Posts Tagged 'crm'

Context Matters More Than Anything

If I’m a sales person looking for information on a prospect, I want the latest, most relevant content. I don’t really care about articles written two years ago. Problem is in current web search, relevance is largely determined by age (starting to change). Yeah and backlinking–which requires time to establish.  In the future, relevance will be about volume, proximity, and syndication (sharing).

In the same example, better information for me is a compound of all current/recent “chatter” about my prospect, where it is being generated and the sentiment behind it (dare I say Web 3.0).

More important is taking this “new” massive pile of information available and making sense of it in the context of the current user AND the current task.  CRM stands to be the center of a new revolution of real-time data aggregation, search, and presentation.

It’s a complex task with many moving parts touching on multiple scientific disciplines. We just need to be careful not to make things more complex.

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Fight, Fight, Fight! Social CRM battle on Twitter #scrm #crmus

This week was bloody. There was savagery in the Twitterverse. And it was awesome!

Here are some of the more vocal warriors:
Prem Kumar Aparanji
Mitch Lieberman (added!)
Brent Leary (oops, wasn’t involved…but still a sharp guy!)
John Moore
Esteban Kolsky

I loved this friendly “battle” because it was trying to solve a problem. I don’t think it was solved but it sure was fun and got everyone thinking. Isn’t that the purpose of any great conversation?

The discussion was over the nomenclature for Social CRM.  One side said it’s Social CRM (#scrm) another side said it’s CRM Using Social (#crmus). Still others said it’s #ivehadenoughofthisarguementcantwealljustgetalong. I doubt the actual term matters much. Semantics are important. But cart before the horse.

Just a few days prior, everyone is discussing what social CRM even IS?  How can you determine semantics unless you know the definition and purpose!  One of my consulting clients is in the same boat. They’ve launched a new social platform for he medical industry.  It seems every day they are trying to come up with the terminology for the web UI. But most of the discussion is actually trying to figure out the true benefits and function of the platform!

HOW WILL PEOPLE USE IT?

This is the one question that needs asking to determine the semantics and nomenclature. The key to developing excellent terminology is discovering the user’s mindset while using the tool.

In regards to Social CRM.  How will people use these tools?  More importantly, how do they WANT to use the tools?  I don’t think there are any great Social CRM tools out there yet. People are integrating social tools and CRM tools. But it’s more than just a simple API integration. This new Social CRM era must be rethought.  Kind of like Google Wave.

It will be another year before these definitions get nailed down. So many companies are trying desperately to build tools that are effective and useful. But the market mindset seems to change every day.

Maybe the answer is not to build “new” tools but to look at the way people have been interacting forever and build tools that reflect those attitudes and behaviors.

Social CRM is about context

When people interact in the social world, everything is about context.

If I was having a conversation with a friend about the state of the economy and he suddenly said “pickles go great with peanut butter”, well, that would be weird.  Yet that’s what most businesses spend their time and marketing dollars on. The customer is going through their day with all sorts of worries, concerns, desires, dreams, and to-dos. The marketer comes along and says, “Look! A great deal on my widget that is totally unrelated!  Please buy!” No wonder businesses are falling apart.

CRM has sought to understand and refine sales pitches and processes based upon past customer behavior. But that method is old school. And alone, it is quickly losing effectiveness.

Social networking is 100% about what’s going on in the person’s mind–right now.  The merger of this is where the company leverages the social communities to discover the precise conversations and engage with customer right then.

I just Tweeted about a problem I was having with Hootsuite. My goal was to get a recommendation for another Twitter client to use. Before anyone else responded Hootsuite replied to me and tried to solve my problem. We had a conversation. And they kind of solved it.  But more importantly is that my search for a new platform virtually stopped. I’m thinking, “If a company is this fast and responsive with problems, maybe I should stick around.”

Key takeaway points:
1) Hootsuite was listening
2) They responded
3) They were personal
4) They tried to solve my problem
5) They started a reliable relationship

Consumers don’t expect perfection.  They crave acknowledgement and effort. They want their vendors to try and improve. They want engagement. Hootsuite won today.  I wonder how many other customer complaints entered the Twitterverse and went completely ignored?

Sticking to your core business

A lot of CRM companies can learn from this article: Original Article

Excellence doesn’t come from pursuing the flavor of the month. You may make a few bucks in the short term but your business won’t last.  Be true to your core.  Stick closely to your main business.

CRM companies are trying to go “social” but they are not social media/networking companies.  They have different DNA. Instead of trying to tackle the latest trend, focus on making your CRM tool better, easy, faster, and more useful.  That may include integrating social features.  But it doesn’t fundamentally change your platform.

The point is to stay true to your core. When Google launched Picasa, News, Gmail, Maps, and a myriad other platforms, the focus of ALL these ancillary products was search and ad placement. Period.

They built other products only if they supported their core business. It’s hard to do.  But seems to have treated Google just fine.

It’s all about the customer dummy

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management.  Right?  But the functionality of most systems are more about Customer Management.  They aren’t focused on the relationship.  Sure they track customer activity and behaviors.  But they don’t really make relationships better.  THAT is the hope of people talking about Social CRM.

If you just kept tabs on your spouse’s activity and behavior…how would your marriage be?

Relationships aren’t about metrics.  That would be easy. Relationships are more complicated. They are more about opinions, feelings, attitudes, pet peeves, and other emotionally based things.  Modern CRM doesn’t track that.  Social media does.  And everyone is scrambling to merge them. Most are failing.

Got this from A. Prem Kumar:

From trying to “control” the customer experience, CRM will have to shift to “providing” customer experience & “enabling” collaboration on multiple levels by “participating” in conversations with the customers across various new social media channels and new locations on the online socnets/communities.

The businesses that understand the above need & incorporate it will come out winners, the rest will become whiners since they will be forced to incorporate those changes. Because of the onslaught of the technologies that are putting the power into the hands of the customers.

The new stuff will be about engagement, collaboration & co-creation with the customers by the business.

Social CRM is the peace pipe from businesses to customers armed with social media & VRM (vendor relationship management, which Paul equates to the Labor Unions!). But rather than pitting against each other, Social CRM should be able to bring together all the parties in a business ecosystem for collaboration & co-creation. It is no longer only business to customer but also the other way as well as customer to customer too.

Original post

I’m not sure if he was the originator but it clarifies what I’m thinking.  CRM has been looked at as an enterprise focused application with little or no thought for the actual customer.

Social CRM needs to merge the emotional customer and non-emotional enterprise.  It’s more than “watching” customers.  It’s actual interaction. Actual collaboration.  Actual relationship building in the customer’s natural environments.