A Tale of Two Social CRM Cities: NYC and Atlanta

I checked the Twitter stream on Monday about 10am and it was a bit funny to watch the Sugarites  messages come through. With the beginning of the world tour, people have begun scattering to 3 out of the 4 corners of the globe. Yeah, I know, the Earth is round, and all that, but with the kick-off of the world tour, messages abound going this week “Hey, I am off to Atlanta”, “See you in Oslo”  and “Looking forward to the event with a Partner in New York”. So, here we are on Thursday, and each has a bit of story to tell, though the one from Oslo may take a few days to make it here, given the distance and all.

While in NYC, I personally had the opportunity to speak, engage with and listen to Clint Oram, Greg Kieser of The Robin Hood Foundation and Arkady Kleyner as well as an active audience, willing to jump into the conversation. On the panel, we dug into topics like adoption and value to the end users, it was a good conversation. After the event, I was able to spend some further time with Clint as we dissected our own topics, and CRM ‘next’. The theme there was, ‘we have been at this so long, how do we make sure we have not lost touch’ and ‘is “Manual” a bad thing; but more on that in a couple minutes.

I spoke on the topic of ‘CRM in the age of Social’ – this is the kissing cousin of ‘Social CRM’. I chose to alter the title of the presentation, and it will also likely be the topic of my book, as soon as I get busy writing it. The distinction is that while Social CRM is receiving a lot of attention, the basic ‘blocking and tackling’ of CRM is still top of mind for many. As a matter of fact, many, while interested in the artifacts of Social CRM; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others, are even more are concerned how this fits into their organization.  Clint did a stellar job of talking about the CRM Adoption curve and in a way organizational readiness. The audience was engaged and the topic hit home

Is Manual a bad thing

After the event, while we were discussing and dissecting our own talks, Clint and I began to wonder out loud. Two CRM veterans, with battle scars to prove it, trying to figure out what impact over engineering processes, and optimizing front office and back-office to point of pure optimizing was really about. Is process efficiency getting in the way of focusing on your customer? How can that be?

I am not going to put words in Clint’s mouth here, these thoughts are my take away from our conversation. Part of the ‘People, Process and Technology’, which we all talk about is, the process part, of course. More often than not, process optimization is completely Inside-out, hard to argue that. You can try and we would love to hear it. So, what? Well, how is this for a thought: what impact does your process optimization effort have on the Customer Experience? Is it all good? To certain folks in your organization, saving 10 or 15 minutes, multiplied by 10 a day, a hundred a month has to be good, right? Or, are you passing on an opportunity to spend some time on the phone with your customers?

I do not have the answers right now, but it did get me thinking…

Atlanta – Social CRM in the South

While Mitch was up in NYC, I was speaking on an interesting panel at the Silverpop annual Client Summit in Atlanta. The panel covered the topics of social CRM, inbound marketing and lead generation for modern B2B organizations.

The panelists were great – we had David Raab of Raab Associates, who I see as a godfather of demand generation, in short a very bright guy. Also, Jep Castelein from Lead Sloth also added some great insights for the audience. Rounding out the panel was moderator and B2B marketing evangelist at Silverpop Adam Needles.

Before taking audience questions, we went through some of the issues facing marketers today, and talked about some of the ideal (or less than ideal) processes and systems we now need to consider on an everyday basis. I offered up this tangled model – to show just how much technology and process we must be tracking in the age of social:


The audience was great – and if you were in attendance, thanks for your great questions and feedback. I got the feeling that marketers are now starting to think about HOW to add social media monitoring and inbound/outbound social media strategies; were are getting past the IF, WHY and “Is This Valuable?” stages.

I had some side conversations with attendees representing some Sugar customers, as well as some interesting brands like Muzak – all interested in keeping a nice balance between broadcasting brand messaging and actual lead management in social channels. Some great ideas out there, and glad to see people are getting the idea that they simply have to apply social concepts to their business – there are no magic bullets – and this is not a rip and replace by any means. We are simply adding new channels of communication to our marketing activities.

In all, a great panel at a great event. I think Silverpop is doing so cool things in terms of empowering B2B marketers with a broad tool set. It’s a nice complementary solution to their more B2C focused offerings.

2 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Social CRM Cities: NYC and Atlanta

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