If you were waiting for social media to finally take its place in the business-to-business sales process, Salesforce.com may have just given you a glimpse into what that might look like.
The CRM cloud service is said to have agreed on terms to purchase Buddy Media — a service that helps businesses manage and track their social media efforts — for a reported $800 Million. While this is only the second largest social acquisition so far this year (hard to top Instagram), it marks an over $1.1 Billion investment by Salesforce.com in social media when combined with last year’s acquisition of social media monitoring service Radian6.
Salesforce.com is not the only CRM betting big on social either. This acquisition follows Oracle’s purchase last week of a similar social service — Vitrue — for $300 Million.
This is by far the largest acquisition ever made by Salesforce.com and shows a tremendous amount of confidence in the future of social media as an enterprise level tool.
A Social CRM
While the exact details of the acquisition and exactly how the two services will be integrated are still unclear, Buddy Media seems to be a logical match for Salesforce.com. Buddy Media’s services include creating interactive profiles for clients, publishing and moderating content across multiple social networks, creating socially-enabled content across the web and tracking customer touchpoints for more accurate ROI reporting.
Buddy Media is the ideal tool for sales and marketing managers, but we may also see a paired down version of the tool for use by individual sales reps as well. This would be an ideal way for sales reps that really know their customers to discover new channels through which to reach and engage them online. In either scenario, Buddy Media will add a new dynamic set of tools enabling salesforce clients to utilize social media to create leads and drive revenue.
The Social Switch
With this purchase, as well as Oracle’s acquisition of Vitrue, I think we will start to see social media strategy complete its transition from an experimental channel into an essential business tool. Companies of all sizes have already realized the potential and value of social, but social media has struggled to define its place in larger sales and marketing strategies. With tighter integration to CRMs, an indispensible tool to sales and marketing teams, the barriers to implementation will be significantly reduced and social media reporting and ROI will be more accurate than ever before.
Do you think this is a good investment by Salesforce.com? Is $800 Million too much? We would love to hear your thoughts!
**Update** Since the publishing of this article, the deal between Salesforce.com and Buddy Media has been finalized, with the final acquisition price set at $689 Million.