Entries in social CRM (6)


Salesforce to Build "Social-Wall" 

At the Word Economic Forum this year, held in Davos-Switzerland, Salesforce and Accenture collaborated to build a "social-media wall" displaying trending conversations on various social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.

With more than 800 representatives active on Twitter at the meeting, this 8 meter wide Social Media Wall was said to scan more than 500 million conversations daily, according to Jeremy Jurgens, chief information and interaction officer at the World Economic Forum.

"We're in a social revolution, and social technologies provide an increadible opportunity for organizations to connect with their customers, employees or constitutents in entirely new ways, said George Hu, COO, "The world leaders gathering in Davos now have the ability to see the conversations happening on social media about the important issues in the world today."




How Much is Too Much?

Social media is a great thing. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff seems to be madly in love with Facebook, and rightly so. Facebook is an astoundingly important part of our lives now, whether you’re on it or not. But with social media use increasing across the board, are we going to hit a point where it’s just too much?

There doesn’t seem to be a ceiling on the growth of social media. It’s a great tool for interacting with your customers, and private social networks like Chatter are great for collaboration within a company, but with the way social media is growing, I can’t help but wonder where the tipping point is. There’s got to be a point where there’s so much social media that it becomes cumbersome or maybe even counterproductive.

I think the solution is to be responsible social media users. How do we do this? I think just using common sense is a good start. But a few guidelines, like using customer data responsibly and protecting data at all costs, should always be observed.


Sep202011 and Social Contacts

Salesforce’s announcements a few weeks ago at Dreamforce of and of Social Contacts (rolling out next month) attest to the importance of the “social” when it comes to customer data and customer interaction.  These two products facilitate enhancing and updating contact information in a Salesforce org. is a crowd sourced contact database based on Jigsaw that Salesforce subscribers can use to update and correct their contact records.  Social Contacts adds in connections to a contact’s social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 

At first glance I think these developments are exciting.  We’ve heard over and over again about the rise of Social CRM, whereby social media interactions become as important if not more important than basic customer contact and history information.  Being able to engage our customer where they are, in the social space, can/will make all the difference in business in the 21st century. 

But there are also some things that I think need to be sorted out when/before incorporating our customers’ social presence into their records in our Salesforce orgs.

First and foremost, do we need in insure that the social media IDs that we tie to Salesforce are the business presences of our customer as opposed to their personal presences?  Of course, if accounts are open and public, we are likely not breaking any privacy standards, but still.  Is it relevant to have access to the photos of a prospects weekend fun and then bring them up in a business conversation?  Further, I’m not sure we’re fully prepared to use the information that’s available via social media outlets.  It’s one thing to strike up a modestly personal conversation about non-business matters, it’s something completely different to track and analyze data as a means to improve and accelerate business.

With these new sources of information comes the increasing importance of data governance.  Organizations will need to review and enhance their policies on data usage and data quality maintenance.

I am exciting to begin using these new features as Salesforce rolls out its latest release.  At the same time, I think we need to start thinking through some of these issues and developing some best practices.





No End In Sight

I was in the process of making one of my hundred rounds through Twitter earlier today, when a specific Tweet caught my eye. It read: "First Details About Lift, the Next Social Network From the Founders of Twitter." With a groan, I followed the link and it took me to a fresh article by the same name spilled the beans on Lift, a new social network that functions like Twitter but is streamlined for users personal productivity through positive reinforcement and peer-pressure. The article did a great job explaining the fervor surrounding the new site and explaining its basic function and features. If you'd like to check it out, here's the article from

Anyway, I don't know about you, but the prospect of yet another social network does nothing to excite me. In fact, just thinking about it only serves to overwhelm and confuse me. I already have a Facebook account for keeping up with my friends, sharing pictures and videos, and updating my status. Then I have Google+ for all of my friends who were immediately too cool for Facebook once Google+ came out. I also have my own personal Twitter account AND a Twitter account attached to this blog (which you should follow @sfgeneral!) I've also got a StumbleUpon account, a Digg account, and a Reddit account.

