I’ve been pretty vocal about my search for the “holy grail” of CRM‘s. There are a number of solutions out there and all are doing some pretty nice things in the way of integrating social media into a CRM platform but, nobody that I am aware of, at least not at an investment level that is affordable for the little guy, has come out with a package that I feel has yet reached that pinnacle of achievement. Let’s talk briefly about a few….
Salesforce.com is likely the defacto leader in this application field. And, they have introduced Twitter to their product but in what I would consider to be a limited fashion. It looks, feels, and acts like an add-on. What it is well designed for is scanning and identifying sales and service opportunities based on product mentions found within the Twitterverse stream. Furthermore, it can automatically create contacts from those discoveries. Pretty cool. FaceBook or LinkedIn integration? Not yet that I am aware of.
Gist is a way cool product that acts like a social media aggregator and it does gather a ton of information on every contact it encounters. Gist also boasts very tight integration with both Twitter and email. No LinkedIn or FaceBook integration yet as it pertains to updates. I know this will be coming soon particularly since LinkedIn recently opened up its API to developers and so you are now seeing those updates via clients like TweetDeck and Hootsuite. Where Gist is weak today, in my opinion, is in the creation of emails and tweets. It is great at gathering them and allowing you to go back to the original source, but not generating them.
Salesforce and Gist Integration: This is something that is very interesting and very nicely done. Put the two of them together and they do form a very very nice Social CRM with Gist doing the gathering and Salesforce doing the creating of things like standard email. I am personally convinced that these two products, and that may mean having them work in conjunction, may be the best solution in the near future for a SAAS solution to Social CRM. Because of this, I am going to be devoting a great deal of time and effort toward learning each better.
Threadsy is another very cool product and if I could splice Threadsy and Gist together, I would do it in a heartbeat. Up to three email accounts, Twitter, and FaceBook and a gorgeous interface to manage all three. No LinkedIn integration yet but from the standpoint of creating and monitoring traffic from these sites and email, it’s a thing of beauty. Honestly, I would kill to see them take this to the Social CRM level and I don’t feel that it would be that difficult to do. Listen to “Mr. Armchair Code Cutter” (smile).
This brings us to Xobni. Get ready but Xobni may be the one of the closest and simplest solutions out there and if you use Outlook, you can have it today and you can have it for free. Please take a look at the image below ….
So, what does Outlook do? A pretty fine job with email. Keeps your contact and calendar. Some people consider it to be a CRM and maybe it is. Combine it with Business Contact Manager and you do have a CRM. A “piss poor” one, mind you, but a CRM nonetheless (smile). Add Xobni and you get the column to the right that gives you at least some information about your contact in terms of whether or not they are even on LinkedIn, their Twitter stream that you can at least reply and retweet, and if they are on FaceBook. Xobni also gathers information on their network and also links you have shared as well as messages associated with this contact. Worth a look? I think so. This package gets even better with the addition of the LinkedIn Toolbar for Outlook. If you do a search within this blog site, you will find several articles mentioning this tool. Suffice to say that it brings much of the power of LinkedIn directly into Outlook and actually quite a bit more.
Well, there you have it. Something more to think about. I also wanted to add that I believe it was today that Zemanta introduced the latest version of their tool for blogging and Gmail. I am using it now as I type. Sweet. Very sweet.
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