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Chuck The 7 Deadly Sins of SaaS CRM

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VII. It's a Sin to Ignore Social CRM

CRM is a journey, and the most direct path toward customer engagement may be best accomplished with Social CRM (SCRM).

Social CRM practitioners and strategies recognize the change in managing the communication dialogue from the supplier to the customer — and from a monologue to a dialogue. However, social CRM empowers the suppliers to employ tools which are user driven, collaborative and interactive in order better engage customers at the time, place and method of their choosing.

Despite the feverish media attention given to Web 2.0 and social media, CRM software vendors have been a bit random, or at best, inconsistent in supplying solutions or integrated tools which capitalize on social strategies. But because a portfolio of pre-built "social CRM products" doesn't really exist, their challenge is more of innovation and delivering tools which can be applied with equal innovation by their customers.

Common social CRM tools include online social monitoring (also called social listening), social stream integration and users helping users (self help) forums. More importantly, social benefits among CRM software users may include the following:

  • Marketers can use social monitoring tools to identify customers upset with competing products or in the market to buy a new solution, connect with those prospects much earlier in the sales cycle, and engage in a more personable conversation to qualify and route them to the sales team. Marketers can also use social channels to test and tweak campaign flights, messaging and content in significantly less cycle times that offline channels. Marketers that supplement their CRM customer segmentation and profile data with customers' online attributes available from social networks and other channels will be able to better personalize their campaigns and deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.
  • Sales staff can become much more familiar with the prospects and customers they call upon by reviewing their prospects online behaviors, such as their comments on blogs, the people they connect with, the companies they 'friend' and and the social networks which they participate.
  • Customer service representatives can impress customers or prevent irate customer rants from going viral by responding to their online complaints or frustrations in social networks or channels not owned by the company. The most forward thinking call centers are monitoring Twitter and other social channels in order to flag complaints related to their companies or products and proactively reach out to those aggravated customers to offer empathy and help. Customers who became frustrated with their suppliers, and then later relieved due to their suppliers response, tend to be more loyal than customers that never incurred an issue in the first place.
  • Management teams can use social media tools to measure the trends and benefits of business development programs such as customer advocacy, customer referrals, customer experience management, brand value and other highly valuable, but often difficult to assess, customer focused initiatives. Also, by testing new product or service concepts online, valuable feedback can be delivered back to product engineering early in the product life cycle when it is most valuable.

Extending traditional and mainly transaction-based CRM software with social CRM tools will empower creative companies to truly engage their customers and as a result advance their customer relationships along a continuum from first time buyer to repeat customer to collaborative partner to unsolicited advocate.

Ultimately, Social CRM will merge with traditional CRM, and the 'social' moniker will likely become redundant and disappear. Until that time, companies desiring increased engagement and collaboration with their customers are advised to first collaborate with their CRM vendor in a creative exercise to discover how the vendors tools, methods or processes can facilitate social CRM adoption.

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The 7 Deadly Sins of SaaS CRMSaaS UptimeSaaS SecurityPoor Online PerformanceUser Adoption ChallengesBusiness Process AutomationMobile CRMSocial CRM

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Comments (9) — Comments for this page are closed —

Guest Jeanie Lutz
  Your point on user productivity cannot be over-emphasized. Too many CRM software implementations declare success if and when they are able to get data into a central software application, which is why subsequent events such as user productivity and access to information fail to make measurable advances. I read an article where IDC analyst Melissa Webster said "Our studies on information worker productivity show the needle hasn't moved much." She went to say that "People are still wasting hours and hours every week navigating these complicated desktop applications." Her words can be witnessed at my prior employer, and I'm sure many other companies, where when the CRM implementation got tough, the original objectives were set aside and the go-live cut-over became the success event. That obviously failed to appease the user communities and the change management obstacles ultimately doomed the project manager. If you want to win over users, make their daily lives easier. The combination of business process automation and worker productivity will do that.

Guest Andy Depanet
  I'm correct that on-demand CRM is the same thing as SAAS CRM? Or is on-demand kind of like version 1 SAAS? Not sure which came first.
  Chuck Chuck Schaeffer
    SaaS evolved from the ASP (Application Service Provider) industry at the turn of the century and has since morphed into the cloud. SaaS is a component of cloud computing, however, the cloud is broad and also includes services such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and managed services. The market space has evolved at Internet speed and transitioned several category descriptions and acronyms along the way — from ASP to Hosted to On-Demand to SaaS to Cloud — but despite the evolving monikers the basic premise of remote delivery of CRM systems procured as a subscription has remained largely intact.

Guest Jeremy Ritter
  I don't get why touts a no software logo and theme. Of course CRM buyers are buying their software and all the SAAS companies offer the benefits of SAAS.
  Chuck Chuck Schaeffer
    Early CRM hosted solutions focused far more on the cost effectiveness and advantages of the hosting model than the strengths of a particular CRM application. While first-to-market CRM providers had the luxury of evangelizing and selling the then ASP model far more than selling their proprietary offerings, the buying and selling market dynamics changed dramatically when competitors emerged. As soon as there were multiple vendors delivering the hosting model and SaaS value proposition, buyers were able to evaluate more than a new software delivery and consumption model and dive deeper to focus on the strengths and competitive advantages of each vendor's proprietary solution.

Guest Ron Jenkins
  Why do you call porting a fat client system to a browser interface like putting lipstick on a pig?
  Chuck Chuck Schaeffer
    Because while the front end may look better, it's still a pig.

Guest anonymous
  Our CRM software implementation was more about pleasing the sales managers than customers. It failed and we have now reverted back to using Outlook and spreadsheets. I'm surprised lack of focus didn't make your list.
  Chuck Chuck Schaeffer
    The "C" in CRM stands for Customer and far too many professionals lose sight of that once they become too involved with self interests, cool products and new technology. No matter how grand your strategy or how dependent you become on cutting-edge software applications, the customer must always remain your number one priority to be successful with a customer relationship management strategy.



Extending conventional and mainly transaction-based CRM solutions with social CRM tools will empower innovative companies to truly engage their customers and as a result advance their customer relationships along a continuum from first time buyer to repeat customer to collaborative partner to customer advocate.



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