Social customer relationship management (CRM) would seem like a natural act in the era of social enterprise. With traditional CRM, you have a bunch of stovepiped systems with quickly obsolete customer information. Connecting CRM to the fresh breezes of customer information coming in through online engagements would open up such data across the enterprise. But, while there is plenty of excitement about the potential of Social CRM, implementations are few and far between.

Ray Wang, a leading outside-the-box industry thinker, says he recently wrapped up a bunch of discussions about social CRM with 23 business leaders, and explains what still needs to be done. He says that in each of the organizations he has studied, there have been some pioneering Social CRM pilots underway, and has caught the attention of the boardroom

At issue is the fact that “most executives believe that Social is ‘just another channel’ and often liken Social CRM to e-commerce,” or “felt this was just an extension of CRM with a social flavor.” They miss out on the fact that Social CRM is part of a shift to the customer, which requires a whole new way of thinking. Plus, they may be hamstrung by their traditional CRM systems, which were designed for the era of closed, siloed enterprises.

Wang says Social CRM requires significant organizational transformation for success — not just retinkering nwith a channel.  He urges greater alliances and partnerships between all the players in Social CRM scenarios: enterprises, systems integrators, CRM vendors, and most of all, customers.

As previously discussed here at the FastForward blogsite, Social CRM is a market onto itself projected to reach $1 billion in global sales, but can be challenging to role out to self-motivated and self-driven groups as sales and marketing professionals. Still, too, perhaps the phrase “Social CRM” should be a redundancy.

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