I caught up last night with Steve Garrity, co-founder along with Clara Shih of Hearsay Social. Hearsay has trail-blazed what we now know as "enterprise social," starting out in 2009 as Hearsay Labs with a platform for connecting corporate marketing with their affiliates and franchisees on social platforms, particularly Facebook.
Hearsay Social has just added a new capability: Social Selling. Its platform already includes compliance capability and brand page management. Its Sales Solution has been added to its Brand Solution to address the two biggest pain points that large enterprises tell me about: integration across the sales cycle and creation of new content. Nate Elliott of Forrester, in his recent Wave report (April 2013), gives Hearsay high marks in its competitive set, and reports that the company is first in actual deployment of "seats" by a factor of ten to four.
The Sales Solution is a targeted platform that helps find prospects, and then helps build relationships with them. "We find interested people at interesting times (in their lives)," says Garrity "For example, a salesperson will know instantly if a prospect is celebrating a birthday or a child's graduation. Then we integrate that into the other social platforms the prospect is using."
Why add the sales capability now? "We've always wanted to be powering relationships on social. We built a compliance platform; we got our clients used to social and building a community. Now it's time for results and direct impact to our bottom line."
The company has always been long on vision: Shih helped Marc Benioff discover Facebook. But now the company, thanks to a large infusion of cash last year, is starting to scale, with about 100 employees, 55,000 seats, and offices in London and Canada. The question that many analysts I speak to continually ask about the independent social media management companies out there is,"Which will be the one(s) that don't get acquired?" For enterprise social execs, the choice of a smaller firm has the inherent risk of not surviving. But for those companies that are looking for social with a smaller firm that will survive, Hearsay could fit the bill.