New Microsoft Viva Sales Product Coming This Year
Microsoft on Thursday announced Viva Sales, a coming new product for salespersons that pulls information together from various Microsoft 365 applications.
Viva Sales is the latest addition to the Microsoft Viva suite, which Microsoft describes as an "employee experience platform." Viva Sales will work with "any CRM" system, and is expected to arrive in "Q4 2022," according to Microsoft's Viva Sales landing page.
It may seem that Viva Sales is somewhat a redundant product, as there's already a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales product. However, the Viva Sales landing page explained that Dynamics 365 Sales is "inclusive of Viva Sales" and "addresses both sellers' and sales leaders' needs by automatically enriching Dynamics 365 Sales with customer engagement data captured in Office 365 and Teams."
The idea behind Viva Sales is to reduce the manual compiling of information by sales teams that use various Microsoft 365 Office applications, such as Excel, Outlook and the Microsoft Teams collaboration service.
The sales information gets automatically compiled by Viva Sales. However, sales people need to first initiate it by "tagging" the sales prospect in some Office 365 application. One of Microsoft's videos showed a tag button within the Microsoft Outlook e-mail client, for instance. Clicking that button pulls together information on that customer, which then can be shared with other sales team members.
Microsoft claimed that Viva Sales is powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to pull information together for sales teams. It specifically uses "Context IQ, announced last fall," to that end.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella had introduced Context IQ during the November Microsoft Ignite event. It was described back then as an AI solution coming to Office 365, Teams and Dynamics 365 subscribers that offers predictions, information and people-contact suggestions.
Viva Sales was described as a "smart CRM companion" that enriches the CRM that's already being used by sales people.
"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," stated Judson Althoff, executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Microsoft, in an announcement. "These insights are hard to capture because the seller is tasked with entering data manually."
Althoff added that the AI embedded in Viva Sales functions like a sales coach, helping to "move deals along with recommendations and reminders."
The Viva Suite
The Microsoft Viva suite consists of so-called "modules" that surface within Microsoft Teams. The modules commercially available for Viva users at present include:
- Viva Connections, which provides a news feed and permits content sharing.
- Viva Insights, which is designed for employee time management.
- Viva Learning, giving employees access to learning libraries.
- Viva Topics, used to surface information within organizations.
There's also a newly emerged Viva Goals module that helps organizations stay on target with their objectives and key results. Viva Goals is currently at the private preview stage, with a "general availability" release planned for Q3 of this year, as announced last month.
Viva Sales is set to become perhaps the sixth module in the Microsoft Viva product suite, which Microsoft first introduced early last year. There's also a LinkedIn Glint employee feedback module that's expected to arrive in 2023.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.