Social CRM – Measure it, harness the benefits in tandem – A Balanced Scorecard Interpretation


Share on LinkedIn

With the evolution of Social media on a rapid scale, what with Salesforce now coming out with Service Cloud 2; is it already time to think how much of this can be measured?

In the good old days of CRM and other evolving concepts/strategies the innovation, acceptance, implementation, integration, feedback, service quality etc. took time, effort and a lot of money. Over the years all of these have been dealt with and there are many a ready-made solutions and excellent products made available. We have seen CRM mature over the years. The TCO, ROI, scalability, flexibility and high-performance were critical factors to success and these were taken care of. The measurement per se, of CRM has been lost in this mêlée somewhere though not completely and it came in late. Measuring the CRM success via the Balanced Scorecard model is one way.

My interpretation with some benefits is as below –

CRM Balanced Scorecard Interpretation_Venkat

With Social CRM, the need to measure is even greater to maintain a good return on investment and customer satisfaction. To maximize benefits, let us look at the Balanced Scorecard for Social CRM. My interpretation with some benefits is as below –

SCRM_Balanced Scorecard_Venkat

By listening to conversations (twitter app integration), companies can reduce the time taken to convert a prospect to a lead by “better understanding” the prospect via the social media they tap into. As in the previous case with CRM, this from a scorecard perspective shows how the financial benefit can accrue via the reduced time to conversion, leading to improved lead management. The improved brand image/equity can be derived from this the above mentioned and is a natural by-product in SCRM or CRM. Please note that this has to be effectively supplemented by other parameters/tasks for a higher brand recall and this is just one aspect of the same.

We already have vendors like Lithium, Radian6, Crimson Hexagon offer Social CRM products with a good deal of measurement built in! Lithium offers avenues for reputation management complete with workflows and integration to social networks. Now, whether to go in for these products or create a custom app is like a Blast from the Past! Vis-à-vis CRM. Crimson Hexagon’s website for example says and I quote – “Understand what the online conversation really means for your brand. Our VoxTrot Listening Platform distills meaning — with mathematical precision — from the cloudy torrent of opinion, information and data available online.” Radian6, for example, comes in at 600$/month for 10K posts (Jason Falls mentions this in his blog here). Whether these will become as popular as some CRM products, look here for more.  All said and done, continuous measurement is the key to benefit from this wave.

From an overall perspective, it is imperative to start measuring the benefits of Social CRM from the beginning; and one way to look at measuring the derived benefit can be from the above balanced scorecard interpretation. With all the data available via monitoring and internal processes, the balanced scorecard interpretation allows you to look at 4 different dimensions necessary and important for an organization.

What is your POV on this? Thoughts, if any, are more than welcome.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


  1. Venkat,

    Your post is very timely. The Social CRM and growing broader focus on Social Business is forcing companies to put more of a premium on their intangible assets. The Balanced Scorecard approach you present can certainly help.

    However, Kaplan and Norton’s Balanced Scorecard and Strategy Maps do not acknowledge today’s pressing need for organizational agility. Leaders now must wrestle with getting the right balance between operational efficiency and adapting to a new context of business. Your view of Social CRM helps because it emphasizes the need for companies to take an outside-in approach. The challenge is to be able to assess and act on the insights gained in a timely and relevant fashion. Too often the inertia of the status quo is a blinder to seeing new insights and changing practices and processes.

    John I. Todor, Ph.D.

  2. Thank you John for your comments.

    The emphasis that I wanted to place hear was to “measure, measure and measure” as early in the stage as possible. SCRM is yet to attaina transformational and/or strategic positioning in the mind of the “CIO”, and hence as an enabler it will help to measure using the Scorecard as a model.

    But, that said you bring up a very good point on the agility. Adapting a new strategy to the processes and deriving benefit simultaneously is the need of the hour. Agility is a thread that needs to touch all the four quadrants for overall benfit.

    Would be glad to discuss if you have more points.


  3. Venkat,

    I see SCRM fitting into a larger picture of Social Business which is transformational for most businesses. Kaplan and Norton’s approach, especially strategy maps, makes a lot of sense because much of the value of social business comes from intangibles. As they point out, it is important to put a metric to intangiles but this is often difficult. The danger is that the metric will reflect the old model and not striving to a new result.

    Agility is critical in today’s business climate. Equally important is the ability to align all tactics, initiatives, technology and functional units with strategy. As we move to a more social business there is a real danger that point solutions will contribute to more silos, including SCRM.

