What is Social CRM? The Differences between CRM and Social CRM

by Kenyon Blunt on April 1, 2010

Kenyon Blunt

Kenyon Blunt

CRM or Customer Relationship Management has been around for over a decade now.  CRM is a company-wide strategy to bring together all data sources within an organization.  It gives marketers a holistic view of each customer at close to real-time speed.  CRM’s benefits have enabled marketers to make quicker decisions, better decisions (with marketing analytics) and have improved cross-selling and up-selling.  And according to Gartner’s Ed Thompson, “CRM remains a major focus for business executives, because the goals of acquiring, developing and retaining customers in a profitable manner are timeless.”

However, traditional CRM projects are not adapting to the new relationship-driven model of social media.  While CRM started out with the goal of 1:1 marketing, it is mainly focused on automating tasks, improving reporting, and staging triggered marketing communications. It has not supported the need of marketers to manage social relationships.

So what is Social CRM?

The Altimeter Group has defined Social CRM tools as “a set of emerging solutions to relationship management…Social CRM captures both official and unofficial customer conversations including emotional state, humor, anger, etc.” It is more than another marketing channel and recognizes the depth of the customer relationship.

There are four ways that Social CRM is different from its traditional counterpart:

  1. It recognizes that today’s customer is different. Customers are rapidly adopting social technologies and want to be connected with others who have mutual interests.  Communication is now peer-to-peer versus company-to-customer.
  2. There’s less talking and more listening. People like doing business with others they trust.  In short, marketers need to leverage the web to listen, share, and participate and do less talking and selling in the old Marketing 1.0 style.
  3. Social CRM is an opening tool and not a closing tool. The new CRM will focus on ways to keep the communication flowing with the customer versus closing the sale.  When they’ve built up trust through many dialogues, customers will close themselves.
  4. Marketing analytics will focus on social insights in addition to current descriptors. Are you wondering why Facebook knows more about your customers than you do?  Analytical insights will come from customer opinions and dialogues in addition to the normal preferences, interests, and demographic information.

Social CRM will not replace traditional CRM systems but will add to them by incorporating entirely new data sets like human emotions, behaviors, and brand opinions that are not available to traditional marketers.  Part 2 will go deeper into how these new Social CRM systems work.

About the Author:

Kenyon Blunt is the CEO at SIGMA Marketing Group.  Connect with Kenyon on  or follow him on .

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Erica McClenny June 11, 2010 at 9:28 am

The other aspect of SCRM is the reaction time needed to continue a conversation forward. The speed of content can be troubling if a business isn’t prepared to monitor and respond in a timely manner. A solid SCRM software/tool will help notify the right people to give an answer to the consumer. Good, bad or indifferent communications need to be acknowledged.

I love #3…opening tool. It’s also a fine tuning tool! Create better traction by listening and changing what your business offers as a value in the next interaction.

Kenyon Blunt June 23, 2010 at 10:02 am

I heard a consultant recently call what you’re describing as “Always On Marketing.” I thought it was an interesting notion.

Erica McClenny June 23, 2010 at 10:07 am

Very true Kenyon…having a software that triggers action based upon a businesses pre-set keywords or actions triggers help save time and streamline a team involvement. Its not just about negative customer service, its also about finding influencers. If someone who “likes” your product or location (i.e. restaurant location) talks to you on social media. You should talk back. The hundreds or thousands of people they are connected to see that and its an imprint that is priceless.

Gregory (@piplzchoice) October 1, 2010 at 6:53 pm

It is interesting that use of terms “holistic” and “360 degrees” apply to the model that focus only on relationship of a customer with the CRM hosting company (vendor). And even with this low bar the successes are so infrequent. I think “social” imply integration of external, public knowledge into traditional CRM view of customers and re-defines their role in that relationship. Let’s see how well Enterprise will take to this challenge.

Ric Pratte (@RicPratte) October 29, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I appreciate this blog in spreading the word. The conversations across the real-time web can be of great help for organizations… if they just let it.
There is tremendous value in not listening to the conversations but aggregating them by topics and customer/contact. How can we analyze and utilize these trends? All this collected knowledge can provide tremendous insight into a markets thoughts and actions.
Glad to be part of this evolution.

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

  • Getting the Most From Your Mobile Marketing Campaign. « June 23, 2010

Previous post:

Next post: