The SCRM Roadmap – Part 1 of 5

I had to let some time go by between the latest definition controversy and this post so I could say that this is not about definitions. Those are done.

This is about how a business undertakes the road to becoming a social business while dealing with customers (fine, how does a business embrace SCRM).

In putting this together I tried different approaches.  Tried to make it look like a roadmap, but there were not clear point-to-point directions to take as the assumption would be that all companies start from the same point – and we all know that is nowhere near the case.  I tried to take it as a straight road with a set of rond-points for each sub-strategy, but that did not work either as the feeding roads into each rond-point were very complicated and not all organizations needed them all. I finally settled on a pyramid shape.  I like pyramids because they build on the previous layer to grow.  And that is the way to build your SCRM strategy: you have to have one layer set before you can move to the next one.

Each layer in this pyramid represent a sub-strategy you have to have set before moving to the next one.  If you don’t have the base layer strategy documented, you are not going to be able to move to the next one.  Figure 1 shows the different sub-strategies an organization must create to end up with a SCRM strategy.  There are four sub-strategies (from the bottom up): communities, channels, rules, and functional (in the next four days we will explore each one in more detail):


What is that?  The chart is wrong?  Well, I guess you could say that… but it is not.  You do start crafting your SCRM strategy from the top and progress slowly towards the bottom.  Yes, it sounds crazy – but just enough that it might work.

The inclination today for everybody who is trying to implement SCRM is to start with a — tool.  Communities. Twitter. Blogs. Wikis.  Let’s deploy them, monitor and listen, see what we can gather and then we can decide whether it is for us or not.  Guess what? you don’t have that luxury.  You have to embrace the social business model because your customers, your competitors, your partners – heck, your whole world is moving in that direction.  Sure, you can try a channel or two and see what happens – but that is not going to get your an iota closer to understanding how your business becomes social as it relates to your clients.  Remember the “twittable” definition Paul Greenberg set for Social CRM?

The company’s response to the customer’s control of the conversation.

You have to embrace becoming social, as it is your company’s response to your customers becoming social.  So, as long as you HAVE TO do it, might as well do it right – from the business perspective.  Start from the functions that your business performs with customers, figure out the rules you are going to follow, determine the best channels for each, and finally figure out which communities to deploy on.  If you have more questions than answers at this time, no worries – we will cover in painful detail each layer as we move along, and there are more posts coming (heck, it might even turn into an e-book later if I have the time).

OK, let’s assume you have that under control (somewhat) and are already working on preparing the SCRM strategy.  Now it comes time to deploy it in your organization.  Where is the best place to put it?  Glad you ask… that was last week’s insomnia.

Since SCRM represents the response to your customer’s control of the conversation, I am going to imagine that you want to get some value out of having those conversations.  After all, the true value of SCRM is not listening or engaging, is ACTIONABLE INSIGHTS.

I will say that again, the ONLY value that deploying SCRM brings to your organization is actionable insights derived from the feedback your customers provide and actions you observe.  So, how do you create actionable insights?  You use the analytical tools that come with either Social Monitoring or Social Analytics tools, or you use the ones you already have deployed in your organization.

So, let’s say you already captured and deciphered some actionable insights – what do you do with those?  This is where the concept of social business becomes critical.  If you remember, we defined SCRM as the customer-facing operations of your business and Enterprise 2.0 as the internal operations.  The actionable insights that you collected have to move through to the Enterprise 2.0 framework you deployed.  Figure 2 will show you better what that looks like:


The first you will notice is that I am proposing that the organization internally and externally is basically the same; I am willing to be wrong there.  If anyone out there from the E2.0 world wants to provide me a better setup for the internal operations, I’d be happy to take it.  Until then, this works for the purpose of my theories (and I suspect I am not very far off).  Feedback collected becomes actionable insight and the internal operations of the company (Enterprise 2.0) works on them to improve operations, prepare better products, take actions on what went wrong, etc.  Those actions result in either a new or improved  end-to-end process, which in turn is presented back to the customer (via the SCRM setup) as an experience.

