CRM vs. Friendship Relationship Management

02/28/2012

Have you ever considered how similar Salesforce is to Facebook? No really. We are frequently discussing in the office how CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is such a dry and boring space, unlike consumer facing services, when it hit me today that Facebook and other social networks aren’t really all that different in purpose.

I think the point we were discussing today was that it doesn’t really make sense any more (if it ever did) to seperate our personal lives from our professional lives, in the sense that during the day we interact with one social circle, and after hours we interact with an entirely different and non-overlapping circle. Salesforce vs. Facebook. But the world is changing, and these worlds are colliding. What we do and say in one circle is going to impact the other. You can’t write a personal blog post and not think about how it will be seen by your company, employees, investors, or the press. So the circles are forced to overlap in a Venn sort of way.

We use CRM tools like Salesforce to manage all of our customer contacts – who they are, how to contact them, notes and interactions, etc. Companies spend enormous amounts of money organizing all that, but nobody gets particularly excited about it. It’s dry, its dull, its “enterprise.”

But in the event that I need to contact a friend, where do I go to look for their phone number if it’s not already in my phone? Where do I go to see what a friend has been up to lately? What city they’re in? What they’re interested in? Facebook. Or what I’m going to heretofore refer to as FRM (Friend Relationship Management). CRM requires you to input data about others, FRM lets others do it for you. CRM is work, FRM is fun.

Does it have to be that way? Why can’t CRM be more like FRM? Why do they need to be distinct circles anyway? Much like our personal and professional lives, it seems they are destined to merge.

My apologies to the design gods for my 5-minutes on the train venn diagram above. I would have used Comic Sans to seal the deal, but I’ve erased it from my computer.