Mark Tamis has a good breakdown of social CRM “Your competitive advantage will be your Customer Base and their ability to advocate your company and persuade their peers to do business with you.”
I believe another core advantage will be organizations that redefine the term “employee asset” to include social assets. Every single employee or contributor to a project has the ability to support both internal and external ideas with a network of 50 to 1000 individuals. Understanding that as an organization grows in size, the multiple layers of departments and business niches creates hundreds of different customer silos internally and externally.
Within this framework we can use basic examples: employees become leaders, leaders become employees, family members become thought-catalysts, friends become survey groups.
This is how start-ups and entrepreneurs function EVERY DAY. Small teams are forced to interconnect with every available asset of every team member, often asking questions like
- Who can answer this legal question?
- Is this line of code correct?
- Can you validate this outside our team?
In enterprise models, the transfer of intellectual and social assets are almost non-existent.
In the intellectual transfer model: if you have a question or need an asset;
- fill out a form
- route it to Department 34
- find out it went to the wrong department for five days
- resend it to Department 6
- hope they can help you (now that you are 4 days past deadline.)
In the social transfer model: after realizing your twenty person team has three people who don’t perform properly,
- Agree to meet at coffee pot to talk about informal methods of not sending a request to Department 34.
- At end of day, inquiry with TEAM TWO about process errors that can’t be fixed within TEAM ONE (your team)
In the entrepreneur / startup / social CRM model:
In the intellectual transfer model: you have a question that needs an answer,
- Ask your immediate team members how to fix
- Propagate to external professional network of friends
- Categorize unanswered questions with new expertise when team members disclose unknown skills or learn new ones.
- Hire friends with proven skillset/expertise when match is found.
In the social transfer model: after realizing your ten person team doesn’t have the right skills to get the job done,
- Half of team has steak dinner at local tavern to relax
- Half of team returns to family life
- Next morning three solution experts are discovered
- The first is found over game of darts, a stranger accidentally bumping team member mid-throw.
- The second is a developer who is a friend of your team, casually invited to dinner the night before.
- The third is the co-founders brother-in-law, who was well recommended by the co-founders wife.
There are thousands of cross-over points that are often left unaddressed by formal communication policies at larger organizations… even when such organizations are staffed by professionals who know that most of the “game changing” business projects they have had resulted from the direct application of social asset (a friend of a friend was in the right place at the right time.)
Why is having a friend of a friend in the right place at the right time so valuable?
Markets and industries are being changed from both social and technological aspects seemingly overnight. For most corporations, there is no process for having a talented change agent in place so that the business can take advantage of an opportunity today. If a team needs to be brought up to speed and redirected to a new mission, the thirty to ninety day lag time of the traditional model causes you to miss the window of opportunity.
What do you think of this? Do you see larger organizations being crippled by the inability to transfer social and intellectual assets?