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Microsoft Convergence: New CRM partnerships announced

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12th Mar 2009
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Microsoft might be seen as a relative newcomer to CRM but it's certainly upped the ante with the announcement of a raft of new partnerships deploying its Dynamics CRM applications. But what are the companies themselves hoping to get out of it?

By Stuart Lauchlan, news and analysis editor

Microsoft's Convergence conference opened in New Orleans this week with a host of partnership announcements focused on the firm's Dynamics CRM applications and a series of third parties.

ZoomInfo, a provider of business information on people and companies, is now fully integrated with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Providing detailed and fresh data on 45 million people and 5 million companies, ZoomInfo allows sales teams and marketers to accelerate prospecting and shorten sales cycles with the creation of intelligent targeting through more qualified leads.

"Our customers are demanding new and innovative ways to access information that will make them more effective in connecting with existing and potential customers."

Sam Zales, president of ZoomInfo

The firm says that the integration with Dynamics CRM provides a centralised platform for aligning the needs of marketing and sales teams, enabling sales and marketing to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts by leveraging a single data source across the organisation.

"Our customers are demanding new and innovative ways to access information that will make them more effective in connecting with existing and potential customers," said Sam Zales, president of ZoomInfo. "By integrating ZoomInfo with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we are further empowering marketing and sales executives with the information they need to be effective and efficient in their job."

Meanwhile Hoover’s Inc. has announced the availability of Access Hoover's for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Customers will be able to deploy Hoover's business insight into their CRM implementation to quickly gain a competitive edge through immediate access to the most relevant information about the companies and people driving the economy.

"In this economy, sales teams must be more confident and better prepared than their competitors with the right information and tools," said Hyune Hand, Hoover's president. "Once they gain access to our comprehensive, actionable business information directly within their workflow via Access Hoover's for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, their productivity and effectiveness will improve."

Brad Wilson, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM at Microsoft, added: "Salespeople need quick access, within their workflow, to the most accurate and comprehensive business information. It's important to have good visibility to be able to accurately predict your business.

"The integration with ZoomInfo's search engine can help give Microsoft customers additional insight into their customer base. And we are very excited to partner with a company like Hoover's to give our customers direct access to trusted business information that will help them grow their business and better serve their existing customers."

Calls for better service

inContact has also announced the integration of its contact centre platform with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, which it claims improves both the agent and customer experience by automatically providing information to the agent about the caller. For example, if a customer calls into the system from a number in the CRM system, all of the information about the customer automatically pops up for the agent.

"The inContact platform offers intelligent call routing and agent optimisation tools, all built on an integrated network connectivity framework," said Paul Jarman, CEO of inContact. "Now that inContact and the Microsoft offerings are functionally coupled, Microsoft CRM customers can vastly improve both the agent and customer experience.

"Now that inContact and the Microsoft offerings are functionally coupled, Microsoft CRM customers can vastly improve both the agent and customer experience."

Paul Jarman, CEO, inContact

"The speed of deployment, best in class functionality and budget benefits of the inContact SaaS model make the combined solution an easy decision for organisations large and small. inContact has handled over 10 billion calls and is deployed in approximately 600 contact centres of all sizes. You can have a world-class enterprise-grade system at a cost model affordable to all."

Elsewhere, EDS (an HP company) became the largest enterprise hosting services provider to deliver Microsoft Dynamics CRM solutions to new and existing clients, boasting more than 180 data centres around the globe. "Our long standing strategic partnership with Microsoft, a founding member of the EDS Agility Alliance, and our deep experience in designing, developing, deploying and managing Microsoft technologies, best position us to deliver enterprise strength Microsoft Dynamics CRM solutions to the global market," said Jeb Horton, vice president of Microsoft Practice – Americas for EDS.

"During these difficult economic times, EDS' enterprise hosting services offer tiered levels for Microsoft Dynamics CRM to help enterprises contain costs and use less capital, while laying the groundwork to emerge more competitive when the economy recovers."

Related articles:

Microsoft Convergence: Creating a dynamic business to survive

Microsoft Convergence: The European perspective on the marketing message

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