News | Microsoft Dubbed Leader in Sales Force Automation

Gartner has positioned Microsoft in the Leaders Quadrant in the 2017 Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation.

According to the report, the sales force automation market grew 12.8% in 2016, to $5.6 billion. SFA vendors have made a significant move toward embedded predictive analytics.

By 2020, 30% of all B2B companies will employ artificial intelligence to augment at least one of their primary sales processes.

Sales force automation (SFA) applications automate the sales activities, processes and administrative responsibilities for an organization’s sales professionals. SFA is a foundational technology that provides core sales execution capabilities: account, contact and opportunity management, sales forecasting, reports and dashboards, and mobile applications.

Gartner’s evaluation places Microsoft in the Leaders quadrant again this year with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales. Microsoft has a deep understanding of the market, supported by a consistent marketing strategy and market responsiveness. It has improved its overall sales approach by addressing not only CIOs and other IT leaders, but also sales executives. Microsoft continues to increase its SFA customer base, and has demonstrated that it is selling to larger sales organizations than it has in the past. During the past year, Microsoft added the Dynamics CRM product to the Dynamics 365 product suite, aligning it with its ERP offering and the Azure technology platform. The Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales product is available as SaaS or on-premises, but prospective customers should note that the on-premises version is updated only once a year, whereas the SaaS version is updated twice a year. Microsoft has several relevant capabilities on its product roadmap. These include new machine-learning capabilities for automated customer insights based on psychographic insights, and improved portal capabilities.

Highlighted Strengths:

  • Customization: Microsoft’s strength lies in its ability to create custom sales processes. Microsoft’s reference customers gave it very high scores for the ability to customize its application with custom fields, custom objects, workflows and a customized user interface, which includes the ability to customize the user interface for desktop users.
  • Customer experience: Several reference customers noted that Microsoft has improved the quality of its customer engagement processes. They highlighted the quality of its post-sales support and presales advisory services.
  • Product strategy: The Microsoft Dynamics value proposition includes integrated Microsoft Exchange, Office 365 and SharePoint capabilities, as well as an expanding set of Azure products, such as Azure Machine Learning, Azure Data Factory, Azure Data Lake and Power BI. Gartner clients have reported positively on this integrated product offering during inquiry calls with Gartner. Microsoft has also defined an effective product vision for how predictive analytics can support better sales execution.