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Enterprise apps get social

Bob Violino | March 28, 2013
Social media mania is having a huge impact on traditional business applications

To compete, Kelly says, "we had to get better at giving bookstores information to help them get better" at serving their own customers.

With the new apps, Kelly's sales reps have more information about trends, "so we can help bookstores provide more choices at lower prices for their student base. We are trying to help bookstores compete in this changing market."

The plan seems to be working. For the past two years Nebraska Book has had record revenue. "I don't credit all of that to the technology, but most of it," Kelly says.

Performance of the sales team has improved considerably, Kelly says. Two years ago the company gave out sales awards -- based on growth within sales territory -- to three people. "This past year 28 of 28 reps qualified for the award," Kelly says.

In addition, Kelly can better keep track of how reps are doing. "I friend [within the Customer on Demand environment] our top 20 accounts, so if anyone says anything about those accounts I can see that on my iPad," he says. "I can set up different types of tags so I can view region by region and look at the top prospects."

The only significant challenge the company faced with implementing social technology was getting some people to embrace the change. "We have people who have been with the company for 25 years in the same job, and the challenge was getting them to understand the benefits" of social networking, Kelly says. "So we implemented it slowly, and I said, 'everyone has to use this.'"

Those who were resistant at first were more willing to use the technology when they saw the success others were having, Kelly says.

More effective lead generation

Also tying social media into CRM is Zimmer Inc., a Warsaw, Ind., supplier of orthopedic devices. The company since 2011 has used's Radian6 social media monitoring application to monitor conversations on Facebook and Twitter that relate to the products Zimmer offers, and also to participate in conversations about its brand.

Radian6 provides a way for the company to determine how aware people are of its brand, says Line Berg-Ostergaard, associate director of interactive communications at Zimmer.

The company is also using's Chatter social media tool with the vendor's CRM platform to enable customer lead generation and to connect its 8,000 employees and management team to its distributor partners.

Lead generation is more effective now, says Don Lamping, associate director of sales/service programs. "We now have the ability to collaborate [among employees and partners and] follow all lead and opportunity records," he says. "Consumer leads are fed from Radian6 into our CRM contact database."


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