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Posts Tagged ‘Transparency’

The Path to Success in Social Business is through Social CRM

March 18, 2010 6 comments

At first I was going to state the title in the form of a question, but this is not Jeopardy, and I wanted to make a point. The point is simple really, the path to success in Social Business is through Social CRM, said with conviction, not hesitation. This is not going to be a blog about definitions, though some may show up later or in the embedded presentation. While I have decided to move past the definitions, others may not be ready – fair enough, catch-up when you can. My approach is to put forth a convincing argument by using the characteristics and attributes that make up the Social Customer, Social CRM and a Social Business; not trying to redefine them.

My own struggle has been to place these concepts in the proper context, individually. To try to talk about any of these topics, without bringing up the other two is just hard and many times it just does not make sense. My operating theory is, ‘if I am having trouble a whole lot of other people are as well’. If you are an IT purist, it is like trying to talk about just Cost, just Schedule or or just Scope (not to mention Quality) without talking about the others  – they are related, strongly – interdependent.

While technology certainly plays a role here, maybe it is even to blame, this is not about technology, rather what has started because of it. While the conversation would not be happening if it where not for the rapid change in behaviors caused by technology, it is about the change in culture and the change in behaviors of the customer (iPhone, Facebook, LinkedIn, FourSquare, YouTube, Blogs). Because they are ALL talking to eachother! By the way, whether you are Business to Business or Business to Consumer, it does not really matter. Yes, there are some differences, but there are more similarities than differences. We are all humans, and emotions play a big part in business too, sorry, it just is!

What is the point?

I have stated on many occasions that I use blogging to formulate my own thoughts on a particular topic. In this case, it was the creation of a presentation – or the template for a set of presentations which I need to deliver, beginning next week. I wanted to share the presentation, so that I am able to get feedback and begin a conversation on how I can refine the delivery. What would a presentation be in this space, if it is not actually Social and Interactive. The presentation will not remain static, nor should it. It is also anyone’s to use, if you think it can help. The presentation is not an attempt to be a strategy either, that is yours to create.

My thought process was to break it down into small pieces, then attempt to put it all back together. The baseline of understanding is not a definition of a system, but the characteristics of the system. The end of the presentation is not yet complete, but I wanted to put this out there so people were able to review. Please let me know your thoughts – Selecting the “Wide Screen” option on the lower right worked best for me. If the embed feature did not work, there is a link below.

Vodpod videos no longer available.
I was able to integrate the Prezi on wordpress using vodpod, if the embedding did not work right, just do it the old fashioned way Social Business through Social CRM on Prezi.

Connecting the dots, first step Creating Buyers!

A purist could say I am avoiding the word ‘Sales’, not really, just choosing a phrase I deem more appropriate for a Social Business. I strongly believe that the future of business will be more about the creation of buyers than what we think of today as the selling of product. That said, with all of the talk about ROI, KPI and value, we still struggle to convince our own bosses that this is will happen, because in the end, the measurement is about money changing hands – but that to will also change in subtle ways, as we move forward. My final personal objective is to highlight and expand the Altimeter Group Use Cases. Why, because they represent a great way to get past the ‘Buzz and Hype’. Also, an important aspect, business executives, marketers, PR folks and CRMers can understand them. No, the Use Cases are not perfect, they are not meant to be, I see them as a foundation.

At the end of the Prezi I make the case that in order to actually put the Use Cases into practice, it is required to combine a few of them together to support a full process. If used in isolation, a Social Business will end up creating silos, not what we need – not very Social. Since I am also charged with presenting in between Dharmesh Shah (Hubspot) and Umberto Milletti (InsideView), I took the approach of putting specific Use Cases together to build the process:

The Business Process/Objective: Increasing the size of the ecosystem by creating buyers

Attributes of the Business Process: Listening, Engaging, Information, Transparency, Trust, Value

Use Cases Used: Social Customer Insights (F1), Social Sales Insights (S1) and Rapid Social Sales Response (S2)

Is this perfect? – not even close. Are there other Use Cases which should be enabled here, probably. Should there be a series of conditions, dependencies and ‘what-ifs’. That depends – No blog, book or article will be able to define a strategy, your strategy. You know your business. You know your customer or do you?

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Is a Business Culture Change required to find value in Social?

March 5, 2010 9 comments

I wanted to get out a quick post based on some great experiences this week. The interactions were on many different channels; Twitter, Email, Skype, Phone, Face-to-face, Groups, Blogs…all of which make for great engagement, learning and productivity. Or, with so many channels to watch, does productivity take a hit? My approach to work has changed, a lot, especially during the past year. That drives the question is will everyone be as willing to make the changes they need to, in order to bring your business into the future?

