The Roadmap to SCRM – Part 2.2 of 5

Part 1 can be found here
Part 2.1 can be found here

This post was begotten by interesting comments I got to part 1.  My assumption that everyone should already understand the functions that comprise CRM, and how they should be addressed in building a SCRM strategy is not correct.

Current CRM Functions.  As everyone knows, CRM is comprised of three basic business functions: Marketing, Sales, and Customer Service; these are the areas of the enterprise that interact with the customer, and CRM being the system used to interact the most with customers, covers them.  CRM systems cover all three functions with different levels of depth for each one (e.g. they may have more modules to cover sales than marketing, or customer service over sales).  These modules work over different channels, usually supporting more than one (email and telephone can be used similarly to provide customer service) and leveraging common components used in each channel to make them work efficiently.  There still single-function or single-channel solutions but are the large minority.

SCRM is firstly implemented as additional channels to support existing functions; early examples: Twitter is added to cover technical support, community support functions are added to extend marketing functions, integration with  social network is provided to extend sales communications.  The functions and modules provided don’t change much, they are just extended into the Social Channels.  This is where most CRM vendors are today in offering solutions.

Wait, this is a strategy piece, why am I mentioning Technology?

Because you need to consider current technology for initial strategies of SCRM.  No, I did not say to only implement that which is supported by technology – you are still going to build your strategy according to your needs and If you need something beyond what can be supported today you need to be prepared to customize or build-your-own just as we did in the early stages of CRM deployments.

When planning your SCRM strategies you should not be limited by current offerings as to what you can do, but you must consider what’s available to use today to deploy pilots and proof-of-concept projects.  Customized and custom-developed solutions are not the best method to show your organization the value of SCRM – choose something that has been already implemented and show results to help you build support.  In other words, understand the existing offers and re-prioritize your list — using proper priorities to get early wins in smaller projects will give you more clout and power to release more ambitious projects in the near future.

Future Use of Social CRM Functions.  I am going to have to borrow a chart from the future discussions on communities to explain a little bit about the functions you should be planning to implement in your SCRM strategy.  The relationship between the customer and the organization, which dates back to the beginning of commerce essentially, is changing.  Relationships were (well, still are for the most part)  1:1 (one-to-one) and business functions are traditionally aligned to this: marketing targets a single individual, sales focuses on selling to customers one-by-one, and support is only provided from the organization directly to the customer via different methods.

Social businesses begin to incorporate different types of communities.  The most effective way to manage communities is to recognize that all customers are part of communities – usually more than one – and that those communities are heavy influences in your customers.  Contrary to what many are saying, the community will not replace the single customer in the CRM or SCRM interactions.  However, the communities change this old-established model from a 1:1 to a 1:1:M or one-to-one-to-many.  And here is where SCRM begins to show benefits.  Look at the following picture.

Slide 4
Figure 1 - Shifting Relationship Models in SCRM

A One-to-One-to-Many relationship means that although organizations still cater to individuals on a direct relationship, now they have to spend some cycles thinking how to provide the right information, access, and how to exert influence in the M (the community members supporting the customer).  This chart only shows the process of one specific customer (let’s call him Mr. Orange), a member of at least three communities.  However, and to make it more interesting, it is likely that at least some of the other members of the communities he belongs to are also customers of the same organization. That is when it gets interesting, because you have to tap into those customers both as individual customers and as community members exerting influence within them.

Why am I bringing this up?

SCRM is a strategy and it is an iterative process.  You have to continue to think of more than one way to do things, and how to evolve them.  We will cover this in more details when we talk about communities – but the idea is that if you start thinking in terms of communities instead of users when you plan for Social CRM Business Functions you can put your organization ahead of the curve.  Which, yes, does give your organization a competitive advantage, but even beyond that you can see how learning and understanding how to market, sell, and service communities early on can also position you better in planning future experiences.

Should you plan and deploy your business functions around these today? No, but you should most certainly plan and  pilot them — to begin to get comfortable with the idea.

Support for End-to-End Processes. Two critical issues to assure as you move into Social CRM are that you can effectively make the necessary changes to your existing processes to support the changes you need, and make sure that the data flows you select to support SCRM can actually be implemented in your organization.

In other words, if you can collect customer feedback via Twitter, but have no way to bring those insights into your analytics infrastructure to derive actionable insights, the original intent for getting that data does not matter as there is no value to collecting it.  Yes, even if you are only “listening” (which is not a real strategy or objective – but I digress).  The data flows from the social channels must be able to make it automatically into the analytics infrastructure or else is a waste of time.

