Focus on Technology
Comity (kom’-it-ee) – A friendly social atmosphere; social harmony; a loose widespread community based on common social institutions.
Current and potential customers like to communicate on social networking sites, share information on Blogs and Micro Blogs, and connect on professional networks. In many cases, businesses are not sure how to approach the relationships required to engage their key audience members online. They are not prepared to adapt to the fact that customers are now more empowered than ever, turning first to social media platforms for information, rather than to the businesses who want to engage with them.
- Businesses require a better understanding of which technologies will help them optimize their relationships with their customers.
- Technology and software purchasing decisions are being made without proper knowledge of the changes in how and where customers want to communicate.
- Companies are not technologically coordinated internally with respect to focusing on the connected customer.
- Businesses are not knowledgeable about the newly available technology tools that are most appropriate for their company to drive sales, marketing and customer service.
- Businesses require a better understanding of where their data resides. For example, do they need to house the data on site, or is a Cloud based service a better option?
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is the technology platform businesses have traditionally used to hold and analyze customer data so that sales, marketing and customer service departments can better manage and track their internal communication with customers. SugarCRM, ACT, GoldMine, SalesForce, Oracle, Google, SAP and Microsoft are among the leading technology vendors providing traditional CRM software technology. Although these platforms are highly regarded and excellent at automating processes and managing the customer data required to respond to customer requests, manage resources and information required to close deals, and provide management reports to track sales, Social CRM focuses on the conversations taking place externally online about your industry. Social CRM not only addresses how you will respond to this new kind of customer and the demands that he or she puts on your company, but also how you can engage non-traditional industry influencers like independent and syndicated bloggers. Progressing from traditional CRM to a formal Social CRM solution requires an extension of both technology and processes.
None of the vendors listed above have developed a suite of technology components that constitute a complete Social CRM solution. However, there are a large number of vendors who offer software that complements traditional CRM. The tools required to transition from traditional CRM to Social CRM include social monitoring, e.g. Radian6 and ScoutLabs; community management, e.g. Lithium and Jive; and, marketing automation, e.g. Marketo, Elequa, Genius and Pardot. This is certainly not a complete list of technology platforms or software vendors, but simply some more familiar players in the Social CRM space. The critical question is: What is the optimal solution for your business?
Comity Technology Advisors will work with you to understand the technological landscape as it relates your business and your customers. Business leaders typically do not like talking about technology architectures and frameworks. Nevertheless, in order to build an optimal path to success, these are required conversations. Like it or not, empowered customers and advances in technology have brought us to this point. Whether or not a business decides to implement a Social CRM solution is up to the leaders of that company. However, it must be an active, well informed decision. This is where Comity Technology Advisors adds the most value – at the intersection where business, social media and technology converge.