Twitter for CRM, or CRM for Twitter?

I just saw that Salesforce.com has announced a new Twitter integration. Welcome to the Twitterverse, better late than never. (SugarCRM has offered free plugins to integrate Twitter into Sugar for nearly a year, and released its own Twitter-like capabilities in the 5.2 release.)

But anyway, the new trend of integrating Twitter with your CRM made me think – are we bringing CRM to Twitter, or is Twitter being brought in to CRM?

I’m not really sure I know the answer. On the one hand, you are now able to manage the activity “out there” in Twitterland from your CRM system – so it seems like Twitter is being brought to your CRM.

But, it could also be argued that companies are now looking at twitter and blogs in general in a different manner – trying to force some structure and insight into what is typically a random and distributed mode of communication. This way, the core tenants of CRM are being brought to Twitter.

Or, finally, it can be said that both are happening – after all, the “2.0” world is all about multiple modes of conversation, happening in multiple directions at once…

One thought on “Twitter for CRM, or CRM for Twitter?

  1. Hi Martin,
    I saw that and rolled my eye’s – more analyst getting sucked into the spin that is SFDC these days. I’ve blogged a couple of times on the fact old news is new news when SFDC is involved.

    Enough rant and back to your question…I think the latter is more the case. We use platforms like SugarCRM to manage interactions and how we do this has evolved from the phone, to email, to IM, and now to Twitter.

    I have to admit I was really surprised to see SFDC pigeon hole Twitter as a service component. I think they’ve done themselves a massive disservice. Whilst the immediate logic is that Twitter can be a nice way to have real time interaction this is really missing the underlying value of Twitter. Twitter represents another window into the soul of the customer (or prospect, or former customer). The type of information that can be gleaned from Twitter will be useful across the enterprise – marketing, sales, and service (not to mention R&D).

    Twitter coming into CRM is possibly only the tip of the iceberg. I think the real value is how we use tools like Scout Labs to capture this “noise” and route it to the right people in the enterprise. The real value (and this is where I think SFDC has totally missed the point – like their not even in the stadium) is how you plug SugarCRM and Scout Labs (social media monitoring) together so that the enterprise has a tab that is “What am I hearing”. This could/would be tuned to the various departments or roles in the enterprise. This is an exciting new world.

    This type of world is where I’d like to see SugarCRM go. Imagine a dashboard element that shows the trends of positive and negative sentiment about a new product launch? The possibilities are endless…

    cheers

    Mark

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