Salesforce CRM has always been strong in managing direct interactions with customers. Site.com, Force.com and Service Cloud increasingly provide the tools needed to manage flexible websites and create engaging web-based customer experiences. Campaigns and Service Cloud provide some tools to manage e-mail interactions with customers although the solution is much stronger for providing e-mail support than for e-mail based marketing and lead nurturing. With the acquisition of Radian6, Salesforce got into the then nascent social marketing space. Radian6 provides the ability to monitor what’s being said about your brand or product and react to it but it’s essentially a tool that helps you react to the conversations happening around your brand. Adding Heroku started to change that dynamic a bit by enabling enterprises to build custom apps to engage more proactively with customers and prospects on social networks. Now with Buddy Media, the elements are in place to proactively manage social presence, run campaigns and measure the impact of those social campaigns. Going far beyond monitoring, the Buddy product suite (once integrated with CRM) will be a powerful platform for companies that ‘get it’ and develop strategies for engaging and responding to social customers and prospects.
- ProfileBuddy – for creating and deploying custom, local content on social networks via standardized brand templates
- ReachBuddy – for adding social hooks and connections to content across brand sites and social profiles
- ConversationBuddy – for managing social conversations with brand protection capabilities
- BuyBuddy – for creating, monitoring and optimizing social campaigns
- ConversionBuddy – for identifying sharing trends for brand content and product information on Facebook, Twitter, email, blogs and other forms of social media with tracking for shares, clicks, conversions (i.e., content shares to website traffic or email sign-ups) and sales
Imagine plugging all those Buddy tools into marketing scenarios that look like the current HP or Haagen-Dazs case studies for Salesforce’s marketing content management tools in Site.com. HP recently used Site.com to quickly launch and manage a collection of microsites with hundreds of tailored university-specific offers. Similarly, Haagen-Dazs supports national franchisees and prospective franchise owners using Site.com sites – and advertises that ‘social networking’ is a core support item franchisees can expect from Haagen-Dazs corporate. With Buddy, global brands like HP and Haagen-Dazs will be able to easily publish and manage multiple versions of their websites AND tackle the enormous challenge of managing all the companion social pages.
- Better ROI: ability to connect the dots between social marketing efforts and activity currently managed in Salesforce, specifically sales and service efforts.
- More control of marketing and messaging: visible results, reporting and trends along with the ability to engage and act on social feedback.
- Marketing automation: this is an area that is very close to traditional CRM and would round out Salesforce’s CMO portfolio nicely. Being able to score, nurture and convert leads developed through direct or social marketing would be powerful. In addition, bringing lead scoring, nurturing and flow logic to social platforms such as Radian6 and Buddy could be game-changing. Currently email is the preferred channel for lead nurturing and the question is whether it’ll be supplanted over time by social channels. Salesforce’s moves to date could be read to suggest that they believe that social is where the future of customer experience lies. One could make the case either for or against email so it’ll be interesting to see where Salesforce goes next.
- Multi-channel campaign management and analytics: The other area that Salesforce may focus on is in pulling all the pieces of their CMO portfolio together. As we’ve described, they now have full bag of tools for the CMO but this is truly a case where integrating the tools could produce an exponential increase in value. Salesforce now has the ability to give a salesperson insight into what their customer is talking about on Twitter, what emails they opened, what they liked on their company’s Facebook page and what messages they’ve responded to recently. On the marketing side, Salesforce has the data to help marketers optimize offers and campaigns across channels. Could Salesforce’s upcoming webinar on Big Data be a hint that they plan to help companies make sense of masses of social interaction data very soon?