Last week had the privilege of attending the CRM Seminar on “Social CRM for Business” organised by BPT Partners, where Paul Greenberg managed to attract a large number the world’s thought leaders on Social CRM and market players during a two-day event in a snowed-in Westin Hotel in Washington DC. To the members of the #SCRM Accidental Community it felt like the culmination point (hence the term #scrmsummit ) after many, many months of tweet conversation, blogging and commenting, skype chatting that have helped us shape our ideas of what a Social CRM Strategy could look like as well as the promise it holds concerning how business can be changed for the benefit of all parties involved. It was great to meet in person finally!
I won’t go and repeat the ideas that have already been put forward by other participants (you can find the links below), but I’ll cut through the chase and give you my takeaway.
The Social Customer is now a given (even though I believe the degree of which she is may vary per country…), and basically always has been around. Contrary to the past, these customers now have the ability to find, reach out and converse with like-minded souls from around the globe, it has exploded. They’re abe to join and leave such tribes and communities provides them with great flexibility to create firm or loose ties as they so please. They are starting to become more and more aware of their power they can bring to bear when they act as a group and are able to bear more pressure as a group, leaving many companies in disarray.
Rather than turn to your company for their information needs about your product or services, they now turn to their peers who they overwhelmingly trust more than they do you. It is the End of Business As Usual (cf The Cluetrain), no more only Outbound Marketing (some would say “shouting”…), you now have to pay closer attention to what is being said about you, where it is being said, why it being said and strive to anticipate where the conversation is going: The new Marketing Logic is Customer centricity through engagement and collaboration, but on the customers’ terms. Authenticity and trust is what matters – more than even the “consistency” of the message.
What really stuck with me was the idea about the Collaborative Value Chain which extends the Enterprise Value Chain of Company, partners/channel, vendors/suppliers, external agencies to include the Customers. The Customer Experience is central, and the whole ecosystem contributes to providing one that is superb, and that includes “knowing what the customer thinks and involving her in your thinking on a systematic, ongoing basis”.
The main question for me following Paul’s seminar is how to organise our companies for Social CRM. As I’ve stated in my Twitter bio since I opened the account, I am excited about Social CRM as an organisational change agent. I believe it is the compelling reason for Enterprise 2.0 implementation whose mantra is to get people to collaborate across the width and breadth of the company. But all to often I get the feeling that the pitch has been about the tools and that people are asked to collaborate for the mantra’s sake (I will follow up on this in a later post).
Social CRM makes Enterprise 2.0 a necessity for “responding to the customer’s control of the conversation” (P.Greenberg) and extends it to include the whole Collaborative Value Chain. This brings me to Social Business, on which Esteban Kolsky tried to explain in this post on The Social Customer I commented that my idea is as follows : “Social Business is the optimisation of the Collaborative Value Chain for customer-centric business.”. Esteban said that there were too many fancy words, so we settled on it being when Customers, Organizations, Suppliers, and Partners work together to optimize the value of doing business together”.
This leads me to the last bit, the why of going down the Social CRM / Social Business Strategy route. If there is only compelling reason it is to ultimately to run your business more efficiently, leverage the customer experience to increase your customer base and ensuring that everyone involved is able to optimize the value they extract and exchange so they will continue to want to collaborate.
Products can be built in the World’s Factory at short notice. Services are easily imitated. Your competitive advantage will be your Customer Base and their ability to advocate your company and persuade their peers to do business with you.
So what do you think, is the idea of Social Business disruptive on the organisation, or a natural evolution?
Once again, thank you to Paul Greenberg for providing us with a platform that has finally allowed us to meet and exchange. It really felt like it was a defining moment for Social CRM as a Practice. Merci!
If you would like some additional points of view on the event, I suggest you take a look at the posts byattendees Mitch Lieberman, Michael Krigsman, Brent Leary, Kevin Paschuck, Mike Fauscette, Dr Natalie Petouhoff, Prem Kumar, Brian Vellmure, Kathy Herrmann, Mike Boysen