I read this blog post from Sohable with interest today. The logic is very persuasive and, along with Jacob Morgan from Chess Media’s excellent blog post, it provides the best graphics to demonstrate how social CRM works that I’ve seen to date. But then again, I don’t need convincing. I’m a firm believer in the future of social CRM – that businesses will soon be providing end-to-end communication services that reach from the social web right into their management tools and systems. It’s going to happen, it simply IS.
What’s less clear is where we are today – and how we get from here to there.
The brands that I work with are facing a problem. Most if not all of their departments – marketing, comms, sales, research etc. – currently has a different system for managing their communications with their customers and contacts. Each of these systems is complex, robust and (crucially) secure – which means it doesn’t take kindly to opening up to the social web. Similarly, the vendors of most of these database-oriented solutions haven’t built in simple bolt-on integration options for each of the other tools. In reality there is very little inter-operability.
As I mentioned in a previous social CRM post, the choice is between migrating to a new, social CRM solution (of which there are several emerging) or identifying the most adaptable, forward-thinking solution from within your existing data set-up and deploying that across the whole company. Now that’s a major project! I’m not sure many companies are there yet – but I’d welcome feedback from anyone who has worked on/delivered such a project and can now boast at least a version of the end-to-end dream depicted in the nice graphics above.
A quick pointer on Social CRM too. I wouldn’t bother reading Gartner’s Magic Quadrant report from 2010. The report covered a vast range of businesses from online survey tools to social media monitoring services and forum providers. All of these are within the social CRM continuum – granted – but in my view only a few (Salesforce.com and it’s close competitors), really provide a full enough service to be worthy of the title.
We’ll be discussing Social CRM at Social CRM in depth – including lots of case studies – 2011 in London and New York later this year. Tickets are available online here now.