A strong influence on my thinking this week came from two sources. One was a very simple tweet by @designthinkers (Arne van Oosterom) where he said simply “Change is synonymous to future”. A very insightful 5 word tweet. My response was “then why do people look forward to the future, but hate change”? I am far from a student in philosophy, I could easily get myself in over my head quite fast. This was my lead-in to the IDC Directions conference in Boston yesterday. Thinking on this topic during my quick jaunt from Vermont to Boston. The conference was very good, and for those of you on the west coast, you can go the 2.0 version next week.

The subject that interested me the most (and the second major influence) was the Social Business track hosted by Michael Fauscette (@mfauscette) and his team from IDC.  Michael’s talk was a fluid, well presented session on Social Business – or more appropriately how to get there. One running theme throughout his talk regarded the platform – no, not technology, the people. Another running theme was about culture, the culture required to enable a Social Business (a topic that will come up at SugarCon as well). Since ‘people are the platform’ does represent a change and will be required to move us into the future, how do we enable this change, without disruption? Or, as little disruption as possible.

I should be able to quickly bring these two thoughts together

For the most part, people do like looking to the future (no, not all people all the time) but, there may be a bit of hesitation. The reason; because moving forward often requires change, and very few people really look forward to change. As Arne correctly (my opinion) pointed out to me, there is the paradox. If change equates to the future, but people like one, but not the other, where does that leave us? When you say “change” or “change management” alarm bells, defense mechanisms and barriers get thrown up quickly. However, in order for people to accept Social Business or Social CRM, there is going to need to be a change in the culture within an organization – the whole organization, not just sales, or support. Without a change, then it will simply become about technology and we will repeat mistakes we have made before.

How do you help people get past the hesitation?

The answer is simple, really. Make your teams, your people, your platform part of the process – and talk about the future, not change. If you listen to your teams, they will in turn become better listeners. People are social, they want to share, then they will lead the charge. Break down silos, enable, reward and promote people being social. Why, because they know your customers and it the right thing to do. Being Social is a state of mind and culture, it is not about technology. Focus on establishing value for all the constituents of your ecosystem, and then things will really come together.



The Social Business Engine (part 1 of n)

January 21, 2010 6 comments

Before any of my friends ask, or slap me silly on the back channel, I do not know the value of ‘n’. The reason is simple, this is not a closed loop process, it is a journey, and we are simply going to need to alter the design as we go along. Second point, I am not trying to add another hashtag, or acronym, that is so 2009!

My thoughts are guided by lots of great folks – many of whom are in my scrm blogroll, affectionately known as the Accidental Community. Influence does not stop there, Clint Oram, a good friend, and one of the founders of SugarCRM is a strong influence as well. I always wanted to hit Clint up for an interview, maybe now is my chance. Finally, the most obvious, witnessing the changes in business large and small, public and private, academia included.

What are the components of a Social Business?

Simple really, they are the same components of every business you have read about for the past 20 years, just with the word “social” stuck in front. Maybe that was not very helpful, my point is that while everything seems new, nothing within is really new. (yes, tech changes and all that, but work with me) The difference is that now whatever we do, we do with an audience, who can talk back. We are no longer afforded the luxury of screwing up in private. Thus, the word “social” is, at its core, a daily reminder of this fact. When we all have that burned in sufficiently, the term will disappear. No ‘Social’ Service Communities, just Service Communities, no ‘Social’ Media Monitoring, just Media Monitoring. Eventually, the Social part of CRM may even go away too…But it will not become Social Relationship Management – sorry, not happening.

But, for now, the word social will stick, not to use it would confuse everyone, not my goal. In order to be successful in the context of a social business, your choices are fewer – no that is a good thing! You know, the ultimate freedom is lack of choice. There is no more trying to hide a product flaw, a price discrepancy, no chance, do not even try – isn’t that a relief?

So, I have trashed the word social, told you that whenever you screw up it is public and added that nothing is new it is just different. I am a ‘glass is half full’ kind of guy, really? If you understand the difference, empower your employees, and align your business to leverage this environment and have some fun along the way you can succeed, and really thrive!

Roles, responsibilities and expectations need to be aligned

Have you ever tried to teach someone (or learned yourself) to drive a stick shift? OK, paint this mental picture – new driver,  stopped on an uphill, a car right behind you and one in front waiting at a red light – sorry, rush hour (of course) – ok, got that picture in your mind? This is how many companies felt about Social in 2008 and 2009. Having my dad start trying to describe how a transmission works, at this point in time, was really not appreciated, followed by the command to focus on the road! This is your CEO telling you that hurry up and “get social”.

