So how big is this Social CRM thing going to be?

2009 has seen the rise of Social CRM.
Social CRM Search Traffic 12 months ending 09-09

People are actually proactively searching for the term on Google. Recent CRM industry gatherings; the CRM Evolution conference and Gartner’s CRM Summit, have given way to an avalanche of coverage and discussion of Social CRM. CRM Magazine’s recent awards featured a number of first time award recipients from the world of Social Media and Social CRM. The mainstream press has even gotten in on the act .

The merging of Social Media with CRM has captured the attention and imagination of executives, analysts, vendors, pragmatists, and naysayers. This exponential growth of interest, participation and discussion has blossomed into a steady flow of valuable insights, opinions, stats, debates, and links.

The train has left the station, and I don’t believe it’s coming back.

So how big is this Social CRM thing going to be?

Bob Warfield, CEO of Helpstream says that we are in the midst of a paradigm shift…

Mike Boysen says much of the Social CRM discussion is marketing and hype for nothing more than a channel management system.

There are also a TON of other meaningful discussions and posts happening. Esteban Kolsky links to some of them in his most recent post “I Am Not A SCRM Market Expert, I Just Play One On Twitter”

There are now solid case studies around the tangible, measurable financial benefits of Social CRM. (Reference some of my other recent posts for those) and the downfalls of jumping in carelessly.

Does this collection of new strategies, approaches, and associated technologies really change the very nature of CRM, and business as we know it?

Bill Band provides a nice overview of the Extended CRM Application Ecosystem. It includes:

1. Customer Targeting

2. Customer Acquisition

3. Customer Retention

4. Customer Understanding

5. Customer Collaboration

While Bill’s focus is on the applications and technologies that enable  each category, my takeaway is that each of these functional categories aren’t new, bleeding edge concepts. They are fundamental to the success of organizations, and have been around since medieval bazaars. The technology mix is new, but the strategic focus areas (or categories) remain.

Has Social CRM changed any of this?

No. The overall tenets of effective CRM strategies haven’t changed. The method(s) by which we can accomplish those strategies have. We have new capabilities. The emergence and evolution of the social web has simply enabled us to do the things we wanted to do before, but do them better (if properly executed). For some, it has opened up new possibilities that weren’t even imagined just a few years, or even months ago.

Going back to Mr. Band’s model, does Social CRM deserve it’s own separate category? I think not. Social tools provide new ways to achieve success in all of the categories. In this model, there might be a Social CRM layer in between Customer Understanding, and the other four categories (Customer Collaboration, Customer Targeting, Customer Acquisition, and Customer Retention).

Social CRM is a natural extension of CRM as we have known it up until now, which itself has evolved over the past two decades, and will continue to evolve as technological advances take place.

Does Social CRM include a collection of new channels, tools, and technologies? Absolutely.

Does Social CRM include a shift in mentality and approach to customers? Absolutely – if done right.

Is this collection of new strategies and technologies a paradigm shift?
I don’t think so. At least not yet…

The widespread adoption of the internet was a paradigm shift. The world as we knew it literally changed, dramatically. We are still evolving under that shift. Social Media, and subsequently Social CRM, is simply the next step within that major transformational paradigm shift.

I do think it is possible that we could potentially get to a place where strategies and standard business practice are so dramatically changed that surviving under an old model would be impossible. I’ll be sharing more on this in a future post. But, if that does ever come to pass, we’re still a long way away.

In the end, I agree with Bob that this portion of the conversation is just a matter of semantics.

Why should we consider and embrace a Social CRM initiative?

This is the number one question that visionary organizations are wanting an answer to. The promise of Social CRM is bright. There is already emerging proof. We should collectively focus our attention on tangibly creating measurable value with this collection of new tools and strategies. The argument “because your competitors are doing it” is simply not compelling enough.

So then, as we collectively quibble over Social CRM, and how big it will ultimately be, what it is, who owns it, and the like, I’d like to bring us back to the one thing that really matters:

Can organizations increase their value (the only real measure of success in business) by serving their customers better with the rapidly evolving strategies and technologies that are now known as Social CRM?

I believe the answer is yes. How much? We still don’t know. Results will differ by market, industry, and company size and segment. Like any other enterprise initiative, success will depend on a well defined strategy, and supporting people, processes, and enabling technology to execute upon that strategy.

I’m looking for more stories about how organizations have incorporated Social CRM initiatives into their strategies and the tangible benefits those initiatives have provided.

I’m especially looking to hear from the customers who have benefited from a better experience with their vendor because of Social CRM.

I know you are out there. Come share your story. We are anxious to hear.

And, oh yes, I am absolutely open to hear your candid feedback on my opinions. Agree or disagree, it doesn’t matter. Productive dialogue only furthers the conversation.

CRM Magazine Announces 2009 CRM Market Awards (Social CRM gaining ground)

This morning, CRM Magazine released their 2009 CRM Market Awards to be announced at the CRM Evolution Conference.

Somewhat surprising recipients appear in the area of Rising Stars include Google, Facebook, Lithium Technologies, and Visible Technologies – internet and social media platforms. In addition to traditional CRM leaders Marc Benioff and Anthony Lye, more social and traditional media stars showed up in the Influentials category including Chris Brogan, Guy Kawasaki, Tony Hsieh, Tim O’Reilly, Jeremiah Owyang, and Ross Mayfield.

