This blog is #19 and Chris Carfi’s Social Customer Manifesto is #7 on Chris Bucholtz’s Best CRM Blogs of 2008, at Inside CRM. About this blog, Chris wrote,

The bumpy economy has perhaps been unkind to forward-looking philosophies like vendor relationship management, but that has not curtailed Searls’ explorations of what will be when the business world finally understands that the customer is now running the show. He makes a convincing argument that companies are leaving dollars on the table already by refusing to admit that this is a consumer-driven world. As Searls wrote, “I’d rather have ‘-driven’ than ‘-centric.’ Because being ‘-centric’ doesn’t require you to relate. Being driven does.”

I never thought about this as a CRM blog, but to the degree that CRM and VRM will work together, it makes sense.

It will be interesting to see which CRM companies realize that customers are driving with VRM. Some are already waiting to see VRM tools show up in customer hands. At a recent ProjectVRM committee meeting, one of the attendees from a CRM company reported that the top honcho at his outfit said “Whoever wins at VRM wins at CRM.” That’s good to hear. VRM will give CRM much more to engage with.

Anyway, Larry Dignan seconds Paul Greenberg’s expectation that 2009 will be VRM’s breakout year. He adds this:

Simply put, a VRM tool would be something customers use to relate and manage multiple vendors. Greenberg thinks that 2009 will be the year in which VRM becomes more than just a concept. What’s ironic is that vendors that have the most tentacles into companies (Oracle, for instance) may become players. Just imagine the following: here’s a VRM tool from a big vendor so you can better manage it.

Well, if the tool only helps you manage one vendor, it’s not a VRM tool. But the irony risk is not small. That’s why I’m still not eager to promote VRM before we have working code and ways of demonstrating how VRM tools make you both independent of vendors and better able to engage with them.

May the best customers win.