Musings from the Gartner CRM Conference

About to head out of my hotel room for day 2 of the Gartner CRM Conference.  Day 1 was a whirlwhind, and we were lucky enough to have some great meetings with some key analysts.

One of the things I like about this conference is that it reminds me just how large the overall ecosystem is for CRM. We tend to pay the most attention to the core CRM application providers…but CRM includes big data warehouse players, telephony network providers, billing, etc. It is a pretty large universe, and it is good to see all the areas in relative good health.

There’s been a bit of added hype this year, as expected, around “social CRM” and the media attached to that concept. We had some great talks with analysts and attendees about it, and I still think we as an industry are in a learning phase. Still trying to pick out the useful web properties for integration and discover best practices for creating next generation CRM systems that incorporate tradtional lead and opportunity management and new media and relationship mining capabilities.

A lot of interesting questions arose from our discussions. Namely, how ethical (or legal) is it to leverage public user networks like facebook for traditional email marketing? Sure, we can find out that this contact went to college with someone on my sales team and reach out personally using that as an introduction, but will the time come where LinkedIn or Facebook networks can get imported into CRM systems as target lists for lead management?  I’m not so sure it can or will happen like that. And that is probably a good thing.

Lots of great sessions today…I’m sure other questions will pop up as well…