When I started writing this post, the theme I set out to cover was how CRM is becoming more social. What that meant (or I thought would mean) was how CRM solutions and approaches are integrating social media and social networking data into their native functionality. The recent purchase of Radian6 by Salesforce is an obvious example, but the trend has been noted well before that. As writing often helps develop ideas, mine changed on what Social CRM means to the relationships we manage.
Whether the C in CRM is a constituent, customer, client; or not even a “C” (a donor, volunteer, foundation, partner, affiliate, etc), the core activity is using a system to organize the interactions and data that you have with or about that entity. This has always included a process of listening, recording, and organizing. Typical interactions that we’ve tracked in include: meetings, phone calls, event attendance, associations/relationships, and preferences. The process for listening and recording was generally having someone manually enter info after an interaction takes place. That still can be the case, but we’ve expanded the ways we can have interactions and the people who can have them. CRM has always been about social, we are just getting more aware of it because of the way our tools can work for us now.
As I’m sure most of you realize, we at Convio are big fans of Salesforce and they’re doing some pretty amazing stuff to pull in this new social graph into CRM. Along with the Radian6 acquisition that I already mentioned, the Service Cloud 3 streamlines the process of monitoring, interacting, and analyzing social interactions directly through the CRM system. On top of that there are apps available in the AppExchange that plug into other services and communities that your constituents are interacting with. Even actions inside the CRM have pulled in social interactions between employees; water cooler conversations now take place on Salesforce Chatter where they can now be searched, archived, and reported on!
But even without Salesforce or Common Ground there’s a lot you can do to use tools to leverage social data with your CRM system. Interested in checking how much influence someone has one social networks? Check out their Klout score to see their influence summary. Do you use Google Apps for email at your org? Rapportive can magically pull in Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Contacts information into your message side bar. Live and breathe in Outlook? Microsoft has an Outlook Social Connector that pulls in the same type of social profile information. Considering people’s social presence, activity, and influence will make you appear and be all the more connected to them when communicating. Then if you want to take a step back and look at the bigger picture there are still tools like TweetDeck and HootSuite that can pull it all together in one place.
So back to my change in perspective on Social CRM: Calling it Social CRM is like talking about music with rhythm. All music has some kind of rhythm (some is better than others), so it’s really redundant to point it out. All CRM is social; what type of social interactions you listen, record, and track will determine the quality of your CRM system as our networks and interactions continue to change.
Photo Credit: Flickr, Laineys Repertoire