Egging On the Social CRM Battle
On the plane-ride home from CRM Evo I was tired and happy–my mind was jogging over my favorite moments including the tweet-ups, panels, presentations, debates and new faces.
CRM Evolution, the conference co-located with SpeechTek produced by CRM Magazine, was even spicier than last year. This is largely the result of conference chair Paul Greenberg, hard work from the CRM Magazine team and an exciting line-up of speakers on “social CRM.”
All of that food for thought and soon enough I was a famished traveler.
Always a planner (at least when it comes to food) I grabbed an airport-purchased soft-boiled egg out of my bag. As I gently tapped the pristine shell on my tray and nibbled on my treat I daydreamed some more about social CRM.
As I enjoyed my perfect egg, an image of Gulliver from Jonathan Swift’s novel Gulliver’s Travels (1726) popped into my head. Gulliver’s Travels is the story of two groups of miniature people, the Lilliputians and the Blefuscudians, who fight over which way to crack an egg.
In our effort to understand and define social CRM, we are spending more time acting like the Lilliputians and the Blefuscudians–debating the social CRM definition rather than connecting with the brands who have the specific business challenges.
I fear we are spending too much time fighting over definitions and theories, and we are losing time reaching out to the dirt poor. No not poor as in dollars. Poor in the sense that–if social business knowledge could be equated to dollars–there would be a great class disparity.
In this situation, poverty seems to be a result of very old legacy systems, cultures and command and control management. We can’t really blame them. Most executives have not been educated about the transformation that social business can bring to an organization and its ecosystem.
Slow Social Business Transformations
Every ten years disruptive technology comes along to change business. Henry Ford once said “if I’d asked people what they wanted they would have said faster horses.” We are there again…and brands are clumsily hobbling along in horse powered buggies.
And rather than battling over the definition of social CRM, we will have more success focusing on the business challenges caused by obsolete internal technologies and processes. Soon enough the horse and buggy will collapse. While Henry Ford was obviously not a fan of VOC (voice of the customer), in social CRM we desperately need to talk to customers. Every industry, and specific organization, has different challenges. We need to find out what those are on an ongoing basis.
Putting Bread on the Table With Social Business
Do you feel you do a lot for free? I am sure that when your family members want a 101 session on social media, you are the first person they call. Are you like the local doctor who is constantly asked for free medical advice because of his profession.
And it’s expected–not just by family members who need to use Facebook for a school project. Solid free information is expected by our prospects and customers. The good news is we are eventually rewarded for providing relevant, timely and actionable information.
The popularity contest, as we knew it, is over. If you are still hiring Britney Spears marketers and sales people to hit prospects over the head “one more time” you will be greatly disappointed.
The word “blanket” can only be used to describe a member of the Michael Jackson family tree–not a marketing campaign.
So what does this mean? It means Britney Spears isn’t “avant garde.” You are. Avant garde literally means the “foremost part of any army advancing into battle.” But which battle are we fighting? The one against each other–or the larger battle against old school ways of thinking about corporate structures, customers and transactions.
In the battle to make sense of this newer phrase “social CRM” we are fighting the good fight! So why aren’t more brands willing to take the leap…now?
How can we expedite the adoption, or at least exploration, of social business strategy? Social business brings better work design, happier customers and overall healthier customer interactions.
When People Are Digging For Gold It Pays To Have Picks and Shovels
It’s no secret to anyone reading this blog that social business will eventually be a goldmine. And supposedly when people are digging for gold it pays to have picks and shovels…
So if it so obviously profitable, considering the effort to inspire interest and open mindedness, why does it feel like trying to get water from a stone?
The truth is as it stands social business vendors are still very ahead of the market. I would love to see more of what we saw at CRM Evo–a entire program (or track) devoted to social CRM inclusive of simplistic education. We need to deliver mass amounts of education to business people in a shorter amount of time.
You are saying “Blake! Easier said than done.”
Yes I agree with you. But instead of fighting over the definition of “social CRM,” I believe it’s time to get our armies organized and ready to fight the real battle–legacy systems and old school ways of thinking.
Check out this short video to get you in the zone of “carpe diem.” Let’s “seize the day” and start educating the market with intent.
Paul Greenberg, arguably the most important educator of our time on CRM, put some intelligent phrasing together in his ZDNet blog yesterday called “Sigh: CRM Is Not Dead, OK?”:
….its an evolutionary time for CRM – thus the rise of Social CRM, which is a program designed for engaging customers in a changing business world. And it has a direct impact on the customer experience if done well – or if done poorly.
There are enough battles right now taking place regarding CRM, let alone social CRM. We are lucky to have people like Paul who are spear-heading this movement, and spending time with other people to help them understand social CRM.
By teaching through story-telling, we can educate more brands and practitioners. While no one really remembers Michael Gilbert, author of How to Win An Argument, his ideas have been used many times over. If you want to make a point, tell a story. We learn through stories.
Most of us want to see how our peers were able to achieve results–from a tactical perspective. Everyone has business challenges right now–let’s get our hands dirty.
Instead of fighting over which way to crack the egg, we can provide timely, relevant and simplistic information to inspire companies to change their thinking–to leverage social to make our companies more agile, internally healthy and proactive with customers.
We agree that this sea change is inevitable, right? So let’s crack the egg, and bring the goods to the public.