Chatter Adoption: No Social CRM Silver Bullets


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In CRM, as in life, some incentives go a long way toward achieving desired user behavior.

“If Facebook is so easy to learn, then why should I bother to train our salespeople to use Chatter?”

We get that questions a lot. Because when it comes to using social CRM tools, especially to foster employee collaboration, many businesses think that simply giving employees a new system will cause them to fall in love with it. It’s the old “If you build it, they will come” fallacy. Fine for Hollywood. For real life, or Google Plus? Not so much.

That’s because, when it comes to adding a social layer onto existing marketing, sales, and service practices, the number-one project challenge — no matter how great the tool — is always user adoption. Even the best system in the world won’t succeed unless users not just need to use it, but want to use it. In other words, if you can’t sell your salespeople on social CRM benefits, they won’t bother using it.

What can businesses do to manage this social CRM user adoption challenge? Tap senior managers to serve as social CRM proponents and set expectations for its use. Also create practice groups that nudge people into using it. Finally, set a few social CRM ground rules.

What Are The Social CRM Benefits?

If the user-adoption challenge sounds familiar, that’s because it isn’t unique to social CRM. In fact, it’s the number-one challenge for any customer-facing project. Despite that, many businesses continue to think that just giving employees technology — even newer social tools such as Chatter (“free” for current users), Jive or Lithium — will naturally make them want to begin using them.

For example, one high-technology manufacturer purchased and gave it to salespeople, essentially saying, “Here you go, use it.” Fast-forward 18 months, and the company asked Innoveer why current user adoption levels hadn’t exceeded 50%.

Accordingly, we asked the company’s salespeople what might be a basic-sounding question: “What’s the business reason for why you’re being asked to use” (How have your managers told you to use it? What are the incentives for using it? What happens if you don’t use it?) Their answer — even for dyed-in-the-wool CRM aficionados — was unanimous: “The business never told us we had to use it.” Accordingly, many salespeople didn’t bother.

Detail Social CRM Business Goals

Why should employees use social CRM? The primary benefit on offer will be to enhance collaboration. Here are some examples of how that can help your business:

  • Sales: Tough account to crack? Pose this question via Chatter: “Has anybody ever run across this particular situation, and how did you handle it?” Use social CRM to help manage all account-related queries, and fire questions at people who can help resolve related issues, stat.
  • Marketing: Use marketing personnel like a first-round focus group, for brainstorming and idea-testing. Also tap them to help rapidly hone in-progress campaigns based on initial results.
  • Sales: For tricky service issues, employ Chatter for asynchronous problem escalation, to help manage and resolve cases as quickly as possible, without agents having to queue to speak with their manager via phone.

3 Techniques Stoke Social CRM Adoption

Having a cogent social CRM business case or rationale in hand, of course, is only part of the battle. More than anything, you’ll need to entice, cajole, incentivize, and sweet-talk employees into using social CRM.

Here’s how:

  1. Spell out social CRM expectations and benefits. The biggest social CRM challenge will be ensuring sales adoption. Time is money. Why should salespeople — or for that matter, hesitant marketing or service managers — bother with social tools? Show salespeople what they can achieve by using social CRM. Also ensure that senior managers are themselves using the system, and referring to it in their one-on-one meetings with salespeople. More than anything, “living in the CRM system” will make it the norm, social CRM included.
  2. Assign people to groups. Another technique for fostering social CRM use is to create groups, and then add employees in. For sales, create groups focused on accounts and opportunities. So if there’s an account with an issue, a post to Chatter will go to all sales representatives responsible for the account.
  3. Create social CRM policies. Don’t go overboard creating policies, but do articulate what constitutes basic social CRM “acceptable use.” In particular, you don’t want Chatter to become the in-house “random observation platform.” Save that for your free time, using personal Facebook and Twitter accounts.

What’s possible with social CRM? While it’s still early days, the technology offers great potential for increasing employee collaboration, thus making your existing marketing, sales, and service efforts deliver even bigger returns. In short, you can make your business more social. Just don’t forget to entice your employees to use social CRM first.

Learn More

Innoveer helps organizations assess their existing social CRM strategy, sales, marketing, service, and collaboration capabilities. Contact us to learn more about Innoveer’s Social Business Framework, based on the best practices of hundreds of CRM practitioners, which we use to help businesses rapidly develop a social CRM adoption strategy.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user Steven Depolo.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adam Honig
Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.


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