Just about every organization is considering a Social CRM strategy. The trouble is, they are also fighting over who controls it. Let's start with how Sales can benefit. 

Who Owns the Social CRM Strategy?

I’ve read many articles as of late which describe how complex a task it will be to introduce a social network layer into a traditional CRM. In the long run, yes, you will want to integrate it with a number of your business departments. However, it would seem that whenever you add the words Social Media to any conversation, folks start to fight over ownership rights.  

Does it belong to marketing? How about customer service? Maybe it’s product development? I don’t have a good answer to this dilemma other than to ask why are we jockeying for position when our primary goals should be to increase revenues and to service our customers better? I’m sorry but, I just don’t see Social CRM as being that complex. Powerful? Yes! Complex? No!

Let's Start with Sales 

I’d like to suggest that we begin this journey with those who will likely be using it most and who stand to reap the greatest benefits … your sales department. As “nothing happens until somebody sells something”, this only makes good sense. It makes even more sense based on the impact it will have on the rest of your business.

Without profitable sales, all departments go away. Despite this fact, I actually saw a chart today that left the sales department completely out of the Social CRM process. Good grief?! As someone who has held nothing but B2B sales, management and ownership positions since 1977, I have a right to be somewhat prejudiced.

Selling has been called the science of “communication and persuasion”. This article will discuss how a good Social CRM will assist the salesperson in becoming a more effective communicator with his contact, prospect or client.

Being an effective communicator is a challenge. You must to be able to deliver the right message, at the right time, via the right medium, and with the right frequency (touches).

  • The Right Message: The salesperson needs to know as much about the client and their needs as is possible. The message is then formulated around these interests and needs. Some might call this the discovery phase of selling.
  • The Right Time: Have you ever walked into a room where a conversation was being held that you would like to participate in? Did you find yourself looking for that right time to make your entry or did you just barge in and take control? No, you looked for an appropriate opening when you could contribute to the conversation in a meaningful manner and without being perceived as being rude.
  • The Right Medium: If your contacts have chosen Twitter as their preferred medium, why are you sending them emails? Your job is to engage where they have chosen to do the same.
  • The Right Frequency: Selling is rarely a one-call proposition. I’ve seen studies that range from 7 calls to get the sale (on average) up to 22. Building a relationship, maintaining one or strengthening it requires an on-going commitment. Individual customers will very likely require a customized schedule as it relates to how we communicate and how often we do that.

From Traditional CRM Alone

I have used some form of computerized CRM continuously for over 20 years. Before that it was 3 x 5 cards and a tickler file. I love CRM for its ability to help me maintain, track and record contact data and activities. It allows me to create reports and modify my forecasts. My CRM makes me more money.

About two years I go I began to sense a problem. My contacts were no longer talking solely on the phone and via email. They had started to communicate with each other via Twitter, FaceBook and LinkedIn. I knew nothing about these applications and, maybe even worse, I had no way to track them.

As I learned more I quickly recognized that “Hey! There is something to this and it doesn’t appear to be going away. In fact, it’s growing!” Still, while all of this seems to have great potential, how am I going to track this on my CRM? The simple answer is … you can’t with a traditional CRM.

To Social CRM 

Social CRM will change that. Providing it is done correctly, I should be able to identify what my contacts are talking about now and who they are talking with. This enables me to compose the right message. I see when they are discussing a topic and this allows me to choose the right time to enter the conversation. I know that they are communicating via Twitter so … now I have the identified the right medium. Using the wide variety of communication platforms now at my disposal, I am able to formulate the right frequency.

All four provide me with the needed tools to establish rapport and to build and expand relationships; identify client wants, needs and frustrations; and get my entire team involved in collaboratively meeting and exceeding customer expectations. I sell more and I do it with focus and with a minimum of tedium.

A good CRM or Social CRM must be simple if you want your salespeople to use it. This is a simple fact. The road is paved with failed CRM projects where salesperson buy-in was never secured.

Tying CRM to Social CRM

I have had the privilege of looking at a number of quality applications over the last 6-9 months that do a pretty nice job of keeping me informed of my networks’ social streams. I want more. I want these same streams to be integrated into my CRM so that I will not be forced to jump from application to application to stay up to date.

I want collaboration with my team members, conversations with my contacts and I want to track all of that. In order to do any of this, just watching network activity is not enough. I need to be able to engage via those same networks without ever leaving my CRM. Finally, I need a Social CRM for SMB. This is not solely the property of enterprise organizations. There’s also less likely to be infighting over ownership.

Additional Articles on Social CRM include: