft 365 applications salespeople already are using.
Think about all the customer and deal insights that are already in Outlook, Teams and Office applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, but never make it into the CRM system. These insights are hard to capture because the seller is tasked with entering data manually, and losing precious time needed to focus on what really matter – selling.
A new, modern way of selling
The future of selling isn’t a new system to learn. It’s bringing the information sellers need at the right time, with the right context, into the tools they are familiar with so their work experience can be streamlined. In fact, Viva Sales allows you to optimize and streamline your sellers’ experience, regardless of which CRM system you use. Today, Viva Sales enables integration of Dynamics 365 or Salesforce CRM, while future releases will allow for integration with any CRM system.
By enhancing the CRM system with customer engagement data from Microsoft 365 and Teams along with the power of AI, Viva Sales empowers sellers to be more connected with their customers, resulting in more personalized customer engagements and closed deals faster. This happens through a simple customer tagging feature, which automates the data capture, saves the seller time, and provides their organization with a more complete picture of deal and customer status. With AI embedded throughout, Viva Sales is like a sales coach to move deals along with recommendations and reminders. This intelligence layer provides sellers the information they need to help them be more productive. As a smart CRM companion, Viva Sales makes sellers’ lives easier while enriching their CRM.
Viva Sales builds on Microsoft Viva, launched last year, which provides an integrated employee experience platform (EXP) that supports everyone throughout their employee journey. Viva brings together communications, knowledge, learning, goals and insights to empower every person and team to achieve more from anywhere. Now with Viva Sales, we’re delivering the first role-based Viva application specifically designed to meet sellers’ needs.
With Viva Sales, Microsoft is reimagining sales, empowering salespeople with AI-driven insights and data automation right in the flow of work – in the productivity and collaboration tools millions are already using every day – Microsoft 365 and Teams.
To get started with Viva Sales, reach out to your Microsoft sales team and visit the Viva Sales webpage for a demo and more information.
To learn more:
- Introduction to Viva Sales—Training | Microsoft Learn
- Installing Microsoft Viva Sales Application from the M365 Administration Center—YouTube
- How to get started using Microsoft Viva Sales—YouTube
- How to install Microsoft Viva Sales Application for Outlook—YouTube
- Viva Sales FAQ