Social Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or (a.k.a Social Media CRM) Can Produce or Increase Sales by 12%. How so?

As many of you already know Seven Times Seven headed by David Dandaneau is (are) dedicated to bringing answers to questions in our weekly tip each week that we come across. This week is no different, as we continue to navigate (7) difficult but extremely important segments for an organizations long-term growth and survival. This week in particular, we have had a tremendous amount of inquirers into Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and it’s (the systems) effect(s) on business performance & sales, which just happen to be some of the things David Dandaneau has been researching over the last 3+ years, as part of his Doctoral work. What is crazy to think about is that every day we ask clients and individuals if they are familiar with CRM? They usually respond with the answer Yes! So, why the inquires now? Next question… what system are you using and/or what are you doing with the data you collect? Much to our surprise, many of you are still using the basic CRM systems such as ACT, Capsule, etc. Why is it that more of you have not moved yet to Sugar, Salesforce, Zoho, etc. so you can collect more data and sales leads integrated with your website of blog? Well, if you are like most people a CRM system is something you probably bought or subscribed to in order to help you remain better organized and track issues (contact manager)… Yes? Well, if so let’s take a minute to look at some of the latest research trends and “statistics” in order to see if we might be able to make CRM (whatever system you use) work for you “more sales & retention”… not against you in order to produce some sort of Return On Investment (ROI).
So… What Needs are YOU looking for?
When a person or organization begins to look for a CRM provider or system, you will soon realize that there are tons “thousands it seems” of solutions available to fit almost any need, just like with Professional Employer Organizations (PEO), Mobile Solutions, or Social Media (SM). However, the one question you must ask yourself first with CRM much like the others, is what are you trying to accomplish with it (CRM) and how can you pull everything together? If you are like any normal person or organization, you should also be asking yourself what ROI will whatever system I (you) chose produce for me? The answer is simple… pick a system that allows you to retrieve information (i.e. offer white papers in exchange for contact information) and store it, so you can turn this information into leads and a resource, just like with social media… use the data to convert more inquires into sales, Yes? Also, let’s not forget to ask ourselves how can you (we) share information or help your (our) customers with the information and/or analyze the data we (you) collect with a CRM system to produce ROI?
A CRM Implementation is the most Effective way to Maintain Relationships

Just like social media or wireless device innovations (iPhone, iPad, Droid, etc), CRM (bringing systems together) should not be about what other people/businesses are doing but instead about what you and/or your personal or business needs are or in other words “what the customer wants.” With almost any PERFECT CRM implementation (on the behalf of the customer & organization), you should see customer retention and sales COSTs continue to decline overtime and organizational or personal profits increase over that extended period of time if utilized correctly. In a recent study it was found that “social” CRM or in other words social media or mobile CRM can help an organization or more importantly its sales force increase productivity and benefit by as little as +12% if used correctly. What’s more, is that this same study produced by Nucleus Research found that on average 21% of those people (organizations) or sales forces that use(d) social CRM, seen sales increases as much as 20%. Furthermore, this statistic equates to approximately 4 out of 5 companies that use/subscribe to a social CRM approach and integrate external sources such as Facebook, Twitter, FourSqaure, EmpireAvenue, etc with their CRM application(s) could expect returns (ROI) as high as 47%… crazy huh? What is even more shocking is that this particular course of action does not even take into account your mobile campaigns (25% increases), or RSS feeds through Pinterest, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Etc (additional 22% increases).
So, What are you Waiting FOR?
Since the research and data points to increases in response, interaction, retention, and sales why are so many people (organizations) still reluctant to use and/or subscribe to a “Social CRM” solution? Or more importantly why are you (your team) not using mobile CRM applications “especially on your mobile” to convert leads into sales? The fact is and from our conversations, there are that still many people that still do not understand how all these systems work together or how to put all the pieces together or leave a footprint behind when meeting or following up with someone. In the Nucleus study, it was clear why; as only 16% of the 223 executives actually knew that, this was a total approach to business evolution, retention, and additional sales, which is hard to believe. Perhaps as more people turn to social media to solve customer issues left on sites such as Yelp, Google, Yahoo, etc. and by participating more in sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. more people will understand that CRM (especially mobile, as this has shown to increase productivity by +20%) should/will be an important part of their overall long-term strategy of conversing, linking, and connecting the dots (i.e. or at least a part of the solution) to increase sales.
From this short but direct post, we hope that you (your organization) realize the benefits that CRM, social media, and mobile campaigns can/will have on your overall success. As we continue to move further away from websites and more towards mobile phones, blogs, and social media for interaction, we will continue to rely upon CRM to help us stay connected to our friends, followers, and clients. If you have not yet made a decision on a social media, CRM, or mobile strategy don’t worry, as you still have time to make a decision. The important part is that you now start to think about it and about how all these systems work or can work together to help you and your team excel. Not only are these systems important to you but also to David Dandaneau, as these are large components to his research and the results that will be reported in his dissertation over the next several months. Therefore, if you would like more information or to participate in his study, please feel free to drop us a line or contact him directly by posting a comment. Otherwise, and like usual we will look forward to seeing you right back here next week with another Q&A session brought to you… well, by YOU! Cheers!

