Social CRM: A Simple Example in Dynamics CRM


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In another article — Social CRM: An Introduction — I talked about what we mean by social CRM and tried to come up with a workable definition.  

If you’re coming at this from a CRM-centric mindset (which I am), a good way to think of social CRM is that it considers information in the various social media as meta-data about your customers and potential customers. In Dynamics CRM terms, this very quickly leads to concrete thinking as follows:

  • Leads = “potential customers”
  • Accounts and Contacts = “customers”

If you’re just getting started with social CRM, it’s best to keep it simple at first, so here I’ll describe possibly the Simplest Ever customization of the Dynamics CRM contact entity that will let you extend your internal CRM information with metadata from LinkedIn. 

Why LinkedIn? Well, it depends on your selling model, but if your customers are businesses and the professionals within those businesses, LinkedIn is probably the best single social source for customer metadata. If you’re selling snowboards, skis or clothes, you might have more luck with Facebook, but let’s start with LinkedIn.

  1. Add a custom attribute to the Dynamics CRM contact entity, call it something like “LinkedIn Public Profile”, and give it a data type of “nvarchar” and a format of “URL”. LinkedIn public profile URL’s look like this — – so a maximum length value of 150 should be plenty.
  2. I also added a true/false (”bit”) attribute called “First Degree Connection”. LinkedIn uses the “6 degrees of separation” concept, and a first degree connection is the closest and best: where you and another LinkedIn user have agreed to share information and be part of each other’s professional network.
  3. Add those attributes as fields on the contact form, and instruct your sales team to start putting their social networking skills to work for the benefit of the organization. (And don’t forget to publish your customizations!)

Here’s the video version:

The contact customization is straightforward, so I won’t do the step-by-step, but here’s a screenshot of how I’ve made it look in my organization. This shows a contact form open, and I’ve just double-clicked on the link stored in the LinkedIn Public Profile field; you can see Todd Shelton’s (a.k.a. CloudRocket) LinkedIn profile as it popped up in a new browser window.


As I (more or less) make the point in the video, here are a few things I like about an example like this, from the standpoint of somebody who wants to realize organizational value by extending their CRM to incorporate social media:

  • It signals the sales team that management takes social seriously, and it puts the emphasis on organizational value.
  • It starts to build social into the sales process. This means it can be reported on, measured, and included in sales rep training programs; which in turn make you less dependent on the ad-hoc methods of your sales superstars.
  • It can easily be extended in lots of ways. For example, you could have a report that grades out a sales rep’s contact records, by attributes like which ones have LinkedIn profiles and which ones are first degree connections.
  • It’s simple.

What do you think? How are you adding the social to your CRM?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Richard Knudson
Richard Knudson is a Dynamics CRM consultant and instructor, and has a special interest in cloud computing and helping organizations realize the potential of social CRM. His company, IMG, specializes in helping businesses implement and customize the Dynamics CRM platform.


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