The Future of CRM Needs to Include "Relationships" - - Relationship Intelligence for Sales

The Future of CRM Needs to Include “Relationships”

By Paul Teshima in Networking had over 170,000 people register for Dreamforce15 this year and, in a recent  keynote, Mark Benioff said that in 2016 they will become the 4th largest software company in the world.


Not only has transformed the software industry by innovating in the cloud, but it has also shown you can build a $50 billion company in CRM.

As a long time user, customer, and partner with, it is a great solution, but the “R” in CRM has been more about records, and less about relationships. knows this, that is why they spent $392 million (some say almost 100x revenue) to buy RelateIQ, a startup focused on relationship intelligence. The reason is that they need to move beyond just better record keeping, and get into customer interactions. And at Dreamforce15 they announced a rebranded salesforceIQ to get into the relationship intelligence game.

But wait…



Relationships are Built Over a Career, Not Just One Job

One problem with this approach is that your salesforceIQ relationship intelligence data is only for your one job with one company. You can’t bring that relationship history with you when you leave. And it certainly does not reach back in time and find out if you had other relationships from other roles.

How many times have you been involved in a lost deal, only to find out later that someone else in the company had a real relationship with a decision maker, that you didn’t know about?

Any solution focused on relationship intelligence needs to span a career because it takes time to build trust.


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LinkedIn Covers Your Career, But Only in One Platform

LinkedIn has solved the salesforceIQ problem because it has a “bring your own identity” model. You own your Linkedin account, regardless of where you go, and the connections you make, are with you for your entire career.

This is a great step forward, and one reason why they have grown to over 380 million members worldwide. And because you own your account, you have a vested interest in keeping your profile and work history up to date. The makes the “record” the most accurate record in the world.

But LinkedIn has a different problem in getting to true relationship intelligence. They have focused on exploding every user’s connections, which creates a lot of network noise in their platform. But that is not the main reason.

LinkedIn is a very closed platform. They believe all networking happens in LinkedIn and have very restrictive terms of use for their API. They also back it up and have shut down companies like Peoplelinx, and Branch Out.

More recently they turned off integration with (note: I believe if you have their Sales Navigator product, you can still see LinkedIn data in Now, this is a more strategic move, and as I blogged here, I believe ultimately LinkedIn is headed to the CRM space, with their data asset in business profiles, and will go head to head with

email-salesforce(source: Julio Viscovich post)


But relationships are started and built everywhere: in coffee shops, through email, in meetings, on the street, in playgrounds, and yes, even on Twitter :). So if LinkedIn is going to make a move into CRM, and start focusing on relationships, they have to reverse direction and become more OPEN.

The other issue with LinkedIn is what I call the “Connected but not Connected” challenge. Everyone has experienced this issue many times. Someone you know asks you for an intro to person X you are connected with on LinkedIn, you then look at X person’s profile and have no idea who they are, or why you are connected with them.


Even yesterday, as I was listening to the Live Streaming of Sales Connect 2015 – in the opening keynote, they celebrated this fact:


(Source: LinkedIn Sales Connect 2015)

Does anyone actually believe those introductions would work?

Don’t get me wrong, LinkedIn is an incredibly valuable business networking platform. It has the most accurate database of business profiles in the world. But if they want to help business professionals grow relationships, they will need to take a different approach, and let people network everywhere, not only on their platform.


The Future of CRM Will Include Relationships

At Nudge, we are building a modern networking app that helps you grow the right relationships from your network. It tackles’s and LinkedIn’s challenges, because we track and help you grow relationships over your entire career, wherever you do business.

[Tweet “I look forward to putting relationships back at the center of #CRM via @pteshima.”]

What other areas do you think CRM solutions need to improve to help put the focus back on “relationships”? Leave your comments below!

Paul Teshima
CEO and Co-founder
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