The tail end of 2010 saw a lot of acquisitions that solidified the importance of Social media into CRM and contact management systems.
I’ve been test driving Xobni (InBox spelled backwards) and Gist and they both have some great features to increase productivity and customer insight. Knowledge is power. Both deserve a separate software and user review.
For those on vacation in December, you may have heard Xobni was acquired by Cisco, RIM (Blackberry) was in the process of acquiring Gist. And Salesforce.com acquired Etacts for $6 million.
These applications pull contact profile data from public social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and displays it in the email client. Some include a photo so you can “see” the contact. I never met most of my contacts in person, so it was a big surprise to see their image. Good or bad is up to you to interpret.
Thus you can classify this as a “Social CRM” with the following features:
- The history of conversations
- How many days has elapsed since the last contact
- How often you used to communicate with this person
- How many emails you communicated with this person
You can even say this can transform your email client (Outlook, Gmail, Google Apps, etc.) into a “poor man’s CRM” or “poor person’s CRM”.
But one of the greatest asset of Etacts was the built-in plugin EmailOracle (no relation to Larry’s Oracle) with Gmail. The plugin lets you know whether the recipient has read the message, and if they have not responded. Corporate Outlook users are familiar with this feature, but Outlook to external users can turn this feature off. Thus you can set reminders to call back or email for this particular user.
It will take a while before all clients are supported, as well as all browsers. Expect support for iPhone, Android phones, and Blackberries in 2011.
Email isn’t going to die anytime soon, but watch for more integration with the Social media giants in 2011.
The address book will never be the same again.