Zendesk's new Duet platform unites sales and support teams

The new offering is designed for businesses that want to provide customers with a personalized experience that spans pre- and post-sale interactions.

Tech news roundup: Cisco Live, Samsung A-series, and Salesforce acquires Tableau This week's TechRepublic and ZDNet news stories include a look at the current state of 5G deployment, the severity of fake emails, and Cisco's quest for multi-cloud connectivity.

Zendesk, the San Francisco, CA-based customer service and engagement platform, introduced a new offering on Wednesday that combines tools for sales and support teams. Called Duet, the new platform is effectively designed for SMBs that want to provide customers with a personalized experience that spans pre- and post-sale interactions.  

By combining the features from Zendesk Sell and Zendesk Support into one offering, Duet can give sales and service personnel a full picture of a customer, including their interactions with the business, their transaction histories and account status.

Also: Gen Z and millennials want AI-based personalized support

"The days of thinking about customers as living in separate sales and support clouds is over," Zendesk founder and CEO Mikkel Svane said in a statement. "Customer experience transcends any single function or team. With Duet, we're changing the CRM landscape forever by breaking down the walls between customer-facing teams."

Zendesk is also targeting resource-constrained companies that may have sales and support employees serving multiple roles. Zendesk recently surveyed small and mid-sized businesses, learning that 86 percent of software buyers said it was very important to be able to share customer data between sales and support tools.

The 12 year-old Zendesk serves businesses across hundreds of industries, with more than 145,000 paid customer accounts. In April, the company reported an annual revenue run rate north of $700 million, up from approximately $100 million at the time of its IPO nearly five years ago.  

Zendesk casts itself as the SaaS vendor for companies that want to provide customer service that diverges from the standard, cookie-cutter experience. In November, Zendesk launched Sunshine, a new CRM platform built completely on Amazon Web Services, on the premise that businesses are looking for a way to bring together customer data from a variety of different sources.

In addition to announcing Duet, Zendesk on Wednesday launched the App Framework, giving companies a way to integrate third party data and actions within Sell and Support. Zendesk launched App Framework with early access partners, including MailChimp and GetResponse. The shared App Framework can also bring company-specific information and custom objects into Sell Apps and Support Apps from Zendesk Sunshine, Zendesk's CRM platform.