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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.






Social CRM a fad?

The Facts and Fiction Behind Social CRM Adoption

Many business and IT leaders, and particularly those who haven't implemented social CRM (SCRM), question whether Social CRM is a flavor of the month, or maybe just a fad, or as one customer relationship management (CRM) analyst put, a concept that's "jumped the shark." The phrase Social CRM has been bantered around long enough that there's a bit of a backlash brewing, although not from social CRM proponents who have not done anything so desperate as to officially indicate the sunset of the term.

But business leaders and managers who think the business concepts that the term Social CRM is used to portray or the concept itself is passé are deluding themselves. The fact that your organization may not be ready to implement a social media strategy or new customer engagement ideas is not a valid reason to pooh-pooh new opportunities, and that's true with social CRM.

I suspect there are two key factors behind the questioning of Social CRM validity. First, many businesses are still grappling with the essentials of basic Customer Relationship Management. Even without the "social" tag in front of it, CRM is a challenging business strategy to put in place successfully. It's not an IT project, although a lot of business managers reduce it to that and set the stage for subsequent CRM disappointments. It's a company-wide business strategy that involves not just getting the software right but also getting your customer facing business processes and the attitudes of your employees right. Those last two requirements are much more difficult than just implementing business software – and Social CRM requires you to add even more complexity to the CRM equation. That's somewhat concerning, and I think it's led a number of businesses to write off Social CRM as a result.

The other reason that there's both a hesitancy to adopt and a backlash against Social CRM is that there are no or few "Social CRM" products out there. Unfortunately, business leaders can't just purchase a software product and suddenly inherit or achieve the benefits ascribed to Social CRM. Again, this is attributed back to the CRM-as-IT myth; but the reality is that Social CRM can manifest itself in different ways for different companies, making it pretty tough for software vendors to craft a one-size-fits-most Social CRM software product that actually benefits customers. To some skeptics, the lack of a software product means there's a lack of market validity for the concept.

Both these takes are understandable, but they will ultimately prove unforgivable for business that turn a blind eye. Social CRM is going to manifest itself with competitive advantages, now and over the next several years, not because a software vendor delivered a sprawling, Social CRM omnibus suite that can deliver the social CRM promise, but because forward thinking and innovative companies will seek out the right tools to engage their customers and harness sales intelligence from those interactions that allow them to spot hidden opportunities and simultaneously grow their customer relationships. Of course this stuff is hard, but your customers are complex people. As they gain new found power in the social relationship, it makes sense that the equation is shifting.

Sticking to what's easy to implement is business-centric thinking. So is dismissing the fact that the customer now controls the conversation. As Paul Greenberg has said, Social CRM is business's response to the customer's ownership of the conversation. You might think the jargon of Social CRM has passed its expiration date, but you'd be wise recognize the reality of what that jargon signifies. Otherwise, it may be your business that's jumped the shark.

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