Salesforce mixes social media with CRM after Radian6 buy

02/12/2011

Salesforce has unveiled a new social insights platform that integrates Radian6 into its core Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. In May, cloud-based enterprise company Salesforce.com acquired Radian6, the social media monitoring startup, for $326 million. Salesforce, which is best known for CRM or customer relationship management products, said at the time that the "hundreds of millions of conversations [Radian6 captures] every day across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, blogs and online communities" will help provide its businesses with "actionable insights in real-time.”

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Dubbed the "social-marketing cloud," the new products include an analytics component from partners like OpenAmplify, OpenCalais and Klout to gauge intent to buy or customer satisfaction.

In addition, Salesforce.com hopes to provide actionable intelligence via social channels that can be programmed to automatically perform actions like creating sales leads or customer-service cases within its software.

Marcel LeBrun, senior VP and general manager of Salesforce Radian6, said one goal behind the new products was to address clients' customer-service needs through different, more efficient means than the phone.

"We're trying to figure out: How do you actually have more customer conversations, but do it cost effectively?" he said.

Other new products include a Facebook-management tool and a "social hub" that allows for communicating with customers on social networks, as well as routing social content into Salesforce's customer-relationship-management software.

For example, if social-media users are advocating a product developed by a client, a rule could be built to automatically add them to a database of contacts within Salesforce.

There's also a social-web-publishing functionality, allowing clients to easily pull in social conversations to publish on their websites.

The social-product suite won't offer comprehensive social-media-management tools like a Buddy Media, a Syncapse or a Vitrue, and doesn't include a social-media ad-management platform.

Salesforce.com offers its enterprise solutions on a subscription basis, with all packages individually priced depending on what the client wants. Prices will start at $600 per month, with SocialHub starting at $1,200 per month.

Founded in 1999, the company reported record quarterly revenue of $546 million this August.

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