One of the many nice things I discovered when I sat down at my desk here at SugarCRM for the first time was that the crew here had already set up a webinar with Paul Greenberg. I can’t speak highly enough of Paul. He wrote the CRM at the Speed of Light trilogy-plus-one (hey, all four are different – they’re called “editions,” which is a misnomer because each book is all new), he’s the president of 56 Group and does a lot of consulting, he writes two blogs (Pgreenblog and Social CRM: the Conversation) which are must-reads, and is CRM’s best ambassador. Few people enjoy talking about it as much as he does – although anyone who has the old-style CRM-is-a-technology viewpoint will quickly by set straight. This is a subject about people – CRM records data about people, but the technology can’t build relationships. Humans have to use that data and combine it with their own talents to do that.
The topic of this webinar is “Social Media: Hope or Hype?” I talked to Paul about it this morning, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Paul’s going to lean more toward the “Hope” side – but I also expect he’ll issue a warning about buying into the hype and then not doing the thinking and the behind-the-scenes work to convert the opportunity social media represents into results for your company.
There’s an idea floating around that not launching a social media effort is guaranteed to doom your business. The ROI is perhaps difficult to measure, but until you figure out to do it for your unique circumstances, the real return on investment is your business’s survival, they say. Jeff Hayzlett http://hayzlett.com/ made that argument forcefully at the Sales 2.0 conference in 2010 and I’ve heard others articulate the same thing.
You certainly need a presence where your customers are – that’s true. But going from being present to using the results of that presence as part of a social CRM program takes a bit more thought. You can’t just check your monitoring applications, update your blog, and have someone in marketing post a few Tweets and expect it to translate into actionable information. You need a set of processes to get that data from social media into CRM, where it can add to your knowledge of the customer, and from there to the rest of your business. Otherwise, it’s small talk – worthwhile small talk, but not something that can significantly deepen your customer relationships.
Getting social is easy – getting results from social is tough. And, I suspect, it’s something Paul will have a lot to say about on June 7.
Here’s where you go to register; if you’re struggling to adjust your business to a more social world, or if you’re looking to make the jump from presence to process, you owe it to yourself to listen in.