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”:
- 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
- Calendar – this would include both tasks and events as well as recall reminders
- 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:
- Integrates social networking elements into a traditional CRM
- Must connect to your social networks & must connect to your contact’s social networks
- Must allow for social discovery & engagement
- Must track & aggregate this information into contact records regardless of origination points
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!