The Evolution of CRM: Five Questions with R “Ray” Wang


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During this week’s 2011 CRM Evolution Forum, I had the pleasure of meeting quite a few Social CRM gurus, including Constellation Research’s Principal Analyst and CEO, R “Ray” Wang. Ray and I were able to sit down for a brief Q&A, where he shared some interesting perspectives on the impending challenges facing the CRM industry, as well as a preview of what he will be discussing as a keynote presenter at Neolane Evolution 2011, our annual user conference. Here’s what he had to say…

Q: Could you please tell us about yourself and what you do?

A: Hi, I’m Ray and I’m the Principal Analyst and CEO of Constellation Research. We are a research and strategy firm helping buyers harness the powers of disruptive technologies. We look at social business, mobile enterprise, cloud computing, advanced analytics, unified communications, Government 2.0 and Green Technologies.

Q: CRM is evolving. What is your take on this evolution and the new challenges CRM faces?

A: CRM started out with much promise. Looking back, CRM did a good job in managing and automating, but failed to do as good a job with customers and relationships. Today, with social media, cloud computing and mobile advancements, the evolution can, and must, focus on the customer and the relationship.

The new challenge is not about whether a campaign is successful or whether or not a service request was completed, or whether a deal was closed. The new focus is about building communities where we can reengage customers and prospects. We have to rebuild trust so we can engage and influence.

Q: How is social affecting how marketers are doing business today?

A: Social is a channel that’s allowing customers to create their own people-to-people networks, improve transparency, and deliver information in real time. Marketers have to think about how to improve the signal-to-noise ratio and take advantage of such powerful tools.

Q: What would be a good starting point to implement a successful social CRM strategy?

A: Start by tracking social contact information in your customer profiles. It’s as simple as tracking Twitter accounts when a customer calls and screen pop-ups asking for Twitter handles during an online session. Starting here will provide a key base. Then, it’s about focusing on business value. How do you determine the metrics that matter? Next you focus on the business processes. Apply design thinking to see which processes can be improved and how they can be improved. Social is added as a consideration to the overall experience. Then consider the role view of what they should have to be successful.

Q: This October, you will be attending Neolane’s worldwide user conference in Paris. Besides taking an interactive role in the event, is there anything else on the top of your “to do” list while staying in the city of lights?

A: It’s always a pleasure to be in Paris. I’m looking forward to walking the streets, having lunch at a cafe, and absorbing the vibrance and energy of the city.

On behalf of the Neolane team, we look forward to making sure you accomplish those goals! Thank you very much for your time Ray.

Now it’s your turn. Did you attend CRM Evolution? We’d like to hear your feedback on the event and are happy to field any additional questions you may have for Ray.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mathieu Hannouz
Mathieu Hannouz is the senior product marketing manager at conversational marketing technology provider Neolane, Inc.. He is responsible for driving the launch of Neolane's key product features across North-America including identifying target markets and opportunities, the creation and development of messaging, positioning and launch materials. Mathieu is Neolane's resident expert on Social Marketing. You can follow him on twitter @repackaged.


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