Next week, executives from all over the globe will gather for the annual CRM Evolution conference produced by CRM Magazine in New York City. CRM Evolution, co-located with SpeechTek, will feature a variety of speakers on traditional CRM topics in addition to an increased focus on social CRM.

This will be my third time attending the event, and first time speaking (August 10, 8 a.m. on Generation Y at Work). I am excited about the event and have added the following sessions to my CMSWire “must see” list.

My Pick for Top 7 Sessions

While there are too many great sessions to highlight here, I have chosen seven. All the sessions at the event are strong, so please be sure to also check the online conference agenda for more.

1. Opening Session: Responding to the Voice of the Constituent/Customer

The timing for a political keynote couldn’t be better -- and it’s not because President Barack Obama just had a birthday yesterday. This keynote should be interesting, considering the recent debt ceiling debacle and numerous political events this year that played out on social media channels. CRM Evolution will kick off with David Gergen, keynote speaker and CNN's Senior Political Analyst, former presidential adviser and author. It’s an interesting time for Gergen to address how the proliferation of devices, access and a demand to be heard has changed the political landscape. Gergen will explain how businesses can avoid the mistakes of government leaders. There are many, and we look forward to his words of wisdom.

Monday August 8, 2011

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

2. Improved ROI Through Analytically-Based Segmentation

If you haven’t heard of Gilt Groupe, you should feel guilty. Gilt Groupe is one of the hottest luxury flash deal websites and recently launched sister site Jetsetter, an “invitation only” travel community providing exclusive deals to “hand-picked locations.” Nick Antoniades, Director, Marketing and CRM, will be speaking about Jetsetter’s customer data segmentation methodology. Antoniades will talk about how to accomplish “incremental and longitudinal results” from contacts and teach us how to run tests on CRM data. Hopefully, he’ll flash us with some insight behind the data wall of the world of the luxury flash sale.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

11:45 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.

3. Leverage New Opportunities to Close Deals

One of the best things about conferences are the practitioner-led case studies. Nate Hedtke, Director of CRM, Foodservice for Kraft Foods, is going to talk about how Kraft Foodservice is able to improve upon existing salesforce automation, marketing program effectiveness and mobility efforts to increase customer engagement and loyalty. I see Salesforce and mobile. That session should be a big draw. The second half of the prezo will be from Adobe Systems, who will talk about “social selling,” important not only for the technology side, but the management side as well.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

4:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.

4. Keeping Marketing Fresh with Customer Analytics

A second case study from the food services industry comes from FreshDirect, the food delivery service known for its lavish and well-run online grocery site. At CRM Evolution, Aaron Cano, VP Marketing Planning, will talk about leveraging customer data to drive marketing efforts. Cano will serve up customer analytics and talk about how FreshDirect is moving forward.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011, Luncheon Speaker

12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.

5. Selecting the Right CRM for Your Business

Art Hall’s talk is arguably the most important topic at the event: Choosing a CRM system -- the reason being that many companies don’t have a CRM at all. Forget social business -- many organizations need to verse themselves in how to even begin approaching relationship management. Hall is the Director, Customer Solutions for Alvarez & Marsal, and the President of the Atlanta Chapter of the CRM Association.

Monday, August 8, 2011

3:15 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

6. Panel: Innovative Social Strategies

This must-see panel will discuss the significance of having a “social strategy” that considers culture change, process transformation and “changes to compensation.” The panel will be moderated by Marshall F. Lager, Managing Principal of Third Idea Consulting, featuring Paul Greenberg, President of The 56 Group & Author, CRM at the Speed of Light; R "Ray" Wang, Principal Analyst & CEO for Constellation Research, Inc. CRM Magazine Advisory Board, Forbes Blog Contributor, Investor in Altimeter Group; and Brian Solis, Principal at Altimeter Group and author of Engaged.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

7. Delivering on Social CRM’s Promise

Brent Leary, Partner at CRM Essentials, will provide a closing keynote for the event. He’ll look at ROI expectations in addition to companies that have the most impressive social CRM deployments -- case studies that “yielded significant returns on their technology investments.” He’ll also focus us forward on the next phase of social CRM and additional value we can expect to see from social CRM solutions in the next six to 12 months.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011, Closing Keynote

11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.