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Chuck Schaeffer BPT Partners Social CRM Summit

3.5 stars Average rating: 3.5 (from 23 votes)
 By Chuck Schaeffer

Tools & Techniques for Engaging the Social Customer

I just returned from the BPT Partners and Paul Greenberg Social CRM Summit in Herndon, VA and thought I would share some thoughts and notes for CRM practitioners that may be considering this recurring event in the future.

Just in case there is anyone left that isn't familiar with Paul, he is the author of the all time best selling CRM industry book CRM at the Speed of Light, Fourth Edition: Social CRM 2.0 Strategies, Tools and Techniques for Engaging Your Customers, President of The 56 Group, CRM blogger and frequent keynote speaker. Over the prior five years he has become the thought leader and foremost authority on the topic of social CRM.

The two day seminar spoke directly to Social CRM strategy. The intended audience is business practitioners that are already familiar with traditional or transactional CRM – and seemingly desire to educate themselves in order to influence or implement their companies social CRM strategy. As Paul often says, the changing environment is a social communications revolution, not a business revolution. This implies that social CRM is a supplement and not a replacement to traditional CRM.

This theme is relevant to the course's content and attendees' take-aways. Paul does a great job in identifying the social customer, communities, influencers and providing highly repeatable case study examples. The seminar then goes into great discussion on the transition from managing customers to engaging customers - and from changing the conversation direction from monologue to dialogue. The lessons learned and actionable information provide attendees with various creative examples to further consider as methods to transform customer mind share into company market share.

As a baseline, social CRM is defined as:

"a philosophy and business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes and social characteristics, designed to engage the 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."

While pundits and self declared experts could endlessly challenge the definition, the description works.

Newcomer Jeff Pedowitz provided a session on Demand Generation 2.0. Jeff is an expert with regard to marketing and sales alignment as well as the relatively new breed of lead management and demand generation systems. At the Pedowitz Group, and to a lesser extent at this seminar, Jeff and seminar MC Bruce Culbert aid B2B marketing organizations in the design, implementation and optimization of lead management systems such as Eloqua and Marketo. Jeff is one of those low key speakers who keeps attendees attention by nonchalantly delivering meaningful information nuggets that we can all take back to our companies. Core topics in Jeff's presentation included demand generation components, key metrics, process map and an interactive exercise which compared audience marketing ops with his own marketing maturity model.

The seminar wasn't perfect. Due to weather, the event changed location at the last minute and scheduled speaker Jeff Tanner was unable to make the trip. I also think the seminar would benefit if extended from two days to three days.

Interestingly enough, the Social CRM Summit coincided with the greatest snowfall to hit the Washington DC area since records have been maintained. As the storm was forecasted, attendees had the option to pass on the seminar. However, to the contrary, attendees traversed sometimes difficult travel arrangements to get there, had little concern for being stranded, and in fact most were stranded and simply used the time to be social with their normally virtual industry colleagues. My own flight was cancelled and pushed out two days, however, the time granted me an extended visit with Paul and get-togethers with several remarkable industry participants. End

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