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Social CRM for B2B companies – it’s not that simple!

December 13th, 2009 · 11:52 am @   -  No Comments

I’ve seen way too many posts lately about why B2B companies should be using social media, social networking channels for their businesses. Most of them did not make ANY sense to me.

My points on this topic:

-         B2B companies can’t not be looked at as a one big group – come on people – there are zillions of industries and business processes that this group includes. For many of those it will be hard to impossible to justify business use of social media channels! Example: SMB that makes mechanical tools for a small number of manufacturing companies.

-         Examples of how many people from B2B companies tweet that are used to justify the use of Twitter for B2B companies are just plain stupid – what do they show? Who knows what those people are tweeting about and how their twitter activity impacts their business goals;

-         It does take a lot of time to go through the analysis phase for many B2B companies to determine which social media channels to engage with and why. Business cases are much more difficult to build and justify;

-         Main business processes that get extended to the social space are: sales, marketing, customer service/support, recruiting. If I am a company like Applied Materials who sells their products to semiconductor manufacturing companies, then my justification of using social networking channels for sales business process becomes very difficult. For an engineer having problem or question about the supplier part Twitter is not a best channel to reach out to in order to get a support from the supply chain vendor. However I might be able to justify the use of some for recruiting and PR functions – this is just one of the examples on how to work through Social CRM deployment’s methodology analysis phase [high level] to determine which processes to consider..;

-         For many B2B companies internal use of social media tools/technologies deployed at their intranets might bring more business process improvements than the engagement in external ones;

-         People who have not done ERP, CRM implementations for B2B companies, but know how to tweet [ the most famous category of “social media consultants” ] should be prohibited  from talking and advising companies in B2B space on why and how they should [or even worst – must] use these new emerging channels for their businesses;

-         B2B companies should be prepared to invest time in doing thorough research and analysis and build business case for any social media project – nothing new here, but for some reasons many companies think of this step as a tools selection process. It is NOT!

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