When Social Media Marries CRM Systems

My main coverage area as an Analyst is focusing on Online Communities for Interactive Marketers, I was formerly an enterprise intranet manager at Hitachi Data Systems, so I see where this is heading.

I realize that we’re just at the early days, as many of these systems are deployed by marketing units with little interaction or support from IT. In many cases users are forced to create a new user ID, as these systems are not tied to existing enterprise software.

Thinking towards the future, I realize how important it will be for IT departments to think holistically about social media, especially large areas of customer and prospect congregation. For many marketers, they are graded (paid) based upon the amount of qualified leads that are generated for their efforts, online communities, blogs, and other tools are examples of this. I can already imagine the big consulting shops moving into Fortune 5000 companies with another Enterprise Resource Planning for Social Media projects underway (ERP-SM).

Exactly what would success look like? For one, brands will be able to track, manage, and monitor who enters the community, determine if they are a prospect, customer, partner, or even inactive. Secondly, brands will be able to develop intelligence on how effective communities are for bringing customers closer such as integrating existing social networks like LinkedIn to the corporate intranet. In a theoretical sense, brands could determine which customers have the best reputation, and how to keep and reward them. But perhaps, most importantly, customer experience will improve as companies now have a better understanding of them throughout their life cycle –and beyond.

Caveat: The key to success isn’t just about building systems to ‘capture’ customer registrations and information, it’s about building real relationships empowered by these tools. Any corporation who attempts to enter social media just for the sake of holistic data, or for lead generation only will fail –and perhaps become a case study analysts tout in our powerpoint decks. First recognize the power shift, then understand how this is different that other marketing activities.

The following is a list of companies or vendors that are starting to tie their social media software into CRM systems:

Leverage Software/SalesForce
CEO of Leverage Systems proclaims: mwalsh Leverage Software is integrated with Salesforce.com – has been for 2 years. The integration is currently light, but will deepen. June 3, 2008

SalesForce for Dell/Starbucks?
SalesForce offers IdeaExchange, which powers Dell Ideastorm and My StarbucksIdeas. Being that they are a CRM software vendor that now offers community insight tools, I can only assume that their data is being shared. this is just my assumption, they have not confirmed this for me. June 3, 2008

Hivelive for Serena
Serena’s Mashup Exchange (powered by HiveLive) is an online customer community that is being integrated with lead/CRM systems. Specifically, HiveLive’s LiveConnect Community Platform is integrated with MarketBright’s lead management system and Salesforce.com. Submitted, June 3, 2008 by HiveLive CEO John Kembel via comments

Submit in comments, provide links to qualify
Hoping to see an example of a company that has automated it’s community tools to tie with it’s CRM tools, I’m expecting you to link to a credible source of information, or identify yourself as an employee of a vendor or client. Leave a comment below, or email me if you want to stay confidential or anonymous.

At some point when this list becomes to difficult to manage, or this goes mainstream, we’ll just have to read the comments. If you know of a company that has integrated it’s social media data with a CRM system, please leave a comment.

  • This makes me think of what I’ve been saying in many conversations with other social media folks: social media will achieve its true value when it’s fluid across the internal/external divide. What I mean is, social media will become a tool (set of tools) that we will use in some ways outside the enterprise, in some ways inside the enterprise, and in some ways across that divide.

  • Jamie

    Blackbaud has a long focus on CRM with The Raiser’s Edge, and now has the social networking piece with their white label NetCommunity product. The value proposition is that these two systems are linked so closely together.

  • Jamie

    Do you have any supporting evidence, is there a URL to look at?

  • Maximizing lifetime customer value (LCV) is made possible by CRM, and disparate SM definitely makes it trickier. You’re right about the power shift, but what’s really interesting to track (for me) is projects like openSocial that make integration points (potentially) easier to find/implement. As this API and the proprietary integration platforms mature, we may see the likes of Oracle/Siebel legitimately at the table.

