If you are considering implementing a Social CRM strategy, you should take some time to read what Adam Mertz, Director of Product Marketing at Jive Software, has to say about starting points, what successful Social CRMs include and what factors shape a competitive edge.
Siobhan Fagan: What are the most important components of a Social CRM strategy?
Adam Mertz: Successful social CRM strategies put people (on the customer and the company side) at the center of their business. A social CRM strategy has to enable a company to manage beyond the efficiency side of customer interactions. CRM systems have focused on this side for years with some efficiency improvements, but little-to-no actual customer relationship improvements.
A social CRM strategy is about a behavioral change for most organizations so they need to employ processes and systems that make it easy for people to engage, ask questions, locate answers and find experts.
A social CRM strategy should include a social platform that connects the many internal systems a company uses seamlessly and easily, not just a connection to the CRM.
SF: Who should own the Social CRM strategy?
AM: Social CRM strategy is most likely going to be marketing-led but it also can start within specific lines of business.
SF: What part does Social CRM have in a larger Social strategy? Do you need to have the one before the other?
AM: The best Social CRMs start by understanding and targeting the outcomes the business is striving for. In doing so and having a way to quantify these outcomes, the business will be successful. Once that is in place, the social CRM can be a great stepping stone into a broader social strategy for a company.
SF: What is the biggest challenge in implementing a Social CRM strategy?
AM: It's about a behavioral change. The challenge is leveraging the right technology to support this change — i.e., that drives user engagement, is easy and intuitive to quickly see the path to personal value and increased productivity. The underlying technology needs to support distinct business outcomes for the lines of business involved and keep people on these teams at the forefront.
SF: Are businesses focusing more on customer retention or acquisition?
AM: The business climate has changed dramatically in recent years. Top line growth is generally the focus for most CxOs versus cost reduction. This focus makes it even more critical that an enterprise CRM system is designed for a culture of constant innovation, collaboration and expansion of the business.
SF: How can businesses measure return on social relationships?
AM: Companies need to focus on discrete areas of the business and specific metrics within those areas related to improving productivity. For instance — sales should measure the impact on win rates, rep on-boarding time and deal cycle time while marketing should measure speed to create and execute campaigns, and effectiveness of those campaigns.
SF: What do you see as the future of customer relationship management?
AM: We believe an important shift is occurring in the business parallel to what is occurring in the consumer world. People are connecting, sharing and learning at work in new and very innovative ways. Businesses must retool their organization to help employees, customers, partners and prospects to more easily connect, share, learn, find information and innovate to deliver better results. The companies that are doing this now are already showing significant competitive advantage and real, tangible business value.
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