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Chris Bucholtz CRM Analytics Is Advancing Social CRM Adoption

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 By Chris Bucholtz

CRM Analytics Are Providing a Solution to a Social CRM Dilemma

At the CRM Evolution show last week, a key concept that stood out among speakers and attendees was the prominence of customer analytics. Unlike almost every other technology-driven trend before it, which seemed to discover business intelligence (BI) and analytics only after considerable pain had been suffered by the early adopters, social CRM (SCRM) is a case in point example of a new business strategy advancing almost hand in hand with the implementation of CRM analytics.

Part of this joint acceptance of CRM analytics and social CRM can be attributed to the pause many organizations took in leaping into social CRM; that uncertainty tempered exuberance and allowed the BI and customer analytics vendors to catch up to the pace of those who would otherwise be racing ahead. Another significant factor also owes itself to that uncertainty; without a way of measuring and justifying their performance and business results, early social CRM efforts become victims of executive skepticism, imprecise ROI calculations or legitimate problems that weren't solved until they wrecked the initiative.

So the traditional customer relationship management analytics vendors are working hard to meet this new business opportunity. While there have been some major leaps in analytical tools and processes in the last few years (not the least of which has been a realization that everyone in the organization ought to be able to use these tools, not just highly trained analysts), when it comes to social CRM these software vendors face the same issue that dogs the practitioners of social CRM.

I've said it many times, most recently on the closing panel of the CRM Evolution event, that there's no one set of best practices or key performance indicators (KPIs) for social CRM, because just as every company's customer and target market are unique, what will work for those customers in the social realm is also unique. That doesn't mean business intelligence tools cannot be used to accurately measure social CRM effectiveness; it just means that you have to thoroughly understand your customers for your social efforts to be effective, and you also need to have a solid "traditional" CRM foundation in place to collect, synthesize and distribute that data to the people that can make it actionable.

How does that impact customer analytics? Well, if every company's customers are different, shouldn't the CRM analytics used to gauge the effectiveness of social efforts be different as well?

I'm not talking about the basics of customer relationship management reporting, of course, but I am talking about a few unique measurements that allow you to fine tune your customer facing programs, to test or model that one critical insight, and to make analytics less like a yardstick and more like a secret weapon that delivers critical insight for competitive advantage.

The CRM analytics vendors that succeed in this new era will be the ones that understand that customer analytics are a competitive advantage - when easily understood, modeled and acted upon my knowledge workers across the enterprise. That will mean an easy to use and flexible analytics platform that allows users to set up their own metrics in addition to the basics, and it also means a bit of evangelism by the CRM analytics vendors to spread the word that in this new era how you think about what you're measuring is critical to really understanding what's happening with your customers and social media efforts.

We hear many people asking for social CRM success stories. Could it be that what people are really asking for are successful customer analytics stories that validate social CRM? End

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 Tags Tags: SCRM, social media, business intelligence, BI
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Comments (5) — Comments for this page are closed —

Guest Sanjay Kumron
  Analytics tools for customer relationship management systems have long been available but few have chosen to implement. I acknowledge your point in how they can help justify other programs but they're lack of acceptance tells me they are declining.
  Denise Denise Holland
    While I agree that analytics tools have not kept pace with the broader CRM software market growth, I don't think its accurate that CRM analytics and business intelligence tools are declining in terms of revenue growth and market share traction. Also, in the just released Gartner "Top 10 Technologies for 2011" report, Gartner includes both "Next-Gen Analytics" and "Social Analytics". This later category of 'social analytics' is a relatively new term, and represents a merging of traditional business intelligence tools with social media variables such as sentiment analysis, contextual analysis and social media influence. According to Gartner analyst David Cearley, "It's moving from bleeding edge to mainstream activity." This category is in the early stages, but clearly offers the financial payback to increase adoption and keep its momentum.

Guest PB Dallie
  Implementing BI and analytical tools is hard for the same reasons implementing customer relationship management systems is hard. I think a number of people that implemented crm systems incurred enough unexpected pain that they decided to delay, defer or cancel any more projects.
  Denise Denise Holland

Guest Martin Schuster
  Implementing BI is hard, however, CRM without BI or similar analytics is like a car without a dashboard.


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Unlike almost every other technology-driven trend before it, which seemed to discover analytics only after considerable pain had been suffered by the early adopters, social CRM is a case in point example of a new business strategy advancing almost hand in hand with the implementation of CRM analytics.


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