Salesforce Acquires Radian6: The Morning After

I was far from shocked to hear that social CRM company Salesforce acquired social media monitoring and influence detection company, Radian6. We instantly launched a teleseminar for our clients  and friends, to let them know how to react to the acquisition. A lot of the folks dialing in on the seminar wanted to know what it meant, and why Salesforce bought Radian6.

When you see social CRM advertisements on the Super Bowl, featuring top hip-hop groups like The Black Eyed Peas, it's hard not to realize that social CRM is going mainstream for enterprise B2B. (Seriously, when do you have a better chance of catching every EVP of sales, CTO, CIO, and CMO in America, than during the Super Bowl halftime show?)

Here are the four key takeaways on social demand generation behind Salesforce's Radian6 purchase:

1.       It's not enough to monitor social; customer social data must be actionable. 

2.       You can't create Premier Customers (advocates) without social. 

3.       Since at least 73 percent of B2Bs customers are using social, it needs to be a standard feature of enterprise CRM, in all processes (call center, sales, marketing, and customer service). 

4.       When CRM companies start doing commercials with hip-hop groups who are at the top of the charts, something is afoot.

There's one other thing that just fell in our laps with this latest change on the social demand generation scene; social data remediation. Salesforce acquired data remediation company Jigsaw about a year ago, and now has options for B2B customers to "scrub" their data on a regular basis, fairly affordably. (If you don't know the stats on why high-quality data control is super-important, read the excellent Sirius Decisions whitepaper on the $1-10-100 Rule, it will change your mind on data remediation in under 3 minutes.)

Here's the rub. Regular data remediation is good, and it saves B2B companies a ton of money, especially in marketing and sales. But you can't do social demand generation without social data remediation. Think about it like this; my brother Noah's going to get a job in 2013 when he finishes law school.

He'll be 27 then, and, statistically, as a millennial, he'll hold 2 jobs by the time he's 30, in 2016. He'll then have had 3 emails in the last five years (law school, job number one, job  number two), he's not the easiest buyer to reach. That said, he'll have had the same Facebook and LinkedIn accounts that he's had since 2007. Which one would you want in your database, if you trying to do business with him?

And that's the business case for social data remediation. Without it, your social demand generation will pack about as much punch (in year two) as a Winger shirt in the parking lot at a Megadeth show - pretty weak and definitely out-of-date. You're not looking for a "Winger" relationship with your customers (brief and tenuous), but rather, a "Thin Lizzy" relationship (poetic, nuanced, long-lasting, and meaning something different to each one). Pardon the heavy metal metaphors, but I had to balance the scales a bit after so much hip-hop early in the story.

So, what would good social data remediation look like in B2B? It would have a few pieces of social customer data, and I think we can group B2B social customer data into a few buckets:

1.      Social Graph: Quite simply, it shows how your customer is connected to you, and to your other customers. You'll need social network profiles from LinkedIn and Facebook, to start this off for U.S. customers. Other regions will vary, and I wrote extensively about regional variances in the last chapter of my new book, The Social Customer, due out in September.

2.      Branded Content/User-Generated Content: This should contain links to any private branded forums or the communities customer has joined with your company. It should also contain links to any customer user-generated content related to your market.

3.      Affiliations: Links to any other communities the customer is a member of, within public-facing social networks or industry associations.

4.      Reference Customer Citation: This is a simple check/box, so you can cross reference them to other reference customers. It's a standard feature on social software packages like InsideView.

There's another crucial (and not-so-surprising) lesson from this acquisition. If you're a company, like Radian6, that makes a product that's easy to use, and you have the best content marketing in your industry (and engage the B2B social customer, fast, every day), you're going to become a prime acquisition target.

Adam Metz is director of social business for The Pedowitz Group and the author of The Social Customer, which will be released this summer.

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