Industry analyst William Band of Forrester Research has published a great post detailing enterprises’ seven steps to success for strategising, selecting and deploying social CRM solutions. Here’s a summary:

  1. Initiate social CRM experiments immediately. Define a near-term opportunity to apply social CRM ideas to a customer-facing challenge at your company. Build some practical experience that will break out of your of old mindsets. Refine your strategies later as new insights emerge.
  2. Benchmark customer and prospect social readiness. Survey your customers to assess their Social Computing behavior and attitudes. Assess whether prospects and customers are willing to comment on blogs, contribute content to online forums or wikis or view online video segments. Then devise your social engagement strategy accordingly.
  3. Define your social customer objectives. The most important decision is not what technology to use; most important is determining who you’re trying to reach, what you’re trying to accomplish, and how you plan to change your relationships with your customers.
  4. Assess your social CRM capabilities. Undertake a self-assessment to understand how your organization stacks up compared with CRM best practices and identify where you should focus your attention for quick wins.
  5. Understand the social CRM solutions landscape. You must learn to navigate an emerging an emerging landscape that includes both traditional solutions and new social computing capabilities.
  6. Map out your social CRM capabilities-building plan. A social CRM plan should be tightly linked to business goals, focused on customer benefits, clearly identify the processes and constituencies that will be affected, and specify the associated information and capabilities required.
  7. Define your CRM metrics for success. Exceptional discipline is what sets CRM winners apart from failures. Social CRM comprises both a strategy and a set of tools, but you also need to pay attention to how well you are tracking toward your goals over the long term. Establishing the right metrics is part of the discipline that leads to success. You need traditional CRM metrics like: email marketing offer click-through rates; sales opportunity close ratios; and first-time call resolution ratios). And, you need to think about new social sentiment measures like social conversation buzz, reach, and value.