Social CRM: is there such a thing as an overall “social framework”?

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This week was very fruitful in blog posts related to Social CRM framework, CRM and Social CRM comparisons, positioning:

Why We Cannot Get CRM (and SCRM) Quite Right

Thinking it Through Some More: More on What Else? Social CRM
The Social CRM Process

Instead of commenting on each of these blogs I decided to write this post. Mainly because my view on the topics above is somewhat different. And the main difference is that I can’t discuss something so high level and vague as overall Social CRM framework. I want to start with specific business processes as we know them and assess the impact of “social” on them.

Let’s for example take a look at a classic enterprise B2B software sales process. It consists of stages. Here are sample stages:

Field Sales Stages:

– Opportunity development;

– Discovery;

– Preparation of Solutions Set;

– Proposal;

– Socialization;

– Potential Pilot;

– Project Approval;

– Contract negotiations;

– Closing deal.

Companies manage sales process in SFA module – either stand-alone or part of CRM system.

Each sales person has his/her own assigned group of accounts. Either territory, industry, etc. based or named accounts.

Once telesales done with the lead, it gets auto assigned to a sales executive. And then sales executive walks this assigned qualified lead through the stages mentioned above to hopefully a happy end: “won! closed deal”.

Now let’s look at this sales process from a “social” point of view. What will change?

First stage – Opportunity development:

You need to set up meetings with client’s executives, document their requirements, start building relationships and at the end of this phase create detailed account plan.

How is this stage impacted by “social”? – well, you do want to do “social” discovery: do executives from this target company blog, are they on twitter, etc.. You did somewhat “social” discovery before. Its just before your search results were returning conference talks, magazine articles, etc.. as these new additional “social” channels such as Twitter, Facebook, etc.. either did not exist or were not that popular before.

Moving on to the next stages of the sample sales process listed above – well, none of them actually will change.. no impact of “Social” to them. Is that right? – Yes! Or almost yes. One of main new stages that will go in parallel to the old ones will be social media monitoring. As a sales person you need to know what your target customer is talking about in social space as you are moving through your sales process – they might accidently tweet something important!

New Sales Process Stages:

Why did I go through this exercise? Just to prove the point that there is no such a thing as an overall “social framework” for whatever term you comfortable using: CRM, Social CRM, CRM 2.0, Social Business..

We need to step deeper inside and start talking about enterprise business processes and the impact of “social” on each of them.

Expect some disagreements here. Again my choice for a sales process was driven by my enterprise software sales experiences – B2B sales to F1000 companies. Your company’s sales process might differ. And for what you do the impact of “social” could be greater than in this example. Great! Then do what I just did and map out stages and assess each of the stages with “social” hat on.

Your comments of course are greatly appreciated!

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