We have come a full circle, we have tied all the loose ends and we can stop arguing about who is right and who it wrong.  SCRM is an extension to CRM (as I have said all along), and Enterprise 2.0 connects with SCRM to take the internal operations of the Social Business to the customers.

Oh yeah, the entire setup (SCRM and Enterprise 2.0) is your social business strategy as we discussed last time.

There is a lot more to discuss here: more details in each layer, a better setup for Enterprise 2.0, the proper way to hand-off information in both directions between SCRM and Enterprise 2.0, etc.  There are probably a gazillion holes you can poke in this model, I am sure, and areas where you can make it stronger.  This is not finished anywhere but in my mind – sorta.

Poke away, tell me what I did wrong, what I assumed as proper and it was not, etc.  Make it better.  At the end, we all benefit from it.  What do you think?

Update: link to next part, for easy reading Part 2.1 – SCRM-E2.0 Pivot Point

27 Replies to “The SCRM Roadmap – Part 1 of 5”

  1. Esteban,

    A welcome change here, a well articulated strategy to enable the strategy. I would love to disagree, but I can’t. BUT (there is always a but), it is because through all the discussions and conversations few of us (I am as guilty, or more than you) specify what size organization, nor what industry. I have said on many occasions, this is not a ‘one size fits all’ problem.

    It is my responsibility, not yours, to tear apart what you have written – again, not because it is wrong – to mold it, shape it, tweak it and use it along with other works to create the approach (2nd tier of strategy) that will work for my organization.

    That is what collaboration is all about, thanks for getting me started!
    .-= mitch lieberman´s last blog ..mjayliebs: RT @sugarclint: the components of a #scrm strategy? My take: 1) land grab, 2) participate & influence, 3) surround & overwhelm. #SugarCRM =-.


    1. Mitch,

      I totally agree on the size and industry comment. I don’t think this is a final solution, but – as you say- a moldable solution. If we can turn strategy around from starting with the glass beads of technology, and make it start with the thinking side of business — well, what else can I ask for?

      Thanks for a thoughtful comment.

      (BTW, it is interesting that CommentLuv shows as your last tweet – at least while I am doing this response – the following: “RT @sugarclint: the components of a #scrm strategy? My take: 1) land grab, 2) participate & influence, 3) surround & overwhelm. #SugarCRM”. I totally disagree with Clint and I am quite sure he is not the voice of Sugar when it comes to strategy — although if he is going to express his opinion to Graham Hill, then I am not going to take on that :))


        1. Prem,

          Very interesting point – especially on B2B2C. Of course, that model (actually all those models) change when you add communities to the fray. The only B2C moves to B2C2C or better explained as 1:1:M. We ignore today the fact that addressing only the issues and concerns for customers without addressing their surrounding communities brings more problems. But that is a concept for further posts…



  2. Esteban,

    I’m with Mitch on welcoming a strategic view of SCRM and this is a good start. You’ve identified the basic elements here – and you’re right in that most businesses will start SCRM from their existing points of customer contact.

    One clarification I’d add to your content…the value of social media is listening and engaging — but the value of SCRM, the tool set, is actionable insights.

    I think you’re challenge with trying to make SCRM into a road map not only reflects the differing starting points for many companies but also the amorphous nature of the social media. However, reflecting pyramids are a reasonable place to start the strategic discussion.


    1. Kathy,

      I promise I will think about this more, but my first reaction is that Social Media brings not much that simple channels to the table. Of course, all those “social media gurus” out there will roast me alive for saying that. Either way, I see the SM channels as the second layer in my model and will cover them in more detail when I start working through them in the next few days. I will have done the thinking (heck, will probably think out loud while writing even) and cover your comment in more detail. It is probably my shortsightedness after many years of seeing channel after channel being added to CRM without increasing the value to the system.

      Thanks for the nice comments, I am sure we will continue this discussion in the very near future 🙂



  3. Excellent, Esteban!

    You’ll find me essentially saying the same thing in the final post of our Social CRM Manifesto series (written, but not due until next week).

