• November 1, 2007
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Tech Solution: Social Networking Tools

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Networking has always revolved around the concept that it's not what you know, it's whom you know. Paralleling the growth of consumer social networks, social networking applications are automating the corporate Rolodex, helping companies leverage existing relationships to drive engagements, maximize sales, and reduce marketing and operational costs. Corporate America is taking note, and that's turning into hard dollars for a market that is expected to grow to $428.3 million by 2009, a $382 million increase from 2006, according to IDC. Product: Contact Networks ContactNet Delivery Model:
Web-based or installed software Price: Enterprisewide licensing starts at $35,000 per year Business Benefits: ContactNet is an enterprise search engine for relationships used by professional service firms (such as law practices, consultancies, and financial services firms) to promote business development, cross-selling, and client service. The software quickly and easily identifies colleagues with the strongest connections to a target individual, company, or industry, and automatically finds existing relationships employees have with potential clients, leveraging a firm's valuable relationship network to find and win new business. Functionality: ContactNet requires no manual data entry, capturing data automatically by analyzing multiple data sources, including address books, email patterns, calendars, CRM systems, marketing databases, HR databases, and billing systems. The system calculates "relationship strength" for each relationship. ContactNet's advanced privacy configurations enable firms to find the right balance between privacy and sharing. Contact: Contact Networks at 617-329-4300; or visit www.contactnetworks.com Product: Leverage Software Customer Connect Delivery Model: Web-based Price: Pricing starts at $299 per month Business Benefits: Customer Connect allows businesses, enterprises, and events to take advantage of social networking by creating online communities quickly and easily, with reports on feedback from the community. Customer Connect facilitates relationship building within a customer base and has a positive impact on product development, word-of-mouth marketing, customer loyalty, referrals, customer satisfaction, and customer insight. Functionality: The Customer Connect white label social networking platform can be customized with features including scheduled chat, group discussions, social tagging, tag clouds, multimedia file sharing, blogs, and the unique PeopleMap, which allows visual-targeted matchmaking. It can be easily customized and tailored for an individual brand and can produce reports that provide analysis of customer feedback. Contact: Leverage Software at 415-946-6164; or visit www.leveragesoftware.com Product: Visible Path Delivery Model: Web-based Price: Pricing is free for a professional edition with a full set of end-user services; additional services for large-scale deployment and management start at $20 per subscriber with discounts based on number of users and deployment size. Business Benefits: Visible Path helps business professionals map and manage their professional social network and search the network for strong paths to people they are trying to reach through people they already know. The result is a warm introduction, which increases the connection rate. Functionality: Visible Path is integrated as a button into sales force automation software such as Hoover's business information site, Salesforce.com, or Oracle's Siebel CRM On Demand, giving users access to the social network at the click of a button. In addition, Visible Path comes with an optional Outlook plug-in that automates the process of mapping the social network. The product's social network algorithms rate relationship strength to drive new levels of success, efficiency, and trust in your social network. Contact: Visible Path at 800-VIS-PATH; or visit www.visiblepath.com
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