  • Another interesting article is from Acquisa magazine (www.acquisa.de), which I translated from german
    ===

    Interview Christian Pedersen: The “right” customers

    Simple customer management was yesterday. CRM solutions of tomorrow, according to withdraw Christian Pedersen, head of CRM at Microsoft, the Internet itself to customer information. That is his view, even for small businesses.

    acquisa: An advertising-mail here, a job because, in the evening a phone call any call centers – there is an excess of loyalty?

    Christian Pedersen: On the contrary – in my view, companies should be 80 to 90 percent of their time on this one, to take care of their customers. Finally, customers of the most important success factor of a company.

    acquisa: Is that economically relatively hard times like this not a bit exaggerated?

    Pedersen: No, because the issue of customer management is not just a question of the relationship that companies with their customers maintain, but also about how the customer impact on the company can take. It is important to be very pragmatic view: Customers not only bring revenue, but also information. It only depends on what one makes of it and what consequences from it. In my opinion, take care of the firms, for example, are still too many customers who never buy anyway. It is far too much time for the wrong customers spent.

    acquisa: But how do companies find the “right one”?

    Pedersen: Many CRM solutions today provide excellent analysis tools with which the existing data can be durchforstet. The possibilities are always large: There are even companies that browse the Internet to get new customers to collect information, there are lots distributed. For Recruiters in the United States is by personnel matters, for example, already common practice. If you have a name in the search engine, spits these countless hits with various information about the person. Communities, platforms, networks provide the Rest The same can also be applied to customers.

    acquisa: Are modern CRM solutions already in a position?

    Pedersen: Microsoft is currently working on it. With the new release, which is expected to appear 2009, visions like these perhaps reality.

    acquisa: Sounds, as if in the future CRM without new Internet technologies such as Web 2.0 does not work anymore.

    Pedersen: The fact is that these vast amounts of customer information in the network are hiding and lying fallow. Why should not the companies? But there are other approaches and new opportunities, facts about customers to collect. If a frequent flyer, for example, during a flight like playing chess, could in the future automatically in the CRM system and for follow-up activities at one-to-one marketing can be used. This could be the site of frequent flyer programme, for example, the next member of the Log on his passion for chess adapted. “But a further automation of processes.

    acquisa: Such actions are for large companies certainly feasible, but what about the smaller?

    Pedersen: There’s not much magic behind it as it may sound. The trend is clearly towards a more enterprise-application platform, a company affiliated with the building systems and their employees, business processes and information together – even in the medium-sized businesses. And we should not forget that the supposedly “small” by exceptional customer activities against the “Great” profile.

    acquisa: Would the much-quoted on-demand, perhaps a “better” alternative for this segment?

    Pedersen: To Software as a Service (SaaS) ranken is so many rumors. Some advertise that it is cheaper, faster, and so on. Companies should be careful here, however. If I have many users, the break-even point to a locally installed “On-Premise solution may be reached soon. It is not always a leased software cheaper. That comes on the individual case.

    acquisa: How could such an individual case look like?

    Pedersen: If someone really fast want to start with CRM is an ideal solution rental. It is indeed easy to implement and offers basically the same functionality as an in-house solution. Even with many Außendienstlern could be. The access route is simple and fast.

    acquisa: On-demand solutions have the reputation, not the full functionality to offer.

    Pedersen: The modern solutions as well as everything a solution in-house. Who very special requirements or needs adjustment, the rate I will be a permanent installation.

    acquisa: Does Microsoft in a kind of pioneer in terms of CRM?

    Pedersen: No, we play more customers take the lead. First they allow us to find new ways and to collect data so that we can develop the solution. Our goal is that the users of our CRM product, without ever knowing that they are working. Many rümpfen yes still the nose when they hear these three letters.

  • Good post, Jeremiah, thanks.

