• August 1, 2005
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Tech Solution: Social Networking Applications

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If two companies are competing for the same business, all things being equal the one able to leverage an existing customer relationship throughout its entire organization has a competitive advantage. That's what social networking is for: extending one employee's customer relationship to others throughout the organization. Doing so can lead to an increase in client revenue, better cross-selling opportunities, and increased customer loyalty. The software solutions that fulfill this are as diverse as they are functional. Here, we present three leading solutions to consider.

Interface Software's InterAction 5.0
Delivery Model: installed application

Price: $389 per user, plus server license fee, modules, services

Business Benefits: InterAction 5.0 sets the bar for professional services. The latest version of Interface Software's relationship management system is tailored for the business models and cultures of accounting, law, management consulting, and financial services.

Capabilities/Functionality: InterAction 5.0 comes equipped with out-of-the-box reports, including contact and company profile reports. Direct support for exporting contacts into Microsoft Excel and Word templates is also included. Data quality tools supply data stewards with tools to ensure data integrity to help prevent lost or repetitive data. Data change functionality provides tools to share information throughout an organization while offering data quality over company contacts. Standard searches are designed to reveal potential problems as part of ongoing data maintenance. A folder dependency analyzer replicates manual processes for automatically moving contacts in and out of mailing lists and other folders. Finally, a dashboard-style interface has been incorporated to improve ease of use.

Contact: For more information contact Interface Software at (630) 572-1400, or visit www.interfacesoftware.com

Spoke Software's Spoke 2.0
Delivery Model: hosted, Web-based service application

Price: $49 per month, per user introductory rate, a 35 percent reduction from the list price of $79 per month, per user

Business Benefits: Spoke 2.0 allows companies to identify prospects and gain access to decision makers at target accounts. The program accomplishes this by focusing on four key criteria: prospect identification, researching leads, referral requests, and automatic data capture.

Capabilities/Functionality: Spoke identifies prospects by searching your network to identify people and companies you want to target and gather information about them, such as corporate profiles, headquarter locations, financials, and email patterns. Users can research leads by accessing background information, including company information, work history, and any available Web-site information. The application allows access to decision makers by requesting referrals through your network once you've identified people you want to reach. Spoke 2.0 comes with a 500,000-company database so users can access corporate profiles, including headquarters location, financials, employee size, and contact information. Finally, the program includes a Quick Search box for instantly running searches from multiple screens, as well as advanced searches that cross references according to geography, vertical industry, and company size.

Contact: For more information contact Spoke Software at (650) 424-8525, or visit www.spoke.com

Leverage Software's Active Relationship Networks (ARN)
Delivery Model: hosted Web-based applications

Price: $35 per user, per month (SalesConnect); $1--$10 per user, per month or per event (CustomerConnect and EventConnect)

Business Benefits: ARN is a series of applications focused around three separate, yet fully integrating, software pieces designed to connect an enterprise's customer relationships. Focused for the enterprise, ARN's three key components are SalesConnect, CustomerConnect, and EventConnect.

Capabilities/Functionality: SalesConnect is a software engine that utilizes an organization's relationship network, synthesizes that network with distributed data sources, and then generates on-demand visual dashboards. EventConnect provides users the ability to complement their events with online matching capabilities so their attendees may leverage their clients better and gain larger attendance and repeat visitors. CustomerConnect is designed for enterprises that support large customer, end-user, or developer communities, with the ability to establish relationship networks. Users can post secure and private information about their usage, preferences, and capabilities to facilitate peer-to-peer and company-to-company support, collaboration, and affinity groups. MemberConnect is a customizable software platform that enables corporations to provide 24-hour, always-on networking capabilities by creating a specialized taxonomy of characteristics through which participants may describe themselves, their qualifications, and their interests.

Contact: For more information contact Leverage Software at (415) 946-6161, or visit www.leveragesoftware.com

Contact Editorial Assistant Colin Beasty at cbeasty@destinationCRM.com

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