Microsoft launches new AI-powered Viva Sales tool
Microsoft has announced the launch of Viva Sales, a new sales tool that marks the first job-specific module of the company's Viva Insights recommendation tool.
Launched last year, Viva Insights surfaces personalized news, analytics, and knowledge for employees. Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for modern work at Microsoft, said that until now, every module available in Viva has been broadly applicable to every employee in the company. "Viva Sales is the first module that takes a different dimensional tack. It is focused on helping people, specifically salespeople, to get their job done."
Described as a "smart CRM companion", Viva Sales pulls customer engagement data from Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams and uses machine learning to turn that information into personalized recommendations and insights for salespeople.
Spataro said the tool should act as a bridge between Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and communication tools, acting as an "intelligence layer" that connects the dots across systems.
For example, a salesperson can tag customers in Outlook, Teams or Office applications like Excel, which allows Viva Sales to automatically capture it as a customer record and pair it with any relevant CRM data. Viva Sales can then recommend next steps to progress a customer through the sales funnel, prioritize work, and provide sellers with access to a full history of any customer interactions.
"As you work with a customer, you can not only see your own interactions, you can also see across your company and find all the people that are interacting with your client as well," Spataro said.
At launch, Microsoft says Viva Sales can be used in conjunction with Microsoft's own Dynamics CRM platform, or Salesforce.
The platform also provides AI-driven recommendations and uses Context IQ to ensure relevant content is connected across Microsoft apps and services like Dynamics 365 and Microsoft 365.
Spataro said that as the speed of business continues to increase, there are areas of work where humans are increasingly struggling to keep up, particularly when it comes to the number of daily messages, emails and inputs most employees are now receiving and expected to action.
"We're trying to apply AI not only to remove the boring stuff, but also to provide real value add so that you can cope with the volume and the expectations associated with you doing your job," he said.
Microsoft isn't alone in this mission either, as Salesforce has long had its own AI-powered recommendations tool Einstein, and other vendors continue to automate various admin tasks for employees using their tools.