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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