These are two products that I love; Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn. Back in the day, I wrote a step by step guide on how to get them both working together – long before Microsoft started flirting with the idea of owning their own social network.
There is no better social network than LinkedIn when it comes to business-to-business (B2B) relationship discovery or, more to the point, people-to-people (P2P) relationships with a professional focus.
Gone are the days of using the Yellow Pages, Wards Business Directory or some localized version of these (my sales manager back in the early 90’s used to refer to these books as LEADS 😊 just waiting for me to cold call them).
When Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in December 2016, there was much rejoicing by everyone that worked in Dynamics. Not because we would now have access to this massive data set of Leads 😉, but because we thought we would get an AWESOME integration between Dynamics and LinkedIn.
What has changed since Microsoft acquired LinkedIn?
Microsoft and LinkedIn have continued to run independently of each other in the way they do business with the public.
The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is now in play, and everyone is extremely cautious when it comes to Personally Identifiable Information (PII).
LinkedIn Integration with Dynamics 365 for Sales
As of today, we have the following visible integration between Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn for Leads, Contacts, and Accounts.
Also, on the Lead and Contact record, you can access the LinkedIn Sales Navigator tab for this view:
Okay, not too bad, but I had close to that before the acquisition, sure there’s been a little UI tweak here and there, but is that it?
I can now message from within the LinkedIn embedded area, but that is a little broken.
Say I want to create an activity like a LinkedIn Message, why is it not in the same place as all other activities? Also, if I am sending this from Dynamics 365 why would I need a checkbox called CRM (we don’t even call it CRM anymore)?
Let me be clear, I am not asking Microsoft to pull data from LinkedIn into Dynamics 365 for Sales, but there is no reason why some data like messages created in Dynamics 365 as a LinkedIn Message type should not be accessible from the create new Activity part of Dynamics.
I feel like this is a minimum viable product to tick the box and show them working together. But for the hard working salesperson, they have to do all of the real work in LinkedIn Sales Navigator when it comes to working with potential new customers.
10 Ways to Improve the Dynamics 365/LinkedIn integration
As I said at the start, I love these two applications, but there is massive room for improvement in how they play together.
The integration should be a showcase of how to integrate third-party software and data with Dynamics 365, and the minimum pay to play should be more affordable than it is currently.
This is just me spitballing on the weekend.