Social CRM – Who got it right? Salesforce.com? Microsoft CRM? SAP CRM? SugarCRM?

09/01/2011

By Srini Katta

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Social CRM - Salesforce.com, Microsoft, SAP, SugarCRM

All week I’ve been in San Francisco at Salesforce.com’s annual crowning event, Dreamforce.   This year’s theme is “Welcome to Social Enterprise.”  Indeed, if you are attending Dreamforce and managed to miss the focus on the social enterprise, then you were either sleeping or too busy touring San Francisco.    

In yesterday’s keynote address, Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff, unveiled their latest social CRM tools and the concept of the “social enterprise.”  Marc’s team demonstrated the ability to integrate social contacts with Saleforce.com’s winter 2012 release.  Users will  be able to bring in their Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter contacts directly into their Salesforce.com application and quickly see a snapshot of what they “like,” “dislike,” and follow in the social media world using the Radian 6 based social analytics. The Chatter application is enhanced to enable video conference calls, file sharing, screen sharing and both private and public groups.  Salesforce.com added a Dun & Bradstreet data feed along with Jigsaw to provide users the most updated and accurate contact details.  They also enabled crowd sourcing to improve the data accuracy of company and contact data feeds coming from Jigsaw and D&B.  

Salesforce.com’s social media integration, crowd sourcing for data quality, and Chatter are not brand new concepts or functionalities, but their execution of these solutions is brilliant.  Salesforce.com is the first CRM company that built a comprehensive and integrated social media CRM solution that will help enterprises go social without costing an arm and a leg.  Social is no longer a new phenomenon in CRM and CRM vendors seem to be aware of this.    

All the major players are involved.  Microsoft tackled social media with their social media integrator for MS Outlook 2010.  SAP introduced Facebook and Twitter integration with their CRM 7.0 release 24 months ago and released “SAP Stream Work” last year.  SugarCRM was the first company to provide address update feature using Hoovers more than year ago.  I personally liked that functionality a lot.  Though each of these companies released these tools before or around the same time as Salesforce.com, they don’t give the same “warm and fuzzy” feeling that the latest Salesforce.com release.  Let’s see why.    

Microsoft understood the importance of social and delivered a social media integration tool early, but did not extend it to CRM.   They introduced social media integration with Outlook 2010 but not with their CRM solution, MS Dynamics.  As a result, MS Dynamics users don’t get a social view of their customers and contacts within Dynamics.  Microsoft lost another CRM battle with Salesforce.com.  I should note that some third party companies have developed applications to integrate social media with MS Dynamics, but they still lack the “slick” integration that Salesforce.com achieved.

SAP’s early social venture allowed their customers to get the Facebook and Twitter feed inside of their CRM system but lacked the Radian 6 based social analytics from Salesforce.com.  This is particularly ironic because SAP owns Business Objects.  SAP was an early adopter of social but fell short of delivering a comprehensive solution.  Data alone doesn’t solve the sales or service executive challenges within the organization.  Salesforce.com understood this fact and executed on their vision by acquiring Radian 6. That’s what l like about Marc’s team.  They have an uncanny ability to understand what the customer wants.

SugarCRM was a pioneer by providing functionality to pull address and other key contact data for a company or contact using real-time integration with Hoovers.  Unfortunately, they did not include the crowd sourcing part of it.  Salesforce.com understood the importance of crowd sourcing and carefully executed a plan to deliver that functionality.  They first acquired Jigsaw, addressed existing data issues, roped in D&B and put crowd sourcing on top of it.  Success comes with a vision and execution of that vision.

I’ve been following Marc Benioff since 2001.  He is a great communicator and the market receives his messages well.   It is in the genes of Salesforce.com.  Marketo, a bay area based marketing company, released a white paper mentioning that Salesforce.com  spent $25.4 million on sales and marketing between Feb 2000 to March 2001 and generated  revenue of $5.4 million.  That investment is clearly paying dividends now.  All week I’ve seen and heard Marc’s team unveil their vision with such things as data.com, database.com, and siteforce.com.  I will write more about these in future blogs.  For now, it’s time to get back to Dreamforce!

For more information about how to make your business a "social enterprise," contact us today.

Social CRM - Salesforce.com, Microsoft, SAP, SugarCRM

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