I have to admit that I am very excited about this and have been thinking how it would actually work. Adding CRM features always made sense, however where would they live? Would they easily fall into the sales workflow that I already use?
Well surprisingly they have figured out a clever way to integrate a few features that tie in other could services like Gmail. This seems to be designed to show my acivities with the user through a timeline. This timeline experience is called Relationship and it comes with the enhancements to “Contacts” — get started here. It shows me activity starting with when I actually first connected with that person through emails, meetings, and other communication I’ve had with them. I can also add notes, set reminders, add notes around how I met the user, and categorize them.
I believe this feature is driven through Linkedin’s Rapportive product. Which is a Chrome Extension that pulls up social information about a user in gmail. Rapportive also allows developers to create something called Raplets through their API. These Raplets allow companies to post and pull data from within the user’s email interface. For example, Salesforce.com could allow users to create leads from within the Rapportive UI within Gmail; which of course is added to their Salesforce.com account. I believe that Linkedin is leveraging Rapportive to pull activity that you are having with a person and then post it to their Linkedin profile.
Image 1: This is the landing page for the new Contacts experience
Image 2: Below shows the “Relationships” section. Notice the icons indicating the type of activity.
Image 3: This is the page that asks you to connect your cloud services. I suspect this list will grow over time.
Image 4: You are of course able to edit or disconnect these services at anytime.
Image 5: There are also allow you to connect 3rd party applications such as EverNote and TripIt. Think they’ll add Salesforce.com?