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Base logo
 
Base CRM is the web and mobile-based customer relationship management (CRM) application that allows B2B and B2C sales professionals to manage sales, track leads and engage proactively with customers from anywhere. Base CRM features... Read More
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Base CRM is the web and mobile-based customer relationship management (CRM) application that allows B2B and B2C sales professionals to manage sales, track leads and engage proactively with customers from anywhere. Base CRM features... Read More
 
amoCRM logo
 
amoCRM’s sales management service is a web based platform available anywhere with an Internet connection. Users of the system can manage their pipeline, sales team and receive analytic feedback and reports. In addition, users can... Read More
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amoCRM’s sales management service is a web based platform available anywhere with an Internet connection. Users of the system can manage their pipeline, sales team and receive analytic feedback and reports. In addition, users can... Read More
 
SalesNOW logo
 
SalesNOW by Interchange Solutions Inc. is a cloud-based CRM platform that can be used on laptops and desktops via web browser or any connected mobile device. The system offers applications designed specifically for Android, iPhone,... Read More
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SalesNOW by Interchange Solutions Inc. is a cloud-based CRM platform that can be used on laptops and desktops via web browser or any connected mobile device. The system offers applications designed specifically for Android, iPhone,... Read More
 
Salesforce.com Service Cloud logo
 
Service Cloud from SalesForce is a cloud-based customer service management solution that is designed to initiate customer service activities from anywhere. Built on the Salesforce1 Platform, Service Cloud works to centralize and optimize... Read More
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Service Cloud from SalesForce is a cloud-based customer service management solution that is designed to initiate customer service activities from anywhere. Built on the Salesforce1 Platform, Service Cloud works to centralize and optimize... Read More
 
SalesOutlook CRM logo
 
SalesOutlook CRM is a comprehensive customer relationship management (CRM) and email marketing system that embeds into Microsoft Outlook. SalesOutlook CRM automatically syncs all customer data at one place. All files and email correspondence... Read More
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SalesOutlook CRM is a comprehensive customer relationship management (CRM) and email marketing system that embeds into Microsoft Outlook. SalesOutlook CRM automatically syncs all customer data at one place. All files and email correspondence... Read More

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Propertybase logo
 
Powered by Salesforce, Propertybase is a powerful web-based Customer Relationship Management solution designed specifically for Real Estate brokers. The integrated suite of applications offered by Propertybase includes Marketing Automation,... Read More
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Powered by Salesforce, Propertybase is a powerful web-based Customer Relationship Management solution designed specifically for Real Estate brokers. The integrated suite of applications offered by Propertybase includes Marketing Automation,... Read More
 
Pipeliner CRM logo
 
Pipeliner CRM is an end-to-end customer management system that provides better visibility and transparency into the entire sales process. It is a web-based system that is both Mac and Windows compatible, as well as offering an app... Read More
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Pipeliner CRM is an end-to-end customer management system that provides better visibility and transparency into the entire sales process. It is a web-based system that is both Mac and Windows compatible, as well as offering an app... Read More
 
Membrain logo
 
Membrain by Upstream offers a sales automation platform with CRM functionality. The system provides pipeline management, prospecting, lead scoring, sales analytics and content management functionality. Membrain users can define buyer-aligned... Read More
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Membrain by Upstream offers a sales automation platform with CRM functionality. The system provides pipeline management, prospecting, lead scoring, sales analytics and content management functionality. Membrain users can define buyer-aligned... Read More
 
Microsoft Dynamics 365 logo
 
Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides integrated solutions that allow businesses to better track leads, automate field service, drive sales, and improve operations using mobile, enterprise-ready business apps from the cloud. The system’s... Read More
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Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides integrated solutions that allow businesses to better track leads, automate field service, drive sales, and improve operations using mobile, enterprise-ready business apps from the cloud. The system’s... Read More
 
Oracle Sales Cloud logo
 
Oracle Sales Cloud is a sales management application under Oracle’s umbrella of hosted customer experience (CX) products. An emphasis on modern interface design, simplified cloud-based implementation and a highly functional native... Read More
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Oracle Sales Cloud is a sales management application under Oracle’s umbrella of hosted customer experience (CX) products. An emphasis on modern interface design, simplified cloud-based implementation and a highly functional native... Read More

