10Mar 2018

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The story of broken dream, or integrating LinkedIn and Dynamics CRM: how it might be implemented

When Microsoft had bought the most influential, specialized, highly read, constantly-updated social network for job-seekers, Dynamica Labs Team were so blissful understanding that opportunity knocks at our door. To get the access to the data that the social media accumulate is like finding a pot of gold.

It’s common knowledge, that LinkedIn has 433 million users, more than 25 % of whom have been living in the US. The dynamics of growth seems fabulous – each second two new members join LinkedIn. LinkedIn knows everything about you: where you work, your skills, interests, who your colleagues are, and what information you like and share. This sounds great! Doesn’t it?

The first signs of Microsoft

So, I had no doubts that Microsoft would realize new solution, which would implement all possibilities of LinkedIn integration in their CRM. Therefore, when Sales Navigator had been realized I couldn’t believe my eyes: it just looked like the yellow pages were added into CRM. That`s all. Their application doing almost nothing for sales, it only provides search  capabilities of interesting profiles for job titles or companies and other filters to refine your search criteria from CRM.

The solution of our dream

During long time I have been learning customer`s needs and particulaities of a wide variety of industries. I was sure in my vision of what market needs and which application would meet user`s expectations.

Based on my observations, I can affirm that B2B companies need to know, what is happening with their clients, what business can advise them. In order to make more relevant proposals, the companies need to track the clients activities in social media to understand, what problems, interests customers have, what’s new in their lives.

Of course, it’s impossible manually to analyze all information about your contacts in LinkedIn. Each salesman is able to keep track of no more 20 contacts in social media at the same time. For continuous analysis of, for example, 400 user`s profiles in LinkedIn sales departments can use Artificial intelligence (AI). For instance, you are the salesman of Real Estate company who has hundreds of the contacts in LinkedIn and if you known who is going to visit business event in you region you would inform this person about new objects which he could be interested in. Say “No” to cold calling and fire at a target with relevant business proposal. It seems like that new sales environment might be created.

I dreamed to develop technology that with the help of AI capabilities and analyzes of user`s profiles in LinkedIn would be able to offer them relevant products and activities which would meet their preferences using overlap of user`s information and customer`s product catalogue in CRM. It would be win-win solution: selling becomes easier and buyers receives exactly what they need. In other words, I would like to create appropriate business communication environment where both win: client and vendor. But our dreams couldn’t come true because of LinkedIn regulation.

Policy constraint in LinkedIn

Inspired by this idea, I has decided to discuss the creation of this business solution with manager at LinkedIn in order to get access to LinkedIn API and reach an agreement on partnership. But my dream was shattered by policy constraint in LinkedIn.

First of all, they explained that LinkedIn is an independent product company and they don’t intend to allow access to their API for other companies. They are interested in earning themselves and not selling information to third parties. Despite Microsoft bought them, they can make own decisions related to their vision of the future development of LinkedIn.

Secondly, they noticed that such integration of their API with Microsoft CRM would cause the increase of amount of junk emails for LinkedIn users. Their manager explained that earlier they received many complaints from users who were annoyed by getting notifications about possible acquaintances in their social media. (In the past LinkedIn sent a lot of spam about users with whom you had contacted via email and offered to add them into your LinkedIn profile.) Now this is fixed, becomes LinkedIn values their users and they aren’t going to irritate users by extra information.

Thirdly, LinkedIn affirmed that their target audience is recruiting companies. LinkedIn is ready to rethink their constraints only for solution which could help recruiters to find necessary information. Therefore, vendors will never receive such level of access to their API. Salesmen will be restricted by functions of Sales Navigator and they will never get higher level of access to LinkedIn API.

All my sweet dreams about own integration with LinkedIn were broken at that moment. I understood that our interests do not match with interests of LinkedIn.

Conclusion

In my vision, I could design ideal product for vendors, but my dream was broken by LinkedIn policy. Now I am trying to use open sources for our solution, but at the moment they do not allow us to track the direct coincidence. I mean, in LinkedIn we can be sure in relevant and verificated information about users.

Microsoft could provide deeper integration with LinkedIn, but they didn’t do it. Sales Navigator will never get access to the useful information about LinkedIn users activities. This solution will remain unchanged, their functionality will remain restricted by LinkedIn policy. Despite this, I am sure that market will find helpful alternative for creation better selling environment.

About Dynamica Labs

Dynamica Labs is one of the oldest Dynamics CRM Partners and one of a very few companies with ISO 9001 Quality Management System certification for Dynamics CRM project delivery services.

For over 12 years we have been focused on 3 key CRM project goals: delivering measurable business results, following a cost-effective approach, providing the highest quality standards. Over the course of these years, we've taken part in hundreds of projects from SMEs to blue-chip global companies.



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