Three tips for Social CRM adoption

Veteran journalist Peter Coffee, who's now with Salesforce.com, asked me for three points that enterprise buyers should consider when introducing social CRM into an organization.

Social software is a hot topic these days. So hot, that hype often overtakes the reality what real practitioners need and want.

To cut through the hype, veteran journalist Peter Coffee, who's now with Salesforce.com, asked me about three points that enterprise buyers should consider when introducing social CRM into an organization.

We recorded that conversation live in front of many thousands, at Salesforce.com's recent Dreamforce 2010 conference.

A blog post I wrote inspired Peter's question. That post described three primary reasons Social CRM projects fail:

1. Poor strategy. Success always requires specific plans, goals, and objectives. If you don’t have a clear direction in mind, then achieving success becomes a hit or miss proposition. Before starting any social CRM initiative, define the end state you hope to reach; then, realistically consider plans and activities that will take you in the right direction.

2. Over-focus on technology. The technology part of social CRM is relatively easy: buy software, install it, and use it. Unfortunately, as many companies have discovered, merely putting up collaboration forums, for example, is meaningless unless accompanied by significant efforts to engage users.

3. Minimizing culture. Ultimately, social CRM represents a long-term process of change leading to greater commitment and engagement with customers. Such changes require organizational leadership to support, and actively champion, customer-oriented goals inside the company. This frequently requires a culture shift that takes time to develop; changing an organization’s cultural DNA does not happen overnight.

Advice for enterprise buyers: WIFM - "what's in it for me" -- is key to encouraging user adoption of any social business software. Help users engage quickly and often, by finding ways for them to gain tangible value fast. Users adopt new software when they experience delight and benefit, which is an incredibly powerful combination.

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On a related side note, check out this picture I took of the empty hall at Dreamforce. It was huge!

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