Microsoft just showed off exactly what Salesforce was worried about – CNBC

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Satya Nadella and Jeff Weiner on Microsoft acquiring LinkedIn, June 13, 2016.

Microsoft just took a direct swipe at Salesforce with a new enterprise-ready version of LinkedIn’s customer relationship management (CRM) product called Sales Navigator.

“Today’s announcements take Sales Navigator to the next level,” Doug Camplejohn, LinkedIn sales solutions head of product said in a blog.

The new product also steps up competition with arch rival Salesforce.

Microsoft beat out Salesforce to acquire Linkedin for $26.2 billion — by far the company’s largest acquisition to date — in June 2016.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff was so concerned, he accused the company of “anti-competitive behavior” and urged regulators to investigate.

Flash-forward less than a year and Microsoft’s new Sales Navigator Enterprise Edition incorporates many features aimed at turning LinkedIn into a must-have tool for sales teams at big companies.

Among other features, the new Enterprise version increases the number of LinkedIn messages users can send to 50 per month, makes it easier for large companies to manage the product by adding Single Sign-On and allows sales teams to draw on LinkedIn connections from anyone within their organization with a new feature called TeamLink Extend.

Subscriptions will also include access to a tool called PointDrive, created by a company acquired by LinkedIn in July 2016, for easily sharing content like presentations, images, links and videos with prospective customers. Pricing starts at $1,600 per seat per year, with the price dropping with more subscriptions and longer contracts.

In the second quarter, Sales Navigator subscriptions increased 20 percent over the prior year, CEO Satya Nadella said on the company’s most recent quarterly earnings conference call. Customers include SAP, Ernst & Young, The Sacramento Kings, Symantec, and PayPal.

Nadella is quickly putting his acquisition dollars to work in other areas: LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman joined Microsoft’s board, the company announced last week, to deepen its Silicon Valley ties and work on artificial intelligence.


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