When Will LinkedIn Launch a CRM Service? Should CRM Vendors Worry?

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?

  1. It will enable you to easily import your own contacts into LinkedIn and view them as you might in a simple contact management tool. Of course you’ll find many of your contacts already in LinkedIn.
  2. This new tool would seamlessly enable you to view your existing contacts LinkedIn profiles and better connect with them.
  3. Contacts in LinkedIn that are NOT in your personal contact list would be even more easily added to your personal contact list than can be done today.
  4. LinkedIn would make it much easier to reach out to your contacts via email an email newsletter or other means. The current method of reaching out to contacts is great for one-to-one communication, but not for a mass (but personalized) communication experience.

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.

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