Posted by: Charles Maitland | Tuesday 21 July, 2009

Social CRM is there an elephant in the room

I have a whole range of posts and tweets open  that are referencing the concept of social CRM. This concept seems to have really burst into the MSCRM consciousness with the announcement of the Twitter accelerator. (I know it has a much longer pedigree but this is how my eyeball is seeing it). I have not got round to reading or understanding them all but they have raised a concern in my mind.

Now I would agree that we are seeing a step shift in the way that customers interact with companies especially large companies but I do believe that there is an elephant in this room.

No one is buying this functionality!

I talked to a number of sales colleagues today and no one had ever encountered or heard of anyone encountering ANY requirement from new or existing clients for Social CRM.

Now it is good for us in the business to be ahead of the curve and driving opportunities in new and innovative ways but I have significant concerns that we are not surfing the front of the wave but in fact are surfing before the wave forms.

If it is the case that we as practitioners of CRM are in fact too far ahead of our client base then we risk the very real danger of alienating our clients by focusing on and driving discussions on a concept that is too divorced from their strategic business needs.

I would appreciate views from a wider market exposure which could persuade me otherwise.


Ok I should have read some of the posts before making my post as there are a number of similar (and often better argued posts and comments) The following are some of the ones I have scanned and seem worth a read:

CRM Strategies Blog The telling point is in the last paragraph

Here is the question I pose to you:
Where should a company start? Which department should embrace Social CRM first? More specifically, when the dust clears, which functional area do you think will be able to leverage Social Media and Social CRM the most, and provide the greatest impact to the profitability of an organization?

I have my own thoughts, but want to hear yours as well. Fire away – this is your platform! I look forward to the debate.


There are also a number of well positioned comments that are worth a read.

WeCanDo.Biz on Znet 

The risk that Social CRM will exclude small businesses

I understand these benefits, but I just don’t believe many small businesses find conversations being had about their company or products — that’s the problem. They’re too small for this to be a problem; the real opportunity for them with Social Media is as much about winning new customers as it is serving existing ones. Their "brands" aren’t known, so what is it they use Social CRM to follow exactly?

(my emphasis)

To be fair the quote above is taken WAY out of context and the post gives a  good initial examination of the difficulty of social CRM in the SMB space. What it does not, as far as I have taken in, cover the idea of SMBs not listening to the conversation but driving it. The problem is that driving a conversation takes time/budget which these companies don’t have.

I am still listening to the podcast on Brent’s Social CRM Blog so I cant really comment on this yet.

However, I will still come back to that elephant. How many of us have actually come across a real scenario that includes any Social CRM components even as a “phase n” requirement? Are we really on the same wave as our customers? 





  1. Charles,

    As long as you keep positioning as a functionality and a technology you are not going to appreciate it as much.

    SCRM is an extension to CRM to deal with a new customer model. The customer is changing / has changed, and so has the “relationship”. SCRM is no about tools anymore than CRM is about tools.

    It is about an organization taking on a strategy to figure out how to deal with the new customer and the new reality. Forget the tools, that is nothing. You can use any tool — but how are you going to engage with your customers in this new world?

    That answer is the core of SCRM.

    Not sure if you read Paul Greenberg’s blog on putting down the line in the sand for SCRM — it is a good place to start (you can google it, if not let me know and I will get you a link). Read lots, ask lots of questions (what I do) and then look at it as another strategy.

    That is my advice…

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