That’s it for the first sub-strategy of a SCRM strategy: Functional Strategy — What do you think? Going in the right direction?  Missing something?  Drop me a note below, let me know – happy to make changes and talk about it…

Updated: Link to next part for easy reading Part 3 – SCRM Rules Layer

5 Replies to “The Roadmap to SCRM – Part 2.2 of 5”

  1. How’s Mr. Orange going to feel when the different communities he belongs to begin battling each other over the value of your business? Just kidding….

    I can see where a business today should begin thinking in terms of communities. I’m just wondering how different this is from the segmentation we’ve always given our customers. Marketers have always attacked the communication problem from various angles.

    What percentage of businesses are going to be classified with “social potential?” Will middle market B2B companies with brands that have finite reach really be involved? If so, how? How much will they invest to capture such a small social community(s), if they can even identify them (beyond their support forums).

    Aaargghhh! You’re making my head explode with all this thinking! The worst part is I’m probably thinking from the wrong direction.
    .-= Mike Boysen´s last blog ..CRM Sales Professional Needed =-.


    1. Mike,

      communities and segments are different since the segmentation happens with internal, existing data and communities could be — well, just about anything (at the baseball game? got a comm for that, member of the PTA? got a comm for that, etc.).

      Sorry, did not mean to hurt you – but as i dig deeper into communities (as soon as time permits, right) we will have deeper, more interesting conversations that should be easy to follow along.

      Thanks for the read.


  2. Hi Esteban,

    First, you start off with one of the best two-paragraph summaries of CRM and SCRM I’ve seen.

    As with the previously published parts of this roadmap, I appreciate your addressing of “the real-world”. Whereas in 2.1 you discussed the need for organizational change and flexiblity, here you talk about the need to use current technologies to get something done(a v1.0, if you will) to build support. In today’s economy, especially, relatively unproven/immature approaches and technologies(eg SCRM) are going to have to be implemented incrementally, with smaller wins along the way. The availablity and proliferation of no/low-cost social media and open-source platforms makes this approach quite workable.

    Your points about the need for companies to think about communities are right on. As Mike alluded to(I think) above, I think there is room for refinement/granularity here as some segments(eg product categories) are more/less influenced by “the community” than others, IMO. This would, in turn, guide marketing strategy to more/less heavily weight community vs individual factors in an integrated marketing strategy. For example, there are numerous products where I jump straight to an online community(for reviews/discussion) and, sometimes, make my buying decision based solely on this sort of research(across a few such groups). Conversely, there are times where I did just the opposite: buying solely on “gut”, emotional attraction, because it was on sale, impulse, etc. I certainly don’t imagine I’m alone in any of this.

    Of course, you mention that we’ve only started the communities discussion so I’m sure we’ll touch upon this all in more detail soon 😉

    The need to filter through the increased noise of social media, as well as the proportionate increase in “signal” is a definite. So, we capture, analyze and, we hope, put it all together to make some sort of informed, actionable insights towards iterative improvement(or a flat-out re-engineering). Sounds like a no-brainer but it is really what brings it all home…what closes the loop. We all know of cases where we have wonderful data gathering and analysis(analytics) tools in place churning out stacks of metrics and gorgeous dashboards but, for whatever reasons, it all really ends up a black hole from which nothing actionable escapes. AND even when we have the systems in place to do this plus the culture to adapt to resulting insights, we ultimately need a bunch of experienced, smart and, often, courageous *people* behind the scenes to make the right decisions out of all of this information. There are many potential weak links in this chain. Though, because your competition will encounter the very same, these weak links are one in the same your opportunities for differentiation and success.

    Am definitely looking forward to the communities piece and how it ties into the whole roadmap.

    Seattle, WA


    1. Russ,

      First, thanks for the nice words and taking the time to write such a well-thought out reply.

      There is so much more to cover on communities, most of my 2010 will be talking about them. We have not even scratched the surface on this… think about this: you may not know it, but your “gut” is influenced by your communities as well.

      Here is another example of sharp-eye reading. Analytics is not even being discussed for what it is. Social analytics change the game entirely – why? because the same data you use to make your decisions is available to your competitors. Can you imagine how your strategy will change if not only you can access that data? the key to all this, mashing up the data with the existing corporate data, is what is going to make a difference… and you cannot do that without analytics. period.

      you managed to summarize my research philosophy in two paragraphs far better than i could’ve done. thanks a lot for that… may just use that as a preamble to my research agenda.

      thanks for the read, sorry for late reply — travel is not kind to the blogger.


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