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Microsoft's Viva Sales: A new companion app that works with many CRM systems (not only Microsoft's)

Microsoft's Viva Sales is the first of a number of role-based companion apps on which the company is working that integrate with Teams, Outlook and existing Office apps.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor on
Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is taking the wraps off a new sales app on June 16 that it's branding as "Viva Sales." (More on the odd branding part of this later.) Viva Sales is a CRM "companion" app that is meant to integrate with Teams, Outlook and Office apps including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Officials said that it would work with Microsoft's own Dynamics 365 Sales CRM app/service and CRM systems from other companies.

Viva Sales is all about automatically capturing customer data and integrating it with Teams calls and chats and Outlook emails. Officials said Microsoft Viva Sales" turns Microsoft 365 into smart sales assistant." Viva Sales is using the "Context IQ" set of predictive AI technologies that Microsoft execs first mentioned last fall to generate contextual reminders and recommendations.

Here's how Microsoft officials explained how Viva Sales works:

"As sellers are working, they can tag customers in Outlook, Teams or Office applications like Excel, and Viva Sales will automatically capture it as a customer record, layered with all relevant data about the customer. Being able to automatically capture this level of customer engagement data was not available previously. This data can easily be shared with team members while collaborating in Office and Teams without retyping or looking it up in a CRM. "

Here's a demo version of the app's user interface, courtesy of Microsoft:

Credit: Microsoft

What does Viva Sales have to do with Microsoft's Viva employee-experience platform? Not much, other than the shared word "experience." Viva Sales is not a new Viva module, nor is it integrated with the existing Viva platform. And Microsoft is not broadening the purview of Viva to include CRM/sales. With today's unveiling, Microsoft is trying to broaden the meaning of "employee experience" to include tools to help employees excel at their jobs, officials said.

Viva Sales actually is a Teams/Outlook collaborative app. (Microsoft seemingly didn't want to brand Viva Sales as "Dynamics" becuase it also can work with other non-Microsoft-developed CRM platforms.) Viva Sales is just the first of a number of other "role-based" companion apps that Microsoft is planning to launch. While officials declined to say what else is on the docket, a Microsoft-produced video mentioned marketing, finance and IT as other places where "role-specific" pain points could be addressed with this type of app.

Viva Sales will be in public preview starting in July and be generally available later this calendar year, officials said. The prerequisites for Viva Sales are Teams/Office 365 and a CRM system of choice. At launch, Viva Sales will be available for no additional charge to Dynamics 365 customers and will have out-of-the-box integration with Salesforce. Through Dataverse APIs, Viva Sales will provide support for additional CRM systems, officials said. 

"We will look to provide more out-of-the-box integration based on customer demand in our roadmap," according to a spokesperson.

Viva Sales shows how Microsoft is continuing to work to define new categories of apps by automating on top of some of its existing flagship products.

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