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Social CRM: Special Report

Our special report on all things social CRM has everything you need to learn about social media, CRM and how to manage it all.

In this social CRM special report, we’ve collected the latest news and information about social CRM and managing social media for CRM and customer service purposes. You’ll find articles and tips about social CRM, social media management, technology tools, best practices and strategies. Read advice from our experts and learn from our experienced social CRM columnists.

Evaluating social CRM software
Getting the most out of social CRM -- strategies, business cases and management
Expert opinion and advice on social media and social CRM


  Evaluating social CRM software  

The market for social CRM software is still relatively young, but it’s growing. Along with startups like Jive, TweetCRM and InsideView, large vendors like, SAP and Oracle are getting into the game. In late 2008, developers started “getting social” with Facebook apps for the enterprise, and in 2009, they started their own social media and CRM effort called Chatter. While the first reviews of Chatter were somewhat tepid, there’s still plenty of room for improvement and innovation from

SAP jumped into the game this year with its new Twitter integration, which seeks to tie social media networks into its CRM software. NetSuite added social ERP to social CRM, using InsideView’s social media tools for its CRM and ERP applications. And Oracle’s Anthony Lye told us about Oracle’s latest efforts with SaaS and its social CRM strategy. To learn more about other companies’ social CRM efforts, watch a video with industry expert Paul Greenberg comparing social CRM products at Oracle OpenWorld.

Despite these innovations in social media and social CRM, the debate continues over its usefulness and how best to manage programs internally. Comcast’s digital care division is among the early adopters, using Twitter to provide customer service, but it takes more than just software to implement a social media strategy -- it also takes people who know how to use it effectively. And as many organizations get started, many are still working out whether customer service or marketing should manage social networking programs.


  Getting the most out of social CRM --
strategies, business cases
and management

Social media and social CRM require thoughtful planning. Columnist Allen Bonde, founder and managing director of Franklin, Mass.-based Evoke CRM Partners, has a list of 10 steps to a practical social media business strategy. A social media business strategy “is a lot more than just picking the right tools and processes to improve,” Bonde said. “A strategy should begin with an assessment of business goals, current use of channels and customer needs and should then outline user adoption, ownership and governance models, ultimately resulting in a phased, flexible roadmap, with use cases and metrics to provide one ‘language’ for all stakeholders.”

Bonde also recommends looking back to get ahead – using the past to devise today’s successful social CRM strategies. And columnist Denis Pombriant, principal with Stoughton, Mass.-based Beagle Research, mused on using social CRM not only for sales and customer service analytics. Paul Greenberg, president of The 56 Group in Manassas, Va., suggested that social CRM can extend to other areas, such as a customer-centric supply chain.

“[O]ne thing getting lost in the customer-facing discussion around social media and social CRM is of mission-critical importance,” Greenberg said. “It has been of mission-critical importance in prior incarnations in traditional CRM as well – and that is the enterprise value chain and its evolutionary antecedent, the collaborative value chain.”

In addition to strategic challenges, there are also logistical concerns surrounding social CRM. Some companies are diving headfirst into it but may find that social CRM customer data management is the hard part. And while there’s software out there that connects CRM to social networks and helps sales reps conduct client research, there are also free tools that do the same thing, leading some to wonder whether paying for the social CRM software is worthwhile.


  Expert opinion and advice on social media and social CRM  

If you’re unfamiliar with the social CRM and social media market, check in with Allen Bonde to get a good primer on social media and CRM, with definitions and frameworks for discussion when it comes to social media and marketing. Social media is more than just Facebook and Twitter, Bonde said – there’s social CRM software, like Jive and Socialtext, and social media marketing, which is the business use of social media for engaging customers, building thought leadership and more.

And when learning more about social media, it’s important to know where companies go wrong. Paul Greenberg says customer privacy is king and discusses some recent privacy snafus. Keeping customer information for social media private is not a given, he said. What’s key is mutual value -- and trust.

If you’re looking to get advice on using Web 2.0 and social CRM technology to improve customer loyalty, listen to our podcast with Don Peppers about how these technologies are changing the way companies are building customer loyalty and customer satisfaction with social media networks.


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