Is a customer relationship management system on the horizon for LinkedIn? If so, what would it look like, and how should other CRM vendors prepare to up their game to stay in the race?
Did you see the recent press release about LinkedIn CRM?
You have NOT seen that press release yet, because it has not been issued. LinkedIn does not have a CRM offering...YET.
If you look at LinkedIn's recent purchases and listen to my buddy, social media, CRM, and mobile guru Brent Leary (of CRM Essentials), it looks like LinkedIn CRM is not too far away.
LinkedIn is the biggest and most popular service for connecting business professionals to other business professionals. Sales people use LinkedIn to connect to and/or find prospects. Employers use LinkedIn to find future employees. And these are just two big uses for LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has restricted the use of its data through other CRM vendors, which seek to integrate social networks into their systems. This enables their users to look at a contact record in the CRM vendor's system and at the same time look at the users profile in LinkedIn and see other social profiles as well. LinkedIn looks like it wants folks to have to go to LinkedIn directly to view LinkedIn profiles.
We've discussed on 3TechGuys that a future move for LinkedIn is to offer a light CRM tool - if not a fully robust one.
What will this tool look like?
Big companies must constantly innovate - adding new features, adding new products, and making their products better. LinkedIn is all about connecting professionals - what better way to enhance this than by adding a CRM component to their service?
Should the executives of small business CRM vendors Infusionsoft, Zoho, Nimble, Insightly, and others worry? Probably not. However, they must constantly improve their own software products and ensure they add as many integrations (or hooks) into third-party services and in particular social networks, as they can.
The other aspect of LinkedIn that you should look out for is CONTENT. LinkedIn has millions of users and is a major gateway to the content they see in their content streams. Look for LinkedIn to continue to strengthen its feature set and offerings in this space as well.
Ramon Ray is Marketing and Technology Evangelist at Infusionsoft and Smallbiztechnology.com. He's a speaker, media pundit, journalist and author. His latest best seller is "The Facebook Guide to Small Business Marketing".
Some of the events Ramon has produced include the Small Business Summit, Small Biz Big Things with Seth Godin and the Small Business Technology Tour. As a speaker, Ramon has presented at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas with Guy Kawasaki, SXSW, Inc 500 and more.
As a journalist and freelance writer, Ramon has written for Inc Magazine, OPEN Forum, Entrepreneur.com and Clikz.com. Although Ramon is not a comedian, his audiences find him humorous. Despite no law enforcement experience, he is a graduate of the FBI Citizens Academy. Although Ramon does not know Jim Henson, he loves to do puppet shows in developing countries. See Ramon's full bio on his website.
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