    Business exploitation of the social media/juncture is inevitable. As marketplaces fragment (with increased product diversification and personalization of customer experience) the only way enterprise will be able to stay ahead is by increasing customization of product. But how to leverage social networks to develop leads? One solution, which I blogged on a while back, is Kaleidico. In fact they promise the end of conventional CRM through their app SalesTwit, in which sales can connect directly with leads through any media, at any time, any place. This seems to fit the linkage model you’re proposing. But we’ll have to wait and see whether the solution is succesful in the long run.

  • Sorry, that should read social media/CRM juncture.

  • Hi Jeremiah,

    Totally agree with what you say.

    Social media data comes from a group of people. For opened communities, this group of people come from self registration, with declarative profile. For restricted access communities, people should come from CRM extracts.

    Somehow, a user coming from the CRM system should have a unique (shared) ID that identifies him on the social media platform, so that his generated content can feed his CRM record and be correlated with his CRM profile further down the road.

    Social media data can also be used to enrich Business Intelligence Engines, so that customer behaviour modelling can be optimized.

    Everything still needs to be connected, at this point social media can be seen a feature of CRM systems (cf Salesforce), but in the future, CRM could well be a feature of social media…

    Conservations have the power to engage, not databases.

    Best,

    Stephane.

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  • Have you pinged InfusionSoft.com? They are a SaaS CRM specifically for automating online marketing – perhaps they are looking forward towards this kind of integration?

    This discussion also makes me remember the work that’s being done to quantify the dollar value of happy customers who tell others about their experience (while I am thinking about how and where they are doing the telling…):

    “Satmetrix has developed the Net Promoter WOM Economic Framework, which determines total customer value based on buyer and referral economics. Buyer economics refers to how much a customer spends over a given period of time, while referral economics refers to the amount of new business that is gained or lost as a function of what the customer shares with others.” http://www.satmetrix.com/news/pressrelease_2008-03-26.htm

    This is just another piece of the puzzle when integrating social media + CRM. A company that can bring this all together seamlessly will do very well.

    Laura

  • Lot of good examples here, but not seeing a lot of proof points or case examples.

    Do make it very clear everyone when you’ve got one that can be added to the list.

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  • Great post surprise more companies aren’t doing this. responding but turned into a post
    http://antonmannering.com/03/06/2008/social-networking-and-enterprise-where-the-real-value-is/

  • Carolina

    I have to disagree with Jaime re: BlackBaud and their two products. Raiser’s Edge is a CRM product and being connected to Netcommunity does not automatically mean the systems are sharing the right amount of data, or any data. There are several traditional AMS (association management software) vendors that have moved online and have built data silos with little tracking capabilities. However, there is some hope, Kintera has agreed to merge with Blackbaud, maybe the two can create the right product. But who knows.

  • We have something similar. I work in the recruitment side of Big 12 University. We have integrated our CRM product (Talisma) with our private social network for newly admitted students. The idea is to personalize content on the social network through data points in the CRM. We also track user-created content from the social network in our CRM. The goal is to expand the CRM 2.0 realm through this venture.

    At this point the social network is private, so it inhibits lead generation. However, it increases yield (in theory, too soon to report), which is more valuable.

  • Love it; as this convergence happens we will need to be careful we emphasize Business Strategy and Relationship Programs definition, implementation and execution too: http://selvascano.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!D7439E6DC600CAE9!1505.entry

  • I’d be more interested in seeing social media outreach tied back to ad tracking tools.

    Are you generating more in-bound site clicks with your proactive social media outreach or banner ads on Yahoo?

  • Here’s a specific example:

    Serena’s Mashup Exchange (powered by HiveLive) is an online customer community that is being integrated with lead/CRM systems. Specifically, HiveLive’s LiveConnect Community Platform is integrated with MarketBright’s lead management system and Salesforce.com.

    About the community:

    Serena created the Mashup Exchange (http://community.serena.com) to support and promote its community of enterprise mashup builders. Within the community, partners can build virtual storefronts, called MicroMarkets, that showcase their products (e.g., business mashups, web services) and also add discussion forums, videos, FAQs and customer rating systems.

