At the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco LinkedIn founder and chairman, Reid Hoffman, said that the future of the web will be all about data and how we utilize it. Hoffman, who is now a partner at venture capital firm Greylock Partners, says that data will come in two forms: explicit and implicit. Explicit data is data that users willingly give to social networks, blog posts and tweets, while implicit data is data collected in the background, like geolocation information.
When companies implement a CRM, the long term success of the CRM will be about the customer data and how it is utilized to provide better services and products to your customers. The initial implementation of a CRM is built on implicit data that is collected from sources like Hoovers and include companies revenue, employee count, industry and location. The explicit data that is included in the initial build can be as simple as a“type” field that identifies the account record as a customer, prospect, partner and competitor.
The long term success of CRM is predicated on the collection and analyses of the explicit data; this data includes phones calls, emails, proposals and marketing events. The use of this explicit data is not only to get a better understanding of what our customers think of us, but to have a better understanding of the companies who do not buy from us and what they are thinking.
A clear indicator that the collection explicit data is the key to the long term success is when a CRM like Salesforce announced its acquisition of social media aggregator Radian6. Radian6’s capabilities will allow Salesforce to track and report on the social media activities of customers throughout the web: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and even YouTube. Combining the social media data with explicit data collected by your sales and marketing team’s efforts will provide the framework for companies to better service their customers and capture more market share.