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How social can CRM get?

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Ken Pearson

05/30/2012 - 22:19

The difficult part of social + CRM is getting users to understand the value of social media within the sales process. Many people (companies) immediately view social media only as a sales channel (which it certainly can be), but often become disappointed when prospects come through like a slow dripping faucet. What they often fail to see is the value social media can have in providing business intelligence during the selling process. I always lookup prospects in the social world in hopes to find something I can use to my advantage in the selling process.

That being said, you need to have the right recipe for CRMs and SFA to work hand-in-hand; and it’s not easy. SFA is what reps and sales managers are looking for in their CRM, while social media is more of a Marketers interest. If you can find the right balance to incorporate social media into the 'workflow' with a soft presence so it isn’t perceived as interference or too much of a distraction, then you’ve struck gold.

Steven Cholerton

06/01/2012 - 21:49

I don't think we should be tempted to shoehorn Social CRM into our existing CRM or use Social Networks as a thinly disguised veil over traditional marketing babble.  

As Ken refers to in his comment - the main value of Social is not in it's use as a channel to sell through.

Social networks are important to business because they are not viewed as part of the 'marketing channel' - if and when they become just another outlet for the same old marketing message then their effectiveness will decrease.

I think their power is more about listening rather than talking to your customers.  If you are talking then do so because you care and because you care and because you believe in your products, not just as another excuse to show a link to your website.  Your audience knows the difference.

-Steve  www.ar... ;-)

Susie Yuill

06/04/2012 - 16:49

I agree with Ken to a certain extent. As a marketer, I think social media is a wonderful tool to create buzz about your brand. However, it can be a useful tool for lead generation. For example, I am a member of certain groups in LinkedIn that have members searching for viable CRM systems for their company. This is a great way to network and help these people and can ultimately produce a lead. The trick is, as Ken hints, to not fall into the "black hole" of social media. You have to learn how to use it the right and efficient way in order for it to be useful and NOT unproductive.

Jon Ferrara

06/05/2012 - 02:01

Paulo interesting question about how far we can get within our CRM tools and methods to deepen the relationships with our clients and customers? I'd start by asking everyone if they even use their existing CRM systems for Listening, Engagement or Relationships? The sad truth is that our real contacts arn't even in our CRM systems nor Outlook any more.

Most active Social people Listen & Engage in Email, Twittter, FaceBook, LinkedIn or Hootsuite. They build relationships through effective engagement. Then they go into the CRM systems and type in what is required for management to run reports. Today's mainstream CRM platforms need to do more Social than map social identities and avatar pictures. They need to empower Social Engagement by connecting and synchronizing who people are listening and talking to, what they are saying and begin to tell us what we don't know and surfacing opportunities for engagement . That is the promise of Social CRM and what Social Businesses need today.

It's not enough to use Social for marketing or community management. Everyone in the company needs to participate in the social conversations occurring externally and internally within organizations and all of these conversations need to be connected to who they are talking to and about, a companies constituency. We are still in the early days of the Social Business evolution and I am excited about the prospects for change in the way companies will engage and operate in the future.

Roman Feygenberg

06/07/2012 - 00:43

I completely agree with everyone that Social CRM integration is extremely important.  But many of the integrations we've seen are not as useful as they sound.  As it stands now, personal accounts (whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc..) have very little to do with what products or services that person is interested in working with when he or she is at work the next day. So Ken Pearson is compeletely correct in saying "prospects come through like a slow dripping faucet."

What's imporant to focus on in a Social CRM type environment is adding value for the customer.  The fast paced social media environment is a perfect way to reach out to current and perspective clients with news, updates and examples.  Having a CRM system to faciliate the additional value to clients is much more useful than pitching a product or service via social media.

Social Media can be a very useful lead generation tool, but many companies expect their entrances into social media to be miraculous, when 9 times out of 10, it's not.

Vikram Bhaskaran

06/07/2012 - 09:42

The jump from traditional to social CRM is revolutionary. Traditionally, CRM has been a marketing and sales tool to identify and curate leads. So it is easy to see social CRM as another channel- a social layer, opening more prospects and generating demand... And us getting frustrated with the "slow dripping faucet". 

As a marketer myself, I see social CRM bringing in a whole new set of players into the lead, demand and branding elements- the support team. Every company today that seems to "get" the idea of social is doing it by engaging and giving customers a rock solid experience. And since it is social, a good experience spreads virally pretty soon. In short, if a business wants to get real deep into its social CRM and start seeing results, they need to understand that the gap between support, sales and marketing can no longer hold... Customer support is the new marketing!

Jesus Hoyos

06/08/2012 - 16:21

CRM has been social - we as consumers (B2C) and clients (B2B) be nature are social. The problem is that we have never made CRM human - we talked about people, processes ad culture but in reality we never made the effort to look at CRM from the human point of view. Social Media is now making us bring the human aspect of it to the front of the relationships - it is more relevant. We also meet friends and colleagues in social gathering, go to games, go to facility reunions, talk to neighbors - now we do this on Facebook and Forums, and gives us the pover the expand the human aspect of the relationships - but we do it now with more people and with brands... across continents and languages. This means that companies and the employees need to look at the human factor of the relationships and not only look at people, processes and culture when implementing CRM.

Wladimir Pazmino

06/09/2012 - 00:04

"How Social can CRM get?" involves in my own perspective, a new era of thinking manner in a way to accomplish the customers demands, what customers/consumers demands?, someone to listen, someone to act, someone to respond.

How often we listen people we care?, every day!, how often CEO's ( 90% says to be close to the clients is their desired strategy) listen their customers, of course is not physically possible that only one person could hear everyone of their customers.

At that point social becomes the most-value asset of a CRM program, of course it must include a strategy about how to listen, how to measure, and after that, what do to... if you won't adjust why measuring?

Finally "what to do" must be accompanied with the strategy to follow-up when customers start to: complaining, generating purchase requirements, asking questions.

So a company that "cares" will assign process, resources, human talent to hear whom they really care...

Ellis Luk

06/10/2012 - 19:27

I came across this timely article: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-06-08/how-social-media-is-chan... that highlighted the different "types" of CRM and how we should change our approach to go from:

"Customer Relationship Minimization" to "Customer Relationship Monetization" to "Company Relationship Management"

How social can CRM get? It's up to the company to focus on the customer relationship and let the customer manage themselves. Social media has helped make the conversations between the company and the customer two-way - and once they realize it's more than just posting and responding to Facebook, Twitter, etc. - we can see a more personalized approach in helping our customers succeed.

jen evans

06/12/2012 - 21:09

I think one of the biggest parts of social CRM is giving customers the ability to interact with a company or brand with the level of proximity they want. For some this will mean participating on social channels but primarily as a lurker or reader. For others it may mean creating a company or brand-devoted blog or participating in voice of the customer initiatives. Some relationships are close (especially in the research process before making a decision to buy) and some are more distant. This ebbs and flows given a customer's priorities and situation in life at any given moment. Companies and brands need to create a social presence that enables a close or distant relationship depending on what the customer wants and needs. Understanding those needs is the first step to true CRM!

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