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.