Multiple Perspectives on Social CRM: The Consultant, Analyst, Vendor, and Client


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If you put a consultant, an analyst, a vendor, and an end user client together in the same room and ask them to explain or discuss social CRM or social business (or pretty much anything else) you will get very different answers and explanations. Nothing is ever one-sided so why bother trying to look at things from one perspective? At the Attensity panel I participated in a few weeks ago, one of the attendees asked “what is social CRM?” to which I replied, “it depends on who you ask.” That response got a few chuckles from the room but I was actually serious when I said it. There are multiple players in the space that do different things and approach social CRM differently.

If you ask a consultant you will get a response that resonates (or should resonate) with various clients that may or may not even include the term “social” anything (this also means that there isn’t really one answer). Personally, Chess and Metz have a series of use cases and social customer scenarios that we walk clients through, if the use cases and scenarios resonate with the client then we call it social CRM (internally). Analysts will most likely come back with a complicated answer that is based on their research. The problem with their answer is that it is not always practical and is not something that clients can understand (trust me I have tried dozens of times). Vendors will explain things in terms of how their product works or what it does and are oftentimes frustrated with analysts because it’s a lot easier to write about social CRM than it is to actually build a product around it (but then again if you are a vendor you shouldn’t be building a product around a buzz word now should you?). Clients can actually care less about what you call anything as long as you can solve their problem.

Clearly there is a lot more that can be said here and every perspective has it’s pros and cons but the point is that when talking about anything in this “social” ecosystem it’s important to understand where the viewpoint is coming from because that’s going to shape the conversation.

Just my 2 cents…maybe 3 :)

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jacob Morgan
I'm a best-selling author, keynote speaker, and futurist who explores what the future of work is going to look like and how to create great experiences so that employees actually want to show up to work. I've written three best-selling books which are: The Employee Experience Advantage (2017), The Future of Work (2014), and The Collaborative Organization (2012).


  1. Fair point, Jacob. We also have to consider that increased convergence means that those entering the sCRM vendor space are coming from different angles; from old CRM companies to social media experts to internal collaboration software specialists (who have managed to get caught up in sCRM’s sprawling definition).

    You mentioned the chuckles you got from highlighting the difference in understanding of the sCRM term, but it could be quite a serious problem. While sCRM and its approach is exciting to those already engaged, those more passive consumers will want a more fleshed out explanation before they take it seriously. Without stifling the creativity that comes from keeping an open mind, do you think it’s perhaps time that the sCRM definition was pinned down and some margins set up between what is sCRM and what isn’t?

    Then again, perhaps this is an early example of how the crowdsourcing/collaborative approach to new technologies (and strategies, let us not forget) can make it harder to rigidly apply a top-down definition from a single authoritative source. If sCRM takes off in sales as much as it has with thought-leaders then perhaps this is just something that we’ll need to get used to.


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