By Jini Maxin

You know what we are talking about, right? Of course, Microsoft’s takeover of LinkedIn for about $26.2 billion dollars.

In hindsight, it seems the takeover was just waiting to happen, what with both companies sharing a similar mission and vision statements. For LinkedIn, it is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful, and for Microsoft, it was to empower every individual and organization in the world to achieve more (source: Time).

Anyway, the coming together of a professional network and professional cloud service provider is sure to work up a storm for both the companies.

But then, does this takeover mean anything for small businesses? Here are seven benefits that small businesses stand to gain from this takeover.

On-line Video Learning Opportunities

LinkedIn Learning, Lynda.com, will now be made part of Office 365. This means that users will have access to a library of on-demand video courses run by industry experts. The courses deal in assortment of subjects such as business, software, technology, and creative skills, thereby helping professionals and businesses achieve their respective goals. For your information, the tutorials are available in five different languages.

Explosion of Sales Leads

The merger will bring together two of the best features of Microsoft and Linkedin, that is the Dynamics CRM of the former and LinkedIn Sales Navigator of the latter.

The Dynamics Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is all about developing and nurturing leads, tracking sales and, more importantly, keeping the customers in a jolly good mood. LinkedIn Sales Navigator, on the other hand, helps you focus on the right sales prospects, besides keeping you up-to-date on those prospects, and more than anything builds trust between the buyer and the seller even before the initial conversation begins.

Unification of Profiles

Professional profiles, whether in Outlook, Skype, Office or elsewhere will be unified to ensure that correct data pops up at the right time.

Cortana Digital Assistant for Updates

Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant will keep users informed about events, activities, appointments and things like that. In addition, it will offer background information on the people we meet, whether it’s our co-workers, clients and even other people in our network.

Sponsored Ads on Microsoft’s Suite

Gmail-sponsored promotions work beautifully well for B2B marketers given that they could target particular domains and business audiences who use Gmail continually. However, what about those organizations relying on Microsoft Outlook for emailing? Simple. Sponsored ads will be available in Outlook as well, in addition to Microsoft’s suite, including Office 365, Skype, and Web properties, courtesy the takeover.

Improved Scope for Retargeting and Display

Microsoft’s Bing Ads lack in display and retargeting network. But then, thanks to LinkedIn’s Lead Accelerator, Microsoft will be able to fill in this grey area. The new arrangement will ensure that Bing Ads are far better than Google in terms of retargeting, at least for the B2B market.

A Billion Microsoft Customers to Gain

LinkedIn’s graph will be added to Microsoft’s ecosystem, which includes Outlook, Skype, Dynamics, Windows, Office, Active Directory, Cortana, Bing and more. This integration will benefit over one billion Microsoft customers.

To sum it up, unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn still an emerging social media tool of choice for several businesses. However, Microsoft’s takeover will provide it considerable leg-up. So it’s time, small businesses lock on it for growing their businesses.