Twitter, CRM and the Build vs. Buy Argument

I saw that Datamonitor is projecting that more and more companies will be integrating Twitter or other micro-blogging tools into their CRM systems.

This makes sense for a number of reasons, many of them obvious. Micro-blogging can be a simple, yet effective method of keeping in touch with large customer bases, but with a personal touch. Also, it can become a cheap way to create a bi-directional dialog between a company and the customer.

But the Datamonitor report says Twitter may start charging, which could affect some decisions being made on whether or not to embed Twitter itself into the CRM system.

SugarCRM has taken a different approach. Instead of simply embedding an existing tool (Twitter) into SugarCRM, we simply built our own micro-feed tool. Still in its early stages, I see the Sugar Feeds concept having some legs. The great thing about Sugar feeds is that eventually it will manage both internal and external communications. And unlike generic tools like Twitter, where users have to undergo the arduous process of building up micro-networks, the CRM system can pre-segment and crate communication networks.

Check out more info on the feeds here.

Above: The multi-media, micro-blogging Sugar Feed feature at a glance.

One thought on “Twitter, CRM and the Build vs. Buy Argument

  1. Hi Martin,
    I’m not sure I agree with your point about the logic of integrating a tool like Twitter into CRM systems though I am quite interested in your comments about how SugarCRM allows you to pre-segment and create communication networks.

    Whilst I see the value in these tools, I’ve also commented on our own blog that the value is limited to certain situations and has yet to prove itself. I’m negative about integrating tools like Twitter or FaceBook directly into CRM systems as I feel many customers fail to manage existing customer data so adding additional streams of data like Twitter simple compounds the problem. The key question that has to be asked is whether the data will add any value to the organisation or is it too raw to be worthwhile?

    In my opinion, the real value will come from using a platform like SugarCRM and integrating in highly functional social media monitoring tools like Radian6. The reason I say this is that a business needs to look at these new streams of information and apply the same logic they apply to a sales funnel – set expectations and filter the information until you arrive at the point where you have actionable insights (which might constitute someone blogging about a product set up problem, asking their network for product requests, or expressing anger at a customer service experience). The key funnel checkpoints might be:
    1. Monitoring
    2. Focusing on certain keywords and sentiments
    3. Eliminate and refine the streams
    4. Identify actionable data points.

    It’s at this last point that I see the logic of bringing the data into a CRM as you could bring it in and assign of to a lead nurturing team, or customer service, or maybe even directly into the field sales team. Utilising a monitoring tool also allows a company to capture and track consumer insights which might lead to the marketing programme being adapted or a near real time response to a competitive threat being designed and put into the market.



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