I have been a CRM user since the late 80’s having started with a DOS based product called TeleMagic. Back then they were called Contact Managers so let’s call them CM’s for short. I’m really not sure when somebody came up with the brilliant idea to change that moniker to CRM or, Customer Relationship Management. That’s all fine and dandy but, the only problem is … there is no “R” in CRM. Traditional CRM applications are still decidedly CM. Now along comes social media and my customers are no longer wanting to just talk to me on the phone or send me emails. They’re on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and they expect me to be there too. I’m jumping from platform to platform and still … I have no way of tracking these activities and the process of engaging with them on social media is cumbersome and inefficient at best.
Social CRM (SCRM) has the potential to radically change all of this because social media is first and foremost about relationships. It puts the “R” back into CRM. The promise of SCRM is to integrate our social networking activities, and relationships, into the traditional CRM model. While this is still a relatively new field, many of those promises are available today. As a b2b sales professional, you can leverage these advantages and, if you are not doing so already, the ship’s about to leave the port and you ain’t gonna’ be on it.
Let’s talk about 10 ways that b2b salespeople can, and should be, leveraging Social CRM …
- Learn more about your customers – As a salesperson, knowing as much as I can about my customers is a key element in controlling my ultimate success. No longer do I need to travel to look at the plaques on somebody’s office in an attempt to discover common ground which is a very useful tool in establishing rapport. Today, I can go to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ and discover all of these tidbits of information and oh so much more! Relationships begin and end on common interests and goals. As an added bonus, you will learn more about this person than you would have ever been able to do by utilizing traditional methods. Relationships take two. You will also be able to share your interests inside and outside of work and you will allow your prospective customers to identify common grounds with you. Given the choice of working with two seemingly identical vendors, would you rather work with somebody who you have absolutely nothing in common with or someone who shares your passion for fly fishing? Case closed.
By integrating your clients’ social networks into their contact records, Social CRM will provide you with a centralized location to monitor their activities for these important relationship clues!
- Get organized and be prepared! – When I first started out in sales we kept all of our contact records on 3×5 cards in a large plastic “shoe box”. With advances in technology, most sales people today use sticky notes. Lots of them and lots of them … everywhere. Truly organized salespeople will at least keep these in manila folders 🙂 Salespeople are notoriously poor record keepers. Keeping good notes and then being able to find them can be tedious and time consuming and, to most salespeople, these activities take away from important “face time”. However, being able to maintain accurate and up-to-date records is a critical function and will lead to increased sales. A traditional CRM will do a very good job of aggregating emails, notes, and events into a contact’s record but, what do you do about your social networking activities with these same clients? The short answer is … more sticky notes.
Social CRM will aggregate ALL of these activities into your contact records and much of that will be done seamlessly and automatically. You will still need to keep good notes regarding meeting results etc. but, just think about it. Before you make that next sales call, all of this information and more will be at your fingertips! Take the opportunity, before you make that call, to review this information and also take a a quick look at what your customer is talking about, right now, on all of their social networks. Awesome!!
- Expand your network – You already have a network of customers and prospects. Certainly, we want to maximize our potential relationships with this important group. However, I’ve yet to meet a salesperson who hasn’t wanted a bigger territory. Here’s your chance to expand your reach and, once again, you don’t even have to travel!
A really great place to start is by seeing who your existing contacts are speaking to and what they are speaking about. Social CRM, because of its ability to display a specific contact’s social networking activities from within the contact record itself, will also allow you to view the profiles of folks who are in the discussion and then connect/and or engage with them right then and there!
“Hey! You promised me ten ways and I only see three!” Yep. Mark me guilty as charged. Please plan on attending our free webinar on Thursday, August 30 at 10:00 AM PST, co-hosted by Neal Schaffer, where we will discuss the full ten (and more) and where we will also introduce you to a product that you can deploy, today, to accomplish your goals! Please follow this link to register.