As I mentioned in my earlier post, my colleague @satyakri and I, have embarked on a journey to share our thoughts on the key components of digital marketing stack. We believe there are five must-have building blocks to enable you to turbo charge your demand generation efforts and in this post we will discuss CRM.


You have got to have it. C-R-M stands for Customer Relationship Management. At its simplest, a CRM system allows businesses to manage customer relationships and the data and information associated with them. With CRM, you can store customer and prospect contact information, accounts, leads and sales opportunities in one central location,ideally in the cloud so the information is accessible by many, in real time. Most organizations, however small, always start off with a CRM system such as Salesforce, Oracle, SAP or Sugar to help them manage their customer relationships. While a CRM system may not elicit as much enthusiasm these days as marketing automation, any CRM system is similarly built around people and relationships and should include a ‘social’ component of the channel mix.

The impact of ‘Social’ on CRM:

The customer journey is changing, and the classic marketing funnel as we know is evolving which has a direct impact on CRM. Of course, social media has a big role to play in this evolution. Consumers now engage with brands across all fronts sometimes even simultaneously.

Gone are the days where the customer relied primarily on the vendor for information, and one-way communication between brands and consumers/ prospects was the norm. Those were the heydays for CRM. Today’s sales process is a two-way communication and a non-linear brand engagement is the evolving norm of the emerging social enterprise. Social is also changing expectations around support. Customers on social platforms are expressing themselves and sharing their experiences and expecting their support issues be answered.

Evolving to an Omni-Channel CRM

The increased complexity of the customer journey offers organizations the opportunity to evolve and adopt new ways of engaging with customers. As communication shifts from a one way broadcast to two way multi touch communication, managers need a better way to manage the interaction with customers across all channels – email, social, call center etc. Marketers need to influence on-line social conversation by using tools that spot online conversations about brands, analyze what is being said and respond. They also need to align the brand message across all channels – sales, marketing, support and also external influencers.

Most organizations unfortunately still continue to treat social media as a silo. It is imperative that they integrate social interactions and profiles into their back-end CRM systems in order to ensure that they truly have an omni-channel view of their customers and are able to meet or exceed their customers’ expectations at any time, place or channel.

At the end of the day social is yet another channel and Social + CRM = CRM!!!

So what does your digital technology stack look like? What are your thoughts on CRM and the impact of social?