Salesforce and Gist – CRM Gets Social

Posted: September 17, 2009 in CRM, Twitter
Tags: , ,

I’ve done a reasonable number of articles over the past few months about CRM (Customer Relationship Management) programs. In my last article, I laid out my wish list for a CRM that would integrate Social Media. We are not quite there yet, however, offerings are definitely knocking on that door (smile). I am going to briefly talk about two today and both became widely accessible during the past week. Each is a highly complex and capable product. What is very interesting to me, at least, is that both seem to be approaching this task from very different angles.

SalesForceLogo-229_68pxSo, we all know Salesforce.com. Well, now Salesforce has a Twitter interface. And, it’s free to Salesforce users. Set up was a bit of a challenge and I actually got with their support people on figuring out how to make it work. The fist gentleman I talked to was not even aware that they had introduced and were supporting this app (smile). However, we got it done. The secret is that, after you load the app, you need to go to: Setup, Administration Setup, Security Controls, Remote Site Access, and then add the following sites: http://search.twitter.com, http://twitter.com, and if you are using bit.ly ….. http://api.bit.ly.

What is cool about this integration is that Salesforce is using Twitter to drive opportunities to its users. Here are a couple of examples. If somebody is Tweeting about some difficulties that they are having with Salesforce, the Twitter app will find this and a support case can be automatically created for followup. Or, if I am a sales person for Salesforce and this app finds somebody Tweeting their frustration with say, ACT!, I can automatically create a lead for that person that I can followup on. Pretty slick. I can also Tweet directly from Salesforce and all Twitter activity becomes a part of that Saleforce account/contact record. Sweet. Like I say, there is a lot more to this but it certainly is worth a look. B.T.W, they are looking at adding FaceBook next. In the meantime, enjoy the demo!

gist-logoGist is an entirely different animal. What makes this app intriguing is that it is designed to gather as much information as possible on a contact from practically every possible major source including: LinkedIn, Twitter, FaceBook, Gmail, Outlook, and other email accounts and then take all of this and aggregate it into one contact screen. And, I mean that it tries to grab everything it can from every site including blogs, web addresses, and news. It even performs a Google search on both the contact name and company. It also provides their recent Twitter conversations although I am not so sure, at least not that I can see, that it pulls in updates from either FaceBook or LinkedIn. I could be wrong. Gist will also interface with Salesforce.com. What is VERY interesting to me is that it does track my email and link exchanges. Gist has taken the approach that you can still use your preferred email vehicle, in my case Gmail, and it will then go out to that and pull those conversation in. Same with Twitter. Brilliant! Unfortunately, none of this appears to be close to real time and it does appear to operate quite slowly. Not surprising given the amount of data. For that matter, this is a beta launch and I might have a p.o.s. computer and internet connection (smile). However, this is still very very cool and very exciting!

Here is a very good article by Mashable. There is also a slide presentation at the Gist site.

That’s it for now. I plan to write more extensively on both of these apps as I work with and learn more about them. Thanks for visiting!

Craig

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