While attending the Enterprise 2.0 conference and hosting a great dinner with 28 thinkers in the space on Monday night (the dinner was sponsored by Clearvale, which is our client), I got a chance to reflect on what social CRM actually means, and how many people are thinking about it in a way that is too narrow.
Let’s start off by one of my favorite quotes from Peter Drucker: “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.” Ok, so creating a customer and managing the relationships with those customers should be the heartbeat of a company – we can all agree on that. That is also why Customer Relationship Management should be one of the most important processes within a company.
In the research leading to the writing of our (award winning – sorry couldn’t resist the chest thumping) book, the Hyper-Social Organization, we found that those companies that are successful in leveraging the social as part of their business, turn their business processes into social processes. So turning your CRM process into a social process makes a lot of sense.
The question is – How Do You Turn CRM Into a Social Process?
In order to answer that question, let’s peel back the various layers of the onion that make up the CRM process. And to do that it may be useful to categorize the parts of the overall process into the following elements – the actors, the processes that make up the CRM process, the places, and the data.
The actors are the people that should play a role in your overall CRM process – they don’t just include your customers and prospects, which most companies will consider as part of their CRM process. They also include your detractors, your employees (those that interact, and those that should interact with the customers – e.g., those that share a passion with your customers), your suppliers (if you run on tight inventories and a supplier has an delivery issue, that will impact customer relationships), and your partners.
The processes that make up CRM include not just sales, marketing, and customer support, but also the buying process (most products are now being bought, not sold), the recommendation process, and the relationship management process – processes that have already gone social and been fundamentally transformed in the past decade.
The places refer to those places where you interact with your customers, or where they interact with one another while making buying decisions and sharing recommendations. They include face-to-face encounters, email, telephone, and social media environments.
The data refers too data that typically will reside in systems of record like CRM systems and financial applications. The data you keep about your customer relationship process should include customer data, transactional data, legal data, financial data, and increasingly social data.
Some people say that a CRM system that contains social data is social CRM – but when you look at all the parts of the social customer relationship process, you realize how myopic this view of social CRM is. Some consider the act of managing customer relationships in social media social CRM – an equally myopic viewpoint.
Social CRM needs to encompass all the different parts of the Customer Relationship Management Process – the Actors, the Processes, the Places and the Data.
That of course is not an easy task, and will not happen by deploying technology applications alone. Social CRM is about culture, people, and processes supported by technology.
What do you think?
I would also like to thank the people with whom I had good conversations on the topic: @elsua, @pgillin, @billives,@dankeldsen, @scratchmm, @mkrigsman, @mingk, @marklazen, @sameerpatel, @denispombriant, @absolutezero, @pitosalas, @rawn, @crmstrategies, @jyarmis, @_richardhughes, @skwilder, @debyang, @mjayliebs.