By Dylan Persaud, CTO Forum
What does the term social CRM mean? According to Peter Greenberg, the author of “CRM at the Speed of Light,” social CRM is a philosophy and a business strategy, supported by a technology platform and designed to engage a customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted and transparent business environment.
It’s the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation.
CRM has incorporated a social aspect to a business tool by adding the features and functions of social networking sites. Customer interaction, internal and external collaboration, locating experts, soliciting feedback and extended customer service are some of the social aspects that are evolving out of traditional CRM with social components.
One of the problems faced by organizations is how to incorporate these benefits of SCRM and manage it accordingly. These problems stem from the additional administration, storage, meta-tagging, archiving and content management.
Traditional CRM vendors are trying to adapt to this new business model and enterprise software. As put by fellow analyst Jeremy Owyang, SCRM vendors can’t cut the mustard.
There are a few categories that are mainly considered social CRM:
- Traditional CRM with social integration
- Community platforms offering CRM
- Brand monitoring offering social CRM
- Social media with Twitter capabilities
- Social customer experience
- Sales 2.0 and social graph aggregation
- CRM applications and plug-ins
- Social networks and others
These are considered the main categories in social CRM. As organizational usage increases, vendors will vie for the attention of companies until the market matures. Then mobility on top of this is a rapid evolution that will occur within this software arena and how they react may make or break the market. As any software matures, newer vendors will enter, yet traditional vendors will have the advantage of brand recognition on their side.
Whatever changes occur in this space, organizational usage will evolve and differ from company to company. It still becomes an exercise in finding the best fit for the organization and catering to the specific functions you are looking to solve.
A software evaluation methodology will still need to be considered, as it just keeps getting more complicated, and sometimes unnecessarily so. This is a software name that is ahead of the actual software being delivered for now.
Organizations should create, review and monitor social network strategies and policies, as there is no magic formula to convert buzz to ROI. Even if there are ways to convert buzz, it can be detrimental, as well as a waste of time for C-level employees.
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