Social CRM

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I’ve been thinking a lot about social CRM recently.

First, the Convergence 2010 show could have been called the “Cloud Computing and Social CRM show”, at least as far as I was concerned.

Second, Bob Thompson wrote an excellent article — Will the Real Social CRM Leader Please Stand Up? — on the site http://www.customerthink.com. Bob’s article plus the ensuing conversation got me thinking even more about it.

Then, as luck would have it, I was fortunate enough to have a customer engagement in the CRM hotbed of Moultrie County. (Sullivan, IL, of course, population 4,400.) If you’ve ever driven from Chicago to Sullivan and back you’ll appreciate that I had a lot of time to think, and not a lot of curves in the road to distract me. I made good use of the time. OK, I made use of the time; you can decide whether it was a good use after you watch the video. Anyway, here’s an outline of my current thoughts on the topic:

  1. To think about what Social CRM means, think about ante-Social CRM (like ante-bellum, as in “before the war”). Back in the olden days 18 months ago, we thought we were doing great if we had one version of the truth — in the form of a single customer record – for each of our customers in our internal CRM. If we had that plus a 360 degree view of our customer interactions — in the form of our emails and appointments, sales and service history and so forth — we thought we were doing great!
  2. NOW it’s obvious there’s a lot of important data about our customers and potential customers out there in the socialsphere — Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and so forth — and at the very least, our so-called single version of the truth should probably be augmented by our customers’ LinkedIn profiles. And compared to the kinds of activities the socialsphere has data on, our internal CRM 360 degree view of the customer looks pretty paltry!
  3. To see the potential of social CRM in a hands-on way, go to any search engine and enter this text in the search box: site:linkedin.com “dynamics crm” . You can filter the results down a little by doing something like this: site:linkedin.com “dynamics crm” – groups . Try it — it’s pretty cool!
  4. The potential value of all that information is tremendous…the challenge is how to order it, how to pull it into your CRM, how to make it actionable.
  5. So far, Dynamics CRM doesn’t really have any out-of-the-box features to leverage the power of the socialsphere, so we’ll have to rely on third-parties and ISVs for now. Fortunately, the xRM platform loves to be customized and extended, and a small army of third-parties and ISVs are doing just that as we speak, filling in the gaps for social CRM. Stay tuned for much more on this topic.

And in the meantime, here’s the video:

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