Businesses purchase a CRM system to be closer to their customers and to understand the relationships that they build with those customers. It’s those relationships that close business. So, wouldn’t it make sense that sales effectiveness is based on the relationships and the social interactions we have with one another? With that in mind, how can you build those relationships faster and smarter? By getting social.
What Is Social CRM?
Paul Greenberg, often referred to as an authority on Social CRM, defines it as “a philosophy and a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes and social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted and transparent business environment […] It’s the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation.”
Quite often, Social CRM is mistakenly referred to as social media monitoring, however, that is incorrect; it encompasses a much broader spectrum of the value chain, and most importantly, includes participating in the conversations.
In short, it’s engaging your customers online—via a website, mobile or social media—to interact to build relationships, become a trusted advisor and drive more sales. Is this actually important?
Yes, because visibility is important. Twenty years ago we were all wondering the same thing about having a website. Is having a website REALLY that important? The same applies here. To be visible in today’s world, you have to be socially active with your customers. If you’re not, those customers that might have seen you and been aware of you and what you do, will just bypass you because you weren’t even on their radar.
To go one step further in making sure that Social CRM works for you is to understand that it’s not just about visibility and awareness, but about listening as a pre-cursor to the customer taking action, because it provides a platform for demonstrating to the customer that you know him/her, you understand the problem and you have the solution.
… Here’s Why
In a recent paper, we discussed the role and importance of a CRM system in delivering Customer Experience Management strategies (Get the paper here: Has CEM Replaced CRM?) and commented on how traditional CRM systems are inbound focused and needed the addition of complementary technologies to extend their capabilities into other key areas—Social CRM being one of those.
Consumers and customers in general now have access to a broad array of forums and channels to voice their questions and opinions—from using Twitter to discuss a product issue and Facebook to ask friends’ opinions to Pinterest to create a wish list for Christmas. Their purchase intentions, likes/dislikes, opinions and overall personal experiences are all out there. Social CRM tools enable you to not only monitor those channels and forums and gauge opinions and trends, but also to participate.