Breaking the Social/Sharing – Life/Work Divide…

Mitch brings up some good points about adoption vs. adapting when it comes to social business.

For many in the CRM industry, I think they see “social” as a sort of magic bullet, one that will create a scenario where seemingly overnight, their boring and ugly applications will turn into apps sales, marketing and support teams can’t live without – with widespread and total adoption rates.

Not likely…

Why? Well, I believe this will not happen for a number of reasons. First and foremost, there is no magic bullet when it comes to user adoption. Social may be cool, but it alone will not get your users to log in to the CRM system and properly add and use the data. What is needed are well outlined usage expectations, ones that well define the value of using the system for each stakeholder. Otherwise, you have done all this awesome process modeling for nothing. Sorry.

Also, just because people freely give up information to public social networks and collaborate more in the public web – does not mean that a) your co-workers and employees are going to change their behavior whole hog, nor b) will your customers file into a neat mode of dealing with you via your prescribed social channel.

I do believe there is a bleed going on between work life and private life – aided by “social” in all its forms. But “work” (and let’s face it, CRM systems are for the foreseeable future internal tools for companies not collaborative social networks) still presents many obstacles to the type of unfettered social collaboration promised by the new social tools out there.

We have data silos, departmental roadblocks, and hey for many sales people – collaboration mean LOST COMMISSION. Moving towards a sharing culture is the last thing many sales people want – Unless of course it will enable them to close more deals and take more commissions (even if they are part of a more profit-sharing type).

Just as we needed to evolve past the traditional idea of the rogue-ish sales guy to see the promise of traditional CRM, a lot of barriers need to come down and policies change in many organizations to see the true benefit of social.

Any type of CRM, social or otherwise, is more about People and Process than it is about technology. Technology is a great enabler – when the right groundwork has been laid out to let the technology accelerate business in an unfettered manner.