How Salesforce and Microsoft Are Making Your Inbox Smarter

Opening Day Of The World Economic Forum (WEF) 2016
Marc Benioff, chairman and chief executive officer of Inc., looks on during a panel session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016. World leaders, influential executives, bankers and policy makers attend the 46th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos from Jan. 20 - 23. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Bloomberg via Getty Images

Microsoft and Salesforce are expanding their relationship, again.

The companies announced on Thursday that SalesforceIQ Inbox is available now to Outlook users. SalesforceIQ Inbox for Outlook, which costs $25 per user per month, effectively turns a user’s inbox into a customer-relationship-management (CRM) platform, allowing him or her to link content from Salesforce (CRM), as well as their email, to get easier access to information as part of the sales process.

Salesforce said in a blog post on Thursday that the average salesperson is often trying to tie-in information from as many as 15 data sources to get the intel needed on a single customer or prospect. SalesforceIQ grabs data that would live in Salesforce, including the latest notes or details on a particular customer, and brings that into the inbox. When a user receives an email from that person, he or she will have data from those disparate sources in one spot.

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“SalesforceIQ Inbox supercharges productivity by streamlining tedious tasks that sales reps are inundated with like updating CRM data, scheduling meetings and answering emails,” said SalesforceIQ CEO Steve Loughlin in a statement.

This is just the latest tie-up between Salesforce and Microsoft (MSFT). The companies have, for the last few years, been closely working together to integrate their services. There’s already a Salesforce App for Outlook, and in September, the companies announced that Salesforce would be integrated across Microsoft’s communications platform Skype and note-taking app OneNote.

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The close relationship between Microsoft and Salesforce previously prompted some speculation that Microsoft could eventually acquire the CRM maker. However, both companies have continued to throw cold water on the idea.

The integration of SalesforceIQ and Outlook could go a long way in growing the CRM maker’s platform. While SalesforceIQ is already integrated with Google’s (GOOGL) Gmail, Outlook is by far the most popular email platform in the world. Salesforce said on Thursday that Microsoft has more than 400 million customers, but that doesn’t include those who use Outlook in the business world with their own domain names. Salesforce says that “the vast majority” of its sales customers use Outlook.

Salesforce IQ for Outlook is available now. The app was developed by Loughlin’s company RelateIQ, until his firm was acquired by Salesforce in 2014 for $390 million. Since then, Loughlin has stayed on to add new features.

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