Now, a lot of you out there are probably even more plugged in than I am. You might look at my seven separate social networking accounts and scoff at my lack of multitasking prowess. You might love the prospect of having another social networking site pop up on your radar, even if it's simply for the excitement of exploring something new. You could even make the argument that the advent of more and more social networking options is beneficial to the industry for the sake of competition and the elimination of a monopoly or duopoly. There may be some truth to that so take what I'm about to say with a grain of salt.

In today's business world, with more and more companies turning to social networks to connect with their customers, we need mainstream options. If the market becomes so flooded with social networking sites that businesses can no longer consistently connect with their customer base through a limited number of channels, the concept of social CRM becomes obsolete. So many great things are happening right now in the cloud computing industry that it would be an absolute tragedy to have to absorb a major step backwards with the downfall of social CRM. Is it likely that this will happen? No probably not. Not because social entrepreneurs won't try to force another social network on us, but simply because people can only handle so many channels of connection before they will tune out. At the end of the day, only two to three social networks will prevail, and the rest will be sentenced to the part of the psyche that houses MySpace.


CRM to Support Multi-Channel Engagement

Back in the day (not really sure what day that was, but it sounded good), companies “owned” their customers.  That is, companies (good and successful companies) fully managed their relationships with customers (and even prospects).

But things have changed, and changed dramatically.  With the rise of Web 2.0 principles and social media engagement, companies no longer “own” those relationships.  Instead, they are, at best, willing and active participants in a larger (perhaps global) interconnected set of relationships that are not singly owned by anyone or any organization.  Call it the democratization of commerce.  Customers now have innumerable ways of gathering information and opinion, and they have power to influence those opinions.  And more often than not, these conversations are happening at times and in places that companies are not aware of.

It’s important to recognize this shift from company-centric communication to customer and community-centric communication channels.  I think that companies who fail to see this already mature shift will rapidly lose out on growth.

This shift in influence requires a CRM that can track and aggregate data from many channels, and connect customers and employees from all departments within an organization.

Some goals for CRMs:

  • Foster engagement between customers and relevant members of the organization in every forum and medium possible and as often as possible.  Our customers are there and we need to be too.
  • Automate, where possible, relevant customer-related interactions and manage them into actions on the part of the company.
  • Take note of all interactions and analyze them for insight into customer opinion, need, perception, etc., and align your efforts with this analysis.

This seems like a lot of work, and it is, but it’s incredibly valuable.  And really, it’s not so much that we suddenly need to add more to our workloads, we just need to be working, thinking, and engaging differently.  Gathering richer, more valuable data enables you to offer a better customer experience, and it will impact the success, growth, and reputation of your company.

Given these goals, how are you using your systems to facilitate this kind of engagement?


Adding Social to Salesforce CRM and Service Cloud

Most of us have become accustomed to the prevalence of social media/social networking in our lives.  I blog, read blogs and comment on them, I tweet, and I Facebook.  Chatter was a huge addition to the Salesforce platform, and recently (earlier this year) they announced Salesforce for Facebook.  That integration will enable Salesforce Service Cloud subscribers to pull in comments left by followers on Facebook.

Of course from a technological standpoint, I think this is interesting.  And of course it makes sense from a business standpoint as well. Salesforce already had Chatter and an integration with Twitter.  Facebook is the next logical step.

The goal with integration with Facebook is to provide better and more proactive service to customers.  Based on comments left on a user’s Facebook page, service and support providers can take action and create cases.  And with the Jigsaw integration, providers can, in theory, tie a customer’s real contact information to their Facebook ID.  When providers file replies in Service Cloud, those replies then get pushed out to Facebook.  With the new Service Cloud 3 Service Cloud Console, social network interactions are tracked and measurable in the same way that phone and email interactions can be.

The Radian6 acquisition takes these capabilities even further—from simple keyword searching and business rules in Facebook and Twitter to sophisticated text-analysis and consolidation of comments from a large number of social networks and blogs.

What I’m really interested in is how this will play out and if the integration with Facebook will lead to improvements in service (from a customer standpoint), and increases in business and brand loyalty (from a provider standpoint).  I see how a lot of companies are adding social media to their own branding and marcomm efforts, but I don’t see a lot of individual Facebook users are tying their presence on that social media platform back to their business work—particularly in the B2B space.  Perhaps it’s just a matter of time.