As far back as 2010 (maybe even earlier), I was writing quite a bit about how CRM was not addressing the fact that people were now connecting, conversing, and developing relationships on the new social channels. I was lamenting more than writing.
Around this same time I was contacted by Jon Ferrara who was getting ready to introduce Nimble Social CRM. Jon showed it to me and I was blown away. It did all of those things that I associated with traditional CRM and it also tightly integrated with LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Awesome! I even wrote a book about this time … “The Small Business’ Guide to Social CRM”.
Jump to 2015 and LinkedIn and Facebook both make the decision to cut off third-party applications from accessing their member database. This was done due to a concern for their member’s privacy. Well, I call bullshit. It would be easy enough to allow members to make that choice for themselves!
What they really were doing was keeping members on their sites only. After all, we are their valued products. Furthermore, I can just about guarantee you that LinkedIn imagined themselves to be their own CRM and there are arguments to support that.
Take a look at Sales Navigator. CRM. LinkedIn even purchased a nice little company called Rapportive that offered a free social widget for Gmail. I loved that thing! LinkedIn killed it.
Next they purchased a lightweight CRM, their name escapes me, and they turned around and integrated it directly into member profiles. Remember when you had the ability to tag, take notes, and set reminders for member profiles? Well, that did not last long. It’s gone but I think that elements of this may still live on in Navigator.
And, who now owns LinkedIn? Microsoft. Can you say Outlook and Microsoft Dynamics? Surprise surprise. LinkedIn will now offer some integration with Dynamics (and Salesforce and HubSpot) providing that you have the proper premium level subscription for each.
Is it money or is it member privacy? I think we know the answer. Now, for the record, I get it. I have no problem with Facebook or LinkedIn protecting their turf. It’s smart business. Just please don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.
Jump to 2022 and, while we still talk about Social Media and Social Selling and Social Networking, nobody talks about Social CRM. Nimble is now Nimble CRM. They dropped the Social. So, is Social CRM dead? I suppose that would be based on your definition of the word social.
Before we had CRM we had contact managers. Someone came up with the bright idea that we should not be managing contacts, we should be managing our relationships with them … Customer Relationship Management … CRM.
That’s great, but most CRMs are no different than contact managers when you strip out the fancier interfaces and some of the technological advances. The goals, the basic functionality, remains the same and there is nothing wrong with that!
I am of the opinion that the promise of social media will inevitably be crushed by its own weight as a selling tool. If you think that you had challenges managing relationships with your connections five years ago … how’s that going for you now? If you are honest, it isn’t. What’s the answer?
Please note that I see CRM primarily as a selling tool and, by default, I view social media in that same context. I think that it is deceptively simple how CRM gets its social back. We use social media strictly for research and discovering opportunities (connections) and then we manage those relationships, day-to-day in our CRM.
We take great notes, we set recurring reminders to stay in touch, we use tasks to ensure prompt follow-ups on our promises. Next we pick up the phone and we meet in real-life. I can think of no relationship that I have built during my life where personal contact has not been an integral part of that relationship. None.
If this is true, and it is, why do we rely so heavily on email, text messaging, and mindless likes and comments that eventually go nowhere. Nowhere is that bus station that is devoid of human contact. CRM plus Social. I would suggest that, used properly, CRM has never lost its social. It has only been misused and misplaced.