We’ve touched a bit on this blog about why implementing a Social CRM is a good thing. We’ve talked about trends and industry happenings and even explored some of the analytical concerns that surround Social CRMs.
All that’s well and good, but talking about food doesn’t help those that are starving and mapping out how a life preserver works won’t help those drowning at sea. If you’re really serious about understanding the necessary pieces and attitudes for setting up a Social CRM Strategy, then this post will be a welcomed breath to you.
If you’re still on the fence, go back and read some of the older posts to entice you to move forward and then come catch up with the rest of us.
Disclaimer: This post is not meant to be a complete blueprint of your company’s Social CRM strategy. This will be a general overview of the components necessary to build one, but your strategy will have to be derived from your company culture and particular experiences.
Step 1: Know Who Owns the Conversation
Here’s a hint, it’s not you.
One of the core principles of Social CRM is that it describes processes and technologies that allow companies to engage consumers in “collaborative conversations” that provide “mutually beneficial value.” We’re way past the days of simply filling customers’ heads with the business facts you want them to know.
Social customers now control their own interactions online with other customers and the company. To quote Paul Greenberg,
“The fundamental idea behind Social CRM strategy is that the customer will engage with the company in a way that provides mutually beneficial value, rather than a strategy for the optimal extraction of value from a customer in exchange for a delightful experience.”
The second part of this step one is once you concede that you as a company don’t own the conversation, you have to put in the work to truly know the people who do. Who are your customers? Are they only paying clients, or do suppliers, business executives, independent agents, contract workers, and sales consultants fit as customers of your communication plans too?
You also have to understand how you perceive each group of customers and how that perception affects your strategy.
This time around, the strategy is way more social. Who’da thunk it?
Step 2: Choose The Right Team
I try not to use the work “stakeholders” too much on this blog because it gives different impressions to a lot of different people, but this step is all about choosing the most effective internal and external-based stakeholders to bring into your Social CRM strategy.
You’ll want to bring in the natural leaders within your company (those that may not hold executive standing, but employees naturally follow), executive advocates (preferably one from each involved department), and some group that represents the interests of the customers (some call this a Customer Advisory Committee in the B2B worlds, but you can call it whatever you want).
With this team in place, figure out a time to meet and get the ball rolling by creating Social CRM specific Mission and Vision Statements. This shouldn’t simply rehash the company’s Mission and Vision Statements, rather use those core elements to create a customer-centric strategy focused around your objective of mutual consumer engagement.
These statements will not only solidify your team within your purpose, but may even bring to light some areas within the corporate statements in regards to corporate culture that need to be addressed moving forward.
Step 3: Touchdowns, Baskets and Finish Lines
The next task for your strategic development team (referred from this point forward as “The Social SCRuM”) is to put your objectives and ROI indicators down on paper.
- What kind of return are you looking for?
- What constitutes success for your Social CRM?
- Are you hoping for a specific win in the form of a 5% increase in market share over 3 years or something more intangible.
Maybe for your company success will look more like hours being freed up across all departments involved in the Social CRM and maybe it will look more like an 8% close-rate increase among your sales team and a 15% increase in customer satisfaction dealing with customer service.
Whatever those objectives, goals and ROI indicators are, write them down.
Step 4: Develop the Business Case
Your strategy’s not going to get very far if you can’t justify its existence. After your team decides where you’re going, develop the why we’re taking this route to justify your decision. The Gartner Group has developed a high level list of things to think about when thinking about business case:
- Develop an overall Social CRM strategy that supports the business strategy.
- Select business metrics to back up your Social CRM strategy (see Step 3).
- Establish a baseline for selected metrics before the project begins and benchmark performance against industry peers.
- Describe the capabilities of the Social CRM application/strategy.
- Negotiate targeted improvements using baseline metrics.
- Convert the targeted improvements into financial returns.
- Develop the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
- Calculate ROI.
Step 5: Assess Risk
Risk assessment is one of the most important steps to any plan. It’s imperative to think of how things can go wrong when putting together a plan that will affect a majority of the company. This step should seem as natural as walking, but most companies just assume that past patterns will hold true. This, most often times, is not the case.
This isn’t to say that you need to break it down to the point of “What will we do if a meteor crashes into our distribution warehouse?” It’s impossible to plan for any and all happenings, so don’t even try. Just know going in that something will most likely go wrong at some point and be prepared to deal with it when that time comes.
Build a system that is flexible and cooperative and your Social SCRuM will be able to deal with most things that come your way.
Step 6: Establish Processes
These will be your lifeblood or they will sink your ship (mixed metaphor anyone?). In most CRM strategies, the technology is the predominant factor, leaving little room for wiggling if the technology doesn’t allow a particular action.
Your Social SCRuM needs to sit and assess every company process that involves anyone involved in the Social CRM cycle (Hint: this will be almost all processes). Discard those processes not valuable to the company or the consumers and modify the ones that can be saved to work in unison with the Social CRM strategy you’re putting together based on the processes needed and the performance objectives of your company.
We’re Not Done
Well, we are and we aren’t. The above components will get you in the door, but we need to hit a few of these points with more detail, which we will do in the following weeks. Your first task is to put together your team and assess the conversations happening around your company. Where are you needed? What can you learn? Etc.
Have you already started/been through this process? What can you add that might be beneficial to this community?
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