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Will Microsoft Tackle Market Automation? They Already Have.

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Though CRM software is still the undisputed belle of the ball, there's a new and rising market that's capturing a lot of attention. Market Automation is on the rise, with solutions providers like Pardot, Marketo, and Eloqua  generating a lot of excitement. This has led some to wonder if Microsoft, having really hit its stride with its Dynamics line of ERP software, would be attacking the growing trend head on. In an interview with SoftwareAdvice.com (Does Microsoft want a piece of the marketing automation pie? | Microsoft Executive Interview), Microsoft Dynamics General Manager, Brad Wilson addressed the question and provided an interesting answer; they already are, in a way.

“We provide core list and campaign management and analytics out of the box for Dynamics CRM,” Wilson said. “We typically sale our marketing as an adjunct to our sales automation capabilities and our customer service capabilities.”

These components to Dynamics CRM are serviceable, but not the deep and targeted solution that some want. So, that begs the next question: why doesn't Microsoft provide that solution?

“A lot of marketing specialists – people like Eloqua – are partners of ours,” Wilson said. “And they actually specialize in use cases for marketing professionals and for delivery things like mass e-mail marketing, et cetera, that provide a lot of value around our deployments. We look at it as a combination of core marketing capabilities in our product supplemented by these types of 'best of breed' specialists who really have deep knowledge and target those areas to provide the best possible solution.”

So as Microsoft has it worked out, they provide baseline functionality with Dynamics CRM, and for those customers that want deeper, more robust solutions, they can find them with Microsoft partners. While you may think that Microsoft should try and capture the entire market for themselves, Wilson deliberately drove CRM this way.

“When I got here in 2005, I decided that we would not sell marketing sales and service separately. We only sell CRM for one low price to customers,” Wilson said. “The reason why I did that is I kind of felt the distinction between marketing and sales and service as discrete rolls was blurring. In my case, my dashboard is a combination of sales, service, and marketing.”

The blurring of roles may make mentally pigeonholing software more difficult, but according to Wilson, it can be a great advantage to customers.

“The blurring of roles isn't just happening, it's beneficial for companies. We made a conscious decision to give people the full range of technology and then let them compose roles that are specific to an organization or individual,” Wilson said. “So that's why we put these things all into one single price point for our customers.”

By CRM Software Blog Editors, Find a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Expert

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