Social CRM Tools growing out of Social Media Monitoring Tools

Alright, you have been hearing me talk about CRM and Social Media
for a long time now and if there is one thing that I have made
perfectly clear, it is that the first successful Social CRM tools that
I am seeing in the market are Social Support Communities.  HP, and
others, are producing very successful results for both the customers
and for the companies that have ventured into this quickly evolving
world.

The next round of successful Social CRM tools, in my opinion, will
not come from your traditional CRM providers.  Instead, Social Media
Monitoring (SMM) companies are poised to further shake up this space,
going from a place where they simply provided you with buckets of raw
data to a place where they will be providing you with clear, actionable
information.  This week I have chatted with four SMM providers, Scout
Labs, Alterian (formerly Techrigy), FiltrBox, and Synthesio.  I did
reach out to Radian6 last week to learn more about their sentiment
analysis changes and was asked to review their web site as information
would be flowing outward.  I’ll get to that soon enough but will have
to comment only based upon the companies I have had the benefit of
chatting with recently.  Here are some of the areas I am hoping to see
these companies, and those like them, attack in 2010.  If they do, and
I feel they will, we will really start blurring the lines between
Social CRM and Social Media Monitoring tools leaving customers both a
little confused and also very, very happy (picture a drunk relative at
a wedding if you want to picture what they will look like :-) ).

  • Actionable Information through basic ticketing system capabilities and CRM Integration.
    • Many of the SMM providers have basic ticketing capabilities, the
      ability to assign items for follow-up through either email or internal
      to their own systems.   Those that do not have these capabilities are
      likely to add them in 2010, those that do not will fall painfully far
      behind.
    • If these vendors choose to look at pulling in e-mails, accepting
      user-entered data (phone conversations) they will be able to compete
      with many of the traditional Support-related CRM vendors at a basic
      level.
    • APIs will continue to be fleshed out, enabling richer levels of
      integration between traditional CRM systems.  These systems could also
      become feeding systems for other applications, applications like Gist,
      Microsoft SharePoint, etc..
  • User interfaces, usability.  The vast majority of today’s CRM
    products look like they were built by database developers based upon
    relational databases (or maybe that drunk relative we were
    discussing).  They do not look like systems that were built to be easy
    to use, transparent, to support, marketing, sales, and others in a
    company.  I am really impressed with what I am seeing by many of the
    SMM tools on the market and I expect to see them continuing to deliver
    usable applications.
  • Automated Sentiment Analysis combined with relative tone.   Yes,
    automated sentiment analysis will never be 100% accurate.  However,
    give me  70 – 80 % accuracy as a starting point to guide my actions and
    I am happy to go from there.
  • Pricing.  It is important that one of the SMM solutions unifies the
    lower end of the market with the upper end (Enterprises, Government
    Agencies, etc..). 

    • Avoid offering freemium pricing as it will kill your business. 
      Pricing is an indicator of the worth/value of your offering, only go
      with freemium pricing if you want to sell to pre-schools.
    • Get ride of named-user licensing.  It is important for everyone in
      a business to have access to the social data to maximize its benefits. 
      Support, marketing, sales, product development, executives, etc.., will
      all benefit from this information.
  • Mobile Support.  It’s hard to take any CRM offering seriously if it
    does not provide access to data from your iPhone, Blackberry, Android,
    or Windows Mobile phone.  Give me access to the information that
    matters most, however, do not try to replicate the full user interface
    and all features, they are not all needed.

What do you think?  If you are not yet using SM for your personal
use, for your business, for your government agency, should you be?

John

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