Getting started with Social CRM can be a daunting proposition, particularly for those organizations just taking their first steps on the path. In previous articles, I walked through two enterprise use cases for Social CRM, but a good portion of the feedback and comments boiled down to, “this all sounds great, but how do we even begin to foster such robust Social CRM capabilities at our organization when we’ve got nothing in place now?” As with just about any enterprise capability, the answer is “good planning and consistent execution” -- easier said than done, right?

Setting the Stage

So with that in mind, I want to dig a bit into how you might begin to tackle an enterprise Social CRM strategy to set the stage for improved branding and customer experience using Social CRM tools and processes.

1. Determine the Organizational Goals that Social CRM Will Support

Growing market share, consolidating business units/product lines after a merger, improving customer experience, evolving your brand, reducing administrative costs…whatever the corporate vision for the organization is, Social CRM will have to contribute to it (and visibly so) if it’s to get the support and funding it needs to succeed long term. And if you can’t find an organizational goal that Social CRM will support, now’s the time to think long and hard about whether it makes sense to embark on the process of getting Social CRM up and running at your organization.

2. Determine the Scope of Social CRM

Social CRM touches a lot of areas in an organization. You need to determine what elements of Social CRM will be required to help meet the desired organizational goals. Some of the broad choices are:   

  1. Internal vs. external audience – customers, suppliers, partners vs. employees and contractors 
  2. Stand alone vs. integrated with core business systems
  3. Business application – some of most important to date have been product development, customer service, marketing, and sales, but others will emerge (e.g., supply chain)                       

3. Then Recruit Stakeholders

Determine which individuals, workgroups, departments, divisions, etc., need to be on board for Social CRM to succeed and get them involved. Depending on how many and who they are, this can be an informal working group, a more formal COE, an organizational program or even a quasi-official department.

4. Determine What the Current State of Social CRM is

What technology, processes, policies, procedures, awareness, people skills and so on, are already in place to support Social CRM and which are not.

5. The Define the Future State

Determine what the future state(s) of Social CRM needs to look like to support the org goals you selected. Make sure to think about the milestones along the way, e.g., near term (8-12 months) and midterm (18-24 months), not just the end of the road (36 months and beyond).

6. Build the Roadmap

Sketch a roadmap of what needs to be done to move from current to future state. This can even be as simple as, “we have no idea and need to hire someone to help us before we can move forward” -- be honest about what you can and can’t do and then act accordingly.

This is the Foundation for Social CRM

These six steps should be pretty familiar to anyone who’s participated in creating enterprise strategy before. They’re the foundation for successfully planning and executing any program, Social CRM or otherwise.

Despite that, I’ve worked with many clients who’ve skipped some (or almost all) of these in their enterprise planning process. Furthermore, many Social CRM tools encourage this kind of ready, fire, aim behavior because they’re low cost, or SaaS (or both). But in my experience the result is always suboptimal: reduced ROI, lower adoption, more difficult to gain support and funding, more time spent later in the process to make up for poor planning, and increased efforts to manage change -- all of which threaten to derail Social CRM at the enterprise and lessen your chances of success.

Additional Articles on Social CRM include: