Social Networks & the CRM World: Contacts

menu1.jpgAfter years of arms-length co-existence, social networking and Customer Relationship Management are still not quite married up. Designed for importing contact information about people you don’t know, making “cold calls” to get to know those people and then positioning your sales team to make a sale, CRM databases inherently beg for live data about real people. CRM databases built around  push marketing are absolutely made for sales people who live and die by their quarterly quotas and the size of their sales.  

Social networking sites plus a serious Google session or two can feed a feast to hungry CRM databases.

As a social networker and CRM database user, do I dare connect and quietly collect as much contact information as I can, fill up my database and launch a marketing campaign based on that data? Suddenly surprise the people I network with by including information which, after all, they published right there in FaceBook?

Only if I want to be shunned, un-Friended and have my every eMail responded to with “Please remove.”  Only if I want my company reputation to go down in flames in a hurry.

As a regular FaceBook user, I participate in one group with over 1800 members, another with 8500 members and a third with nearly 5600 members. Within two days of joining the group of 1800, I received “Friend” requests from a number of members I had never exchanged a message with, let alone met in person. I ignored each request. I love to shop and buy—but I hate a pushy salesperson overworking to make a sale. 

So don’t think you can start a campaign by sending me little calendars with your picture on them every year on the 2nd day of March just because you scarfed up my birthday from FaceBook.  And definitely don’t give my work telephone number to your robo-callers.  Read my blogs and my tweets. Chat with me.  We may never connect in real time and real space.  But then we might.

UPDATE: Social networking and CRM at http://searchcrm.techtarget.com/news/article/0,289142,sid11_gci1352370,00.html?track=NL-156&ad=697551&asrc=EM_NLN_6437777&uid=1684479 . See especially the comment that

Salesforce.com, for its part, said it will continue to build connectors to social networking sites as long as customers ask for them. It’s already built out connectors to Facebook, and Salesforce CRM for Twitter will be available with its  Spring ’09 release.

“It ends when our customers stop asking us to extend into the cloud,” said Kraig Swensrud, vice president of product marketing. “We started with Google and Facebook, and we expanded to Twitter because the community is expanding so rapidly.”

Twitter now has more than 8 million users, according to Salesforce.com.

Salesforce.com is not the only company integrating Twitter into its technology. Orem, Utah-based Omniture, a website analytics company, this month released a feature for its SiteCatalyst, allowing online marketers to import into the analytics engine data about conversations happening on Twitter about their company. For example, the feature will allow marketers to identify brand detractors and brand advocates.

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For more information, connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, FaceBook and at Susan.Ellsworth@pequodsystems.com.

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Got Your GMPE Yet?

FrontRange Solutions today announced to its partners  release 8.5 of GoldMine Premium Edition. 

Feature improvements and product additions include

Universal Search, an easy searching mechanism into GoldMine data. With Universal Search users may quickly search for information stored in activities, emails, linked documents, notes, knowledge management, as well as other GoldMine modules.

Preview Panes which enable a quick view into activities, emails, details and linked documents via these contact record tabs.

Improvement of the Case Management module. This module is critical to long-term client retention.

Redesign of the Opportunity Manager and Project Manager user interfaces.

Improvement of the Email Center user interface to provide more security and better interoperability with other email clients.

This release has over 300 product quality improvements based on customer and partner feedback. 

GoldMine Premium Edition 8.5 will be generally available soon.

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For more information, connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, FaceBook and at Susan.Ellsworth@pequodsystems.com.

Tweets, Messages, Texting and eMail

To Tweet from Twitter, text from a cell phone, post messages in LinkedIn, post a message in FaceBook or to use eMail. That might be the question.

Recently, a friend in business sent me a note saying “Why not just send me an email? Why does it come through FaceBook and then I have to log on to FaceBook to respond to you. Seems more direct and simpler just to send me an email.” We find ourselves chasing one social networking site after another—and possibly losing track of what we said and where. Other than the time it may take to go from one to another, does it matter? No — and yes.

My friend spends her work day at her desktop rather than on her cell phone. So for her, one of the great advantages of replying in FaceBook to a FaceBook message (or other social networking site) is that her message and its reply will not get stuck in an eMail spam trap.

If keeping track of a simple congratulatory note to someone you are not doing business with, then exchanging messages in one of the social networking sites is probably not of consequence.

On the other hand, when it is important to keep an ongoing record of correspondence with a customer, I do not correspond with that person on a social networking site. As a GoldMine user, I understand eMail as part of the Holy Grail of the 360-degree understanding of our customers. Along with records of telephone calls, faxes, previous sales, trouble tickets, status of payments for services rendered, and products sold, eMail contributes to a total understanding of a customer’s needs, desires, processes and sales cycles. That total picture enables our team to better understand and work with our customers.

So if your message is not necessary for business development or so only in the moment (“The streets around the Tidal Basin are now closed to traffic!” ) that it needs not be kept in your company’s corporate records, TWEET!
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Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, FaceBook and at Susan.Ellsworth@pequodsystems.com.

Be the Flame, not the Moth

It’s truth-telling time.

Most likely, I am a certifiable, latter-day reference librarian turned Google-holic of the original search-tool kind. I am absolutely passionate about finding high quality, reliable information that solves everyday human problems.

A while back, Robin Robins said, “Be the flame, not the moth.” By this, she meant that those of us in technology already have special knowledge and skill that others want to benefit by. And that if that knowledge is something we are truly passionate about, let others know it. To which I add, do it in a way that serves others interests, not your own.

Recently I realized that a group of about 95 Toastmasters online in FaceBook were looking to solve an organizational issue involving change management. These are people with different skills, specific long-term interests and abilities than my own, but nevertheless with a timely focus on the same set of issues. Realizing that about an hour’s worth of serious Googling could open doors to better communication in a leadership and communication organization, I posted the results of my Google searches to the group.Their perspectives on issues had fed my passion for finding high quality reliable information which could, with teamwork, feed an organizational change.

Sharing good, reliable information with your team in the your corporate customer relationship solution can have the same excellent outcomes–and more. Now is a great time to research through your corporate CRM data, and read business intelligence notes and correspondence from your team members to discover avenues for connecting with prospects and customers. Think of the positive impact on people that reaching out with a simple touch might have. Right now, it’s not about you and your sale. It’s about what your customer’s hopes and dreams are…While those hopes and dreams seldom have much to do with selling your product or service, you will be remembered when times are better. Be the flame, not the moth.