Let me tell you a secret. Promise me, please, that this is going to stay just between you and me. Okay, listen carefully…. “Social CRM will never, ever, be built”.
Yes, I am someone who discusses CRM daily. I am always talking about Social CRM, Social Support Communities, CRM, and related best practices… However, if we are waiting for someone to build a Social CRM solution we will be waiting for a long time. Pull up a chair and let’s talk.
Social CRM is not software. Remember, CRM, and therefore Social CRM, is an approach that takes into account people and processes and leverages software to accomplish outcomes. The people and the processes come first. Software, while critical to success, is always secondary.
Vendors that claim they deliver Social CRM are wrong. They are delivering software solutions, generally Social Support Community software, that is a core component of a Social CRM strategy.
Social CRM is a strategy. Building off of my last point. Software cannot build strategy. I know, one day machines will take over e world and I will be proven wrong. Until that day comes I am right, it takes people to build a strategy that achieves corporate goals.
Social CRM must work for all users involved. I have noted that usability is a major reason for CRM failure, nothing new, you have heard it before. What one set of users may deem usable may be completely unusable for another set of users. Your Social CRM strategy must make use of tools that end-users (execs, sales, support, etc..) will use, not because they are forced to, because they add value to their lives. While niche software solutions may be able to accomplish this for specific verticals it is not feasible on a large scale across multiple verticals.
Social CRM must support good business processes. Some processes are identical from company to company but many key business processes are not transferable. I have worked in a half dozen companies and each one have had different definitions of their sales pipeline process. As a non-sales person I was shocked by this (and I still am) but each company does it differently. Your software must support the varied stages and workflows for all of your processes. When the software forces you to adjust processes due to it’s limitations, you have already lost.
So, is Social CRM something we should give up on? Absolutely not. Social CRM will revolutionize how businesses operate. It will bring a richer level of engagement between all parties leading to happier customers and more profitable businesses. We must get there by following solid business processes that engage all users and leverage tools where feasible. I know we will get there; we just have to work through the hype first.