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Microsoft Viva Sales–Interesting But Not Quite There Yet

“Empty the dishwasher and take out the garbage. When you’re done with that, clean the cat box.” That’s me reminding, urging and brow-beating our teen into doing their chores. It’s on a continuous loop at our house–daily, weekly, and monthly. It’s tiring, if not exhausting, and doesn’t exactly bring us closer together. It’s also a metaphor for the feedback we get from upper management when it comes to sales staff updating CRM records, “We constantly remind salespeople to update their records. Some do, and some don’t, making managing and reporting more difficult.” It’s a tension as old as CRM itself. If only the CRM could magically update itself, it would solve a lot of problems. Well, there’s a new CRM add-in from Microsoft that aims to do just that, and it’s called Viva Sales.

Don't believe the hype (not yet, anyway)

But to quote Flavor Flav, “Don’t believe the hype!” Viva Sales pushes/pulls data to/from Dynamics 365 for Sales, updating CRM records and delivering CRM data to Outlook and Teams. Here’s a glimpse of what that looks like in Outlook.

Microsoft Viva Sales

That’s nice for the customer/seller communication that occurs via email. However, sales users still need to create/update records manually in everyday scenarios, e.g., documenting an old-school phone call or meeting or creating a task with a future due date. Anyone using the existing free Dynamics 365 App for Outlook might ask, “Wait a second, I can already create and update Dynamics 365 records from Outlook, and it doesn’t cost me anything. Plus, I can see past and future CRM activities related to this contact or account.” Why, yes, you can. Here’s what it looks like.

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Let's wait and see how Viva Sales grows

To be fair, Viva Sales is in its tech infancy, and I have to assume Microsoft has ambitions to make it do a lot more from both Outlook and Teams. It works with Salesforce too, so it’s an opportunity for Microsoft to capture incremental revenue from Salesforce users–that’s good for my Microsoft stock. On the plus side, it has a nice clean look in Outlook. But it’s got some shortcomings, e.g., you can only create or synch contacts and accounts to CRM. The current iteration won’t let you create or synch leads.

If you want to check it out...

Viva Sales is available for purchase at $40/user/month. In the context of Outlook to Dynamics 365, Viva Sales does less than the free Dynamics 365 App for Outlook. So if you’re an organization using Dynamics 365 for Sales, I suggest waiting until Viva Sales is more mature before seriously considering it. In the meantime, consider new ways to motivate your salespeople and teens to do their chores. Like, I don’t know, ice cream?

By Mark Abes, Vice President, Dyn365Pros, Microsoft Dynamics 365 partner, San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles.