AI is poised to change how we work and interact with technology. That’s a fact. Microsoft is infusing artificial intelligence into its cloud-based solutions, such as Outlook, Teams, Word, Excel, etc. AI has been part of Dynamics 365 for Sales for a while, scoring leads and making predictions about sales opportunities. I’ve been lukewarm with respect to those particular AI features. However, I like what I see from the generative AI in Microsoft Copilot, operating inside of Viva Sales.
Heard of Viva Sales?
Viva Sales is an Outlook add-in that, among other things, automates data entry into Dynamics 365 for Sales (CRM). Here’s a typical scenario; a salesperson receives an email from a new or existing customer in Outlook. The salesperson opens Viva Sales, seen below in the right-hand panel. Viva Sales pulls data from the email to create a new Dynamics 365 CRM record, reducing the amount of CRM data entry required by salespeople. This feature has been part of Viva Sales for a while.
Pilot to Copilot
However, the addition of an AI solution called Copilot takes this a step further. In addition to feeding data to CRM, Copilot helps you respond to the customer’s email. Copilot uses generative AI to fashion an email response in a way that reminds me of ChatGPT. Think of it this way; the prompt is to ChatGPT, as the customer email is to Copilot. In this example, choosing “Reply to an inquiry” generates a nice thank you and a meeting request.
Using the customer’s email as a prompt, Copilot generates a business-friendly reply with a call to action.
You can correct Copilot or ask it to rewrite the response, incorporating appropriate or essential information. Let’s say the customer is chronically late paying invoices. I type a short description of the message I want to send to the customer and Copilot generates the response.
Don’t expect the Copilot response to be perfect or nuanced. It’s a time-saver but make sure you proofread for accuracy and tone. Additionally, Copilot doesn’t know what you discussed with the customer over drinks the night before or customer history that informs a thoughtful response. But the response might be good enough if you manage a high volume of emails, the emails don’t need depth or nuance, or someone on your sales team flunked English 101. Copilot delivers convenience. But remember, it’s a copilot–not a pilot. And don’t depend on it to land the plane.
Viva Sales Pricing
Currently, Viva Sales is included with Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise. Sales Professional users can purchase it separately. Schedule a call with our team if you have questions or need help.
By Mark Abes, Vice President, Dyn365Pros, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Partner, San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles.