The question was:
Where should a company start (red: with Social CRM)? Which department should embrace Social CRM first? More specifically, when the dust clears, which functional area do you think will be able to leverage Social Media and Social CRM the most, and provide the greatest impact to the profitability of an organization?
I can imagine companies ask themselves the same, after browsing the web on the topic for some time. Here are my thoughts:
Want to get started in Social CRM: start a Collaborative Social CRM Laboratory
Entering into the Social Media or Social CRM place can be considered an innovation for companies. Maybe it is best to treat it this way. Companies nowadays do quite some trials with new products or services that they are developing, sometimes even multiple at the same time. They do this to collect Market and Customer feedback and to find out which product will have best chances to fly after its introduction.
This could well be a strategy for the implementation of Social Media or Social CRM: why not try it out for as many areas and as many functions as you can imagine? Why not start out with a company cross-functional laboratory with specialists of all trades in it and start exploring, testing and experimenting?
Social Media and Social CRM are new and rapidly developing. Any company can be part of the development and create competitive advantage through learning by doing. This approach has several advantages for all different stakeholders:
- It’s a controllable environment for senior management: senior management can closely monitor what’s happening, controlling costs, fit with their strategy and results for the company as well as their customers.
- It does not hurt that much to learn if experiments take place in a small testing environment. You will have impacted only a few customers when something does not work out.
- You also do not have to start huge campaigns to involve the entire organization and you don’t get the negative spirit internally when you have to withdraw from something you just announced to all your employees as the innovation of the year.
- It’s cross-functional: putting specialists from all kinds of area’s in your company at the task together will tear down silo-boundaries and generates creativity. Furthermore I believe that this will not only benefit the success of the laboratory, it will also spread to other parts of your company.
Of course a laboratory approach does not mean you don’t have to prepare and that you can just “hit it” and see where the ship sails. It is important to start with forming some kind of hypothesis based on initial research of the functions available and your customer base as well as your customers needs. I also believe it is best to involve your Customers in your laboratory activities. Through focus-groups and/or a separate online laboratory community, you can start the conversation with your customers on your new experiments and tests.
After all, in the end, you should co-create the value of social media or Social CRM with your customers. It is impossible to do that by yourself.
To conclude on my answer to @CRMStrategies: I do not know the answer to the question. It will probably be a different one for each company anyway, because no one company is the same. I do believe a well set-up collaborative laboratory approach will provide a company with the best possible answer.