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Social CRM Changes the Definition of Customer Relationship Management: Page 2

By Drew Robb     Feedback
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Social media changes CRM definition

Martin Schneider, senior director of marketing at SugarCRM, said that while CRM has traditionally been defined as a system involving people, process and technology that aims to optimize the identification, acquisition and retention of customers, the social media field has created a definite shift.

"The 'C' in CRM is slowly being replaced by an 'X' — meaning we are not simply seeing the platform used for customer interactions, but also for citizen interactions in e-government initiatives; criminal interaction by law enforcement and corrections facilities; candidate interactions for HR use ... and we're just naming the C's," he said. "The best CRM tools on the market are also platforms for managing any kind of interaction."

The need for businesses, governments and other organizations to streamline operations, reduce costs and increase satisfaction among the parties they serve are therefore driving more widespread and varied use of CRM systems. In addition, the explosion of data inside (and outside) enterprises and organizations has revealed the need for better interaction management systems; ones that can append all types of additional data about customers and citizens. There is so much valuable information available that intelligent organizations are looking to use modern CRM tools to discover, track and store this data in addition to more traditional process automations.


The role of analytics, marketing, call centers and ERP systems

Okay, so that's how CRM is broadening in application. But what about the other end of the spectrum? What is not CRM? Schneider isn't as restrictive as Greenberg. He said that a CRM initiative takes on many forms and goes beyond the technology involved — people and processes are the more important aspects. Therefore, Web analytics (including Google analytics and Adwords), demand generation tools (such as Pardot or Marketo), call center tools (from Avaya, or open source tools based on Asterisk), and even ERP tools that store transactional data can power a smart CRM initiative to enhance a customer experience.

"If the system touches the customer or customer data, it could potentially be involved in the overarching CRM strategy," said Schneider. "Therefore, CRM should be defined as an organization-wide effort, involving people, process and technology, aimed at optimizing the experience of your customers/citizens/students/etc."

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Social media, he said, is just another channel of interaction. Organizations of all sizes need to look at where and how their target customers and prospects are leveraging social media and engage with them accordingly. When it comes to CRM systems, the best social CRM tools will be those with a flexible core platform to accept different social data and integrate with different sites and networks. This is important because there is no true fixed engagement platform in the social universe — it is a highly dispersed and varied world.

"Some companies will want to engage in one network or via one medium, and another will have a vastly different approach to social engagement," said Schneider. "Therefore, the CRM platform must be able to offer simple methods of building social engagement — with any site or data set — into the system."


This article was originally published on February 15, 2011
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