Social CRM vendors

What’s Social CRM?

According to Gartner, the Customer relationship management (CRM) is a strategy for managing and nurturing a company’s interactions with customers and sales prospects. The overall goals are to find and win new customers,  retain those the company already has, and reduce the costs of marketing and customer service.

The Social CRM, according to a definition by Paul Greenberg is “a philosophy & a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes & social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted & transparent business environment.
Shorter: It’s the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation.”

As you can see, the Social CRM (an extension of the CRM) has a focus on

  • the social technologies (sparkled by the new ways to communicate, as social web tools, smartphones, ubiquitous internet and so on.
  • a transformation whom the customers trust (peers instead of organizations)
  • customer engagement
  • interaction with customers instead of a simple data transaction

How the Social CRM Vendors have been graded

Jeremiah Owyang (from the Altimeter Group) put together a list of Social CRM vendors and prepared a survey of a selected group of vendors, using four criteria:

  1. Sharing features: Simple sharing of social content from the corporate product page
  2. Community and Integration: Surfacing a developer or business community, and a look inside of the discussions in each community, with bonus points for integration with product page.
  3. Thought leadership: with relevant blogs on the subject, and a gauge of their level of interaction and any twitter accounts they may have.
  4. Overall Social Experience: A subjective look at the overall page experience in the context of a company that’s offering a ’social experience’.

The conclusion was that this is still a space in its early phase. Only one vendor (Lithium) got enough grades. In general they found the product pages to be devoid of true social interaction, and none of them actually enable discussions about how the market is even talking about them.

One interesting possibility is that people will work together to share their information about what they plan to do and you can expect social CRM systems and search engines to quickly try to make predictive models on what could happen, and what are the chances. Businesses that have a physical location like retail, events, or packaged goods can use this data to anticipate consumer demand. They may offer contextualized marketing, or increase or decrease inventory or store hours to accommodate.

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