Social CRM – for the Agile 5000 only


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Traditional cold calling, email blasting sales teams, who believe that their customers are not in the social web anyway and only want a better CRM system will want to stay with the traditional CRM vendors. Maybe add some Twitter streams to it because its cool, add some custom data fields to add a linkedin account. But other than that stick to the Miller Heimann type sales process.

Then there is the Agile 5000

Modern sales teams who understand how to keep in touch with their clients and the client’s close friends. Teams who know how to reach out to new prospects and socialize. Agile sales teams who build relationships *before* they enter the sales process. People with 1,000+ followers 500+ LinkedIn connections and thousands of other connections on other places. Teams that understand that Facebook is the way to socialize – instead of profile research in LinkedIn.

The Agile 5000 is the small number of the 5,000 most open minded, fast moving companies between 25 and 250,000 employees, between $5 Million and $50 Billion in revenue. It’s the open enterprise. Those teams need different tools because the *behave* very differently. No longer the BMW driving sales manager with 100,000+ airline miles. Make no mistake: Face 2 Face is not over but you will have 100 visits in the social web for every F2F. Social selling is a “High Speed – High Reach” sales model. There is only so much time for F2F – and guess what the customer appreciates it.

A Social CRM System for the Agile 5000

1) People Focused
Social CRM must make the teams / people the center of all activities. Today’s CRM systems are architected around the concept of an account – the legal body of a customer. Probably the last reminiscence from the accounting software days. sCRM requires to move from an “Account Centric” technology to a “Team Network Centric” Technology. As we developed the technology from ground up with the network in mind, it open many new doors for future functionality.

2) Open Customer Access
Allow customers or prospects access to the system when appropriate. That means the customer records are actually maintained by the customer. Process steps can be seen and even adjusted by the customer. Think of this scenario: “Hey Fred I see you plan to do this as a next step… How about we do this first” or this situation: “I see you put us on 50% probability in your forecast. Not sure we are that far.”
Clearly this in unimaginable for the old style, conservative company. But it is a highlight for the Agile 5,000.

3) The Social Address Book
In order to reach out to clients, prospects and important influencer we need to quickly get to them without searching for them. The old address book is no longer relevant. The “Social Address Book” comes in. It includes all the profiles and locations of the clients. That requires an architecturally and structurally different design. More so it is the hole into the chines walls traditional CRM systems build over the past 10 years. But it opens the door to what we call “High Speed – High Reach” customer engagement process.

4) Dynamic Process Management
The old 7 step cookie cutter sales process is dead. Simply because the buyer has equal power in the process and the steps have fundamentally changed. (Note: I know that 70-80% of the business / consultants / trainer don’t accept that – hence Agile 5000 only). The New sales process starts with monitoring, continues with socializing, the old reference selling model makes way to the new community model, and at the end one attribute becomes more prominent than ever before: Relationship Strength! It is the key performance indicator for sales success (nothing new – but in a very different light).

5) Forecasting 2.0
All the above leads to a new forecasting process. (CSO Insight Study 2010: In 2009 sales predictability hit an all time low). If the customer is equally empowered and the processes need to be re-aligned, the forecasting model need to be renewed as well. Xeesm built a predictive model based forecast that is dominated by what is the key performance indicator: Relationship Strength. Relationship strength combined with process development and human judgment are the key influencer to the predictive model.

Clearly, the proof is in the pudding. Right now we have only a few hand full of people using our Alpha Version. End of next week we go into Beta. The only thing we know so far: Only the Agile 5,000 would touch a system like that for the next 2 years or so. That market segment dictates our partner strategy: We created a partner program with partners that are highly experienced social media practitioner, and open minded solution consultants.

My Tweet to Marc last week:
@MarcBenioff 11 years ago U started 2 kick Multi B$ Siebel. U knew someday one will kick U. That time is now:

We are all working 16 hours a day to do what Bob alluded to in his last post “usher in a new era”.


Axel Schultze
CEO of Society3. Our S3 Buzz technology is empowering business teams to create buzz campaigns and increase mentions and reach. S3 Buzz provides specific solutions for event buzz, products and brand buzz, partner buzz and talent acquisition buzz campaigns. We helped creating campaigns with up to 100 Million in reach. Silicon Valley entrepreneur, published author, frequent speaker, and winner of the 2008 SF Entrepreneur award. Former CEO of BlueRoads, Infinigate, Computer2000.


  1. Axel,

    This snippet of yours particularly caught my eye: “Face 2 Face is not over but you will have 100 visits in the social web for every F2F. Social selling is a “High Speed – High Reach” sales model. There is only so much time for F2F – and guess what the customer appreciates it.”

    It’s the story of social media isn’t it, like the steam engine was to the lever, social media is to building relationships. The missing tool so far was the time management/daily management tool for sales people, and looks like you’ve cracked that nut with

    Walter Adamson @g2m
    Certified Social Media Consultant
    Melbourne, Australia
    My social spaces and places:

  2. Dear Axel
    Dear Walter
    I am happy and proud to be part of the SCRM new era and I am shure that many excecutives in Brazil and Latin America will be too as they get in touch with the new revolucionary social CRM tools.
    Congratulations also for more than 50000 joins on Xeesm.
    Best Regards from Brazil,
    Jorge Purgly
    [email protected]
    Certified Social Media Estrategist
    My social map at
    Note? I am sharing this interesting article also on my blog in Typepad at

  3. Axel: As one who struggled with “Account-Centric” CRM systems (and predecessor Contact Management Systems), I began to see the writing on the wall over 10 years ago. But today’s sales organization has a difficult challenge: manage legacy buying processes conducted by older workers who are less social-media savvy while executing new strategies for buyers who live and breathe on social networks.

    One thing is clear: system developers must revise tools. While a vendor might invoice an “account,” networks of people buy things. Legacy tools are no longer effective because they look at buying and purchasing entities as roughly equivalent. Today, when CRM developers build account-centric databases, everything placed on top of them will quickly fail, because selling doesn’t work that way anymore–and in fact, it probably never did. But today we have the insight and tools to enable us to sell better. Why not use them? The most effective and potent sales tools will tap into buying momentum, and offer salespeople a way to guide buying activities toward a profitable outcome.

    But I’m interested in your opinion on an issue that will emerge from social selling: what percentage of the world’s buying power is in the hands of people who don’t have access to social media? How will that community’s buying needs be addressed?

  4. Andy, you raised a very important question. I believe the number of decision maker who are not using social media is still significant. With one of the early alpha user we explored exactly that question. Here is what we came up with, together with their sales team:

    1) The decision *maker* is most of the cases actually the decision *messenger*, the authorized person to communicate the decision.
    2) The decision *influencera* are the people with the pain, need, desire…. and they are mostly using the social web because they are the ones who need the solution.

    That has a variety of implications:
    1) Even so many sales pros knew all along: The influencer are equally if not more important than the decision maker. The younger sales teams need to understand that.
    2) The influencer are the ones we learn more from then from the decision maker
    3) If we have no connection to the influencer we are less likely to win a deal
    4) In the past years we trimmed our sales teams to only focus on the “decision maker” and “economic buyer” – loosing touch to the purchase influencing people.

    By the way here is one of the significant differences between B2B and B2C sales.

    But if none of the people are in the social web, we suggest keep doing business as usual.

    The single most important learning we made over the past years:
    “Find out where your customers are – then make a conscious decision one what or the other – but stop wondering if it may or may not be helpful”. Here is a page we put together with other social media pros: it’s a non commercial promotion free info page how to go about this.



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