The Face of Social CRM Consulting?


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CRM Consulting Is To Salesforce Automation As ______ Is To Social CRM

With all the hype going on lately, I began wondering what Social CRM consulting might look like. Will it simply be an added service performed by CRM consultants (booooooorrrrring!) Or will it be a revolutionary new market just like Social CRM software?

Sorry, Esteban, I had to have some fun with you after thatgreat blog post you wrote on what defines a new market.

I suggest that there is a possibility that Social CRM consulting could be hampered by the same problems that faced the CRM world. There’s a reason why I say that. CRM consulting was hampered by a technology first orientation right from the get-go. Salesforce automation software vendors took the term over even though it evolved as a concept to orient a business to a customer first business philosophy; replacing the company first orientation coming out of sales organizations.

All of a sudden, consultants, like myself, began referring to the same software as CRM in stead of SFA. We were just trying to clarify what the software really was. Sure, we started seeing customer service modules, and marketing modules because, after all, we’re managing our customer relationships now, not just automating sales. So we installed these too!

So what changed? Not much really. Paul Greenberg came out with the Bible on CRM called CRM at the Speed of Light (4th edition out next month) and many of us gobbled it up. “But wait a minute, this book isn’t about software!” It was all about this management consulting stuff. That’s a lot harder for sales people and former accountants (all wannabe consultants) to grasp and convert to a consulting practice than simply installing software and training end users. So, many of us just ignored it (yea, I did too for awhile).

We basically had a good thing going here and had for many years way back to the rise of Contact Managers. Now going way back, this was definitely a new market. I’m not going to argue with that.

The Dawn of a Social CRM Consulting Market?

Let’s pretend for a moment that Social CRM is a new market and that we need a whole new breed of Social CRM consulting warriors to service it. What will they look like?

I can assure you, they won’t look like me. Sure, I’m all about doing whatevermy customer feels they need to engage their customers. But, since I’ve got a few years under my belt, I know from experience that every business is different for a variety of reasons. So, I was not only shocked, but amused, when I read a really great blog post by Jill Dyche entitledMeeting Customers Where They Are: When Social Media Misses the Mark. Actually, I nearly fell out of my chair laughing!

Social CRM may not ever become a market for all the reasons the Esteban Kolsky mentioned in the blog I referenced earlier. But, there is another reason it may never gain the traction so many software companies hope for. The reason is simple….they’re sending inexperienced kids out there to eagerly promote it. And when they do, they make a few mistakes <wink>.

So after I read Jill’s post, I came up with a simple list of what Social CRM consulting should NOT look like. Grab a pen, here they are:

  1. A Social CRM professional should NOT wear a T-shirt to important prospect or client meetings.
  2. A Social CRM professional should NOT tweet out the progress of the private client meeting for the world to follow (yes, during the meeting).
  3. A Social CRM professional who only began shaving the year before should NOT tell an experienced business manager that their CRM initiative will FAIL without a social component. (How the heck would this kid know?)

What will Social CRM consulting look like? I’m not really sure. In fact, CRM consulting can look different depending on how you approached your CRM program (not a software program). It could look like process consulting, customer experience consulting, customer service consulting, relationship marketing consulting or a aggregation of them all.

Or, it can look like an IT project. I guess we will see as the new market develops.


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