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Features that delight – AI for better sales productivity – notes

This is part of an ongoing series of posts where I try to highlight delightful features (👈 check link for others). Delightful features are ones that I select, typically because of usability wins. Ways in which software can delight us for how they make our lives easy and get the job done with little fuss. Or just spark joy.

In this post, the first in a mini series, I want to highlight what I see as the killer App for Enterprise AI which revolves around sales experience/performance management and productivity. That’s because traditional ways of selling are under pressure and also because revenue growth is important to all companies. In particular in this first post, I focus on the notes function.

I have been writing a lot about sales and AI – separately and where they coincide and I’m also working on a trend report. Mostly because I am doing work in both areas. I have noted (couldn’t help that 😬) that notes is a pretty important feature. Both in what is required by customers and also how Microsoft where I work (disclosure), is catering to this feature, as I’m sure other vendors are too. In this post I will focus on notes in relation to the following technologies and how I believe they will be disrupted: Viva Sales, Microsoft Teams + Premium, Microsoft 365 CoPilot and Salesforce.

Notes as indicators of sales progress

First we should think about the purpose of a notes function for sellers. Traditionally it is to manually capture the latest activity so that sellers (and their managers) know what is going on with an opportunity or account at a glance. But if you think in relation to intelligent recap in Teams Premium for instance, some CoPilot features or meeting summary in Viva Sales, this could and probably should all change. It’s what customers are expecting, that AI captures and summarises activity and action and then a seller decides what to add to a CRM tool, for the record.

I am going to show how things happen currently and will or could in future. Note that some of the features Microsoft will offer are not fully baked yet and some of the potentially overlapping functions could be rationalised. Also, not all demo’s or illustrations of features are delightful – yet. This post is also just to show potential ideal states, but they may not yet be optimal.

1. Manual notes in Salesforce – current

Notes in Salesforce – demo

We should start with how things are done currently in a standalone CRM App, Salesforce in this case. Best way to show you this is through a demo video. As you can tell, super simple but all manual and not in the flow of work, e.g. if you have a meeting with a customer in Teams, you have to jump to a separate App to take notes.

Click in bottom right of video to enlarge and see it better.

2. Manual notes in Teams meetings – custom App

Salesforce notes in Microsoft Teams Meeting

This custom app was developed in work I did with a customer. The note entry is still manual but automatically synced with Salesforce.

But the benefits of this are reduced context switching between apps which improves flow of work; accountability and performance management is improved and info is on hand at the right time for the customer.

Click in bottom right of video to enlarge and see better.

3. Automated meeting summary with Viva Sales – current and future

Click to enlarge

This provides sellers and their managers an easy way to review the conversations they’ve had with their customers (all automated) and quickly find relevant talking points, keywords, and insights.

Currently you cannot automatically sync with your CRM platform from a Teams Meeting but that is coming

More here: View and understand the meeting summary.

4. Automated, intelligent recap for meetings with Teams Premium – current

Click to enlarge

Intelligent recap in Teams Premium provides automatic, intelligent summaries and action items of meetings for Teams Premium users; tools to save time by quickly navigating meeting recordings; consistency across users who see the same experience. Some overlap with Viva Sales but different licensing.

More here: Microsoft Teams Premium: Cut costs and add AI-powered productivity | Microsoft 365 Blog

5. Generative AI for meetings and more with Business Chat – future

Imagine querying any (and multiple) meeting summary, transcript, notes, attachments, etc. with the right prompt for past and future sales meetings. This is truly going to be amazing. This is essentially CoPilot in Teams Chat. Benefits of this are:

  • CoPilot in Teams is best for on-demand insights provided only when you ask for them and tailored to your unique prompts
  • Going beyond summarisation by asking CoPilot to execute actions on your behalf and proactively making suggestions
  • Contextual insights into why and how decisions were made, and even the rationalisation behind them.

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