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Oracle Service Cloud logo
 
Oracle Service Cloud is a suite of customer service and support applications under the Oracle Cloud product line for customer experience (CX) management. It provides multichannel ticket management, which combines all customer service... Read More
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Oracle Service Cloud is a suite of customer service and support applications under the Oracle Cloud product line for customer experience (CX) management. It provides multichannel ticket management, which combines all customer service... Read More
 
1CRM logo
 
1CRM is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution that offers businesses features for managing sales, customer service and business operations. 1CRM combines a CRM system with full order management functionality... Read More
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1CRM is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution that offers businesses features for managing sales, customer service and business operations. 1CRM combines a CRM system with full order management functionality... Read More
 
Canary AMS logo
 
Catering to insurance agencies and agents, TechCanary delivers advanced software solutions that address the industry’s specific needs. Their core product, Canary AMS, is more than an Agency Management System (AMS), it also has a... Read More
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Catering to insurance agencies and agents, TechCanary delivers advanced software solutions that address the industry’s specific needs. Their core product, Canary AMS, is more than an Agency Management System (AMS), it also has a... Read More
 
Socious Online Community logo
 
Socious is a leading provider of private online community software, and is perfect for mid-sized and enterprise-level businesses, user groups, and nonprofit organizations. Founded in 2002, Socious began by primarily serving technology... Read More
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Socious is a leading provider of private online community software, and is perfect for mid-sized and enterprise-level businesses, user groups, and nonprofit organizations. Founded in 2002, Socious began by primarily serving technology... Read More
 
Kareo Marketing logo
 
Kareo Marketing is a web-based platform designed specifically to help medical practices manage their online reputation, marketing, and patient engagement. The system was designed to help practices tackle one of their biggest pain... Read More
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Kareo Marketing is a web-based platform designed specifically to help medical practices manage their online reputation, marketing, and patient engagement. The system was designed to help practices tackle one of their biggest pain... Read More

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MyCRMonCall.com logo
 
MyCRMonCall is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution suitable for small to midsize manufacturing businesses. Key features include sales force automation, social CRM, marketing automation, document management,... Read More
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MyCRMonCall is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution suitable for small to midsize manufacturing businesses. Key features include sales force automation, social CRM, marketing automation, document management,... Read More
 
Aspect Zipwire logo
 
Aspect Zipwire delivers cloud call center services and its multi-channel inbound and outbound capabilities serve small to enterprise-level organizations. The software functionality includes tools to manage sales, marketing, and customer... Read More
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Aspect Zipwire delivers cloud call center services and its multi-channel inbound and outbound capabilities serve small to enterprise-level organizations. The software functionality includes tools to manage sales, marketing, and customer... Read More
 
Experiture Marketing Platform logo
 
Experiture is an all-in-one marketing automation and customer engagement platform used by small to mid-sized businesses inmany verticals. In addition to creating marketing programs across email, web, mobile, and more - the system... Read More
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Experiture is an all-in-one marketing automation and customer engagement platform used by small to mid-sized businesses inmany verticals. In addition to creating marketing programs across email, web, mobile, and more - the system... Read More
 
Oracle Siebel CRM logo
 
An early pioneer in the sales force automation (SFA) space, Oracle Siebel CRM has adapted to technology shifts over the years to remain one of the top customer relationship management (CRM) products on the market. Siebel CRM is a... Read More
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An early pioneer in the sales force automation (SFA) space, Oracle Siebel CRM has adapted to technology shifts over the years to remain one of the top customer relationship management (CRM) products on the market. Siebel CRM is a... Read More
 
Parature logo
 
Parature is a cloud-based customer service solution designed especially for small to midsized businesses (SMBs). Its key strengths lie in its knowledge base, which allows companies to provide self-service options for customers so they... Read More
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Parature is a cloud-based customer service solution designed especially for small to midsized businesses (SMBs). Its key strengths lie in its knowledge base, which allows companies to provide self-service options for customers so they... Read More
 

Buyer's Guide

by Craig Borowski,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: September 19, 2017


Social media platforms and community software give organizations a way for their users to interact and engage with one another internally in order to share information, make connections and more. We've put together this guide to help you learn more about what this software is and what benefits it can offer. Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Social Media Platforms & Community Software?
Common Features of Social Media Platforms & Community Software
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Market Trends to Understand

What Is Social Media Platforms & Community Software?

