A business framework for CRM & Social CRM

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There seems to be common agreement within the Social CRM community that the time for debating definitions of Social CRM is over. Most people have accepted Paul Greenberg’s stake in the ground post and have now moved on. Turning definitions into action is the next challenge.

As such, this post is work in progress. It doesn’t aim to move the needle forward on the academic thinking on Social CRM, but it does reflect recent client presentations I have given on the subject, that have moved clients forward. Having got definitions out of the way, I’ve found that clients have responded well to this business framework for CRM and Social CRM as a tool to help them visualise the different components of CRM and SCRM, how they work together and where they should focus their attentions, before looking at tools.

The framework below is simple. It’s meant to be. I’ve used variations of it for the last 10 years to facilitate CRM discussions between different stakeholders (e.g. business and IT) and ensure they are on the same page. Social CRM has allowed me to add in a missing layer encompassing a customer’s social interactions and experiences. Let me try and explain the model layer by layer.



Customer Strategy layer – This is the starting layer. Both CRM and SCRM need to be strategy-led and people / process / technology-enabled. This layer begins with the key mind-set shift from “Inside-Out” to “Outside-in”. If you haven’t made this step-change, do not pass go. Social CRM simply won’t work.

Customer to Customer layer – this next layer of the model starts with the customer’s desired outcomes and their value creation process to achieve those outcomes. Often the first step that a customer might take in achieving their aims is to ask other customers. The customer-to customer layer refers to the social aspect of customer value creation e.g. customer’s reading product reviews, contributing to forum discussions, writing blogs, joining Facebook groups etc. To paraphrase Paul Greenberg, this is the new “customer control of the conversation”. See my post on “outsource your marketing, sales and service to your customers” or “Customer to Customer and the legend of Kachiwachi”.

Customer Experience layer – the customer experience is the sum of customer outcomes from the customer’s perspective of both social interactions and formal, company-“owned” channels.

Operational CRM Channels layer – traditional multi-channel CRM, supporting the range of company-owned channels of communication and customer interaction. CRM remains a foundation and key building-block for Social CRM.
People & Ecosystem layer – perhaps the key layer in the model. While your competitors are focussing on tools; do something different and focus on people. They probably have a bigger impact on customers than any tool you can buy. See my post on “Software doesn’t build relationships; people do”

Lean & Agile processes layer – this layer of the model relates to all customer-facing business processes. I’ve simplified to “marketing, sales, fulfilment and service” as that seems to capture the complete customer lifecycle. I make no distinction between company-owned processes and out-sourced processes as customers don’t!

BI, Sentiment & Social Listening layer – to some extent BI is the handle that turns the wheel, driving constant measurement and refinement of the customer strategy.

The Altimeter Group have done a terrific job of putting a framework around Social CRM tools. See their paper on “The 18 use cases of Social CRM: The new rules of relationship management”. This comprehensive report and framework allows organisations to get a clear picture of tools available to enable Social CRM.

What I plan to move onto next are the other foundational enablers to the framework e.g. MDM, SOA etc, along with the delivery approaches to successful transformation e.g. Lean, Agile. See my post on “Lean thinking in CRM and SCRM”.
As stated this is very much work in progress, if you have any constructive builds I’d certainly welcome them.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Laurence Buchanan
Laurence is CEO of EY Seren and leads EY’s global Customer & Growth practice. He works with clients to help them re-imagine growth through human-centered design, innovation and the transformation of Marketing, Sales & Customer Service functions. He is a recognized authority on digital transformation, customer experience and CRM, he has worked across a wide range of sectors, including telco, media, life sciences, retail and sports. He received an MA in Modern History from the University of Oxford.

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