Adobe Inc. and Microsoft Corp. are strengthening their existing relationship with a deeper product integration that suggests both companies are gunning for Salesforce.com Inc.
All about sales and marketing, the integration announced today will see the companies share data from platforms such as Marketo, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales and LinkedIn. Marketo Inc. was an automation software company that Adobe acquired last year for $4.75 billion, while LinkedIn is a social networking platform for businesspeople that was acquired by Microsoft in 2016 for $26.2 billion.
Adobe said the new service, called the Account Based Experience, is aimed at creating more personalized and targeted experiences for sales teams to help them close on more complex sales. The idea is that by integrating LinkedIn data, sales teams can create richer profiles of their customers in programs such as Marketo Engage and Dynamics 365 for Sales.
Richer information should be helpful because account sales are often much more complex than sales to individuals, typically involving several decision makers, said Steve Lucas, senior vice president and head of the Marketo team at Adobe, who formerly served as Marketo’s chief executive officer.
Lucas told Reuters in an interview that sales to accounts can often take months, and the ability to access extra data can help to shorten those times. He added that LinkedIn is one of those “clear holy grails” for marketers.
“With these new account-based capabilities, marketing and sales teams will have increased alignment around the people and accounts they are engaging, and new ways to measure that business impact,” Lucas said in a statement.
Analyst Holger Mueller of Constellation Research Inc. told SiliconANGLE that today’s partnership builds on last year’s announcement by Adobe, Microsoft and SAP SE of an “Open Data Initiative.” The idea with that initiative is to eliminate data silos and provide joint customers with a single view of their clients by connecting data across all three organizations.
The Open Data Initiative was clearly aimed at Salesforce, which is the leader in customer relationship management software, but there has been little tangible progress so far, Mueller said. He added that he was skeptical that today’s partnership would trouble Salesforce either.
“Salesforce seems to be unfazed, and it will be an uphill battle for the three competitors,” Mueller said. “Cross-competitor alliances that are molded together by a common enemy usually run out of steam when getting into the details. One large opportunity that pits Adobe, Microsoft and SAP against each other could well derail these efforts.”
Today’s partnership was announced at the Adobe Summit in Las Vegas, where Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (pictured, left) appeared onstage with Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen (right). Adobe today also announced general availability of its Adobe Experience Platform, in addition to a new service called Commerce Cloud for building online storefronts.
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