I created a workflow of how customers discover products and services, opine over them, share tips, go about purchasing the product/service, acquire, set up, consume. The interesting part of the exercise was to then lay in behind the customer processes each of the attendent technologies and applications required to support each process. Then I attached vendor names to the technologies, applications and services.
OK, what did I discover? You know, and you can whisper it to yourselves and we’ll compare the number of products and the number of vendors. If I excluded all mid-office and back-office actions like inventory, logistics, billing, I was still left with 12 applications, from a minimum of five companies. That was my best (or most compact) set. Depending on industry and CRM process for that industry, the list grew, and also contained a large proportion of home-grown software and middleware.
I decided to build it into my upcoming presentation at the June Gartner CRM Conference in Los Angeles, and I’ll publish it after that. But the thing is: there were also four or five buying centers involved – like marketing, sales, service, IT, and network infrastructure. These are not cats that herd easily or always share a common set of goals.
This is reflected in about every client inquiry that I take on Social CRM: one company can call three times, but never the same people, though they are asking about the same topice: embracing the participation of the community. This is really the story of the blind men from the Tittha sutta ascribed to the Buddha (or a tale retold by John Godfrey Saxe if your British).
Net: great companies are getting out of the darkness of multiple projects and no strategy, and stepping into the light of coordinating their social CRM or community projects. We are starting to hear good stories, and would love to hear yours!