Social CRM has two major and very different aspects:

1) The sCRM Product Solution Aspect

As CRM is under huge pressure from the open and collaborative social media space, CRM vendors (first was Oracle) decided to promote the idea of “Social CRM”. Even so there is no real product and no real product definition, it is the vendors interest to close the gap between the wide open social space and the very close enterprise software space. Other than integrating twitter streams and other social chatter, nothing has materialized, where an enterprise sales or marketing organization would fall in love with.

2) The Philosophical Aspect

Consultants in the sales and marketing field understood the need for a change. Not just an upgrade but a significant shift in the customer interaction model. sCRM sounded like the bridge between those tangential drifting continents. As such the definition is eroding more and more every day. To some it is a future product solution, to others it is Twitter, Groups and communities done right, yet to others it is just a “strategy” and again others see multiple facets of the above – and then there are groups who see it emerging without being able to exactly articulate what it may be in the future.

My personal opinion:

If $100 Billion in aggregate (SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, Salesforce.com and about 20 other CRM vendors) now promote sCRM and do nothing but bolting the “s” in front of the CRM – the vision of the SCRM strategists will be overshadowed and no way of creating a more social business relationship with customers, prospects and partners will remain a dream.

If instead we work with a new vision, new business processes and as a result completely new products, we may see where the new world leads us to.

SRM – social relationship Management is an attempt to make that shift. As we define SRM and build SRM products, we also define new business processes. Not driven by efficiency or automation but driven by customer requests for a better business relationship with their respective vendors.

See the Definition of SRMAxel

http://xeesm.com/AxelS
(my social map)

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I just read a few articles about sCRM. One was a post on a blog where the blog doesn’t allow comments (very social). The other was talking about Ajax enabled technology that revolutionizes CRM (OMG) and yet another one described the advantage of getting Twitter streams and Facebook wall entrances all feed into the CRM system for better customer information (yes more data). Another system suggest that it takes everything a sales person ever needs so they never have to leave their CRM system (wow – how about leaving the company to actually deal with the customer?). The worst are the ones who still promote the “low touch sales model”. Automation is still the big word. Didn’t we automate already to death so that the customer doesn’t want to speak with us any longer?

NOW – CRM was always a hard nut to crack. Mostly beloved by executives to get data and hated by sales people who (in my personal opinion rightfully) prefer to deal with customers not with data administration and data analysis. I joined – really just for the fun of it – three sCRM and related presentations and was shocked what a sales or marketing person would have to do to “leverage” all the wonderful options of triggers, automated nurture programs, forecast granularity adjustments and a gazillion other options. Social CRM now feeds even more data to an already overwhelmed sales person. There is no word about the actual customer relationship – zero – nada – nothing. Is that how we bring the economy back?

A friend of my (a sales person): “Axel, that is today’s reality. We are customer data admins, not customer relationship managers. We manage the theoretic aspects of the relationship but I am about 10-20% of my business hours with a customer – at best.” What do you do all day long? “I try to reach customers based on a suggestion list, call and call and typically leave 10 voice mails – I know nobody will listen to, in many cases don’t even get to voice mail and one or two people I may be able to talk directly. If I’m on the road I prepare my trip, travel optimization, planning, arranging meetings which is a just an enormous task in itself and so forth. Weekly forecast review, weekly planning for the review meeting, again data into and out of the CRM system – the whole nine yard.” OK and 1 out of 8 hours a day with customers? – “As you can see now – AT BEST. Other activities are reviewing the lead process, the nurturing process, we have very sophisticated processes and it takes a lot to actually go through them every day”.

Bolting an “S” onto the CRM seem to make it harder not better. Of course in the days of Social Media companies need to do something. But sCRM seems to be the opposite direction. sCRM seems to be accelerating the disaster we have on the sales side. Not only because if the incremental information flow but also because of the farther automation instead of the social engagement. Living in a CRM system – that’s what CRM vendors like to see. But don’t you want to see the sales person be with the customer and spend only a fraction of the time with ANY system?

I love Brian Solis statement: “Take the C out of the sCRM”. As our networks grow exponentially, we also may need a good tool, but we need a tool that helps us with the actual relationship – not with the data we aggregate.

Social Relationship Management as it is is currently defined may be a solution to the problem as it focuses on the relationship – not at the data.

Axel
http://xeesm.com/AxelS

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I started Twitter early 2007 see my first tweets. Like many I had no clue – stopped using it for a few weeks, came back, liked it a lot and people laughed at me “Axel, are you out of your mind”.
In the coming two years I followed probably 20,000 people on and off and got to 53,000 something follower over all – now down to about 5,000 after I did some twitter hygiene.

I used Twitter to converse, get news, chat, inform, provoke…

Twitter is evolving. It is going to be the world’s most important NEWS platform. Twitter already became the leading publishing company – without being a publishing company.
And as such I will continue to tweet, but not about how my sailing trip was or that I have lunch with another CEO (well maybe once in a while) – but rather changes that may be of interest to more people just than my inner circle.

Like many things in our social media industry is evolving. People who hate change, don;t want change, will be disappointed – others will sour with the evolution. “Fly with the eagles or scratch with the chickens.”

That’s why in 2010 you will no longer see me tweeting every day.
Axel
XeeSM.com/AxelS

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After discussing and consulting with probably 100 executives in all industries the number one reaction has been:
“I get it, I know we gotta do something – but where do we begin?”
It can’t be “Hey everybody go on Twitter” – or “Lets quickly do a fan page” or any of the other helpless social media marketing tactics. This is NOT going to work in an enterprise.
So what is it then?

The answer: “Find out what your customers do in the social web”.
The biggest fear: “They are probably NOT using social media”.
The response: “Find it out”.

Two simpler steps:
1) Make the first move to more openness and tell your customers where YOU are in the social web. You can leverage a free tool called XeeSM and share your LinkedIn, Facebook, Youtube, website, and other groups or networks. Tell your customers: “Hey this is where you can find me – would be great if you could let me know where you are”. The key word: APPROACHABILITY

2) Now ask your customers again to share their social networks, groups, sites with YOU. Ask them to put it up on their XeeSM (which they will like for themselves) and share it with you. Now you know.

Effect:
Total surprise 1: “I had no idea that they are all over the map”
Total surprise 2: “I get to know them so much better and faster”
Total surprise 3: “We can chit chat without them feel being “sold” or “marketed”

OK where do you go from here?
1) You know first hnad that this “social media thing” is for real
2) You experienced the relationship building with your customers, prospects and partners for yourself
3) You recognize the importance of getting way beyond a brush up of your profile.

You no longer ask “Where do I begin…” Instead, you will ask “help me focus, I have so many ideas”. Trust me – it’s like a 3 year old enters Toys-R-Us for the first time.

Axel
http://xeesm.com/AxelS

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