LinkedIn is undeniably one of the most up to date and detailed customer information sites you can find out there. Especially in B2B scenarios where its worthwhile investing in getting to know more about the customer. Companies usually maintain CRMs as system of records for customer information and interaction. CRMs, however, generally don’t contain in-depth information about customers. Things like their education for e.g. or what skills they have. We recently integrated the CRM of one of our clients to LinkedIn and this post is a little abstract of what we build and how we went about doing it.
The client is a software services firm who wanted to differentiate itself by deep customer insight and constant interaction with prior customers and prospects. The CRM being used is SugarCRM but the framework allows for pretty much any CRM that supports web services to be connected. Before the project, the CRM contained basic customer and account information like emails, phone numbers and activity etc. The company’s database contained over 2000 high valued prospects, current and old clients that they wanted to zoom in on along with over a 100,000 cold-contacts collected from various sources.
The following were goals for the project:
- Eliminate / Reduce the number of people needed just to keep the CRM up to date
- Discover new insight about customers skills and interests
- Use the system for lead generation by warming up cold leads
- Integrate marketing automation features in the CRM with LinkedIn
- Use existing CRM assets to whatever extent possible
- Integrate securely
The implementation is a custom .NET component designed to run inside a windows service or on the cloud in a Windows Azure Worker role. The adpater polls LinkedIn for updates to profiles of customers in the CRM and synchronizes records in the CRM if a change is found. Alerts go out from the Database to relevant account managers on changes. It also polls Job sites, Groups, and Company news feed updates to update records in the CRM. The polling engine also looks for configurable keywords like in the skills section to identify people matching a predefined marketing persona. When a match is found, the corresponding records in CRM are tagged an highlighted.
The component currently works with SugarCRM but is designed to be extended to any CRM systems. It also supports extension into other social networks like facebook.
- A reduction of 2 FTEs in the Sales admin team
- Richer customer records (70-80% more information)
- 3-4 new leads generated per month
- Consolidation of information and updates on one application