* This post is a part of the series of blog posts on Web 2.0 and SAP CRM. You can catch the earlier posts in the series focusing on CRM & Social Web: Evolving Customer Management to Customer Engagement, SAP CRM and Social Web- Use SAP CRM to Leverage Social Networks for Enhancing the Customer Experience & Viral Marketing and SAP CRM and Social Web – Customer Service for Smart Enterprises using SAP CRM and Twitter scenario in case you missed it.
“How to Talk to Anyone” by Leil Lowndes is the book I am occupied with since last weekend. It reveals 92 little tricks enabling one to become a master communicator to enjoy big success in relationships. The book was authored in 2003 when Social media as a term and cool tools like facebook, twitter, linkedIn did not exist. For a moment, this left me wondering how such books will shape up in the future taking into consideration the growth of social media applications. May be: Tip #1 Do a wikipedia search for the place you are about to visit to understand their history. Tip #2 Tweet about your visit plan to get some insider tips on the do’s-and-don’ts. Tip# 3 Check on LinkedIn whether anyone from your professional network lives there? Who knows?
I am a fan of such books ever since my first job as a Technical Presales Specialist in Sydney, Australia. Fresh from College with a strong technical background, my world was all about cracking tough problems using Pascal, C, SQL. My perspectives on importance of soft-skills changed during my interactions with Sales Executives and Account Managers. Everything they did starting from meticulous preparation to understand the customer, their needs and interests through the entire selling process until deal closure was a captivating experience to undergo. This made me conclude that selling is an art and science involving methodologies, facts, creativity, intelligence, human relationships backed by hard work.
Now, are you wondering what the focus of this article is? It is not to dwell into the value-add SAP CRM brings to the sales process. Instead, objective is to explore opportunities to automate aspects of intelligence gathering in the sales process – a hot topic which deserves further crowd seeding for perspectives and possibilities. It is to discuss how we can help the sales force by bringing together SAP CRM and LinkedIn.
Thanks to SAP CRM Development group in Bangalore, a no-brainer scenario was quickly developed to evaluate technical feasibility. Let me explain the scenario with an example. I am into software sales, a new kiddo to the organization who has been assigned a ‘cold’ prospect to train my skills. My attempts to contact the customer via traditional means are drawing flak and I need to figure out alternatives. I use LinkedIn to retrieve people working for the organization, Linked-In helps me visualize how I am connected to them (direct or 1st or 2nd degree of contact), I take the help of my network for introductions and finally I understand the person’s professional background, strengths and interests by reviewing their profile on LinkedIn. All of this initiated and executed from within SAP CRM.
Step 1: SAP CRM Account Search Screen with LinkedIn access included
Step 2: LinkedIn proposes potential contacts at Business Objects
Step 3: LinkedIn shows how i am connected to Doug O’Brien
What else is possible? Allowing imagination to run wild, some ideas are:
Ability to Import LinkedIn Profile as a Contact Person in SAP CRM
Auto-synchronize SAP CRM contact person details based on changes to LinkedIn profile
Capturing Interests, Groups and Associations the member belongs to as Marketing Attributes in SAP CRM
Text Analysis of the recommendations received and made to construct the contact person’s characteristics, beliefs and value systems better.
Objective is to simplify the lives of Sales Representatives – automate data gathering and data entry giving them time to focus on real selling activities, arming them with intelligence enabling them to be more effective in front of customers.
Do let us know your thoughts:
- Any real-life interesting experience using linked-in that you would like to share?
- Feedback on the above scenarios and Ideas for new scenarios you would like us to pursue
We would love to hear your comments on the concept; enabling community to shape exciting next-generation CRM scenarios.