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« The Little Things that Serve: A New (Ongoing) Series | Main | CRM Idol 2012: The Second Season is Here! Cue the Music. »

April 20, 2012

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Thus, when your child wants a particular plaything, he or she can go directly to the box that holds it.

Patrick Boucousis

Paul,

I have just spent some hours reading your blog. I must admit to a sense of failure in that I haven’t discovered it earlier; I have no excuse. It really is an excellent resource.

I have some comments, which then beg a question. I had wondered where best to post them, but your comment “CRM is the only science of business that attempts to reproduce an art of life – how humans interact” makes this the obvious spot.

It seems to me there is a large piece missing from the SCRM map, at least in B2B. Not to detract from the many fine products in the space, I wonder if there’s some confusion between the hole and the donut. For example, in B2B CRM/SCRM who is the customer exactly? I mean, organizations (collections of people) and individuals are typically referred to interchangeably, but they are quite different.

In striving to ‘get closer to the customer’, do we mean the organization (the amorphous mass) or particular people in it? I’d suggest the latter, specifically the powerful and the influential...by definition the people that impact us most, whoever they might be. The distinction is important, as engaging with people personally is of course different to engaging with them as a collective.

What does this mean for CRM/SCRM? Well, if we really mean individuals, how do we reconcile our perception of each as a unique being with them as a collective? How can we make what we learn about people individually relevant to understanding how an organization behaves?

For example, we understand the nature of social communities to which people belong as themselves e.g. Facebook, Linked In et al. But do we perceive organizations the same way e.g. do we see customer organizations as social communities? I’d suggest not, simply because B2B CRM has no concept of human beings; instead there are contacts...people in the context of roles they perform; they have no context of themselves. That is, organizations are not seen as collections of unique human beings, interrelated in various ways, but as structures made up of roles/positions.

Mary Bloggs who is in Facebook and Linked In and who is the CEO at ABC Inc and a Director of XYZ Corp, would constitute at least two Mary’s in a CRM (with duplicated links to FB and LI). There cannot be a single Mary, much less personal relationships between her and the people she knows and influences or is influenced by.

The threads become even more tenuous as the extent of what we call ‘our’ social enterprise grows e.g. to include employees, partners, suppliers.

We can attempt to join the dots by looking in different systems/networks and use mash-up apps to help pull data together, but it is still a mash-up. There is no one place where information from both external and internal (our CRM) sources comes together seamlessly, such that when viewed from any one perspective, all other perspectives are immediately apparent. There is no ‘single view’.

My question is Paul, would you agree?

If not then I suspect that is the end of this conversation :) If yes, then I am keen to get your opinion on what we have developed to address the need. Yes, we are unashamedly seeking attention, but not on the basis of us drinking our own bathwater, rather on the basis of qualified opinion.

So far I have avoided talking about us, but just by way of providing at least some insight…

We are a very small Australian-based company (still ‘starting-up’), albeit we have developed a large enterprise app (Traxor). We don’t have the resources or funds to engage with influencers in the ways you have suggested; we’re more your can of beer than Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon style of outfit, but we’re not after charity either.

If we had met the CRM Idol criteria, I would certainly try for next year’s comp, but we are more than 7 years old, which is a shame as it seems such a fantastic idea. So I wonder; what are the alternatives?

Can you recommend how I should go about getting an opinion?

Thank you for reading this far

Patrick Boucousis
CEO/Founder
www.traxor.com

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