Introduction to Viva Sales – the Future of Work for Sellers6 min read

In this article, we will cover several different areas, both functional and technical. We will address the challenges that sellers face in an increasingly digital selling workplace and how Viva Sales solves these with capabilities in Outlook and Teams, including the most recent AI GPT-powered capabilities, or, as we call it, the Viva Sales co-pilot.

#1 Seller Productivity Blocker

Disconnected tools are the number one seller productivity blocker. According to the CSO insights, sellers currently spend only 32% of their time selling with 34% or 13h per week on admin tasks. Most decision-makers want to believe that business is getting done in the CRM system where business data resides, but the reality is that salespeople spend more time in the Office 365 and Teams apps.

The issue is that these systems are often siloed – they don’t integrate easily or even at all with each other. So sellers have to constantly switch and duplicate efforts across their CRM system, Outlook, and Teams. These tasks can be inputting data in the CRM system, creating activities, scanning the CRM to find the right person to contact, or creating follow-up tasks from previous meetings with customers.

As such, a big challenge for companies is the manual data entry. All this administrative work is keeping sellers from spending more time with customers and closing deals.

Reclaiming time with Microsoft Viva Sales

To address all these seller challenges, Microsoft Viva Sales has been created – a new add-on designed to improve seller productivity and enable deeper customer engagement by bringing customer context into the seller’s flow of work.

Sellers can work with their familiar tools, while Viva Sales help them collect sales contact data, freeing them to focus on customer connections. Sellers can be more productive with real-time insights to better understand where each customer is in their purchase journey. Customized reminders and tips served up by AI act as personal coach and are designed to help sellers move each sale forward.

Viva Sales can specifically help B2B sellers who work a lot with Outlook and Teams by bringing into these apps, the CRM data and insights.

Viva Sales: Available in GA as of March 2023

First, we have the admin enablement experience, where a Microsoft 365 administrator can go to the admin portal and install Viva Sales for Outlook and Teams – either for the whole organization or for a group of users. Sellers can connect to their CRM system, Dynamics 365, or SalesForce from Outlook. Thus, sellers can identify customers through emails.

Second, sellers got Viva Sales co-pilot which helps generate e-mail content and reply to customers quickly for a variety of scenarios:

  • replying to an inquiry;
  • creating a proposal by using the information from the email thread, CRM data, and the Viva Sales AI GPT models;
  • And so on.

Third, there is also the Teams meeting summaries with post-meeting playback, transcript highlight, executive summary, action items, and sentiment analysis which are available after we had a Teams meeting with the customer and the Viva Sales app has been added to that meeting. This supports a list of 16 languages.

Four, there is also the sharing and collaboration part where sellers can share the contact opportunity and account links and these are unfurled in Teams into Adaptive Cards as well. The Viva Sales Teams app message extension is available to do the same thing.

Finally, forms and fields customizations. Administrators can choose to customize the CRM information that is displayed in Viva Sales Outlook and Teams to give your sellers a more relevant view.

Sales Conversation AI

Many sellers struggle to give customers their full attention while also taking notes during a meeting. Also, follow-ups are essential to move a deal forward. With conversation intelligence in the transcript function, Viva Sales is automating the note-taking process so sellers are freed up to focus on their customers. 

They can also gain a deeper understanding and even grow with the digital coach using using conversation intelligence meeting summaries, suggesting follow-up action items, meeting highlights, keywords, sentiment analysis, and searchable transcript.

Viva Sales GPT Email Generation

The other feature available with the Viva Sales co-pilot is the Viva Sales GPT e-mail generation. Today, sellers spend as much as 66% of their day checking and responding to emails. But with Viva Sales integrated into Microsoft Outlook, they spend less time composing emails and searching for sales data from the CRM system.

The co-pilot feature suggests e-mail content that helps sellers quickly create replies for moving a deal forward. Sellers can choose from a set of predefined response categories, such as ‘reply to an inquiry or for a discount’, ‘make a proposal’, or enter custom text to generate the email content according to their needs.

Once the response category is selected, the co-pilot creates a sample reply that the seller can further customize and send to the customer. The reply would contain data from the CRM system. It can also contain and suggest meeting times based on the availability of the seller’s Outlook calendar.

For the prompt ‘summarize the sales meeting’, Viva Sales co-pilot intelligently drafts a recap of a call for which we had a meeting summary generated, thus combining the CRM data with the meeting action items and follow-ups so you can quickly contact your customers after the meeting.

Summaries can be generated for a range of meeting types in teams including multi-participant and internal calls.

Viva Sales and Dynamics 365 Apps for Outlook and Teams

While going through the Viva Sales features and capabilities, you might have to start thinking about the differences with the existing Dynamics 365 apps for Outlook and Teams. These apps are focused on enablement across all Dynamics model-driven apps and are therefore more generic productivity apps.

While Viva Sales is an app tailored for the seller persona and besides the tracking, reading, and writing CRM data from Outlook, it also helps sellers collaborate easily and deliver AI-powered sales insights. Future energy will be focused on enhancing Viva Sales for the seller persona, so Dynamics 365 app for Outlook users should consider moving to Viva Sales to fully benefit from these features.

Getting Started with Viva Sales Quickly

Before getting started with Viva Sales, please make sure you have Microsoft 365, Outlook, and Teams licenses available as well as a CRM account.

For Microsoft 365 you can use Viva Sales in Outlook or Teams, which supports desktop or web exchange online. For the CRM accounts, Dynamics 365 Online and Salesforce are supported. Viva Sales is included with the Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise license and premium license, while for Salesforce it has a cost of $40 per user per month.

Here are the step-by-step deployment guides recently published for both Dynamics and Salesforce users.