Another advantage of cloud-based sales and marketing automation is the fact that many of them have hooks into social media. Burleigh of Cloud9 believes that social media is the next frontier of sales and marketing.
"If you can pull a social map together, your results will go through the roof," Burleigh says, and he made no secret of the fact that this is the sort of thing Cloud9 has on its roadmap. "If you understand who a person is, who they deal with, and who they trust, you can influence them through people they already know, like and trust."
This type of forecasting is happening already. If you "like" certain companies on their Facebook fan pages, your friends will likely see a picture of you saying that you're a fan of anything from NPR to the NRA. These activity updates are really testimonials. This sort of user manipulation upsets privacy advocates (this is why I refuse to install any of the Facebook readers), but it is a road we've been traveling on for quite some time.
In the free-content era, we won't pay to read newspapers, listen to music, or watch movies, but we don't think twice about giving up privacy. For marketing and sales teams, this provides them with a goldmine of social data, but it also means that as soon as Big Data is solved there will likely be a Big Privacy challenge following right on its heels.
Jeff Vance is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer who focuses on next-generation technology trends. Follow him on Twitter @ JWVance.
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