The Social CRM Organization

By Kyle Lacy, Stephanie Diamond, Jon Ferrara

Today’s corporate leaders are faced with changes coming from all sides of the enterprise. To understand the needs of the changing social organization, you’ll find it helpful to look at the factors that are creating that change:

Changes in data management and technology dramatically affect how the social enterprise functions.

Most leaders agree that technological changes are the most difficult to tackle because they produce the most rapid changes. The following list shows some of the most important and most rapidly evolving technical issues that play a role in enabling social business and social CRM:

  • Use of mobile technology: Mobile technology frees up the workforce to maximize their time working. It also impacts how customers can receive marketing messages.

  • Impact of social media: Representatives can hold a dialogue directly with customers and pass customer feedback about products and services to employees. In turn, the employees can mold the products and services to more effectively meet customer needs.

  • Development of real-time applications in the cloud: Using the cloud to store data gives a company several advantages. For example, when a company stores data in the cloud, employees can access fresh data every time they search sales data, and they can use that data to develop more effective sales and marketing techniques. The key is to have the social CRM systems that make this analysis meaningful.

So, now that you understand the challenges and benefits of today’s rapidly changing technology, you’re ready to consider how you can help the key players in your social CRM strategy leap over the obstacles and head toward the benefits.

Get the CEO on board

The capabilities of the CEO make a huge difference in the corporation’s ability to adapt to technological and other changes. At no time in history has the ability of CEOs to understand these changes been this front and center. Your CEO needs to possess a good understanding about how technology affects every part of the organization.

Unfortunately, current leaders may not have the training and experience to make effective use of these technologies. Indeed, given the speed with which technology is implemented, it’s unlikely that most C-level executives have this training and experience.

If your CEO doesn’t have the requisite knowledge of how the mobile technology, social media, and cloud-based data impact each function of your business, others in the company need to compensate by helping your CEO understand the benefits of investing in social CRM.

Kristin Zhivago, of Zhivago Management Partners, offers some ideas on how to handle this situation. At the 2012 Optimization Summit (as reported by Daniel Burstein on the Marketing Sherpa blog), Zhivago introduced seven CEO personas that help you get buy-in from your CEO. Each CEO persona characterizes the one area in which a CEO is typically most comfortable. The seven personas are as follows:

  • Sales: Competitive, controlling, and easily influenced

  • Technical: Logical, inclusive, and process-oriented

  • Finance: Can be elitist or exclusionary

  • Legal: Can see both sides; weak on process

  • Marketing: Visionary and customer driven

  • Operations: Always focuses on process first

  • Serial entrepreneur: Behavior influenced by background

Zhivago says that once you identify your CEO’s style, you can determine what information you can provide to help that executive champion the technical changes that drive social CRM. Consider where your CEO falls along each of these continuums:

  • Reactive versus visionary: Do you need to provide feedback from your CEO to your direct reports so that these managers can understand the leadership vision?

  • Stress versus process: Does your CEO need you to suggest a process to handle a project or activity? If you can help keep momentum going, you can alleviate the stress felt by everyone involved.

  • Company-centric versus customer-centric: Would your CEO rather talk to customers or staff only?

  • Stats versus stories: What information is most valuable to your CEO as he or she forms opinions: statistics, customer anecdotes, or operating stories?

Challenge chief marketing officers to support the social enterprise

Social media has really thrown CMOs a curveball. Previously, they were the ones who owned the marketing campaigns. They could dictate what was needed from other departments and decide when campaigns would start and stop. That’s not possible today.

For one thing, many social media campaigns don’t have ending dates. They evolve from one type of outreach to another. For example, a social media campaign might start out as a promotion offering a discounted product and end up managing an ongoing user community.

The CMOs inability to see the potential in those areas doesn’t bode well for their organization as a whole. Most analysts agree that spending should increase to accommodate rapid changes in technology and employee needs. The CMOs who don’t see that will be caught short.

Business units need to buy in to Social CRM

The leadership of the company is just the first stop in convincing the company to integrate a social CRM strategy. Each business unit will have its own goals for engaging socially across multiple channels.

It’s important to understand the benefits for each department when implementing a social CRM ecosystem within the company.

Department Benefits
Human Resources Using the employee base to recruit with a deeper understanding
of candidates and ecosystem needs
Marketing Obtaining information from business development to produce more
meaningful marketing
Product Development Working with the marketing team to harness customer
interactions within the community to discover new product
opportunities
Business Development Using information obtained from marketing and product
development to understand opportunities for further engagement of
prospects
Customer Service Tapping into employee- and customer-generated solutions within
the community and seizing escalated/unanswered questions to provide
support to community members using internal information

Make sure that every department understands the importance of implementing an internal social strategy. It’s hard to change, and the leaders within your organization must be prepared to implement the solution — because with the benefits also come the challenges of integrating software within your company.