Mark Tamis is a european social business strategist & entrepreneur, at the intersection of social CRM, marketing and Enterprise 2.0. He has a background in managing Professional Services at a of US Software Vendors and now provides advice to B2B and B2C companies on the next generation of business strategies. Mark was one of the first three europeans to be certified by Paul Greenberg’s BPT Partners in “Social CRM Strategies for Business”, in February 2010. He’s one of the EMEA judges’ panel for the CRM Idol international competition conceived by CRM and Social CRM expert Paul Greenberg.
Welcome to Mark Tamis and thanks a lot for this interview. Now Round 1 of the CRM Idol contest is just finished and all semi-finalists (America and EMEA) have been chosen for the next step. This means the end of a preliminary phase of hard work for the judges who had participated to all demos, worked out their reviews and finally made their choice. First of all – my curiosity – how did you manage the countless CRMish/SocialCRMish main products’ features to articulate your judgment?
We had a set number of criteria that we looked at such as market understanding and adequation, how the products were presented, how well they articulated their vision and how they execute on it, and their use of technology aid their customers achieve their business objectives.
Tell us about your experience with this amazing panel of experts and colleagues.
It was very exciting! Paul (Greenberg) has an incredible understanding of the CRM Market, Laurence (Buchanan) has vast experience in implementing CRM and Silvana (Buljan) is excellent at bringing in the client perspective into how the technology can add business value – all in all it was a very enriching experience to exchange the various points of view and then arrive at a consensus.
I think it’d be really interesting to have your overview about this first phase of the contest. In your opinion, which are the European participants’ overall strentghs with regard to their corporate visions and products?
We were pleasantly surprised at the strength of the contenders! For such (relatively) small companies they have a good grasp of their markets and the offers are very strong and aligned with the needs of their target customers.
And what about their overall weakness?
The fact that each company in general focuses on its home market may be an early factor of success, but can be an impediment when expanding internationally. The Italian market with its many SMEs is quite different from Germany for example, and can thus risks needing major modifications to adapt to foreign market expectations – and that is without even mentioning differences in business culture!
Which aspects have driven you to make the final choice?
A clear articulation of the vision aligned with market needs and how the company executes on it is what I was looking for in particular.
Working and talking with Paul Greenberg – fully involved in the worldwide project -, which are the main differences resulting from a comparison with american participants?
I think the European contenders are very much aware of the need to expand rapidly internationally to grow.
Geographically (and frankly) speaking, which are the more promising countries and which the ones that disappointed you?
France, UK and the Netherlands – we had some good innovative solutions come out of these countries. Eastern Europe also has some interesting approaches, maybe it could be because they have less ‘bagage’ to carry around when innovating? I was rather disappointed with the lack of entries from the Nordics and DACH region though.
Can you give some suggestions for the CRM and Social CRM vendors that will try to participate to the next year CRM Idol contest?
Prepare! Prepare! Prepare! Other than a good opportunity for putting your company in the limelight, CRM Idol is excellent training to make you focus on defining what is your core value proposition and how you present your company most favourable – great for when you then go and meet prospects and VC Companies! Make the most of your time with your assigned Mentor!
Thanks again to Mark for his kindness and time.