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Social Transforms the Enterprise

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For the second year in a row, we were honored to be a part of Fortune Brainstorm TECH, the annual conference for Fortune 500 innovators and entrepreneurs to discuss how tech is changing the future of business. Speakers this year included Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, eBay CEO John Donahoe, and Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer.

Our CEO Clara Shih spoke alongside LinkedIn’s Deep Nishar and Salesforce.com’s Todd Pierce to a packed house, sharing her views about the three ingredients to enterprise success with social media: clear business drivers, enterprise governance and compliance, and executive buy-in with change management.

(See Fortune’s spotlight on Clara here.)

Inspired by LinkedIn’s #SXSW Influencers Reception, Jessi Hempel (@jessiwrites) of Fortune arranged the Brainstorm panel, “Social Transforms the Enterprise.” She explained at the beginning of the session that, as more and more businesses transition from experimental social media usage to a more mainstream phase, this panel of experts could help discuss best practices in the social enterprise.

Participants included Adam Pisoni (@yammeradam), CTO and co-founder, Yammer; Todd Pierce, EVP Operations and Transformation, Salesforce.com; Deep Nishar (@deepnishar), SVP Products and UE, LinkedIn; Phil Libin (@plibin), CEO, Evernote; and Clara Shih (@clarashih), CEO and Founder, Hearsay Social.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Clara Shih, CEO and Founder, Hearsay Social; Adam Pisoni, CTO and co-founder, Yammer; Todd Pierce, EVP Operations and Transformation, Salesforce.com; Deep Nishar, SVP Products and UE, LinkedIn; and Phil Libin, CEO, Evernote.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Clara Shih, CEO and Founder, Hearsay Social; Adam Pisoni, CTO and co-founder, Yammer; Todd Pierce, EVP Operations and Transformation, Salesforce.com; Deep Nishar, SVP Products and UE, LinkedIn; Phil Libin, CEO, Evernote; and Jessi Hempel, co-chair, Fortune Brainstorm TECH.

Kick-starting the session, Deep Nishar of LinkedIn summed up the social selling revolution:

“What if instead you could go into your favorite CRM system–as a salesperson–and it told you here are the five prospects you should go after because you are incredibly well-connected with them through somebody you know, either at your own company or through your own network. And you can now eliminate cold calling in favor of warm prospecting.”

Indeed, salespeople today are already harnessing social networks like LinkedIn to get found and grow their networks. As time goes on, it will become even more commonplace to have a presence on the networks, allowing businesses to act on social signals and further build credibility with customers and prospects.

It’s important to note that while social media might not replace face-to-face meetings and phone calls, it does play a significant, entirely new role. As Clara explains in the session:

“Social today satisfies a different set of use cases than email currently does. Some of the best sales meetings are still done face to face. Phone still plays a key role in how we communicate. But the overall mix shifts over time as we have a bigger repertoire of communication tools.”

Watch the full panel below.

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