Saturday, February 25, 2012

CRM to Social Challenges IT - I know I've heard that somewhere before.

The challenge of CRM to Social has been integration, and not integration for integrations sake but WHAT is worth integrating?  and from WHAT source? and for WHAT audience?

When I happened across Doug Henschen article in Information Week on the challenges of IT in catching up to integrating with the social side of CRM, I had flashbacks to similar discussions with my peers over SIX years ago. The stats and polling Information Week pulled together for this piece was jaw dropping. 

Making those connections, having the means to bring that data in, managing, segmenting, trusting the data . . .  In way too many cases the "social" side of CRM is done outside of IT involvement or as Doug highlights, without IT's help.  This makes the challenge to integrate and measure so much harder down the road.  

Now I know the stigma that surrounds IT departments, but if programs don't reach out and at the very least ASK for some IT help, you're missing an opportunity . . . and if IT shops don't get their collective restrictive heads out of the sand they too are missing an opportunity.

Knowing where your audience lives goes a long way to knowing how you communicate with them - that's Marketing 101.  Having backend systems talking to social system and capturing relevant data goes a long way towards how organizations stay connected and can engage.  

Of course underdstanding what "SOCIAL" means to you and your organization will help guide you in your focus on building that relationship.

In a recent post from Stanford Graduate School of Business Kris Deiglmeir titled: "Be Squared: Social Squared, That Is" SOCIAL was defined in such a way it brings clear and concise understanding to how these social networking tools are suppose to work and helps to understand how our "Relationship Management" systems should be designed to collect, segment and engage.

Understanding the WHYS always leads to the HOWS


At Fight Colorectal Cancer we are fortunate to have a rather robust data collection system in place using the Salesforce and CommonGround CRM platforms.  These systems work to bring data from many sources together and in one place.  Because Salesforce has such a rich level of integration I've recently taken advantage of the LinkedIn plug-in that now helps collect, find and document professional social network connections into a single viewable source.  

It's an  experiment to see how much information our small team can gather with hopes of better engagement. Before FightCRC I was exploring the Microsoft Social Connector plug-in that better integrate Outlook for individual relationship building.  

Integration depending on your environment will mean different things to different people.  Being flexible and knowing the expectations of your teams to interact is equally important.

Connecting and integrating may just be a lot of noise because in the end, it really boils down to your customer base and where they are on the SOCIAL scale.  

If they don't trust the medium, if they don't make their profiles available or choose to "LIKE" or "CIRCLE" you, it's a long road being social.  Building trust, identifying the "ask", engaging and cultivating your base all comes down to planning and one more thing . . . . LISTENING.  Can you hear me now?


Be careful out there, and keep those lawn blades sharp!

Michael Sola finds solutions and can translate tech into english. He's a blogger, invited presenter and speaker, he knows how to listen - he also rarely has to show ID to walk into a pub. Follow him at or : his views and comments are his own. He doesn't like talking about himself in the 3rd person, just ask him.


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