To follow-up on our last post on the ongoing discussions about social CRM (sCRM) we thought we would offer more of our take on sCRM and how we see our role in this emerging field. Much of the sCRM thinking and product development to-date has been around increasing collaboration and communication channels for customer management and support. (If you are curious to read a very cogent article on the evolution of sCRM, check out Dion Hinchcliffe’s recent post on ZDNet ‘Using social software to reinvent the customer relationship.’) Dion does an excellent job covering how Web 2.0 technologies have been increasingly integrated into CRM platforms and concludes that “Social CRM will be a more predictable, reliable model for applying Web 2.0 to customer relationships using many of the strengths of the community model.”

So is Social CRM mainly a way for companies to interact faster and in more ways with their customers? We think it can be more. Making the social Web accessible and useful to sales and marketing teams, not just customer management groups, also fits into our vision of the benefits of sCRM. For example, our sales intelligence application enables sales and marketing professionals to receive relevant and timely information from across the social Web and traditional news and information sources directly in their CRM application — should this type of integration of social media and CRM be considered something outside of sCRM?

As Michael Krigsman’s recent post on Social CRM and Enterprise 2.0 notes, “In today’s social environment, the greatest threat of failure comes from standing aloof and not becoming engaged.” And we would argue that this sentiment applies to all aspects of the CRM process – not just tracking the conversations of current customers across the social Web, but prospective ones as well. The common thread is the need to locate the right conversations for your business that are occurring across the social Web and engaging in them intelligently and quickly.