    Starting with a business function and then determining what metrics you will measure is essential. Adding the Business Process to help optimize those metrics and produce a repeatable result is also critical.

    Heck, you’ll even hear me say you need to get that stuff straight before choosing your software–heresy for a software vendor like Helpstream, but essential to success.

    One other thought to consider on the metrics. They should be carefully layered. One can certainly write many posts just on metrics alone, but by layering, think of them as extending from measuring something very high level (customers per agent or customers per $ of customer service, for example) to something very low level (time spent on a call). If you focus too much on the low level metrics, you will overly polarize your strategy based on assumptions about how they affect the high level.

    The high level are the real business results–the low level are just tactics. Too often organizations fixate on those tactics prematurely. Let them float until you really understand the causality. They may even go on a level below the base of your pyramid for that reason.

    If not the low level metrics as the base, then certainly experience and continuous refinement go there as a feedback loop. You won’t get it all right the first time through the pyramid.


    Bob Warfield
    Helpstream CEO
    .-= Bob Warfield´s last blog ..Social CRM Strategies for Sales =-.


    1. Bob,

      Thanks for the compliments – but you just gave away half of my rules layer writeup 🙂 I think that the biggest problem we always had with CRM was that we just measured efficiency (how well the CRM system performed) while bypassing the concept of end-to-end results. It is not sufficient to know that a customer used a campaign, i want to know how well that campaign did overall, how much did it contribute to the bottom line, how many times that specific customer used campaigns, how much did it cost me to support that customer, what other offers were made, what was the response — on, and on. You get the idea.

      If we are using these systems for business, then let’s measure business. Number of followers don’t tell me much unless i can determine the amount of money they bring me. Influence is an issues that i will address in future writings… very much one of the misunderstood topics we need to dig deeper into in 2010 and beyond.


  4. Hi Esteban,

    Did not have time writing a compliment before, because I was “fighting” you over at my own blog 😉

    I really think you did a great job defining a strategy (or is it tactics?) to get to a strategy. I of course especially like your quote: “the ONLY value that deploying SCRM brings to your organization is actionable insights derived from the feedback your customers provide and actions you observe”.

    It cannot be stressed enough that the entire purpose of Social CRM is to better understand Customer needs in such a way that you can better meet them through incremental improvements all the way to disruptive innovations.

    Now you say this in (not so) many words, but I miss the outline of this purpose in your pyramid model. IMHO it is the purpose or strategic goals that should be provided, explained and put into context by the company leadership team, before entering into any of the phases or sub-strategies as you name them.

    It is not enough to derive actionable insights without understanding what kind of insights you are looking for. Without the proper purpose and context you run the risk of having numerous actionable insights, collected by engaged employees, only to discover in the end that these insights will not bring you any closer to the break-through improvements or innovations your Customers desire..

    Let me know what you think..
    .-= Wim Rampen´s last blog ..The Next Big Thing is not Social “XYZ” =-.


    1. Wim,

      I like to think of it as a the framework to a strategy. I obviously cannot tell you what your strategy will look like (eventually), but can certainly help by providing a framework to think through it.

      The second part of the series, due today if i ever stop commenting and reading in other places in the world, deals in more detail with the feedback->actionable insights, the end-to-end-process->experience, and the social business pivot point that are critical for the implementation. As for management setting an objective, a vision, a goal for the implementation – that is always the first step of any strategy (also living within the top layer of the pyramid). I did not think it was necessary to highlight that – but you may have just converted the series from 5 to 6 posts on that comment. Maybe I am assuming a lot, and we all know what happens when I assume…

      Thanks for highlighting that. And for the compliments… I think that we complement each other very well… I am going to put the onus on you when I write about metrics, you may have to revive the Measurement 2.0 community you had going for a while… say uncle when ready 🙂



  5. Esteban,

    Outstanding framework. Simple,straight forward. As we have discussed, we need to move beyond the definitional discussion and help folks understand how to move forward. Steve Ballmer says publicly he believes every company on the planet will embrace social computing, but they need to know how.

