I saw a video on the State of Social CRM post on Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang in which Paul Greenberg talks about how companies are having difficulties with cultural changes internally to execute against the new bread of customer, the social customer.
In case you don’t know what CRM is, it’s Customer Relationship Management as described in Wikipedia as a “technology that allows companies to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes—principally sales activities, but also those for marketing, customer service, and technical support. The overall goals are to find, attract, and win new clients, nurture and retain those the company already has, entice former clients back into the fold, and reduce the costs of marketing and client service.”
What an ear full!
My version would be just an application that keeps track of customer facing activities so you can find the gaps in your service and make adjustments to be more efficient.
The point both Jeremiah and Paul are making is that businesses are still figuring out how to integrate CRM and Social Media so the combination provides meaningful business value.
The shift in how customers use social media is forcing companies to add the social element into their CRM system. They’re both spot on.
It also raises the question that if you’re not in the business of generating value and serving to keep the customer, then what are you in business for?
Social media encourages interaction which leads to generating a new type of intelligence that CRM system were not tracking before. Data such as reactions, activities, sentiments, locations, behavior and preference are converging providing a never seen before clear picture of each customer.
So how does this change the dynamics of your business moving forward?
Well, for one thing you have more leverage as a result of having more available data to target your niche and identify your prospects. In fact, as social CRM matures, I would expect to see companies shift their corporate strategy to ensure that every aspect of customer touch point is aligned with their marketing and sales strategy.
And this is the reason why it requires a true “cultural” change, a mindset really, for businesses to not just think from the perspective of their customer but to become their customer, to feel and empathize with them.
Furthermore, this would mean that the employees may have to do the same by constantly thinking and enhancing the customer experience to the fullest. Instead of just using tools to do sentiment analysis by listening in on what customers are saying, companies can anticipate what customers will say and do before they’ve done it.
Checkout how Salesforce is making their CRM social with Twitter.
This would probably be the ideal desire outcome for most businesses: to proactively facilitate prospects and customers toward a market funnel and minimize customer frustration as problems are addressed before they happen.
Imagine a prospect is interested in finding out more about your product before a purchase, not only would you be able to answer questions using social CRM data to anticipate them, but to personalize your communication and create real-time offering to increase the rate of conversion.
By delivering relevant communication crafted with exactly what the customers want at the right place at the right time, this will be the next phase of effective social influence marketing.
The take away: It is important to recognize this emerging trend in CRM and social media. Even though a cultural shake out would be necessary for companies to fully utilize the benefits of social CRM, it would be wise to start making some basic evaluation of how going social may impact your operations and bottom line.
What’s needed to make that jump and if you’re already using a CRM system, think how you can rally your staff to start thinking about new marketing processes and research more on how you can streamline social media into your CRM.