David Dandaneau is a Consultant at [SevenTimesSeven]. He specializes in helping business owners “manage their business and not their processes!” For more connect with him via Twitter @ddandaneau or any of the other social platforms you may find him on.


Three Things to Jump Start your Social Media & Networking Campaigns

In this new age of networking (online and in-person) what is the one question you ask yourself and others most often? Think about it? If you are like many of us, you may think the one thing that annoys you most is “pushy people,” or more importantly pushy salespeople. Yes? Have you been to a local Chamber of Commerce or other Networking event and found yourself in the middle of (10) people all trying to sell you something before they even know your name?
Well, just like with many of our other posts we continue to report to our readers and followers some fantastic ways to get your message across without having to call, email, or text another person to death! Social Media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, EmpireAvenue, FourSquare, Quora, Redditt, Digg, Pinterest, Tumblr, Scoop-it, StumbleUpon, Etc all allow us to pull other works, ideas, and statements thus increasing you or your brands exposure, which hopefully results in sales if your message was received well. Ah, yes does this sound familiar… being social huh? Anyway, you get the idea and many of you may or may not have heard of the push and pull concept before. However, we are sure, if you are anything like us, that someone in a prior job or even in your family may have introduced you to this concept or was/has tried to sell you or have you sell something extra so they can benefit. The good’ol push and pull strategy, only in this post, we are trying to emphasize to everyone the pull strategy (in content not distribution) versus the annoying push strategies (again in content not distribution) that most of us hate!
So, as more people and companies look for additional ways to attract more friends, followers, likes, etc, let’s think about how we can use networking events or social media sites to help each other versus hinder one another, a brand, or company. Great, so how you ask? This week we would like our readers to think about three simple things (REASON, CONNECTING, and FORMING ALLIES), so you can use these social networking clubs or sites to help another person or company pull their message across multiple platforms versus pushing a sale on them.
1. REASON
First, think about some of the REASONS you or your company might use the push and pull strategy(s). If you are still not familiar with these concepts, please see Push & Pull Promotional Strategy for a very simple explanation but remember we are talking about information and ideas in this post, so please also remember that. Now that you are familiar with the two strategies… what are the reasons you may want to use the pull strategy with networking or social media? Again, isn’t networking and social media about being social versus talking about yourself or selling something? Don’t friends and sales come from your ability to be social in these and other operating platforms? Besides who wants to always hear about you or something you may be selling right? Simply put, the reason you should be on any social media network or at a local networking event is to provide information, so you can give someone else another REASON to stay in contact, like, follow, or buy something from you at a later date. This is being the true industry expert and a main reason to pull people together not push them away!

2. CONNECT
While many of us find that connecting with others often involves a phone call after a phone call, follow up email after email, and annoying direct messages (more like pushing), whereas connecting should really be about connecting to others with REASON for them to help pull your message or product along just like in the distribution channel processes. Does that make since? Since we are focusing on social media and networking in this post, moving forward in your campaigns start to think about ways that you can CONNECT (tweet, retweet, like, pin, +1, etc) with others to help them spread their message(s). Simply, connecting one person to another, basically means that you are trying to bridge a gap between someone in your network (business or personal) and someone else, so everyone sees the value in the engagement or new acquaintance. Thus, both parties should see more exposure, friends, followers, and/or sales. Sounds easy enough right? So why do people continue to look to connect to others for self or company gain instead of first trying to get a message across? Start today by helping to break this mold and pull more messages through your networking efforts or social media sites and see if you can actually connect (pull) even more people into the conversation. Heck, curate something; re-pin, or retweet and see how that/these help expand your networks and/or connections.

3. FORM ALLIES
Lastly and with any networking or social media strategy as we have been discussing let’s not forget about one of the most important parts in trying to pull your/someone else’s message across any channel. Regardless of what network you are using, remember to equally share and help one another; otherwise, one party may feel as if the other party is not doing as much as they can to help the other. Consider this your marriage and form strategic alliances with allies that will help amplify your personal or business message. All too often this seems so easy but all too often it fails (just like marriage), as we forget to reinforce the value we bring to a local or online network “sharing.” If more people and companies would stop competing for friends and business and start forming allies, more friends and sales will surely follow. People and companies value partners and regardless if you are competing in the same industry or among the same friends just remember to create value that keeps people coming back for more. When value is created, more alliances are formed, and more pulling of messages will come.
Surely, by identifying a reason, connection, and ally you and/or your company will take the next step in building stronger relationships that ultimately results in more sales. As many of you know, Seven Times Seven is a consulting agency and thanks again to our clients, friends, and followers, we were able to once again provide our readers with another piece of important information that you can also pass along to your friends, followers, partners, or acquaintances; thus, increasing ours and your own value. Until next week, we look forward to also sharing your information and connecting more with you online and/or in-person. In the meantime, please drop us a line or contact David Dandaneau with additional thoughts or questions that we can help answer next week in our tip and surely don’t forget to KEEP SMILING!

David Dandaneau is a Consultant at [SevenTimesSeven]. He specializes in helping business owners “manage their business and not their processes!” For more connect with him via Twitter @ddandaneau or any of the other social platforms you may find him on.