Salesforce.com certainly splashed the cash on Radian6 - to the tune of $340M - because they believe that Social will profoundly change sales and marketing, and want to connect market conversations with marketing and sales.
As SF's PR put it:
Radian6’s unique technology captures hundreds of millions of conversations every day across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, blogs and online communities. The intelligence gained from these conversations has become critical in helping companies better market and sell to prospects, serve customers and understand what’s being said about their brands, products and competitors. With Radian6, salesforce.com will add the ability to monitor and join in these public conversations across its products, bringing the heart of the public social web to customers’ business.
In other words, from SF's perspective, Radian6 will bridge the conversations happening on public social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, and Salesforce.com’s private corporate social network, Chatter.
To date social media monitoring has been used a bit like Talk Radio - defensively. Brands have learned that they can no longer smother isolated unhappy customers with broadcast market messaging, and need to nip destructive conversations in the bud - which have an unpredicatable tendency of catching like wildfires.
Now brands are trying to work out how to integrate social into their marketing and relationship management strategy.
Where are we likely to go from here? How about leveraging social networks through recommendations from trusted sources? It's like adding a whole new dimension to targeting, just as the traditional push marketing model is flagging.
World class prospecting and market development is as much about trust as it is about cut through, and solutions that simplify that challenge and make it easy to deploy authoritative acquisition and development programmes will help solve one of marketing and sales' great current challenges.
Image courtesy of Brian Solis