I spent some time poking around at the new LinkedIn iPhone application this morning and I was fairly impressed. The application is simple but useful. It enables you to browse through your contacts, view your contacts’ latest activity, search for contacts and update your status. Apparently status updates have become ubiquitous across all the social networks making tools like Ping.fm a necessity.
LinkedIn As the Simple CRM
One thing that I find interesting about this services is that it could easily compete with Salesforce. With a few additions, LinkedIn could be the CRM solution for those that don’t know what a CRM solution is. Let me explain. Imagine waking up in the morning to find out that you hadn’t followed up with a recent contact that you added in at least 6 months. Now would probably be a great time to follow-up so the LinkedIn application would automatically alert you.
Want to keep track of that conversation you just had? The call will be automatically noted next to the contact in LinkedIn and you can write a quick note about what you just discussed. While the application doesn’t currently provide these features, it’s something that has been needed for a long time and I have yet to find a simple yet useful contact management system that handles all of my contacts.
Race to My Contacts
The existing solutions are overly complex. One problem with LinkedIn is that when I add a contact, I don’t have a note about how I met that person. For the first time I have found the ability to do so (as “Edit Contact” is currently a beta feature on the site) but when I approve a contact it doesn’t automatically prompt me to enter those details as Facebook does.
I keep saying over and over that the social platform race is a race to my contact list but there still isn’t an effective solution! I currently subscribe to Salesforce.com but paying $55 a month seems like a lot of money to spend on something that isn’t extremely easy to use and offers 10,000 more features than I’ll ever use.
The new LinkedIn iPhone application shows the power of simplicity. It’s not necessary to build a feature heavy application to be successful. LinkedIn has only touched the surface of its potential and given its reach in the professional world, LinkedIn has the potential to become an amazing service that I can’t live without. Unfortunately for LinkedIn, all my contacts are now adding me on Facebook but that’s not to say I’m the average case.
This is a great step and it shows that the company is quick to adapt. Now the company needs to start rolling out new features so that I don’t need to continue relying on SalesForce.com as my overly robust contact management system. If you have an iPhone I highly recommend checking out the LinkedIn application.