The mechanics of this involve the proper alignment, timing and of course giving the engine some gas. Am I talking about a business or a car? Both. We all know the result if things do not go as planned. A crash and burn, in a very public way, with all the neighbors talking. Like I said, screwing up in private is no longer an option. We can play with the metaphor, too much gas, wrong gear, not enough gas….feel free to share. I hope I was able to make my point – The alignment within an organization has always been important – but now that alignment is even more important than ever.

The main reason, because everyone is listening, watching and talking. You need to be ready.

Part 2 of the series will focus specifically on the Sales role within a Social Business. I recommend taking a look at Mark Tamis’s post on the role of Sales, I will build on that, and some of the discussions there.

Enabling Social CRM is a convergence of Enterprise 2.0 and CRM

September 9, 2009 15 comments

Before my peers from the Accidental Community slap me silly because of the technology focus of this post, I completely get that any Enterprise initiative, especially CRM, is People, Process, then technology. The focal point here is that the people and process do need a supporting infrastructure in order to truly provide Social CRM. For the purposes herein, Social CRM will use the Paul Greenberg definition:

CRM is a philosophy & a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes & social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted & transparent business environment. It’s the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation.

A friend and collaborator Prem Kumar Aparanji (@prem_k) has put together a initial take (with good explanation), from an architectural footing, and my objective is to take that one step further. Even as I write, Esteban Kolsky, someone whom I have the utmost respect, has written the history of the world (CRM world), which is an important read. What is important to note, is that as time passes, we are all diving in a little deeper. It is too easy to “wax poetic” at the 50,000 foot level, but we need to help figure out exactly how to do the things we are talking about. Prem even did a little crystal gazing and wrote the prequel to this post Enterprise 2.0 v SocialCRM – Fight or Tango (thanks Prem) – the answer is… down a few paragraphs….

The core of my suggestion:

There is no reason to reinvent the wheel and as technology advances we (business leaders in the CRM arena) should absolutely take advantage of it. There is also no reason, therefore, to ignore the great work being done in the Enterprise 2.0 arena. I am a huge fan of Dion Hinchcliffe – not just one of his posts, a great many of them (cool graphics too). Especially interesting to me are a few recent posts: the August 18, 2009 (Using social software to reinvent the customer relationship)

The elimination of decades of inadequate communication channels will suddenly unleash a tide of many opportunities, as well as challenges, for most organizations.

and September 2, 2009 (Enterprise 2.0 Finding success on the frontiers of social business).

….there is something fundamentally unique and powerful about social computing. Though not all uses of social tools result in rapid adoption or instant results, those that establish an early network effect can and do push existing IT systems

Finally, Dion also spoke of a crucial component of making it all work, citing him one last time (today) the Data obviously a crucial element;  August 5, 2009 (The future of enterprise data in a radically open and Web-based world)

Exposing data — whether it is internally within an organization or outside to partners, or even the whole world — is a way of thinking about the very nature of the business, more than it is about achieving a one-off end goal. This is because open data seems to create immediate, close, and powerful relationships between the publisher and the consumer of the data, and leads to a series of unexpected outcomes.

(I thought about posting his great artwork here, but that would not be proper and would not do the articles justice, so take a look when you have a few minutes.)

Here is my line of thinking – Enterprise 2.0, by definition is “the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers.Andrew McAfee,  May 2006 and given the definition of Social CRM above, should it be such a leap to suggest that in order to truly engage the customer, we should invite them into our Enterprise? What better tool set to do this than Enterprise 2.0 tools?

There are lots of very smart people who can solve the technical challenges which will certainly arise – security, access control – just two of I am sure a dozen more. The larger challenges will certainly be on the people and process side – you know, that 80% of the real effort. If we are truly going to be ‘Transparent‘, and foster ‘Trust‘, in addition to one of my friend Graham’s favorite topics  Co-Create then we need to treat the customers and partners like family, and invite them into our home.

Graham’s article is certainly worth reading in its entirety, here is one of the key points:

Use just enough collaborative social technologies – Technologies, particularly those that support ‘social networks’, provide the backbone for collaboration between a companies and increasingly, with customers. This doesn’t mean a technology-first approach. But it does mean selecting the right technologies (and only the right ones) to enable effortless collaboration. (0ne of 11 bulleted points which are part of the article, seemed fitting for inclusion here)

In order to accomplish these goals, we really need to think of the customer as an extension of the Enterprise

As we invite the customers into the Enterprise, into our home, it is no longer an ‘us’ and ‘them’ – Customers are no longer managed, rather data is managed, analyzed to and for the benefit of the customer, the company and greater good – Customers are embraced.

