The Value of Social CRM

Uncategorized Posted Nov 5, 2012 by chenpr

On Wednesday, October 24, 2012 I attended the afternoon session of the Inbound Marketing Summit Boston, at the Hynes Convention Center. I left with a better understanding of Social CRM (Customer Relationship Management), the topic of an interesting panel aptly titled “Expert Panel: Social CRM.” The panel was moderated by Trip Kucera, Senior Research Analyst, Aberdeen Group, and consisted of the following panelists:

  • Jamie Anderson, Director of Global Solutions Marketing at SAP
  • Mike Lewis, VP of Marketing and Sales at Awareness
  • Tim O’Connor, Regional Sales Manager at Sprinklr

The panelist’s general consensus was that if social media use generates the data, Social CRM is the ability to gather this data and use it to formulate customer profiles. My initial thought was that it sounds similar to Social Media Monitoring, which I interpret as following social media websites (including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) for relevant content and reacting accordingly. But unlike Social Media Monitoring, Social CRM creates a two-way dialogue that emphasizes interaction with the customer. Employing Social CRM is a way to engage customers, opening a mutually beneficial line of communication.

Earlier in the afternoon, I attended a session titled “General Keynote: Community Building and the Future of Agencies Fireside Chat,” featuring a question and answer session with PR and Marketing expert Larry Weber, Chairman of Racepoint Group. About midway through the chat, he was talking about the power of the internet as a marketing tool and he proceeded to tell a story based on Social CRM. Citing an Amazon.com book buying spree (he said he bought 11 books during the visit), Weber endorsed Social CRM’s effectiveness. Weber’s purchase included a few books written by one of his favorite authors. So the next time Weber went on Amazon.com they were ready for him, prominently displaying this author’s new book on the homepage and offering it at a sale price. Of course he purchased the book, citing this result as both an effective example of selling a product and building a mutually beneficial relationship with a customer.

With that being said, Social CRM is a relatively new tool that still has its shortcomings. For example, I recently purchased a women’s watch for my sister from Amazon.com. And like Larry Weber, I went back on the website shortly after, and displayed in the section titled “More Items to Consider” were various women’s watches. If I were a women’s watch enthusiast this might be of interest, but as I am not, this was no help to my shopping experience.

Without enough data (which many people choose to withhold anyways) it is difficult for current Social CRM models to discern between one time instances and patterns.  But over time, as our social interactivity generates more data, Social CRM will be an effective tool that will help sell products and make shopping a more enjoyable experience.