    I agree with many of the existing comments, so no need to elaborate. I do think that as companies progress along the design and implementation phases there will much to be learned in terms of not only metrics but best practices to achieve the desired results. This is greenfield territory in how best to execute strategy.

    Nice job. I look forwward to more.



    1. Bill,

      I agree with you and I would add that the best practices we learned from CRM and ERP and countless other enterprise apps still apply. However, the social aspects and the best practices for that side of the world are pretty much in the greenfield stage you mention. I am looking forward to writing a little bit of those myself once we get going. Step 2 (framework) is on its way, step 3 (implementations) is going to be a 2010 thing as I see it. Big time.

      Thanks for the comment and the read


  6. Esteban –

    Excellent piece! I’m in complete agreement with Wim and Kathy that “the ONLY value that deploying SCRM brings to your organization is actionable insights derived from the feedback you customers provide and the actions you observe”, and agree with Kathy that these are acheiveable through listening AND supporting.

    I agree with you and Bob that metrics are important – you get what you measure – but I see a diconnect between the metrics of traditional CRM and Paul’s definition the SCRM is “the company’s response to the customers control of the conversation”, so I’m confused by your response to Bob. Would love to see that clarified in later posts.

    I agree with Wim that it is important to clearly understand the purpose and context of the actionable insights derived from customers to. I have fond memories of coming into an organization that cherry-picked the insights to follow (amongst overlapping and competing customer goals) and nearly brought the company down. Listening is not synonomous with understanding.

    Looking forward to where this is going.



    1. Scott,

      I will put a little bit here, but most of the meat is in the post for the Rules layer.

      Metrics for SCRM are not like CRM in the sense that they don’t monitor simply if the system is running, and how well (traditional metrics focus on the operations, not the effectiveness of the interaction). In addition, traditional metrics are not end-to-end: they just measure one instance of one interaction in one channel (usually) and don’t carry through the organization (e.g. the customer was satisfied, but what was the cost of that satisfaction to me, or what was the repercussion in future purchases). Finally, when you throw in the infamous “return on engagement” metrics that people throw around for social media these days, how do you connect all that?

      Correlation between metrics and KPIs is a very important part of SCRM. There is not a single, obvious way to say this or express it – but there are ways to look at your organization from a different perspective: effectiveness vs efficiency, end-to-end vs point-of-occurrence, and correlated vs stand-alone. if you blink you are going to think you are measuring the performance of the enterprise as a social business… and that is the idea. more on this on the post on rules (which should be tomorrow or Wednesday if the post gets too long).



  7. This is a really helpfull article in making it clear that Social CRM is not a once off marketing initiative. It’s a huge elephant that should be eaten on piece at a time.

    I notice though that a Social Media Participation Policy does not get a direct mention. Do you assume one is in place or is it covered in a later part of the 5 part set of articles?

    .-= Peter O’Brien´s last blog ..What’s the bedrock to your Social CRM Strategy? =-.


    1. Peter,

      Thanks for the good comment, and for spotting that. There is still a lot of ground to cover and the SM policies is part of the second (from the top) layer – the Rules layer. That would be part 3 – unless I end up breaking it into pieces and I won’t know that until — tomorrow probably.

      Thanks for reading, stay tuned!


  8. Great, now were getting somewhere! Can’t wait till 2010 🙂

    Just a quick remark – I take it that the Social Business Pivot Point is the evolution of your ‘musings’ about Enterprise Feedback Management? If so, how do you see this materialize? My first impression would be a software framework that gathers inputs (from ALL touchpoints, not only Social Media) using analytics and datamining to turn this into actionable insights, and a rules engine to dispatch to groups (cf Response Communities) that will work on the actions. Am I far off from where you are heading, or will you deal with this in one of the other parts? The Pivot Point as the Rosetta Stone…

    .-= Mark Tamis´s last blog ..On Social CRM Options =-.


    1. Mark,

      Rosetta Stone — darn, much better name than Pivot Point. If I end up using it in my book will give you credit 🙂

      You said this in your next message, but the response and deeper explanation on the PP is on the next entry. As well as a lengthier explanation of how it is constituted in the comments section.

      Thanks for reading!


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