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Archive for the tag “social CRM”

The evergreen vistas of Social CRM

Why I am still not convinced…

The last few months have seen a flurry of actions on the Social CRM front. We have seen large splashes made by largely good looking apps. Here’s what I think the best (e. g. Nimble ) of them bring to the table:

1. A clean, really clean user interface- and a UI and navigation to match. Now that’s something to strive for!
2. Bar none- they are all cloud/ SAAS offerings and what more- they all offer integration with other apps. While the cynic will say, they have no option but to offer integration with other apps seeing that this is the only way they can offer capabilities they themselves do not have, we tend to believe otherwise. We think there is a place for specialists as well as generalists and if someone comes in solves just a small problem, really well- he/ she will still have something of value to offer.

And, the fact that they are all on the cloud and gaining rapid traction, tells you two things:
– cloud is the way to go; for consumers as well as vendors. It is past discussion.
– cloud is not just about faster and easier deployment of code; it is about learning from customer feedback and community and improving.

So, why did I start on this quibbling note?

The basic question still is- how are you measurably monetizing your social interactions? Can you?
1. Can you monetize?
2. Can you measure? With any degree of granularity?
Of course, you are welcome to turn around and say, you don’t care about measuring or even monetizing.

And, the other question- more subtle, but important nevertheless, is:

Having the tools to engage your contact base in conversations on one single platform is great. Here’s the problem though:
1. Who will ensure consistency of communication and messaging? Who will train the sales guys on staying “on message”?
2. Who will create this content that we now have the channel to share- across different channels? Make no mistake- the same message will need to be re-worded – for being sent on Facebook vs sent on email vs sent on Twitter. And, who will be trained and savvy enough to manage the conversations and more, lead the conversation to sales?
3. One broadcast post on  FB and Twitter –> 10 conversations and what if more than one person from your company is in the loop? Who drives consistency?

I remain a skeptic.

Two things to monitor in social media: CRM perspective

How CRM can absorb messages from social media
A quick follow up on my last post; not least because I want to bring the focus back on CRM and also touch upon what is the current rage; what is sometimes very loosely defined as linking social media with CRM.

At a very philosophical level; I do not see a contradiction between the two ways of connecting with customers. CRM helps in profiling your customer base so that you can tune your message and value propositions as close to the actual needs of the customer as possible. It recognizes, through its alter-ego, Closed Loop Marketing (CLM) that:
1. Customers at different stages in the buying process/ awareness of your products and solutions have different information needs.
2. An “installed base” customer needs and wants to be treated differently than someone with no “history”.
3. A successful sale (or a botched one!) is not an end but the beginning of another sales cycle.

The social media landscape conjures up visions of many customers, individually or as part of a group, talking and sharing experiences with direct and indirect bearing on your product, market or technology. It is as possible to have a one on one conversation or participate in a large group. Here is a very interesting post that shares some of the exciting possibilities in that space. I have talked about some of the challenges before,  here and here (CRM 2.0: Limited to campaigns?).

When you say integration, which way is important for you?
Simple question: do you see value in capturing the conversations to enrich the customer profiles in the CRM system or would you rather use social media to engage the contacts in the CRM system who need more long-term hand-holding, information sharing and so on?
If your answer is the latter, it is relatively easily done.
If your answer is the former, I have further questions:
Are you capturing incidents (meaning someone mentioning you or your product in a blog or a tweet) or are you interested in knowing what they said and using that information to influence your customer profiling?
Both are useful; the latter more so.
Making changes to the CRM application:
– creating fields to capture incidents: easy; automating the capture: not easy, but not impossible.
– creating fields to capture actual snippets of the conversation: easy; automating the capture: not at all easy, but not impossible either.
What to make of the information thus captured? Well, the “customer profile” is a lot richer now and you now get to see, what your key contact is concerned about in addition to the limited interactions with your company or product. You can mine this data within your CRM application and turn up leads, potential issues or just rich engagement opportunities.


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