Taking InsideView aka Social Insights for Dynamics CRM for a Spin

insideviewlogoMicrosoft recently announced a strategic partnership with InsideView to provide “Social Insights” capability to Dynamics CRM. This alone, is not news, there are many third-party features available for Dynamics CRM. What is news is that they have included the capability at no additional cost for Professional Licenses. Basically, it is a new core feature of Dynamics CRM. For certain customer types, this alone is reason enough to justify Dynamics CRM, if it did nothing else. We have started to include it with all of our customer trials and hear nothing but positive feedback. I have read a lot of hype about it, but have not seen many examples so I thought I would create a few posts on how to use it.

While “Social Insights” is a no cost feature for Professional Licenses, it still needs to be installed and activated. I was not able to find a direct user-accessible link to the solution file, but if you contact us, we can install it for you. This post will pick up assuming it is already installed on your CRM tenant.

First, let’s cover what kinds of problems that this feature can solve. While there are some fringe use cases, the primary use of this tool in my opinion is sales research. Not so much finding companies, but rather finding information about, and contacts from companies. Take Forceworks for example. We have fairly specific criteria for a prospect. They can’t be too small or they won’t have the budget, or need for CRM. They can’t be too big, or the large partners, or Microsoft will simply take them away from us. So one of our prospect criteria is size.

There are also certain verticals that have a greater need, and therefore will see more value from CRM. We do a lot of work with Law Firms, but law firms really do not need CRM, SharePoint yes, but not CRM. Organizations that are heavy on sales or support are the best candidates. I know that CRM can be customized to do just about anything, but these are the “easiest” use cases as their needs are most closely met out-of-the-box.

So let’s say I decided that I wanted to pursue opportunities around midsized manufacturing companies in my state. I could start maybe with LinkedIn, and I could get quite a bit of information, but its way over there… and it need in here… in CRM. I can spend a lot of time building out lead records, copying and pasting until my fingers turn blue. Or, I can just make a note of the “companies” that interest me, and let the Social Insights capability of CRM do the rest of the work. Let’s see how that would work.

Below is an empty lead record (click image to enlarge), this may look different from yours, as we have both customized it for our business, but I am pretty sure you still have the Company Name field. Let’s take a closer look at my new lead record form:


First of all, you will notice that a few features are not present until I enter some data and save the record. For example the Guided Process at the top is collapsed, and there is no sign of the Social Insights feature I mentioned. So let’s add a company name, nothing more, and save this record. There is a manufacturer across the bay from me named “Jabil” something, I will just put “Jabil” in the company name field and save. Let’s look at the results below:


Ok, so we can see that a couple of things have happened here. First, the guided process activated (I went ahead and minimized if for this post). I also scrolled down a little to show the Social Insights pane which also activated. Wow, with nothing more than the first word of the company name, Social Insights found what I was looking for. Obviously results will vary depending on the company, and I have found that having a url for the company can also improve search results. Note that the results showing in the Social Insights pane have not been added to my record, at least not yet. But one thing I can see right off the bat is that they have 177,000 employees. This is way outside of my criteria, so I will disqualify this lead.

Why did I show you this? Well, I just spent a grand total of 10 seconds to realize that a company I was not very familiar with, was not a prospect. How much time have you spent over the years on prospects only to eventually disqualify them? My first thought is to move on to an example that I can qualify for you, but before I do that, let’s dig a little deeper. I click on the “Family Tree” and see this:


Jabil has a lot of subsidiaries, I can scroll down the list and hover over them to get more information. This Somera Communications looks interesting, along with several others. I think I will create a new lead record for Somera and see what I can find out.


Now this looks interesting. Reading their description it would seem that they have a need for sales as well as service and they are more my size. I think I will pursue this further. I will start by clicking on the “Sync” button. A new window launches below:


This window shows my record on the left where I only have a company name, and data from InsideView on the right that I can add to my record with one click. Also shown below that data are the sources where the information was found. I will go ahead and update this lead record and refresh my screen. Now I have some information about the company, but I need to know “who” I can reach out to, so let’s click on the people tab.


Looking at the people, I see a Tom Watson who is the CIO. Tom seems like someone I should talk to. If I click the Sync button under his name, it will prompt me to create a new lead record as Tom Watson is not in CRM. I don’t want to create a new record so I will cheat and scroll back up and add Tom Watson as the person for this lead record and save it. Now I will Sync and it will ask if I want to update this record with the following:


Much of the information was already in the lead record from when I synced the company before, but note there are a few new items for Tom; I now have his email address, title and phone with extension. I will go ahead and update this lead. So now I have a fleshed out lead record. It actually came about from one I initially disqualified. I can now add Tom to my marketing lists and continue to qualify him and his organization. I did all of this without leaving CRM, or copying and pasting anything.

I must warn you that Social Insights can be addictive as you can spend hours running down rabbit holes with this thing. But I guess as long as you are pulling qualified leads out those holes, the time is not wasted.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of what Social Insights can do for you. In future posts I will take you much deeper.

Again, let us know if we can help you access the Social Insights capability, and if you have any comments please be sure to leave them for me.

One Comment

  1. Ali Khan

    Wow. This should be helpful for both marketing research (campaign target etc.) and lead finding/qualification.

    Look forward to more posts on social media listening/monitoring capabilities of latest spring release of Dynamics CRM. Thanks

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