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Can Microsoft steal marketers from Salesforce? Redmond bets big with Dynamics Marketing platform

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Microsoft wants to make marketers’ lives a whole lot simpler.

As it battles to gain market share from customer relationship management (CRM) giants like Salesforce and Oracle, Microsoft today detailed some new additions to its Dynamics CRM software. These features will arrive alongside the next core Dynamics CRM release this spring.

One new offering is Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, a marketing automation service built on Marketing Pilot technology (which Microsoft bought in October 2012). Dynamics Marketing features a visual designer intended to make setting up campaigns easier for marketers as well as overhauled lead scoring and management capabilities that’ll integrate with Dynamics CRM.

Dynamics Marketing will be available as an add-on service to Dynamics CRM — either online or onsite — or as a standalone offering. Microsoft has yet to announce pricing details.

Another new offering is Microsoft Social Listening, which is based on technology Microsoft purchased when it scooped up social analytics firm Netbreeze in March. Social Listening will enable Dynamics CRM users to track the crowd’s opinion of brands, products, services, and competitors across various social channels. Netbreeze’s tech could naturally process sentiment across more than two dozen languages, which will translate to this new Microsoft offering.

Social Listening will be available to Dynamics Online subscribers no additional charge beyond the $65 pro license (per user per month). Customers with Dynamics onsite can get Social Listening for an “incremental cost.”

Microsoft’s core Dynamics service will also get some enhancements in the new release, including a “unified service desk.” Based on tech from Parature, Microsoft’s most recent acquisition, the unified service desk provides customer service agents a single console for CRM and billing integration.

Expect to hear more about these new services at Convergence 2014, Microsoft’s CRM / ERP conference that kicks off in Atlanta on March 4.

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