Social Media and CRM: Moving Forward

I received a question from my post below that I believe warranted an entirely new one, as the scope and breath of the question really speaks for itself. So now that we’ve entered the age of social media + CRM, where does it go from here?

I’ll keep this short, as entire books can be written on the subject and I’m not nearly smart enough to write one. But in my humble opinion, it will spell the beginning of social interactions and commerce, where the lines between sales, marketing, and support start to truly merge. Sales and support will begin to blend as community-driven content drives both of these practices together. In terms of service, this will result in the monitoring of communities and feedback in near real-time to drive future product development and subsquent sales initiatives, with social networking data (the “profiles” I mentioned in the previous blog) playing an increased role in lead scoring and qualification.

For marketing, I think you’ll continue to see more of the viral-induced marketing we’ve already started to see, with user-generated content and word-of-mouth marketing beginning to do the heavy-lifting. In short, marketing becomes bi-directional, as opposed to the one-way model that’s dominated until recently.

Much of this is really about the organizational and business practices, but in terms of the CRM systems companies such as SugarCRM will be selling, I think they’ll be increased emphasis on analytic and feedback functionality, turning CRM systems into “analytic platforms” that allow businesses to track the communities…this in addition to providing the back-end muscle that CSRs leverage in communicating with customers across a realm of new multi, Internet-based channels.

To quote Dennis Miller, that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong, but in the true spirit of the community, feel free to chim in here or on Twitter and give us your two cents….or to call me an idiot.