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Social CRM Software Selection

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Social CRM Software Selection

By Barton Goldenberg

In my last blog post, I discussed Steps 7 – 12 of the correct process for creating any organization’s Social CRM strategy. Now I will discuss the 10-step methodology to select the right Social CRM software for your organization’s needs.

How to Select Social CRM Software    

Once an organization has completed its Social CRM Strategy, it is necessary to select a Social CRM software application. Software selection requires that the prioritized business functional requirements be gathered and that the desired technical features be identified.

Here is a 10-step methodology that I developed from my 30 years of CRM industry experience. Many organizations have successfully implemented this methodology over the years.

Step 1: Technical Baseline Review
The organization’s technical staff needs to define the current technical platform and capabilities in place.
Step 2: Customer Visits with the Customer-Facing Personnel
A Social CRM project team member should talk to a cross section of customer-facing with the objective to observe various issues. These issues can include: what technology and business processes they utilize during their day-to-day jobs, what works and what does not, how do they resolve customer issues, etc.
Step 3: Brainstorming Session
Conduct a structured session with key personnel. Key personnel can include: sales representatives, marketing and sales managers, executives, customer service managers, and IT specialists, etc. The personnel should discuss their perceived Social CRM business functional needs.
Step 4: Needs Analysis Questionnaires
The result of the brainstorming session is a list of non-prioritized business functional requirements. These requirements now need to be prioritized. There should also be a validation of technical features and user-friendliness criteria noted during the brainstorming session. The end result should be a Needs Analysis questionnaire that gets sent to a larger group of Social CRM system users. This questionnaire will serve to confirm and consolidate findings revealed during the field visits and the brainstorming session.
Step 5: Business Process Review
Leverage the previous business process work that was completed in the Social CRM Road Map document. Create Visio diagrams or swim-lane charts for top business processes.
Step 6: Business Functional Prioritization
Identify prioritized business functions, based on the results of the field visits, the brainstorming session, the needs-analysis questionnaires, and the business process review.
Step 7: Technical Platform Recommendations
Leverage the technical road map work that was previously completed in the Social CRM Road Map document. From the prioritized business functions and the technical baseline review results, make recommendations for appropriate technical platform enhancements for the Social CRM initiative.
Step 8: Social CRM Report
This report should contain information needed to formulate your system specifications, including business and technical requirements.
Step 9: Software Selection
If the decision is to use external software, consider looking at between three to five Social CRM software packages that are appropriate to the Social CRM business functions and technical features you have identified on steps 1-8. My company, ISM Inc., can assist any organization with their Social CRM software selection process.
Step 10: Software Implementation Assistance
Software implementation is where ‘the rubber meets the road’. Some organizations use their own project manager and project implementation team. Other organizations use a Social CRM consultant to help implement their Social CRM project.

The Social CRM software selection process (Steps 1-10) typically takes eight to twelve weeks to complete. Regardless of the methodology used to select Social CRM software, be sure to use a structured approach similar to this 10-step methodology so that the organization drives the process and the organization ends up getting the software they really need.

In my next blog post, I will discuss the prerequisite technical issues that are necessary to consider when selecting an appropriate Social CRM application for your organization’s needs.

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The Definitive Guide to Social CRMBarton Goldenberg, is the founder and president of ISM Inc., customer-centric strategists/implementers serving best-in-class organizations globally. As a CRM leader for 30 years, he was among the first three inductees in the CRM Hall of Fame. Recognized as a leading “customer-focused” author, his latest book, The Definitive Guide to Social CRM, is hailed as the roadmap for Social CRM success. Barton is a popular speaker on “maximizing customer relationships to gain market insights, customers and profits”. He is a long-term columnist for CRM Magazine and speaker for CRMevolution and frequently quoted in the media.

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