A Few Quick Thoughts on the LinkedIn Purchase

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As I rolled out of bed Monday morning I flipped on my iPhone and the first thing I read was the stunning news that LinkedIn had agreed to be purchased by Microsoft for $26.2 Billion. As a Dynamics CRM user and partner with a love/hate relationship with LinkedIn my first thoughts were "How will this help Dynamics CRM Online vs Salesforce.com?" I've rolled a few scenarios around in my head and came up with a few ideas that Microsoft should act on right away.

But first, why the love hate relationship with LinkedIn? It's mostly because LinkedIn has spent the last few years trying to monetize the data submitted by its users. Now LinkedIn has every right to do that - but as a user, I found less and less value in spending time on the site. The excitement of discovery seemed to be gone. With the Microsoft purchase, LinkedIn data can be monetized in so many other ways. I hope that many of the current barriers to free sharing of info on LinkedIn will start to go away.

Microsoft's intention in purchasing Linked has to be more than just buying a Social Network. Microsoft could buy Twitter, Instagram or several other networks that might be looking to join under a larger umbrella. What these networks lack that LinkedIn has is an amazing amount of data about professionals from all walks of life throughout the world. According to Wikipedia, LinkedIn's membership in March 2016 was 433 million strong. That amount of data, and all of the connections linking members has to be among the world's most valuable datasets. Microsoft will be able to use this data in so many new ways as it integrates LinkedIn with its cloud based services..

So here is how I see this acquisition playing out:

  1. LinkedIn will continues to offer a free subscription service little different from today's offering.
  2. LinkedIn professional subscriptions become included as part of an Office 365 subscription or for a small additional cost - less than $5 per user per month. With the huge Office 365 subscription base LinkedIn adds millions of new professional users. Office 365 users will be able to sync and automatically update contact information in Outlook against the vast data stored in LinkedIn.
  3. LinkedIn data becomes integrated directly from within Dynamics CRM 2017. Perhaps included as part of the professional subscription ($65 per user per month) or for an additional monthly cost.  Salespeople will have access to LinkedIn data from within Leads, Contacts, and Accounts. From within any of these records, you will be able to take advantage of the connections in LinkedIn. Let's say you have a new Lead but cannot find the Sales Manager at the company. From within the lead record, you will be able to view and filter lists of contacts at the company, and automatically create, sync, and update records within CRM. I'd also like to see a dashboard with the latest news and updates about the companies and contacts I follow on LinkedIn, as well as the ability to send InMail from within CRM records.
  4. I also see Microsoft offering specialized versions of Dynamics CRM for Corporate recruiters, allowing the easy import of LinkedIn data into CRM to generate resumes and other information that make placement of professionals into new positions a seamless process

There are many other scenarios that Microsoft can explore to monetize its investment in LinkedIn. I look at this purchase as a way to give Dynamics CRM an advantage over Salesforce. My biggest fear? That Satya Nadella will offer Salesforce users the same level of integration with LinkedIn that I propose for Dynamics CRM.

So what are your thoughts? How else can Microsoft utilize its new Social Data company? And how will Microsoft's competitors react? Will Google or Salesforce look to purchase Twitter or some other social media platform? It's going to be fun seeing how this acquisition plays out!

This blog first appeared on the enCloud9 blog on June 13, 2016. enCloud9 is a Dynamics CRM partner located in Omaha, NE. Contact us today for a free consulting appointment on how to best use Dynamics CRM to run your business.

by enCloud9

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