Industry Insights

Microsoft and Salesforce Bridge Gap between CRM and Email

Software-as-a-service CRM provider Salesforce has rolled out a new integration with Microsoft designed to give business users the ability to search, view, and update all Salesforce CRM entries associated with their email contacts from Outlook

Two weeks ago, as CMS-Connected reported, Microsoft agreed to acquire social networking platform LinkedIn for $26.2 billion, although CEO Marc Benioff was set to buy LinkedIn. When the acquisition materialized, he even claimed that the price was driven up after his company made a bid for LinkedIn. Therefore, who knows whether there are some hard feelings between Microsoft and Salesforce, but Lightning for Outlook is the latest solution resulting from Salesforce and Microsoft’s two-year-old strategic partnership. This newest integration, however, signifies a remarkable first for Salesforce as being available in a non-Salesforce application.

Lightning for Outlook makes it easier for, especially, sales reps and other users to find the related information they need quickly as the average sales rep spends more than 70 percent of their time sending and responding to email every week, according to CSO Insights. The integration adds a new pane to the standard Outlook inbox window view to demonstrate relevant Salesforce data in a more modern way. Joint users can also tap into the embedded search capability that enables them to find Salesforce information within Outlook, so there's no need to toggle between two applications.

The connector is retrieved on Salesforce’s Lightning Components which is a set of reusable code blocks available on the company's AppExchange and comes with the Lightning App Builder tool that enables developers to build new apps or embed them into third-party software, so users could utilize embedding those components into Outlook.

Lightning for Outlook add-in brings functionality from the SaaS suite into users' Outlook inboxes, such as a price quote with the Salesforce SteelBrick CPQ (configure, price, quote) solution directly in Outlook which allows sales reps to pull price quote updates quickly. Besides, New Lightning Sync enables users to automatically sync contacts and calendar events across Outlook and Salesforce in order to help reduce time and effort spent on manually adding entries. 

Eventually, users will also be able to add custom sales apps directly into Outlook, creating permanent shortcuts for tasks such as again updating a price quote using SteelBrick. Microsoft hasn’t specified a firm timeline for that feature yet. 

Salesforce EVP of Strategic Product Alliances Ryan Aytay said in a blog post: “At Salesforce, we’ve always believed the answer is that you can be more productive than you ever dreamed. The key is to find better ways to do things. That’s exactly what bringing the power of Sales Cloud Lightning to email does — it helps reps spend more time selling and less time switching between apps.” He also made sure that the new integration is available to Salesforce users across Windows, Mac, and the web, and is coming soon to Outlook Mobile. It is 100% cloud-based and is automatically updated without user intervention.

The add-in is available worldwide to all Salesforce customers with the necessary licenses. Detailed availability as per below:

  • Lightning for Outlook is generally available today via the Office Store at no additional cost to Sales Cloud users.

  • Lightning Sync is generally available today at no additional cost to users with a Sales Cloud Lightning Enterprise edition and up.

  • Lightning Components Framework in Outlook will be generally available in Fall 2016. Pricing will be announced at that time.

"At Accenture, our top priority is helping clients navigate the accelerated rate of digital change," said Andrew Wilson, CIO, Accenture. "Offering out-of-the-box integration between platforms, the joint solutions from Salesforce and Microsoft deliver at speed and avoid rework. These solutions help us arm our people with the relevant data right at their fingertips so they can connect globally and deliver unparalleled insights and value for our clients."

Microsoft has been leveraging its email app and putting Outlook to some interesting uses. For instance, earlier this month, Microsoft rolled out its new Starbucks for Outlook add-in which adds a "Meet at Starbucks" button to the Outlook ribbon in order to make it easy to send gift cards or schedule a meeting at a nearby coffee house where you can “productively” slurp your latte. 

This integration seems to create a win-win situation for both Microsoft and Salesforce because many Salesforce users will also consider being Office 365 users, while the new integration gives Salesforce users a really good reason to extend their licenses. 


Venus Tamturk

Venus Tamturk

Venus is the Media Reporter for CMS-Connected, with one of her tasks to write thorough articles by creating the most up-to-date and engaging content using B2B digital marketing. She enjoys increasing brand equity and conversion through the strategic use of social media channels and integrated media marketing plans.

Featured Case Studies