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Welcome to my CRM software and sCRM blog.
This online forum and dialogue shares the experiences, lessons, learning and insight about the real world uses of Social CRM (sCRM) and traditional Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) systems.






Executive Sponsors Paramount to Social CRM Success

Social CRM Draws on Many Customer Relationship Management Parallels

Social CRM (sCRM) is like a Customer Relationship Management itself in some important ways. Take the example of the importance of a CRM sponsor. A CRM software implementation without an executive sponsor from a high level in the organization will suffer from short attention spans, fleeting funding, and eventual user adoption challenges. Without a sponsor to make sure the CRM project is broadcast as a top company strategic effort, the effort is likely to wither and die a slow but predictable death.

Social CRM benefits from the same sponsorship, however, the impetus for adopting SCRM is much more nebulous, because many business leaders themselves are skeptical. Often, the responsibility for proving the concept is handed off to a line of business manager, someone in service, marketing or, in a few select cases, sales. This transfer and the outcomes of their efforts will have a lot to do with the enthusiasm for SCRM efforts and projects in the future.

So, if you're a software vendor looking to target or tap into the CRM software market, how do you approach these Social CRM sponsors?

Part of succeeding is to first understand the business process silos within many companies. We all know that technology silos cripple businesses by preventing the flow of information from one part of the business to another where it can be used or it's critically needed. But there are also human silos within companies – sales versus marketing, for instance, or service versus everyone else. While there's an increasing understanding that all these lines of business need to work together if you're going to be able to create a coherent customer experience, how often do workers in those parts of your business get together to discuss business process results, improvements or fixes? How often do the managers talk? Usually, it's not very often.

So, if you're seeking to sell a Social CRM software solution, you may be well advised to approach decision makers with a personalized view of their needs and a software product that can extend across the organizational departments once they've succeeded in proving its value within their particular area of responsibility.

Again, that draws a parallel with CRM software adoption: you need to obtain early and frequent wins to convince users of the value of the CRM application, and then leverage those successes in a progressive fashion. That's going to be equally true with Social CRM, because your sponsors will have to show how improved service is correlating to increased sales to existing customers, or how personalized marketing campaigns fueled with Social CRM result in higher conversion rates or more qualified leads. Software vendors will have to help these sponsors understand how to extend their solutions beyond their narrow fields of interest in order to really establish footholds across the company.

It's going to be a little like the way marketing automation and lead management systems are being sold today. They usually go in through the marketing department, of course, but vendors like Eloqua and Marketo have added features targeted at sales pros, helping them extend their products across the company and span those human silos mentioned earlier.

We're going to see similar approaches, starting with Social CRM monitoring (also called social listening tools) and analytics tools. The ones who achieve early market share are going to be the ones that learn the needs of the customers (another CRM parallel), not just in terms of software technology. They also have to comprehend the unique circumstances and motivations of the decision makers and the first-generation users of Social CRM technologies. The best way to do that is to build strong relationships with those customers – another parallel to traditional CRM solutions.

As they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Social media and social CRM only changes the channels by which customers communicate with you (and vice versa). Many of the business objectives and problems remain the same. If you address them, the Social CRM sponsors will come.

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 Social CRM (SCRM) & Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software