Guest blogger Jacob Morgan: Social CRM is More Than Selling

Editor’s note: “The CRM Outsiders” can’t, by definition, be limited to people within a certain clique, or even within a certain company – and since that company (SugarCRM) is committed to being open, it’s only natural that the Outsiders be open as well.

That means different voices. We’ll have guest bloggers regularly in this space, some from the CRM sphere, some from the world of the applications that rub up against CRM, and some from areas that you might not immediately associate with CRM – but who have a stake in understanding the changing nature of customer relationships.

First up is Jacob Morgan, principal of Chess Media Group and a keen observer of what’s going on in the evolving social CRM space. You can read his own blog here. Here’s Jacob:

Over the past few months I’ve spoken with several organizations that tell me they are interested in Social CRM.  However, upon further discussion with some of these organizations really what they are asking for is something along the lines of, “how can I use social media to get people to buy more stuff?”  Basically, the platforms and the tools have changed but mentality of the traditional marketer and advertiser has not changed. This, I think, can lead to failure.

Assuming that the traditional marketing mentality and mindset is 100 percent applicable to the social media space is a fallacy.

Social CRM is a bit like investing in the stock market.   There are people out there who make a living day trading – that is, taking advantage of short-term fluctuations in the market to make money.  There are also people out there who invest in longer term investments because they believe in the companies they are investing in.

Social CRM in my opinion is much more about the long-term investment with your customers as opposed to figuring out how you can make a short term profit off of them.  I fundamentally believe that if you try to squeeze every penny you can out of your customers by always trying to sell to them, that eventually you really won’t have many customers left.

The concept of Social CRM is a bit karmic when you think about it; the business does something valuable for the customers in the hopes that the customers will in turn do something valuable for the company.  The key thing here is that value is provided to both the customers and to the company, it must be mutually beneficial.  The only catch is that usually the business must take the first step to make this happen.

The concept of being able to bring your customers and prospects together so that they can help each other is quite a powerful thing and something that Lithium has been doing for several years already for some of the world’s largest companies.  Furthermore, social CRM doesn’t always have to be about how consumers interact and share information with a brand; it can also be about connecting customers with one another and allowing them to share information among themselves.

Being able to make informed business decisions based on customer feedback and insights is really where the value of social CRM comes into play.  It’s not about simply letting your PR department tweet out apologies and discount offers. It’s about solving problems and identifying opportunities with your customers.

Social CRM puts your customers at the center of your business instead of a dollar sign.


2 thoughts on “Guest blogger Jacob Morgan: Social CRM is More Than Selling

  1. Chris,

    It is great to see that you are working to keep the spirit of Outsiders alive and well. I spent a lot of time here, as did Martin. I am disappointed in this particular post, as I thought this topic, at this level, had been talked about ad nauseam – even here on this blog. I have written about it, as you have (here and elsewhere) Martin has as well. Yes, there is more to Social CRM than just sales, just as there is more to CRM than just sales – nothing new there. Companies who wish to be successful have to offer exceptional value before, during and after the sale.

    There are Sugar CRM partners, like InsideView that use Social very well to extend and enhance sales. There extensions to Marketing, like Pardot and who extend Marketing, via Social. There are extensions to Sugar CRM itself which extend service, via social. Each of the foundational components of CRM have social extensions, that does not make it wrong. Businesses are in business to stay in business.

    Social CRM is more than community and it is not wrong to use it in sales – yes it is more than sales, but it is not wrong to use it there. Sugar does, and has been for a couple years. In the end, you want to create buyers, the gray area between creating buyers and selling is….well gray, but can be done. Mitch

    • Mitch-

      Thanks for that comment. It’s true – this topic has been dwelled on at some length. But one thing I keep discovering is that the gap between the cutting-edge thinkers and the neophytes keeps getting wider and wider. As a journalist, I was astonished that readers wanted more of the same so often – the cutting edge was nice, but the basics were essential. I think I explained SaaS about 150 times in 2007-2008.

      The cutting edge of this line of thinking to me is this, though: how do you avoid silo’ing CRM data and processes when one department takes the bit in its teeth and charges out ahead of the rest of the business? Whether it’s sales, marketing or service, it’s hard to punish a department for getting good results, but what if they come at the expense of integration heartburn later on? That’s a really interesting problem, and unfortunately it doesn’t have a technological answer – it’s about those pesky, hard to control, difficult to predict humans.

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