Social CRM Is Now A Few Steps Closer

Microsoft acquired this spring a social analytics company called Netbreeze. The former CEO of Netbreeze Francois Rüf is now working at Microsoft and he’s in charge of integrating social technologies to Dynamics CRM. Rüf introduced his views on how companies should build their Social CRM strategies at Microsoft’s Convergence in Barcelona last week. Here are some of the most juiciest points picked up from Rüf’s presentation.

CRM In the Social age

The Social Age transforms the way we think about customer relationship management.

1) Find out what are the touch points of your customers in the social web with your brand and products

The first step towards more social CRM is to increase customer knowledge by listening what people say about your brand and products in the social web.

Are the sentiments positive or negative? Are there people who discuss a lot about your company and should be kept satisfied? In other words, who are the influencers and how can you help them to build and grow their own networks?

Microsoft releases next spring Netbreeze which offers comprehensive tools for listening, monitoring and analyzing social web. Enriching CRM with social analytics data opens up new opportunities for business when customer data from different sources can be freely combined.

According to the preliminary schedule the standalone version of Netbreeze is due to release on Q1/2014 and the Dynamics CRM integrated version on Q2.

2) Analyze your competitors and copy

Familiarize yourself with the social CRM strategies of your competitors and copy their strategy if it works for your business. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, or as Kirby Ferguson puts it in his video series Everything is a Remix:

Copying is how we learn. We can’t introduce anything new until we’re fluent in the language of our domain, and we do that through emulation.

3) Build a Business Case

Set goals for social CRM and make sure the goals are aligned with your company’s business goals and KPIs. Measuring only the amount of Facebook likes or Twitter followers is not enough; the social KPIs have to be linked with the amount and quality of leads, revenue, customer loyalty, cost reductions and other top business KPIs.

Successful measuring can only be done so that all the relevant marketing, sales, customer service and social data is in the same system, that is in CRM.

4) Develop Your Organization’s Capabilities and Get Executive Sponsorship

Successful deployment of the new tools requires always training and developing the skills and capabilities of your employees. The return of your investment will be minuscule if your employees won’t embrace the new tools and use them actively. Thus you should allocate enough resources to first assess the knowledge of your organization and second train and engage the employees.

Executive sponsorship is essential to all CRM-related projects. For some reason things run smoothly and fast when your cause has a supporter in the executive board.

5) Become Aware of the Pitfalls of Social CRM and Learn to Avoid Them

Sosiaalisen CRM:n sudenkuopat

The pitfalls of social CRM can be avoided.

  • Silos within your company. Make everything as open as possible and encourage people to share knowledge in order not to leave relevant customer data just in the hands of one department or team.
  • Too expensive to roll out. Start small, measure the benefits and increase the amount of users gradually.
  • Systems are not seamlessly integrated. If social data is scattered into different systems, the business opportunities which you would get from combining data can’t be fully utilized and in the worst case scenario social will just become busy work for the communications and marketing departments.
  • Social strategy is not aligned with top business goals. If social CRM doesn’t support your business goals, why should you even invest in it?