How close is Social CRM to becoming reality?

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...

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.

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8 comments

  1. Tweets that mention How close is Social CRM to becoming reality? | Our Social Times -- Topsy.com Reply

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Douglas S. Brown, Doug Brown and Yuriy Gumen, igrow marketing. igrow marketing said: From @OurSocialTimes How close is Social CRM to becoming reality?: I read this blog post from Sohable with inte… http://bit.ly/dZdkVv […]

  2. Andy Bryant Reply

    Hi Luke. I agree with your comment about the over-use of the term Social CRM, and would prefer that vendors didn’t muddy the waters by tagging the new buzzword onto every possible community or social media monitoring tool. I also think that the most likely winners in the SCRM space will be CRM vendors that build or buy social capabilities. I’d be interested in your take on my post on the subject from last week – http://andy.bryant.name/blog/2011/1/12/2011-social-media-predictions-pt1.html

    1. Chris Butler Reply

      Andy – interesting point, but as a vendor, I will continue to use the term Social CRM for what we do…after all, why shouldn’t we define the space as whatever we choose. It is so young that there is no clarity, and much as I respect some of those who have tried to define and codify, I won’t accept what others say just because it is said. And out of interest, we are a member based business network with CRM and Social tools embedded…and VERY definitely Social CRM … and we started that way in 2008.

      1. Luke Brynley-Jones Reply

        Terminology always attracts controversy! Fair point Chris and I can see your product does fall into the social CRM arena. I guess my point is targeted at the online survey tools and forums that Gartner identified. I don’t believe they cover enough of the CRM bases (or social, for that matter) to qualify for the term. BTW – I’d be interested to have you guys at Social CRM 2011 London in May. Let’s talk.

  3. Andy Bryant Reply

    Hi Luke. I agree with your comment about the over-use of the term Social CRM, and would prefer that vendors didn’t muddy the waters by tagging the new buzzword onto every possible community or social media monitoring tool. I also think that the most likely winners in the SCRM space will be CRM vendors that build or buy social capabilities. I’d be interested in your take on my post on the subject from last week – http://andy.bryant.name/blog/2011/1/12/2011-social-media-predictions-pt1.html

  4. Anonymous Reply

    We’ve been working on a social media maturity curve to help our clients understand where they are and where they’d like be with respect to their adoption and integration of social media analytics. If you are interested in reading more, it’s posted here:
    http://scr.bi/hKjYvZ
    We’re finding that many companies are now beginning to create a more formalized data feed for repeatable, scalable dashboarding that measures business KPIs. Some are integrating into existing systems and, as you mention, others are looking at new Social CRM offerings. There is also more emphasis on audience segmentation and digital profile mapping analysis for more sophisticated social targeting. We have yet to see a real demand (outside of larger organizations) for Social BPM but anticipate that managed workflows and measurements will become optimized to include social media insights in the new future.

    I meant to say, “thanks for posting about this topic”. It’s an interesting one and one that continues to evolve both in implementation and description!

  5. Anonymous Reply

    I like your realistic approach to integrating the social web with existing line of business applications. What I think is missing in most commentary I’ve read about social crm is that key consideration, and I’m not sure many of the people writing about social crm understand the technology that pre-dates social media. At the very least, many of these companies will need a place to aggregate and organize the interactions that are happening on the social web – and, ideally, those tools will be the same that the sales people use to follow up with leads, keep track of pipeline, etc.

    1. Luke Brynley-Jones Reply

      Thanks Andrew. I’m no developer, but I get your point. I suspect the people who develop CRM systems (with their unique identifiers and silos) are not the same as the people who develop open social networks (with their aliases, avatars and fluid connections).