Have you heard about social CRM lately? Probably not. The reason for that is simple — old social CRM model is dead, especially since the famed ‘LinkedOut
’ event. For those not in the know, a bunch of early social CRM systems specialized in harvesting LinkedIn data. LinkedIn decided that this information is far too valuable, that LinkedIn users don’t enjoy being spammed, so they restricted API access to a group of selected CRM systems.
Likewise, all ideas to use other social networks for prospecting, be they Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, have mostly failed as well. And, to be perfectly honest, this outcome could have been easily predicted. After all, social networks have the right and the obligation to protect their users from unsolicited marketing, and protecting personal data is the key to this process.
Another early social CRM promise was data enrichment. CRM veteran Jon Ferrara founded Nimble CRM with this promise. It went something like this. Suppose you have a prospect named Peter. Peter uses social media, like Facebook and Twitter. If we import his recent tweets and Facebook posts to his CRM profile, then our sales person can sell to Peter more efficiently, because they’ll know what’s going on in Peter’s life from his social media activities.
Alas, this promise didn’t pan out either. Seven years later, Nimble, like all other early social CRM tools, is very much a niche player with a very limited audience. Compare this to social media management and social listening tools, like Hootsuite, Buffer or SproutSocial, some of which claim to have more than 10 million users and valuation that exceeds one billion dollars. Ouch!
Does this mean social CRM is dead? Well, yes and no. Yes, because prospecting, social listening and enrichment have demonstrated their practical limits and usefulness over the past 7–10 years. We know what works, what doesn’t work and to what extent. No, because social network potential is far beyond simple prospecting and data enrichment tools.