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Without Strategy Your Social CRM Efforts Will Fail

I read the following blogpost on CustomerThink earlier this week, and it made me think about the importance of strategy. In his article, Lior Arussy says:

“At the core of social CRM success must be not the tools but the organizational readiness to act. Both through executives’ readiness to listen and commitment to act combined with design and delivery of superior, differentiating experiences.”

I agree with Lior completely, and reflected my agreement in the comments section of this blogpost. Because traditional CRM implementation became more about tools and not strategy, many implementations failed the way they did. If you focus on the tool without understanding what you want the tool to do, what your organizational processes and data flows look like, and how the platform can support it, your platform will become shelfware before you can even say “shelfware”. Obviously, I work for a platform that allows to listen, analyze and respond to social media as well as traditional messages. We are working on some cutting-edge things at Attensity that allow to process our massive social media listening post (the “L” for “listen” in our LARA framework), advanced classification and routing of content for follow up – that’s the “A”  LARA). We are also working on ways to relate social media data to the company’s inside CRM data on the customer (that’s the “R” in LARA).  And of course, the final “A” enables the company to act. All these things, in addition to what the future brings, are inching our customers closer to solving their business needs, which are often to meet the social customer where she is and work with her to better the product and solve her needs. By allowing companies to track, analyze and respond to traditional and social media from the same platform, we are committed to giving our customers as much of a holistic solution as we can.

And even though we can give you a lot of tools to nurture your relationship with the social customer, none of this will ever work until the client sits down and figures out what they want out of their social media experience. Buying a tool and then hoping that it will take care of your strategy is a ‘bandaid” strategy – a short-term non-solution for the business problem. Are you looking for more awareness? Or to provide better and faster customer service? Where do you want to listen (i.e. where are your customers and future customers)? How will traditional customer support coexist with social media support? Do you have adequate resources or do you need to hire? Is the company culture ready for a transparent and honest conversation with the social customer? Are employees empowered to act as company evangelists? How will you create customer advocacy through your social media engagement? What is the role of social media as it supports your overarching business objectives? What are these business objectives? These are some tough questions that each business needs to ask itself, and I am afraid there’s no shortcut. Jumping onto Twitter, or the newest monitoring platform, or the next shiny object, is not going to get you any closer to success.

As Lior points out, most of SCRM success or failure is tied to the organizational readiness to act. Alignment, executive buy-in and establishment of the right processes and even more importantly, the right culture are key. When you take care of the culture, education and internal alignment, you should sit down and figure out what you do now, how information flows, how activity is tracked, and how social media is going to fit into the process. How will you support these processes with human resources? What does the workflow look like? How do you measure success? Please think through all this first, and create your own data flow diagram. Because there are as many SCRM implementations as there are companies, you should never rely on a pre-created stack diagram. You need to do the hard work of creating your own. Then you are ready to start using a platform like Attensity360, engaging, measuring and doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

Photo credit mimi_k.