Social sources with CRM can be useful sales tool: Ovum

Data from CRM not enough, more info can be derived from other sources

By Veronica C. Silva, MIS Asia |  Enterprise Software, Analytics, Ovum

For years, customer service and sales people have been using customer relationship management (CRM) solutions to mine valuable customer information to better serve their customers or help develop sales leads.

Unfortunately, a newly published report reveals that not all the pertinent business information needed by businesses can be found in those CRM solutions.

According to a newly published report, using social search and analytics can help account managers and sales executives find the information they need which they cannot find from other CRM platforms.

The report, titled 'Social Search & Analytics', takes off from a report by Trampoline Systems -- a company specialising in business social analytics -- which says that only 25 per cent of information found in CRMs are useful for account managers and sales executives. Other pertinent information, such as business contacts and customer prospects, can be found from other sources, such as the social networks and Internet search.

Ovum, a UK-based research and consultancy firm, and publisher of the report, said companies should take advantage of the search features of the Internet and analytical tools to generate the information they need.

The 'social Web'

"Organisations must consider the option of information discovery tools alongside traditional enterprise search solutions," Ovum advised, adding that research from social search and analytics can help users find the information that they need to remain competitive and survive in business.

Richard Edwards, Ovum principal analyst and author of the report, said: "Organisations must revisit their information management, privacy and governance policies if they are going to capitalise on the 'social Web', as these clearly have a bearing on the extent to which information pertaining to specific groups and individuals can be used."

The Ovum report added that businesses can also generate sales leads from social media to help them do their 'social calling', a term used by Nigel Edelshain, CEO of Sales 2.0, to refer to a new way to make sales call. As against the traditional 'cold calling' or warm introduction, Niegel expounds that salespeople now need to use social media and Sales 2.0 techniques to improve their chances of ensuring that those calls generate sales. He said 'social calling' is eight to 10 times more effective than cold calling.

Given these, Edwards urged salespeople to champion the use of social analytics in their organisation. CIOs, on the other hand, should be mindful of what is being said in social media, including discussion groups, about the company.

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