It is not about technology, but about the best use of technology. It is not about the platform, but about the people who are the platform (how web 2.0 of me). It is not about one vendor either (I work for a vendor, full disclosure), it is about a solution that can provide the ROI and validation that Enterprise 2.0 is looking for – let’s call it Social CRM.

I do like how Esteban ends his blogs – “OK, I am done now.  Let’s open the floodgates of criticism and praise.”

http://twitter.com/mjayliebs

Everything I know, I learned from an ‘accidental community’?

August 27, 2009 7 comments

OK, a slight embellishment, I did learn a few things in Kindergarten.

So, that is 2 for 2, call it a home run and and a double (Paul Greenberg will like that) for Brent Leary. He originally created the Social CRM hashtag, #scrm on Twitter, and he also gets credit for the “accidental community” description. Brent tweeted this, this morning in response to a question regarding what he gained from DestinationCRM (I think I have that right).

What is interesting here, is that it was really not an accident at all. The #scrm ‘community’ had all of the correct ingredients to make it a success. I bet some of my peer group could review history a bit (Prem), but the more interesting topic here are what can we learn from the evolution and pass on to the Social CRM community – outside of this small peer group.

In the beginning, we had/have a few champions (Brent and Prem Kumar, followed by John Moore and Josh Weinberger), some true thought leaders in the space (Paul, Brent, Graham Hill) – Some additional thought leaders joining later – Like Natalie Petouff Jesus Hoyas, Esteban Kolsky, Brian Vellmure and Wim Rampen. I am sure the community will grow, it already has!

What is really interesting is that all the roles I described above, switch on a weekly basis (or so). If people do not have time to blog, or write, there is absolutely no issues with people playing the championing role and pointing out the great content of others. This is Social CRM in action – the product is knowledge and payment is time. Members reach out beyond this smaller group and learn from others, sharing links, information and knowledge.

Equality, Trust and Value – sounds like a great community to me.

Michael Krigsman made a great statement this morning “Folks have yet to realize that Social #CRM is not a “tool.” It’s a focus point for a constellation of actions.” I am sure that we all have some thoughts on what those activities are, or should be, no? My hope is that the future conversations will focus on the actions, and proper execution of those actions.

Brent, there is plenty of time in game, looking for a single (that should be easy for you) but as I am sure Paul would say, the tripe is probably more impressive than a home run, so the bar is set! It was great to meet many of you at DestinationCRM – turning the accidental community into a real-live face-to-face meeting of peers. For those not in attendance, I am sure we will meet soon, talk on the phone or have a video chat (highly recommended)

++++++++++++++Updated March 30, 2010 to add some important members of the community ++++++++++++++

Friends Mark Tamis and Mike Boysen have added a tremendous amount to the conversation, and their earlier omission is nothing more than me going back and adding people. I have learned a lot from both Mark and Mike. Further, Kathy Herrman and Michael Fauscette have pushed the thinking forward as well!

My lists above were done in haste, if I missed anyone (lots and lots of people could be added I am sure), no intent meant. look forward to the future conversations on the execution steps we all learn and are willing to share.

What would you teach, what can we learn?

August 10, 2009 5 comments

No matter how many years I have been out of school myself, mid-August always feels ‘academic’. Aside from the standard ‘ Oh, $h#T I slept through my final exam’ dream, it is a fun time of year. Often, I feel as though I need to run out and buy some back-to-school stuff. This year is a little different around my house. My oldest will embark on his college education, and my middle one is entering HS. As for me, I am lucky to be teaching again this fall, as I always learn more than the students. It has also been great to learn from the folks on #scrm, and while some friends jest and call me “prof” it is ‘tongue and cheek’, as we are all students, some simply admit it, and some do not.

Back to the simplistic question of the day: If you had to define SocialCRM to an incoming college freshman, what would you say? How about a high school student? What metaphor would you choose? I know that we have all seen the demographic profile of Twitter users, as well as the other social media channels – but what does it mean? Do you think that anything taught today (in the SocialCRM realm) will have any relevance in 5 years?

What I find really interesting is what we can learn. The way in which this demographic interacts with the world around them is certainly an early indication of what we will see in a few years. Example – texting, without a doubt lead by teenagers a few years back – and now we are all using it (come on, admit it). If you had a group of college students for a day, what would you want to know? Is it really the YouTube generation?

Don’t worry Glenn, I promise not to even mention technology until week 2!

Comments welcome, encouraged even!