The No BS Guide to Social CRM (sCRM) (Includes the sCRM Matrix for Dummies)

Some things are made to appear bigger than they are.

The evening before a battle Genghis Kahn would make each of his soldiers light five fires instead of the customary one.  He did it to make the enemy believe that his army was bigger than reality.  His method of obfuscation put the enemy on tilt which led to subsequent victories and bloody executions.

At times I believe the Social CRM (sCRM) crowd has taken a blow torch to the CRM landscape and added the vague ‘Social’ wrapper term. They make it more complicated than it is in order to create the perception that the term holds more value than reality.  Look no farther than the Top Tier managerial consulting firms for the playbook.

Despite the hype there is real value to connecting with customers using the new channels of communication.  Facebook, Twitter, Jive Software, Lithium, MindTouch TCS and ThinkPassenger all provide new bi-directional communication channels in order to better understand the customer or prospective customer.

Yet the term ‘Social’ in front of any other word is still taboo in most corporate executive suites.  Until executives have adopted a ‘Social’ religion similar to how they embraced Six Sigma, Balanced Scorecard, (insert new buzzword here), and even sCRM’s predecessor CRM, we won’t be crossing any chasms in the near future.

So in the interim, let’s simplify the message and remove the ambiguity from our social quagmire.  Special thanks to Mark Fidelman for his input.

The sCRM Definition Matrix for Dummies

When they say…   What they really mean…   The No BS Benefits
360 degree view of the customer You’ll find easier methods to sell product/services to your customers because you’ll have more information about them and their friends. Sell more through low costs channelsCommunicate directly to the customer without middlemen
The Social Customer They use Facebook, Twitter or have a blog. Instead of expensive research, just tune in, ask questions and listen
Social Channels Friends posting information and links through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or email. Since people associate with similar people, your customer’s friends are future customers
The Social Organization The mythical company that has fully integrated itself with its customers. A symbiotic relationship between company and customer can mean:Increased salesBetter understanding of customer needs
Sentiment Analysis We’ll have online search robots troll the web and somehow decipher how people feel about our Brand. When trying to understand how people feel about a brand, a company can hope to increase its batting average
Social Outreach Connect with Brand influencers and bloggers to promote a marketing message. Word of mouth marketing from key industry influencers can be financially rewarding
Social Engagement Get your customers to create, rate or share content that helps promote the Brand. User generated content can be like having free employeesBrand content sharing
Social Analytics Key metrics that supposedly show how effective your social media campaigns & programs are in converting prospects to customers. Understand how and where to engage people for the maximum impact on revenue

Note: I use the term “Brand” to mean the Company’s products and services



Allow me to offer a simpler version for the definition of sCRM.

Social CRM is a business philosophy that expands the borders of traditional customer relationship management beyond information, process and technology to people, conversations, and relationships. The focus of sCRM is on people (i.e. customers, partner, suppliers), their relationships with other people, and the ongoing conversations that are occurring about the Company and its products. Finally, sCRM is also about engaging with customers and prospects, not controlling them, and establishing bonds of trust (hopefully love) between the Customers and the Company.

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