One of the worst snowstorms in the history of our Nation’s capital, the most flight cancellations since 9/11 (almost 6,000), and the closure and inaccessibility of a pre-booked venue were the circumstances surrounding BPT Partner’s Social CRM Certification Training, better known to the Twittersphere as #scrmsummit.
Despite the obstacles, a little publicized event at a brand new Westin Hotel in Herndon, VA brought together a mix of customers, vendors, and a large majority of the world’s thought leaders on the subject of Social CRM. In all, participants not only descended on the blustery white winterland from all regions of the United States, but also from Canada, Mexico, Columbia, France, The Netherlands, and India. It truly was a global event.
The #scrm Accidental Community was almost completely represented with one largely apparent omission, Esteban Kolsky, who was grounded before he could leave his hometown due to flight cancellations. Esteban made his presence felt during the event and after by assembling the tweets which you can download here to get a sense of the flow of the event. Here are the links from Day 1 and Day 2
Influentials from major enterprise stalwarts like SAP, Oracle, and Sage mixed among the ranks of social darlings Radian6, Lithium, and Jive. Marketing automation leader Eloqua was represented. Open Source leader SugarCRM, Aplicor, RightNow and NetSuite, and the largest CRM company you may have never heard of: Sword Ciboodle were also amongst the participants. I’ve probably forgotten someone, so please let me know and I’ll be sure and add it to this post.
CRM magazine, THE information source for the CRM industry, sent their very own editorial director, David Myron, to participate, and Michael Krigsman was there to remind everyone that the fundamental core dangers of enterprise IT failure still were in play. In addition, there were a ton of additional leaders and intellectuals in the room – too many to mention, but you get the idea.
As official and impressive as all that sounds, the simple truth was that it was a room full of incredibly seasoned, creative, talented, and intelligent people united by a passion and desire to understand and shape the future of business, and refine both their individual and collective brain trust of the rapidly growing segment called Social CRM.
Without another word, let it be said that there is only one person in the world that could have assembled a crowd like that in a period of just a few weeks – Paul Greenberg. Let it also be said that Paul clearly is so far ahead of most everyone in his knowledge, vision, and understanding of the societal transformation happening around us, AND it’s implication on the world of CRM and business in general. Finally, and most importantly, let it be said that I have rarely met a gentleman so genuine and authentic in his desire to help others, coupled with his capability to do so.
Two scheduled days turned into three, due to flight delays for most everyone, and even four or five days for others who are, even as I write this, still holing up in the fortuitous Westin Dulles Airport hotel.
There were several individual highlights that happened over the past few days which I am sure others will expand on, but below are 6 key takeaways from my experience:
1. Social CRM influentials are living what they preach. The culture of this new and evolving community rapidly lends itself to learning, sharing, improving, and constructively challenging each other. In short, the community is thriving, and is providing a real time experiment, that someday may ultimately serve as a model for the next generation enterprise. It’s a privelege for me to be a part of it.
2. Companies MUST align their entire existence around helping their customers accomplish what they are trying to do. The debates about E20, Social CRM, Social Business, and corresponding terms and definitions are largely irrelevant. In short, organizations must know their customers (based upon more than simple transactional data), partner with their customers, and align their ENTIRE value delivery chain around helping their customers meet their needs as quickly and effectively as possible. This is my charge to the C-Suite.
3. Customer Experience trumps everything: Map your customer experience. Focus your attention on accentuating your strengths while improving your troubled spots. Your customers will pay more, evangelize more, and stay longer if you are able to execute.
4. There is a great battle for business platforms brewing. Those that own the platform and the data will be well positioned. Previously unrelated vendors will suddenly find themselves in fierce competition. A silent race is under way. Look around for the potential platform owners, and position your business to be able to leverage the platform(s) and data regardless of who ultimately wins that battle.
5. The Social Web is on a collision course with the enterprise. Those companies that understand the coming changes and are positioned to harness the data and translate real time information into effective action will be those that experience the largest success over the coming decade.
6. Social CRM is still in its infancy. We understand just a smidge of where this will ultimately end up. Paul’s book (which the training was based on) is an amazing comprehensive “Bible” on Social CRM with numerous case studies of organizations who are doing things right, contrasted with some that aren’t. Buy it now. Read the nearly 700 pages, and then download the other online chapters. Then sign up for the second training event in May in Atlanta. Once you have done that, you’ll likely be with me. There are hundreds of questions yet to be answered, and thousands of problems yet to be solved.
I would love to hear your feedback, questions, and thoughts. The adventure continues.