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Grow Your Business Technology

Microsoft, Adobe Team up to Take on Salesforce

Microsoft, Adobe Team up to Take on Salesforce
Adobe announced today that it is teaming up with Microsoft to offer an alternative solution to Salesforce. The two companies will integrate with LinkedIn to leverage account-based marketing. / Credit: jejim/Shutterstock

Looking to improve their sales and marketing software chops, Microsoft and Adobe announced a new partnership yesterday in a bid to solidify their place in the cloud-based marketing space and directly compete with Salesforce.

The two companies plan to leverage Microsoft's $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn in 2016 to integrate Adobe's marketing software with the social media platform. The move, according to officials, would "empower B2B marketers and sellers to easily identify, understand and engage B2B customer buying teams."

While Microsoft has long been known for its Windows operating system and Office suite of programs, the Redmond, Washington-based tech giant has its interests in numerous hardware and software spaces. Similarly, Adobe's portfolio includes more than just photo editing and document reading software.

Through this partnership, Adobe and Microsoft will begin "aligning key data sources" to fill in account-based profiles in various pieces of software, including Marketo Engage and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales.

Once in place, the software integration will help users more accurately tailor marketing campaigns to their targets, said Steve Lucas, Adobe senior vice president of digital experience.

"Orchestrating the engagement of multiple individuals in a complex marketing and sales journey is at the heart of account-based experiences and what B2B marketers do day in and out," Lucas said. "With these new account-based capabilities, marketing and sales teams will have increased alignment around the people and accounts they are engaging, and new ways to measure that business impact."

Through the announced integration of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, representatives said this partnership will give marketers using Microsoft and Adobe's software an edge. Clients will get up-to-date information that helps them target accounts, leverage account profiles and use audience data to pinpoint how best to reach their intended consumers.

Software from the two companies will give marketing and sales teams "a deeper, real-time understanding of targeted accounts, including insights into individual roles, influence and preferences," officials said. Users will do that by integrating LinkedIn's Matched Audiences with Marketo Engage, which will use "account-based targeting capabilities" to find the right contacts.

"One of the biggest challenges for marketers running campaigns is ensuring that their messages are reaching the right audiences and delivering ROI at scale," said Jen Weedn, vice president of business development at LinkedIn. "By extending LinkedIn account-based marketing capabilities to Adobe Experience Cloud users, we've created a seamless way for them to identify and target the right audiences on LinkedIn with meaningful content, ultimately helping improve the success of their campaigns."

Officials said Marketo Engage's Account Profiling feature will give marketers access to "intelligence-driven predictive modeling and automation" to help identify the best accounts in a target audience to advertise to out of 25 million companies. It will do that in minutes, they said.

While this partnership is being touted as a major step in both Microsoft's and Adobe's capabilities in the B2B arena, experts claim this is also a chance for them to take a collective shot at Salesforce.

Widely considered the top player in the customer relationship management industry, Salesforce's cloud software offerings are best known for their sales and marketing capabilities. Teaming up against a shared competitor, Adobe and Microsoft hope their newly combined integration with LinkedIn will be enough to sway marketing and sales teams hoping to work with big companies.

"The ability to leverage the power of data to find the right opportunities and use insights helps marketing and sales to plan their next move with a member of the buying committee," said Alysa Taylor, corporate vice president of business applications and global industry at Microsoft. "Together with Adobe and LinkedIn, Microsoft can help to deliver an end-to-end solution that ultimately accelerates lead conversion and can create opportunities for improved servicing and better cross-sell, resulting in higher lifetime value of the account."

Andrew Martins

Andrew Martins is an award-winning journalist with a BA in journalism from Ramapo College of New Jersey. Before joining Business.com and Business News Daily, he wrote for a regional publication and served as the managing editor for six weekly papers that spanned four counties. He is a New Jersey native and a first-generation Portuguese-American, and he has a penchant for the nerdy.