The Evolution of Social CRM: Early Adopters Must Build Trust and Community

By Wang, R. "Ray" | CRM Magazine, September 2011 | Go to article overview

The Evolution of Social CRM: Early Adopters Must Build Trust and Community


Wang, R. "Ray", CRM Magazine


RECENT INTERVIEWS with more than 100 early adopters of social business practices (i.e., social CRM, Enterprise 2.0, and social media marketing) revealed the five phases of maturity (see Figure 1). Let's trace these stages chronologically with the following descriptions:

1. Discovery. A few individuals begin the process of finding new tools. They try to identify consumer technology innovations that influence enterprise business processes. Leaders must discern the hype from the reality and then generate support from executives.

2. Experimentation. Small teams try out new tools. They fail fast on experiments, learn, and then move on. Leaders must foster internal collaboration and begin the process of vendor selection.

3. Evangelization. Small department leaders seek repeatable processes and commence test pilots of technology. Momentum builds for projects, as leaders incorporate social components into business models and track meaningful business metrics.

4. Formalization. Successful evangelization leads to enterprise-wide acceptance. Processes become repeatable and predictable, and leaders scale to match demand and ensure long term-funding.

5. Realization. With a successful project at hand, the enterprise seeks to expand usage to ecosystem stakeholders, so suppliers, partners, and customers are brought into the fold. Leaders anticipate convergence and develop social business governance plans.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

TRANSITION FROM DISCOVERY TO EXPERIMENTATION

Line-of-business executives, CMOs, CIOs, social strategists, and COOs shift from discovery to experimentation (see Figure 2). As most projects enter a pilot stage, 63.1 percent of respondents said they focus on identifying meaningful metrics and 55.3 percent of them struggle to incorporate social into existing business models. Many organizations have engaged in multiple pilots with a midterm goal of selecting the right tools.

FOCUS ON NON-TECHNICAL ASPECTS

The train has left. Organizations must put together a social CRM strategy that meets their business objectives, matches their organizational culture, and provides the right level of technological support. Expect reference architectures for social business to emerge that incorporate design thinking, innovative user experience models, business APIs, and a deeper vertical focus. Not all organizations can and will adopt social business. But leaders can start by taking the following steps:

* Begin with the end in mind. Start with metrics that matter and agree on what to measure in current and future states.

* Align with existing CRM processes. Take the metrics and map back to business processes. Identify where social CRM processes meet traditional CRM.

* Plan for change management. Map out where processes tie back to individuals and departments, and determine how to connect individuals to processes and break down functional fiefdoms.

* Build the future state. Focus design on customer experience business cases, and identify opportunities to ensure agility and flexibility.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Leaders have an opportunity to adopt critical success factors when it comes to social CRM projects. Those that succeed will leapfrog their competition with a disruptive technology and business model for 2011 and beyond. …

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