LinkedIn and CRM

,

Earlier this year LinkedIn, the business and professional social network, announced it had passed the 300 million users mark. Although some have criticised the maths behind those numbers, there’s no doubt that LinkedIn is one of the big boys of the social world. But can it help you with your customer relationship management (CRM)?

Well, LinkedIn would certainly like you to use it in that way, in fact, last year it released a contacts app that is essentially a free CRM tool.

The contacts app makes use of LinkedIn’s clever data wrangling and adds some very nice visual interfaces to allow you to manage and understand all those connections through a single dashboard.

The app was initially a limited release and got good reviews from early adopters from the start. The app offered the chance to integrate LinkedIn contacts with email and mobile phone contacts as well as your calendar.

It’s easy to see how useful this could be as a CRM tool. It reminds you to keep in touch with those who you’ve not spoken to for a while, while information about a new job is a great tool for business to business organisations. Working with TripIt, you’ll be offered the chance to suggest meetings with contacts when you’re in their area.

Even if you haven’t yet been invited to use LinkedIn Contact, you can use LinkedIn as an effective part of your CRM, which is in many ways about communication.

Keeping an active profile is helpful, as is commenting on the changes in your contacts’ lives. Use groups in your sector and check forums for questions that might be useful to you when you’re pitching for business. Don’t be afraid of asking clients to turn a nice email into a LinkedIn recommendation.

Businesses should certainly have a profile page, it’s free. Think of it as you would any other social page and keep it active and interesting.

Social is now a vital part of any CRM system and LinkedIn is likely to become even more important as time goes on.