FirstRain Adds Relevancy to Business Tweets

Customer intelligence and analytics company FirstRain has debuted FirstTweets for enterprise users who prefer their Twitter usage be about "sense of trend and velocity" than conversation.

FirstRain has applied patented semantic modeling and algorithms to extract, deliver, and classify business information from the Twitter news feed around points of reference like product news, funding, and industry development. Targeting sales, marketing, and management teams, the company says the solution is designed to cut down on high-volume consumer content and irrelevant chatter.

"If you're dealing with someone in health care, industrials, or pharmaceuticals and you sell or market in only those areas, you don't care about news at the broad level," points out Ryan Warren, vice president of marketing for FirstRain. "You are interested in the 'specific' and delivering that into CRM, enterprise social networks, iPad, smartphones—wherever your work flow is."

The FirstTweets solution is accessible via Web application, where "power users and researchers" may log in and monitor trend topics and breaking "FirstReads" about business influencers and market drivers relevant to lines of business. But Warren points out that 95 percent of users opt to receive custom intelligence for their major accounts through sources such as email briefs, company Intranet, or their mobile device.

FirstRain CEO Penny Herscher says the solution lets salespeople really zero in on "customer 'careabouts' for lead-gen and growth," adding that another point of meaningful ROI is "relationship management, which will allow you to grow expansive renewal opportunity." FirstTweets can be classified around company, industry, or 9,000 business topics and can be integrated with systems like Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics, and Oracle Fusion, as well as social enterprise platforms like Jive, Yammer, Microsoft SharePoint, Chatter, and Cisco Quad.

In a statement, Sue Feldman, IDC vice president for search and discovery technologies, said a tool like FirstTweets contributes to social intelligence by "surfacing what's important and new and suppressing what's duplicated or marginal."

Though FirstTweets aims to filter out consumer content, which has a natural customer service affinity, Warren says a CSR could feasibly play a role if they typically "provide broad intelligence for key accounts" to sales enablement or operations.

FirstRain subscribers have access to the FirstTweets solution, but as a standalone system integration for CRM and other platforms, the cost is $10,000 per year for 100 users, the company says.

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