    These are important issues and would like your input.


    John I. Todor, Ph.D.

  4. Thanks John for your comments.

    I had a discussion with @janetjoz on my original blog here and here, where we exactly made a point of not getting into another SILO creation in the already cluttered information ecosystem. Over the years of CRM existence , I really wonder how many businesses have made a conscious effort to measure the impact it has made on their strategy and in turn, to the 4 perspectives that Kaplan and Norton pointed out, w.r.t their organizations. Will it be the same with SCRM?

    Your thought process is much ahead and via my blog am just re-thinking if businesses are at the point of learning from prior mistakes, where orgs should not latch on to SCRM and call it a fad, but utilize it effectively and in an efficient manner. CRM has many skeletons in its cupboards, as we know it.

    These models,maps etc. John, at the end of the day in my perosnal opinion is to be driven by people from the top with commitment and instilled in the “business nervous system”. Multiple iterations and multiple checkpoints are needed to be agile. These are the enablers to be used just as technology is an enabler to CRM and SCRM to CRM too.

    On the agility factor which both of us have stressed, it cannot be emphasized enough in the current business conditions to adopt this completely or at least start as a wrapper around the existing models to refine them. It is then that we arrive at the point of SCRM becoming transformational and can be used as a strategy to differentiate.

    Would be Glad to hear and know your thoughts.


  5. Verkat,

    I look forward to looking at your blog posts about silos.

    I believe that organizations and business ecosystems need to start by determining how changing business dynamics have created new challenges as well as new opportunities and possibilities. Along with others, I believe there is a new normal in business that cannot be ignored. Some key facets of this new normal are discussed in my article on this site:

    You will also find a list of related papers, blogs, video, books etc that deal with the topic on our website:

    What is germane to our discussion of scrm is that “social” is both a source of disruptive change and harnessing it is part of the solution.

    I am enjoying our conversation here and would like to connect more directly. My email is now listed in my CustomerThink profile. Please let me know how I can contact you.


    John I. Todor, Ph.D.

  6. Venkat,

    This is an insightful post. A good starting point for companies mired in siloed metrics like call avoidance and cust experience.

    One of the challenges that technology vendors will have to overcome to make this a successful enterprise initiative is to look at this as a business concept rather than a CRM concept (as pointed out by John. Also, the need of the hr is to break the shackles and look beyond the early adopters in the hi-tech industry. If companies overcome these 2 challenges, they are in the right place.


  7. Interesting conversation between the two of you , John I also read your post on Dell- and both there and your comments here very rightly suggest what more is needed to make a brand work, thrive in these times where customer is almost everywhere- your customer in the first role, your critique, your advisor, your problem solver and your idea hub.

    And therefore I agree with the approach, points raised by Venkat and his focus on driving the point here about ‘measure measure, measure’ and measure right…Customers have newer ways to influence company/ brand as such and measuring these interactions and measuring this right is extremely critical. Came across a nice post about Ford their Social Media initiative and then “Does it really impact the great financial results” that they came up with last Qtr [url=

    Am sure with the markets picking up there would be more such stories but sure would like the see the right metrics and points to the contribution of Social CRM and Media as such that could rightly claim the same…

  8. Thanks John, for your comments. A bit late from my side to respond.

    A disruptive change! A change it is and it will be constant. To harness this will be a task for sure, from businesses perspective. I go back to my mention of “commitment” in my previous comment and this is of prime importance when we need to manage the different drivers of change with a SCRM perspective.

    The SCRM strategy itself needs to be adaptive. This is where the agile point kicks in as per our prior discussions. There is too much of a clutter and “chatter” now in SCRM and this needs time to subside to move ahead firmly.

    Some drivers of change from a SCRM perspective that i can think of for now are –

    change in mode of communication
    faster time to resolution demanding better QoS to complement or overcome the existing inertia in systems/apps
    the strength of collective advocacy
    collective intelligence and more.

    Similarly, the hurdles in terms of technology, business process adoption and adaptation coupled with improper knowledge dissemination across the people value chain in the organization will pose a challenge to SCRM.

    Welcome your comments on the same.


  9. As per what I understand, the heart of the Social CRM would be around “Listening to conversations from Social Netwroks”.

    As More and More folks, who signup to the social networks,increasing use the Security Profiles, what are the odds of continuing to Listen to their conversations?


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here