Social CRM at the tipping point

By Richard Hughes on June 21, 2011

This week, like many others in the social software world, the Clearvale team is at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston. In advance of the conference kicking off today, last night we hosted a dinner for some of the leading thinkers and writers on the subject. But just to perpetuate the old “no such thing as a free lunch” adage, we asked them a question – it seems Social CRM is at a tipping point, what do we all need to do to make the final push from “everyone is talking about it” to “everyone is doing it”?

A year or so ago, this may have seemed like a strange question to ask at an E2.0 conference; E2.0 is often characterized as social networking between employees within a company, whereas SCRM is about engaging customers. But last night there was a clear consensus that these really are two sides of the same coin. As Bill Ives said to me, to consider E2.0 and SCRM separately is a “false dichotomy”.

But which comes first? Which is the chicken, and which is the egg? This remains a harder question. Everyone agreed the organisational and cultural change is required, but equally, if companies perceive this as too big a change all at once, it will deter them from getting started. So different companies will start in different places – some will start engaging with employees and work outwards towards the customer; others will start out on social media services like Facebook and Twitter and work inwards. It is clear that there is not a “one size fits all” solution.

Tonight, we are hosting the E2.0 conference party, where I will be hosting a discussion with Paul Greenberg, author of the definitive work on Social CRM, CRM at the Speed of Light. If you’re in Boston today, we hope to see you there, and we’re all looking forward to getting Paul’s point of view on the subject.

Finally, I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who was there last night – we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.