To understand what Social Customer Relationship Management (SCRM) is, we have to start with a clear definition. The definition must be clearly articulated and easily understood by individuals in the industry.
In the Magic Quadrant for Social CRM, Gartner writes, “Social CRM applications need to be far more customer-centric than more-traditional CRM applications. Without benefits for the customer, communities and social networks die, resulting in no benefits to the organisation using the social CRM applications. To be successful with social CRM, organisations need to be much less focused on how an organisation can manage the customer, and much more focused on how the customer can manage the relationship.”
The Gartner analysts then go on to define the fuzzy outputs of SCRM but never clearly define the SCRM beyond the previous paragraph. And I’m not the only one who seems to be mystified by the definition. Paul Greenberg calls the report “confusing”, Estaban Kolsky calls the SCRM definition “mystical”, and Chris Bucholtz compares the report to a variety of race cars in several races on the same track.
For me and the decision makers I talk to, SCRM is simply taking traditional CRM and adding multichannel social technologies, social analytics and social engagement strategy to help Sales, Marketing and Customer Service be more productive.
Jas Dhillon offers a more detailed definition which I like: “Social CRM is a business philosophy that expands the borders of traditional customer relationship management beyond information, process and technology to people, conversations, and relationships. The focus of sCRM is on people (i.e. customers, partner, suppliers), their relationships with other people, and the ongoing conversations that are occurring about the Company and its products. Finally, sCRM is also about engaging with customers and prospects, not controlling them, and establishing bonds of trust (hopefully love) between the Customers and the Company.”
So by this definition, please find the following revised and unauthorised “Reality Quadrant” for Social CRM decision makers:
The Reality Quadrant for SCRM
Where Gartner Got it Wrong
To be fair, with respect to their analysis, Gartner typically gets it right. Just not this time.
The problem is that SCRM is a relatively new concept with little in terms of real world business application experience. Therefore, the Gartner research is not likely based on empirical knowledge, but on their opinion of the vendors’ solutions and business strategy that was presented to them.
For the few of us that are using SCRM tools as mission critical business solutions, their SCRM Magic Quadrant is more illusion than conclusion. For example, how does Jive manage to secure the top spot on the Quadrant when there isn’t a Vice President of Sales on the planet that will choose them to manage their customer relationship, opportunity, pipeline and forecasting information?
Jive doesn’t effectively manage information about people, relationships and business opportunities. It’s not built for that purpose. Jive is a listening and engagement platform that does not manage the people they are listening to; prospects, customers, vendors, and influencers.
But their solution is an incredibly effective social platform for customer and employee engagement. There’s a clear distinction that Gartner doesn’t seem to grasp (or perhaps chooses to ignore).
True SCRM starts out the with the customer, her demographics, her realities, her needs, her values. But it does not ignore the management of the customer. It’s not an angry tweet that someone in customer service responds to only to move on the next complaint. It creates a profile of that customer so that the organisation can continue to nurture her.
So Gartner missed the customer relationship management aspect of SCRM. They likely forgot that the CRM in SCRM is about creating new customers, managing the customer relationship lifecycle, and keeping existing customers happy.
It’s essential to note that no vendor has a complete, end to end, integrated SCRM solution. But if you need to realise the numerous benefits of SCRM today, the following are the frontrunners:
Large organisations over 1000 employees: With Salesforce.com’s acquisition of Radian 6 in March 2011, they quickly accelerated into the pole position for SCRM. Already a CRM leader, Salesforce.com has the most complete Social CRM offering. They are now faced with the daunting challenge of integrating Salesforce and Chatter with their recent acquisitions and socially enabling the overall solution.
Small to mid-size organisations with less than 1000 employees: Surprise start up Nimble is the best choice for small and medium sized companies. If Salesforce.com is taking an acquire then integrate approach, Nimble is starting with Social at its core and building CRM components on top of it. Nimble is far more affordable than Salesforce and offers a rich Social and CRM feature set for small to mid-size organisations.
As Peter Drucker liked to remind us, the purpose of business is to create a customer. And Social CRM is furthering this objective by enabling companies to locate and connect with current and prospective customers while managing them through a relationship lifecycle. SCRM is important, it’s not B.S. and it’s here to stay.
While it’s easy for me to Monday morning quarterback and to dispute Gartner’s decisions after the fact, many believe the SCRM Magic Quadrant results are unsatisfactory. So I’ve repositioned the Quadrant so that SCRM decision makers can make more informed decisions based on the real-world experience of executives like them.
Let me know if I got it right.
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