Using CRM Software is a solitary experience. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Last Sunday I posted in Twitter a statement I first heard from @johnlima a few days ago. It generated a wave of responses.
In CRM, we have solitary experience, engaging with a database. In SCRM, we collaborate and engage with real people.
The first part of that tweet matches my experience using classical CRM tools and what I hear from sales people. Classical CRM software excels in process automation and storing transactional data but provides a poor user experience because it is designed primarily with the needs of management in mind. The user feels they are feeding data to the CRM system so that it can produce reports, but it doesn’t help sales to do their job.
Social CRM (both the processes and the tools) is a response to changes in the business environment and the shift in control from companies to customers. Whether it is a cause or a side-effect of the change, well-implemented Social CRM software should help sales people to engage with customers and, as a result, sell better.
Anyone who believes in software as good solutions for both user and business problems share that perception and expectation. That explains why so many people expressed opinion on a sleepy Sunday afternoon.
Now, most of the responses that did not agree with the tweet interpreted it as saying “front end instead of back end”. They focused on the fact that the structured portion of CRM continues to be important. Providing a better user experiences does not negate the analytical and transaction strengths of classical CRM.
The challenge for CRM systems in the future is this: Can we help Sales people to sell and feel the tool helps them to maintain relationship with customers? Can we, at the same time, reduce the burden on the sales people filling up forms to feed a static database? Can we, while doing that, keep allowing for structured and transactional data to be captured for analysis?
Yes, we can. That is the challenge CRM software vendors need to focus on, whether they call themselves “CRM” or “Social CRM”.