Zendesk Duet is a new combined offering from Zendesk. It brings together Zendesk Support and Zendesk Sell (formerly Base). On stage at Zendesk Showcase Mikkel Svane, Zendesk’s Founder and CEO described it as a Super Seat offering.

The combined offering brings together the Support Professional and Sell Professional editions for a combined cost of $59, a UK sterling price will be available soon. Separately they would be $49 (£39) for Support professional and $49 for Sell professional.

Svane also added: “This is the beginning of how we want to break down the silos between departments.” The intention, according to Svane, is that by using the Zendesk Sunshine platform it can “connect the dots between” the different systems of record: Sales, Support, Finance and Ecommerce. Those dots, he explained, are the conversations with customers. Duet is its first offering in this space.

Zendesk also announced that Zendesk Sell is now part of the App Framework with early access enabled for some partners.

Is Duet still two solutions?

Is this announcement more than just a rebadging of the two products? When Base, the application behind Zendesk Sell, was purchased there was already an integration between the two solutions. Originally the integration delivered on four key areas.

  • Visibility of open support tickets within Zendesk Sell
  • Access to history of service communication for a better view of customer communication within Zendesk Sell
  • The ability to switch between apps, linked from a ticket number in Zendesk Sell to further details on that specific ticket in Zendesk support without the need for additional user input. This enables Sales teams to collaborate and communicate with the service desk easily.
  • Within Zendesk support visibility of deals from Zendesk Sell enabling support agents to prioritise tickets.

The commitment in a blog was: “In the future, we’ll more deeply integrate Base into Zendesk products”. Enterprise Times was at Zendesk Showcase to ask that very question of Matt Price SVP and General Manager, Zendesk Sell at Zendesk. According to Price the integration between the two products has been improved with synchronisation now available every fifteen minutes.

Zendesk are also working on tighter integration but the launch of Duet was aimed at addressing a customer need, rather than uniting the products. As Price said “Most of the time a specialist wants to sit within their own tool, but sometimes they want more information.”

This is what Duet aims to address without the requirement of bringing every piece of data into Zendesk Sell or vice versa. The products will however get closer over time with Zendesk currently working on bring the user permissions and security controls within Zendesk Sell up to the level of those within Zendesk Support.

Extending the view of the customer is important

In combining its sales and service applications, Zendesk is moving towards a complete customer experience application. This is important and a trend that is being seen across the industry. Other companies are adopting similar messaging, with Salesforce with Customer 360, the acquisition of Qualtrics by SAP and Freshworks 360.  A recent Zendesk survey identified that 86% of software buyers saw the ability to share data between sales and service organisations as important

Mikkel Svane, Zendesk founder, CEO and chairman said: “The days of thinking about customers as living in separate sales and support clouds is over. Customer experience transcends any single function or team. With Duet, we’re changing the CRM landscape forever by breaking down the walls between customer-facing teams and making it easy for companies to get started quickly with a joint offering for sales and service.”

Customers of Zendesk agree. Simon Rodrigue, senior vice president and chief digital officer at Staples Canada commented: “We are using Zendesk Sell and Support to make it easier for the entire organization to surface and act on relevant information. By giving our sales and support teams everything they need in one platform, they are able to effectively and efficiently collaborate and improve the customer experience.”

Extending the App Framework

Matt Price SVP and General Manager, Zendesk Sell at Zendesk (Image credit Twitter.com)
Matt Price SVP and General Manager, Zendesk Sell at Zendesk

Core to the Zendesk strategy is the underlying architecture that AWS provides. Its Zendesk Sunshine platform sits on AWS, as does Zendesk Support and Zendesk Sell. As Price commented : “The technology stacks are pretty similar which is why we wanted to buy the business.”

The Sunshine platform provides the capability for Zendesk to connect its products up. Price explained how: “Sunshine is a layer for events and integrating third party systems and also building customer apps and customer extensions.

Another indication that more work has been done since the acquisition is the availability of the app framework for Zendesk Sell. Partners who have already integrated their applications include Mailchimp and GetResponse. The app framework enables applications to bring custom fields and data into Zendesk Support and Zendesk Sell. This is all part of the benefit of sitting within Zendesk Sunshine.

Joni Deus, Senior Director of Product Partnerships, Mailchimp commented: “At Mailchimp, we believe our customers should have the ability to use Mailchimp along with other tools to help them grow. Our partnership with Sell is especially important because its best-in-class integration will help bridge the divide between marketing and sales teams, especially for our small business customers.”

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

Zendesk has brought Base into its application framework quickly. While the work is not completed this is a positive step. The attractive price discount for customers looking to purchase both solutions will go down well with existing customers. It should also attract more cross sell as the uplift from Zendesk Support to include Zendesk Sell is small.

One question that remains is whether Zendesk will continue to acquire firms. The logical addition is one of the other systems of record that connect the dots in Finance or eCommerce. Matt Price answered simply with: “Nothing to announce on that front for the moment”.

Price added that while most organisations want and generally only have a single sales and a single support system, that is often not the case with operational, logistical or marketing solutions. The logical next step though would be for Zendesk to acquire an ecommerce solution. Alternatively they might consider a marketing solution as Epicor has recently done.


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