Salesforce kicked off Dreamforce’12, their customer and new product introduction extravaganza, with the declaration that business is social and socializing the enterprise will lead to greater revenue, profits and customer service.

Mark Benioff, Salesforce CEO, quoted an IBM Global CEO study which states the most effective ways to reach customers is through the following channels: sales force, social networking, websites, partners, call centers and traditional approaches.

With social networking being the second most important way that companies are communicating and reaching their customers, this is where the transformation is taking place in marketing. Where the customer has always been the focus, now the organization has to listen.  Customers are now communicating in real time about YOUR product, price, promotion and placement.

We know all the application tools are there, but the overwhelming aspect of creating transformation is the ability to trust.  With social as a tool, trust has to be inherent for the information to be valid.  According to Mark Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, trust is created through openness and transparency focused on individuals to create alignment.

GE was showcased as an organization that is using social networking to help transform the enterprise.  Through GE Share, its corporate initiative to digitize sales and service,  it is using social networks around products through a man/machine interface vision and a goal to be a leader in customer service.  GE’s focus on transformation through social networking has created its ability to use the convergence technologies of cloud computing, social and mobile as the tools to enable the company.  Through these tools, it is connecting customers, partners, employees and products.  

Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE, shared his perspective on the social revolution at GE which is based on the creation of trust and achieved through the following:

  • Openness: Carry that spirit throughout the organization
  • Authenticity: Use authentic voice in all communications with no spin
  • Unity: people want to be a community

For years organizational gurus have talked about the flat, non hierarchical company but this is no longer the case. Now leading companies are embracing social channels as this “social revolution” permeates the corporate walls. Where most organizations are still wondering what to do with social channels and are immediately looking for ways to monetize or sell products through them, the future thinking organizations view social channels as a way to create greater efficiencies through the alignment of organizational silos. 

When everyone has the tools and access to the customer to collaborate across departments, there can’t be any finger pointing.  A formidable change agent, this integrated approach will speed up response times in how the organization reacts to markets and their customers and that is imperative in today’s global markets where product parity is prominent.