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Ten Steps to Effective Social CRM Implementation

Social CRM Strategy

Ten Steps to Effective Social CRM Implementation

By Barton Goldenberg

The potential of Social CRM still remains untapped by many organizations because executives are intimidated by the issues associated with automating Social CRM tasks and implementing appropriate systems. ISM has developed a 10-step approach to help organizations implement Social CRM. My experience over the past 30 years suggests that when executives follow these steps, they greatly improve the likelihood that their Social CRM implementation will succeed. At the same time, missing any of these steps makes it likely that the Social CRM project will fail.

Step 1: Organize the Project Management Team
Initially, a project team should consist of the following:

  • A project champion who ensures appropriate managerial backing throughout the project.
  • A project manager who manages the project implementation on a daily basis.
  • A project user group that provides input to the project manager and tests the system during all implementation phases.

Step 2: Determine the Functions to Automate
To ensure that the organization automates everything that needs to be automated, the Social CRM software selection process should address a “wish list” of how salespeople, marketing personnel, customer support employees, executives and customers would like to improve their work processes.

Step 3: Gain Top Executive Support/Commitment
Organizations that successfully automate their customer-facing functions view Social CRM more as a business tool than as a technological tool. Keep this in mind as top executives are approached for support.

Step 4: Employ Technology Smartly
Select Social CRM technology and systems that use open architecture. Also, look for software applications that are modularized and can be easily integrated with the organization’s existing information databases.

Step 5: Secure User Ownership
Get users involved early to make sure that the Social CRM system addresses their needs. Remember that no one knows better what users need than the users themselves.

Step 6: Prototype the System
Prototyping the Social CRM system allows the organization to phase in new technology, test the system’s functionality, highlight changes in organizational procedures and demonstrate that project objectives can be met, all before rolling out the system organization-wide.

Step 7: Train Users
Training is a critical, multistep process that should include the following: demonstrate to users how to access social insight information, ensure that users are provided with adequate documentation, provide readily-available, ongoing support, and lastly train the “trainers” to ensure that new users can learn the system quickly.

Step 8: Motivate Personnel
Social CRM succeeds when users are motivated by the system’s ability to help them achieve their own business goals.  When users also understand the strategic importance of Social CRM to the organization as a whole, the result will be improved productivity and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

Step 9: Administrate the System Effectively
One person or department must own the Social CRM system. This person or department must be the “gatekeeper,” who ensures that all information is timely, relevant, easy to access, and positively impacts the users’ decision-making needs.

Step 10: Keep Management Committed
Set up a committee that includes senior employees from the sales, marketing, customer service and information systems departments.  This committee should brief senior executives at least quarterly, concerning both the status and the results of the Social CRM project.

My experience has also shown that complex projects always involve a combination of people, process and technology. In my next post, I will discuss how to achieve the right mix.

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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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