PRODUCT PROFILE

Salesforce.com Gears Up for a Social, Transparent World

The shift from traditional CRM to social media is creating a new paradigm for customer interaction, and Salesforce.com offers cloud-based solutions to help companies meet this new challenge, Scott Holden, senior director of product marketing at Salesforce.com, told CRM Buyer.

One of the biggest changes companies are wrangling with is the concept of transparency.

“It’s more transparent,” Holden said. “We’re creating a transparent world.”

Everything is out in the open now, concurred Fergus Griffin, vice president of product marketing at Salesforce.com.

Customers are no longer on the phone with an agent, Griffin told CRM Buyer. They have moved away from phone and email customer service to Google and social media. The new customer experience is “all public.”

This shift to social media requires companies to treat customers differently, and it changes the way companies handle customer interaction, explained Griffin. Companies accustomed to traditional CRM can become overwhelmed.

“The volume of interaction is unprecedented,” Griffin said, noting that the old methods and systems are not geared for it.

The Move to Mobile

The use of mobile devices is also having a big impact. As more people acquire mobile devices and smart devices loaded with social apps, they can share bad experiences more quickly, Griffin warned.

Video is also moving to mobile and can have an impact on CRM, Griffin pointed out.

“It’s pretty compelling,” he said.

Salesforce.com responds to these new demands with products like Service Cloud, which helps companies deal with the quicker pace of CRM by using new social monitoring functionality, Griffin explained.

Social Monitoring and marketing process.

“They’re doing a lot of interesting things in social CRM,” Brent Leary, cofounder and partner of CRM Essentials, told CRM Buyer. “When they came out with Chatter, they really moved to the forefront.”

Chatter offers a Facebook-like feed that can be used internally behind a firewall, Leary said. This allows more collaboration and information sharing within a company. “Chatter makes that happen.”

The solutions offered by Salesforce.com bring services beyond marketing to the customer service experience, he said.

salesforce.com chatter

Chatter helps bridge the gap between sales and service because marketing people frequently become the first people aware of customer service issues, Holden observed. In addition, it helps give sales representatives a fuller view of the customer. Because marketing people are on the bleeding edge of social media, they are the ones who encounter customers with support issues.

“The first people hitting them up are people complaining,” said Holden.

Marketing then becomes customer service, he continued, and that is where Chatter is particularly helpful.

The impact of social CRM is becoming powerful and undeniable, said Griffin. It is being applied internally via technology like Chatter, which can mimic the same social media channels people have become accustomed to using every day.

Marketing and sales people now use Twitter to launch marketing campaigns and generate leads by generating interest in products, noted Holden. Social CRM is particularly valuable to sales people as they prepare for the next call or meeting.

“It just sort of makes sense,” he said.

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