    The CRM integration details:

    As Paul Gillin (in B-to-B Mag) describes: within the Serena community “MarketBright watches customer behavior and creates weighted lead profiles based on that activity. For example, a customer who lingers in a MicroMarket, watches a video, reads some product literature and downloads a demo program is identified as a promising lead. That information is delivered to the seller and passed into the Salesforce.com system, where both Serena and its partners can follow up.” – see Paul’s writeup for more detail: http://tinyurl.com/53dph5

    Other refs:
    eWeek’s writeup: http://tinyurl.com/4dlec4
    Serena’s release: http://tinyurl.com/497hvw

  • Great conversation topic here. I don’t want to talk specific clients, but my experience has found a great divide between marketing and it departments. What is desirable for one often does not rank high in priority for the other. You do mention Dell in the post. I remember reading somewhere on the Groundswell blog about Dell reporting negative conversations declining from 50% to 20%. However, they have not been able to credit any financial gain from these efforts. Until some model of financial incentive appears to support the benefits of integrating social media with CRM, marketing departments will lack the ammo necessary to conquer internal it needs.

    Still, an interesting approach to social CRM is at Modernista!

  • Hilary

    Hi Jeremiah, this is Hilary from Lithium. Great topic.

    This is a slightly different take, but I’d like to add an example of how community + CRM = better customer service. This kind of integration benefits both customers and those in the company that serve/support them. How? Customers can search once and get combined results from forum posts and the company’s knowledgebase. And customers are more likely to get their questions answered if questions posted on forums are escalated to customer support when not answered in a set timeframe. For customer support agents, they get a (closer to) 360-degree view of the customer if forum activity is integrated into their CRM desktop.

    Lithium is doing this today with its integration with RightNow. Logitech is a great example. Check out a combined search results example (I searched on “installation”) on their public site:

    http://logitech-en-amr.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/logitech_en_amr.cfg/php/enduser/std_alp.php?p_sid=J9UK5o5j&p_lva=&p_li=&p_accessibility=0&p_redirect=&p_page=1&p_cv=&p_pv=&p_prods=0&p_cats=&p_hidden_prods=&prod_lvl1=0&p_search_text=installation&p_new_search=1

  • Palo E

    I think there are a lot of reasons CRM and Social Media fit together; I think there are better examples of vendors that what is listed above. In any case most integration needs to be custom as the profile questions need to be added in the CRM system to line things up properly; most Social Networking vendors have robust API’s to do this. I highly doubt we will see an out of box integration soon that will fit all needs. As a former Leverage client the description of “light integration” is a bit of an understatement (actually you could describe the rest of their product the same way;-)

  • I agree with John Kembel, the Serena community is defiantly leading edge as it relates to Communities as part of an enterprise sales, marketing and support application. Serena like many companies delivered a 1.0 version of a social network figured out what worked and what did not and them made a larger investment with a good plan. I believe Serena used Leverage Software for 1.0 and was a bit of a disaster I hear from sources inside Serena; the HiveLive version is great and offers a ton of value to not only the community members but also to the marketing, sales and support team at Serena.

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  • Nicole

    Yeah… take a look at http://www.octopuscity.com. They have a great interface between social networking and CRM, and it’s free (up to a certain number of contacts). I like the way they’ve put it together too… very intuitive.

  • Great article, I work for a CRM Value added re-seller of LexisNexis’ InterAction CRM. This solution is very good at tracking relationships people to people, companies, opportunities, networking groups though most of it is user or contact generated. So the information builds slowly but it does build. The key woul be to somehow automate the process like you suggest. We do integrate with LinkedIn (ie every contact has a linkedin link below their name)which is nice, but it would be even nicer see those relationships and communities that a user is a part of right from the CRM solution.

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  • rajeshtnaidu

    wapr.com is exactly doing the same. outside, inside and across the divide 🙂

  • rajeshtnaidu

    wapr.com is exactly doing the same. outside, inside and across the divide 🙂

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