One key takeaway for me is this high profile validation of the rapidly merging worlds of Social Media and CRM – recently officially named Social CRM.  Please join the conversation on Twitter by using the #scrm hashtag.

CRM Magazine Announces Winners of 2009 CRM Market Awards

Companies, Customers, and Industry Visionaries Honored for Successes in the CRM Marketplace over the Previous 12 Months

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–CRM magazine, the industry’s leading publication, announced the winners of its 2009 CRM Market Awards here today, in conjunction with the magazine’s CRM Evolution 2009 conference.

With its eighth annual CRM Market Awards, CRM magazine honors the vendors, consultants, and end-user companies that focus on customer relationships and the customer experience through the sophisticated integration of people, processes, and technologies. In each of 10 categories, the magazine named one Market Winner, denoting the highest score compared to its peers. Each category also produced four Market Leader awards and “One to Watch.”

“To stay competitive in a challenging economy, companies must come up with innovative ways to improve their customer relationship efforts. This is exactly what the recipients of the 2009 CRM Market Awards have done,” said David Myron, CRM magazine’s editorial director. “Congratulations to this year’s award recipients for their achievements over the last year. May their CRM efforts continue to succeed.”

Recipients were determined through an extensive three-month process and a proprietary rating formula that involves industry analysts, financial and corporate information, product and functionality assessments, and scores reflecting customer satisfaction.

* Enterprise Suite CRM — Winner:
Leaders: Microsoft, Oracle, RightNow Technologies, SAP
One to Watch: NetSuite
* Midmarket Suite CRM — Winner:
Leaders: Microsoft, Oracle, RightNow Technologies, Sage
One to Watch: NetSuite
* Small-Business Suite CRM — Winner:
Leaders: Maximizer Software, NetSuite, Sage, Zoho
One to Watch: SugarCRM
* Sales Force Automation — Winner:
Leaders: Microsoft, Oracle, RightNow Technologies, SAP
One to Watch: NetSuite

* Incentive Management
— Winner: Xactly
Leaders: Callidus Software, Merced Systems, Synygy, Varicent Software
One to Watch: Makana Solutions
* Marketing Solutions — Winner: SAS Institute
Leaders: Alterian, Eloqua, Silverpop, Unica
One to Watch: Marketo
* Business Intelligence — Winner: IBM’s Cognos Software
Leaders: Information Builders, Oracle, SAP BusinessObjects, SAS Institute
One to Watch: Microsoft
* Data Quality — Winner: SAS Institute’s DataFlux
Leaders: IBM Information Integration Solutions, Informatica, SAP, Trillium Software (Harte-Hanks)
One to Watch: Pitney Bowes Business Insight
* Open-Source CRM — Winner: SugarCRM
Leaders: Compiere, Concursive, SplendidCRM, xTuple
One to Watch: vTiger
* Consultancies — Winner: Deloitte
Leaders: Accenture, Capgemini, Hitachi Consulting, IBM Global Business Services
Ones to Watch: Appirio and Bluewolf

Eight members of the CRM community were named by the magazine as 2009 Influential Leaders: Marc Benioff, cofounder, chairman, and chief executive officer at; Chris Brogan, president of New Media Labs and social media thought leader; Tony Hsieh, chief executive officer at online-retailing trailblazer; Guy Kawasaki, author and cofounder of aggregation site Alltop; Anthony Lye, senior vice president for CRM at Oracle; Ross Mayfield, chairman, president, and cofounder at collaboration specialist Socialtext; Tim O’Reilly, founder and chief executive officer at publisher and event producer O’Reilly Media; and Jeremiah Owyang, a senior analyst at Forrester Research.

The magazine also named six Rising Stars for the year, including nontraditional CRM players such as social networking behemoth Facebook and search-engine giant Google; information-from-the-cloud upstarts InsideView and Jigsaw; Lithium Technologies, a community-platform provider; and Visible Technologies, which offers brand monitoring and social media analysis.

Lastly, the magazine named four customer implementations as winners of its CRM Elite Award: ISS Belgium, for a large-scale Microsoft Dynamics CRM rollout; NBC Universal, for a sales and marketing effort using; ShipServ, for its holistic use of Marketo,, and social media; and Wrigleyville Sports, for its NetSuite e-commerce success.

The 2009 CRM Market Awards are being presented at the CRM Evolution 2009 conference at the Marriott Marquis in New York ( An expanded version of the results have been published in the September 2009 issue of CRM magazine—available in print and, as of September 1, 2009, in digital NXTBook format ( and online at

About CRM magazine

CRM magazine is the leading publication of the customer relationship management industry, covering sales, marketing, customer service, and strategy. The magazine also administers and hosts the annual CRM Evolution conference. Each of these properties is designed to serve customer-centric business initiatives, and leaders who recognize CRM as a key strategy for creating enhanced customer value in any industry. For more information about the magazine, its editorial calendar, or CRM in general, please visit us on the Web at, or on Twitter at @CRM ( and @destinationCRM ( The destinationCRM Web site (which is updated daily) and the monthly magazine are properties of CRM Media, a division of Information Today, Inc.