Sometimes called social enterprise applications or social business platforms, social community software describes a category of solution that provides internal networks for businesses or communities. Just like Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+ allow the mass public to make friends, share news, engage in discussions and so on, a good social community platform will provide these same capabilities to a particular group of individuals, either within the same business or within a particular market niche.

Common Features of Social Media Platforms & Community Software

At the heart of these systems are very robust database and network capabilities designed to handle the vast quantity of data and connectivity that come through these types of platforms.

There are two main types of applications for social media community software:

Customer-facing community engagement Often, companies use social networks as a value add to customers. For example, there might be a forum for customers to post and respond to each others’ technical questions, or a way to upload templates for other customers to use or a place to discuss innovative ways to use system capabilities. In this way, a company’s customers can interact with each other, forming their own community which improves customer satisfaction and retention.
Internal social business platforms Many companies, particularly once they cross the “large business” threshold (or if they have employees in multiple locations), need an efficient way for their employees to collaborate. An internal platform provides that, allowing employees to expedite communication, network across departments and crowdsource ideas. Blogs, wikis, document sharing and instant messaging are other common ways that an internal platform might be used, often integrating with project management systems to facilitate task allocation and completion, scheduling, performance reviews and so on.

Social community software will often include analytics to allow admins to monitor usage and improve performance, and it also sometimes offers ways to incentivize community engagement—for example, by offering “points” for certain activities. Many of them also have built-in mobile apps, which improves accessibility when employees are traveling or out in the field.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Sales and marketing focused buyer. These buyers are looking to leverage the value of socialized enterprise applications as it relates to the sales cycle. A system that meets this description will allow for plenty of internal communication, but it’s all geared toward collaborating to giving customers the information they need. Example vendors include Salesforce Chatter, Jive and Yammer.

Customer community developer. These are buyers looking to engage customers after the sale. They’ll prioritize customer-facing community engagement through forums, data sharing or online tech support, although it’s important to note that usually the intraweb is every bit as important as the parts that face the customer. Be sure to consider the program's ability to find and engage engineers, designers and other experts to help nurture the customer experience. Example vendors include Get Satisfaction and Social Cast.

Internal communicator. For a company looking to focus on internal communications, an internal platform will likely be the best way to go. You may or may not incorporate it with a project management, since that only builds on the effectiveness of a social business platform implementation, but it should definitely foster community engagement both within and across departments. Salesforce Rypple is a good solution for this type of buyer.

Social CRM buyer. Many companies looking for a social community platform actually need something much more comprehensive—they might need full CRM capabilities including contact management and help desk; or they might need to combine both customer-facing community engagement and internal communication into a single product. For these buyers a more complete social CRM product may be better. Take a look at products like Salesforce and Oracle.

Social community developer. This describes any number of organizations that wish to create a community. This could be a “social network for filmmakers,” a network for the graduates of a particular education program or a way for your customers to interact with each other. These buyers will focus on a good social community product that’s dedicated for this purpose. Yammer is an example of this type of product.

Market Trends to Understand

Rapid expansion and consolidation. Internal networks are one of the fastest growing trends in marketing and communications today. As they explode in popularity, CRM giants are busy building and acquiring tools to fill this niche, and newer companies are coming in with highly innovative solutions. A classic example of this type of market shakeup is Microsoft’s purchase of Yammer in June 2012. The acquisition garnered a lot of attention, due in no small part to the whopping $1.2 billion price tag, but few have said it was a bad move, considering Yammer generated five million users in four years.

Platform as a Service (PaaS). PaaS gives organizations the ability to develop apps in the cloud. As mobile app use continues to grow and companies look for new ways to leverage their communities, expect this kind of on-demand app-building to become more important to businesses and their customers alike.

 

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