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The Path to Success in Social Business is through Social CRM

At first I was going to state the title in the form of a question, but this is not Jeopardy, and I wanted to make a point. The point is simple really, the path to success in Social Business is through Social CRM, said with conviction, not hesitation. This is not going to be a blog about definitions, though some may show up later or in the embedded presentation. While I have decided to move past the definitions, others may not be ready – fair enough, catch-up when you can. My approach is to put forth a convincing argument by using the characteristics and attributes that make up the Social Customer, Social CRM and a Social Business; not trying to redefine them.

My own struggle has been to place these concepts in the proper context, individually. To try to talk about any of these topics, without bringing up the other two is just hard and many times it just does not make sense. My operating theory is, ‘if I am having trouble a whole lot of other people are as well’. If you are an IT purist, it is like trying to talk about just Cost, just Schedule or or just Scope (not to mention Quality) without talking about the others  – they are related, strongly – interdependent.

While technology certainly plays a role here, maybe it is even to blame, this is not about technology, rather what has started because of it. While the conversation would not be happening if it where not for the rapid change in behaviors caused by technology, it is about the change in culture and the change in behaviors of the customer (iPhone, Facebook, LinkedIn, FourSquare, YouTube, Blogs). Because they are ALL talking to eachother! By the way, whether you are Business to Business or Business to Consumer, it does not really matter. Yes, there are some differences, but there are more similarities than differences. We are all humans, and emotions play a big part in business too, sorry, it just is!

What is the point?

I have stated on many occasions that I use blogging to formulate my own thoughts on a particular topic. In this case, it was the creation of a presentation – or the template for a set of presentations which I need to deliver, beginning next week. I wanted to share the presentation, so that I am able to get feedback and begin a conversation on how I can refine the delivery. What would a presentation be in this space, if it is not actually Social and Interactive. The presentation will not remain static, nor should it. It is also anyone’s to use, if you think it can help. The presentation is not an attempt to be a strategy either, that is yours to create.

My thought process was to break it down into small pieces, then attempt to put it all back together. The baseline of understanding is not a definition of a system, but the characteristics of the system. The end of the presentation is not yet complete, but I wanted to put this out there so people were able to review. Please let me know your thoughts – Selecting the “Wide Screen” option on the lower right worked best for me. If the embed feature did not work, there is a link below.

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.5091968&w=600&h=350&fv=prezi_id%3Dbzswrbzmvl6w%26lock_to_path%3D1%26color%3Dffffff%26autoplay%3Dno]
I was able to integrate the Prezi on wordpress using vodpod, if the embedding did not work right, just do it the old fashioned way Social Business through Social CRM on Prezi.

Connecting the dots, first step Creating Buyers!

A purist could say I am avoiding the word ‘Sales’, not really, just choosing a phrase I deem more appropriate for a Social Business. I strongly believe that the future of business will be more about the creation of buyers than what we think of today as the selling of product. That said, with all of the talk about ROI, KPI and value, we still struggle to convince our own bosses that this is will happen, because in the end, the measurement is about money changing hands – but that to will also change in subtle ways, as we move forward. My final personal objective is to highlight and expand the Altimeter Group Use Cases. Why, because they represent a great way to get past the ‘Buzz and Hype’. Also, an important aspect, business executives, marketers, PR folks and CRMers can understand them. No, the Use Cases are not perfect, they are not meant to be, I see them as a foundation.

At the end of the Prezi I make the case that in order to actually put the Use Cases into practice, it is required to combine a few of them together to support a full process. If used in isolation, a Social Business will end up creating silos, not what we need – not very Social. Since I am also charged with presenting in between Dharmesh Shah (Hubspot) and Umberto Milletti (InsideView), I took the approach of putting specific Use Cases together to build the process:

The Business Process/Objective: Increasing the size of the ecosystem by creating buyers

Attributes of the Business Process: Listening, Engaging, Information, Transparency, Trust, Value

Use Cases Used: Social Customer Insights (F1), Social Sales Insights (S1) and Rapid Social Sales Response (S2)

Is this perfect? – not even close. Are there other Use Cases which should be enabled here, probably. Should there be a series of conditions, dependencies and ‘what-ifs’. That depends – No blog, book or article will be able to define a strategy, your strategy. You know your business. You know your customer or do you?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • munishgandhi March 19, 2010, 7:27 AM

    Mitch,

    This is a nice overview and couldn’t agree more with the thesis.

    To me, the picture “Old Organization + New Technology = Expensive Old Organization” (http://grab.by/grabs/f614c734bb56ed20df7f93b81fc5f74e.png) says it all. There is a big shift in culture required for a social business to thrive in the new environment. Else, why pave the cow paths?

    What I am wondering is the following. Changes in culture are notoriously difficult to accomplish. Should a company stop trying to get the tools in if it cannot make the cultural shift? Sometimes, an exposure to the technology provokes the cultural shifts needed.

    BTW, would be great to get a video or an audio track uploaded once you have given the talk. I can imagine each slide coming alive with the background material.

    Munish

  • Mitch Lieberman March 20, 2010, 8:53 AM

    Munish,

    Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate the feedback. Being a Vermonter, I can certainly appreciate the paving cowpaths metaphor as well! I wrote a post on the culture shift – touching only the surface (not my domain of expertise). But I do agree that there is a balance between letting things happen organically, and directly people. Telling people to change never works well. Letting it be their decision (like in sales creating buyers) is a better approach.

    My post was generated by a simple Tweet. The notion is that people love thinking about the future, but hate change – a paradox.

    Mitch

    That is two votes for an audio/video track to go along with the Prezi – I better get to work on that :-)