The word networking comes up when you talk about “whom you know?” and “what you know about a certain person?” If social networking were about keeping track of “whom you know” and “what you know about them”, there wouldn’t be any hype associated with it beyond what some good contact management software can do for you. But social networking is much more, that just creating contacts and making a contact list.
A social network allows you to easily search for contacts that match your individual needs. But that’s just the beginning. Social networks helps to answer questions like “how many people do you know?” “how many people know them?” “how do you get access to other people via people you know?” Answering those questions and automating the process of acquiring contacts are the advantages of social networks.
So with contact management you can find and manage what you already know, but with social networking you have the chance to find something new.
The key of social networking is simple logic: If Carol knows Jim, and Jim knows Peter, then Carol can get to Peter through Jim. Social networks analyzes each person’s contacts to check, if there is a match and make the best use out of it. Via these networks the user can search for a contact in a particular industry, in a certain company or at a certain position, over people he is currently not in contact with. The user can see, how he can get in touch with these people. In the sales area there is always the hunt for the next deal, and sales guys have to do everything to be one step ahead of their competitors to get the deal.
In sales the key to success is to have a broad network and to be good connected with decision makers. With social networks sales professional can easily expand their network and have it easier to get in touch with people for a certain deal. With social networks Sales Professional can get optimal prepared for a customer call. They can check already in advance the biography of a certain person, their interest, their hobbies, their previous employer and if this person know also a person that I know. So already in advance of a prospect call the Sales Professional can think about any relations. So it helps a lot to break the ice at the beginning and it is a better starting point for any further discussions.
So it would be perfect to leverage the capabilities of social networks like Xing, LinkedIn, Facebook etc. with the capabilities of a SAP CRM System. For example integrating social networks directly in the contact list of an opportunity or in the buying center of an opportunity. The Sales Professional could e.g. click on a certain contact and automatically the according social network information are displayed. (like Biography, How you are connected to this person – to which degree etc.) See underneath an example of a prototype of a possible LinkedIn Integration into SAP CRM.
So it would be a really nice functionality to have different social networks included. Or even more to do an update of social network information back into the SAP CRM System. For example to update contact information like Position, Company, E-Mail Address etc. to have always the up-to-date data in your SAP CRM System.