Defining Social CRM For B2B Salespeople

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For those of you who may have attended our webinar on August 30 entitled “10 Ways B2B Salespeople Should Be Leveraging Social CRM” … Thank you! For those of you who missed it, over the next several months we will be discussing the methods that were addressed and much much more!

In order to accurately define Social CRM, we first need to talk about Traditional CRM which stands for “Customer Relationship Management”. Core functions include what I like to call the “3 C’s”:

  1. Contacts – complete contact records with all contact info including user definable fields for information needed for my specific business. This record would also track leads and deals in progress
  2. Calendar – this would include both tasks and events as well as recall reminders
  3. Communications – emails and documents exchanged and notes regarding conversations, activities, and meetings

Make no mistake about this. There is no “R” (relationship) in traditional CRM. These applications have remained, through the years, very much like the framework that we found in their predecessors … Contact Managers. Not that this is all bad but, today we need to truly integrate social (relationships) into the CRM model. Our contacts and clients are no longer limiting their electronic conversations to email alone. They are talking on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. They are talking to each other, talking about us, and they want to talk to us … on these channels. I want to be able to:

  • Develop closer relationships with my existing clients through engagement
  • Expand my network of potential clients
  • Get more referrals
  • Discover new revenue opportunities
  • Make it easier for new customers to find me and my company

Social media now presents us with a unique opportunity to discover new relationships outside of our traditional circles. Many of these relationships will lead to revenues. The power and the breath of social media also presents us with a number of challenges …

  • Managing these conversations on multiple channels can be a nightmare what with open tabs to the various platforms
  • Associating these conversations with an individual contact begs the question … “How can I even hope to do that?”

Social CRM has the ability to take the place of many of the social tools we are currently using and, depending on your application, may be able to completely replace those at least for day-to-day activities. There will always remain situations where you will want and need to go to the main site but, why would I want to do that or go to a social dashboard when I already have one present in my CRM? Why would I want to jump over to LinkedIn to invite somebody to connect if I can do so while never leaving my CRM? The simple answer to both of these questions is “I wouldn’t”. There is no practical reason to having a multitude of tabs open if this action is not a necessity.

My definition of Social CRM may differ from what many of today’s pundits are discussing. The fact that I am no pundit probably has something to do with that. The other fact that I am first and foremost a salesperson has everything to do with that. I am sales-centric and I like to keep things simple. I am also a purist so, when I hear folks calling their application a Social CRM, or hear that same moniker being applied by others and said application does not even include a complete contact record, I will take exception to the CRM label being applied. This is not to say that these applications themselves are not excellent! In many cases, they would integrate well with a true CRM and, in some instances, they do. My definition of a true Social CRM includes:

I do firmly believe that your focus must be shifted from attempts to monitor the social streams from all of your connections to that of your valuable individual contacts. Only in this way will you be able to be fully prepared to develop your relationship and to glean the valuable information now available regarding this person. Selling has always been, and always will be, based on finding new relationships, nurturing them, and then maintaining and strengthening them. This need is what makes Social CRM so incredibly powerful! In a sense, we can drop the “C” and just call them “Social Relationship Managers”.

With the implementation of a good Social CRM we become able to leverage the benefits of social networking by …

  • Becoming more efficient at what we do
  • Learning more about our customers including areas of common interest and their anticipated buying behaviors
  • Uncovering new relationships and sources for revenue

Whereas we used to have five senses (seeing, hearing, feeling, taste, and smell), we have practically been given that elusive 6th. What in the past required a face-to-face meeting can to a large part be accomplished today from the comfort of your screen and keyboard. I call that pretty powerful!!

Are you currently using a CRM or Social CRM? If yes, please share with us what you might recommend and what your experiences might be. If not, please share with us your reasoning for that decision. We all learn from each other!

Craig Jamieson
Craig M. Jamieson contributes a monthly column on Social Selling. Craig has been in B2B sales since 1977 and during that time has served in a variety of positions including; sales manager, division sales manager, national sales manager, district manager, and as a business owner. He is the managing partner of Adaptive Business Services in Boise, Idaho which owns and operates NetWorks! Boise Valley B2B Networking Groups, is a Nimble Social CRM & HootSuite Solution Partner, a TTI Performance Systems VAA, and Craig also conducts workshops and seminars relating to sales and social business applications. +Craig Jamieson
Craig Jamieson


Social Sales Trainer and Author Helping Businesses To Increase Their Revenues, Nimble SCRM Solution Partner, TTI VAA, Own & Operate a B2B Networking Group
Your Bottom Line May Be Impacted By Changes To Workers’ Compensation - Via NBV Member... #networking #leads #Boise - 6 hours ago
Craig Jamieson
Social Tools Summit


  1. says

    Really enjoy your post Craig. It’s interesting to see the different types of social CRM being posited out there. 

    Imagine if you could combine these three – Becoming more efficient at what we doLearning more about our customers including areas of common interest and their anticipated buying behaviorsUncovering new relationships and sources for revenueto:More efficiently learn more about our customers including areas of common interest and their anticipated buying behaviors while uncovering new relationships and sources for revenue?

    Just like analytics can understand buyer behavior, it can also be used with employees. Internally, by better understanding what drives sales people, how to build relationships with a sales team, analytics can become a sales manager’s best friend. It may not be called social CRM but it’s the same principle, just applied internally.

    • says

      Ahhhhh! Interesting comments. I do believe that Social CRM can be applied to behaviors and motivators in helping us to determine buying habits and in building relationships with clients, prospects, and team members. I’m guessing you may be a disciple of DISC or something similar? Watch for some discussion of this in future articles as I am very excited about everything that you have cited here! Thanks so much for commenting!!

    • says

      Thought I replied to this earlier?? Yes, I agree with you 100% and do believe that Social CRM can be applied directly to both behaviors and motivators in helping us to determine buying habits as well as develop better communication and relationship building skills with clients, prospects, and team members. Might you be a disciple of DISC or something similar? Please watch for more about this in future articles and thanks for commenting!

  2. says

    Great post, Craig! When I was at #inbound12 last week, the Hubspot3 product release was announced and it appears to have many of social monitoring, analytical, smart customer relationship management and marketing features you discuss in this post. It’ll be interesting to see how this technology is reviewed by digital marketers, but, marketing hype aside, I have to say that it certainly sounds revolutionary as a means of tracking customer interests and previous brand interactions before engaging with them.

    • says

      Thanks, Sarah! I did get an email regarding Hubspot3 and have to take the time to watch the video and learn more. I love the stuff that Hubspot puts out and it will actually integrate right now with my SCRM of choice, Nimble. Alas, I am but a poor salesperson and am not yet to the point where I can make the numbers work for me. I’m getting there though:) Thanks again!!

  3. says

    Thanks for the post Craig. Got great insights here.

    Everything must go social these days. Yes it is a necessity. Gone are the days of traditional medium to communicate with your prospects. As an marketers we need to opt with the current trends technology has to give. Engaging to your customers through social media sites is the best action to take.

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