SocialCRM Revisited: The Continued Progression of Customer Relationship Management

Throughout the last decade, people and organizations have continued to adopt technology in order to enhance themselves and/or their businesses. In fact, with all the technological influxes we have all experienced over the years, it is no wonder that our brains also keep expanding or are you like me and finding your brain having a hard time keeping up? Needless to say… would you agree that these technological improvements and advancements, regardless of nature found in our lives and businesses are helping us run easier or do you think that they are bogging us down?
Customer Relationship Management (better known to many as CRM) is one such concept not only evolving in our own personal lives but also many of our businesses like I have mentioned many times in previous posts. This concept, which once only applied to us managing relationships in a personal setting, has now become an integral part of our online existences. Whether you look at CRM as a tool, in a business setting, or in your personal live, there are many CRM resources that are now available to us, which can help monitor SOCIAL activities (CRM systems), while providing quantitative (DATA) that you or your business can use to ultimately drive new relationships and increase sales by providing a personalized approach to your friends, colleagues, and potential friends or clients if used correctly.
[Image: CMS Wire]
It was one believed that only progressive or large corporations were the ones investing in CRM. However, most if it not all of these same organizations failed (are still failing) to accurately quantify what benefits they derived or are deriving from a CRM system, which many believe has halted their advances in dealing with customer issues and relationships through CRM. What’s interesting is if you look at these companies (many studies out there) you will almost always find that most of the time it was not the systems fault but instead the people and/or companies using these systems, as they never really figured out a way to clearly define what they wanted (will Want) out of these technologies… now enter SMALL BUSINESSES!
In today’s day and age (especially with the advent of social media) customer engagement has become/becoming a key emphasis in almost every business(es) long-term strategies (i.e. the whole who, what, when, where adage)… how to interact with customers, friends, and acquaintances in order to grow. One thing in certain and that is this integration of customer relationship management by anyone with access to social media is giving everyone regardless of size, location, age, gender, race, etc the ability to stay in touch while voicing their opinions about people, businesses, governance, etc. to name a few. Does this sound familiar?
Now enterSocialCRM. Although not 100% defined yet, SocialCRM is Customer Relationship Management in a traditional sense (personal communications) but instead of focusing on the system, more people and organizations are focusing on the channels that their friends and customers use to voice their concerns and opinions. In other words… ENGAGEMENT of the PEOPLE! In a nut shell, SocialCRM is not some new system, rather it is a new way for people and businesses to integrate social media into their customer relationship management practices to better predict behavior (personally or professionally) in order to enhance either your personal or professional brand. Make sense?
[Image: ViralBlog]
Needless to say, there are hundreds of examples now available to just about anyone with an internet connection of how they have and/or are using CRM strategies combined with SocialCRM to enhance relationships and monitor progress, while putting quantitative data behind their actions. In fact, I ran across this article Big Brands’ Journey Toward Social Business, which is what spurred me to re-visit this subject while providing our readers with yet another resource and basic explanation in order to help in understanding how other brands and businesses are successfully adopting SocialCRM strategies to connect with their audience(s), react to inquires, and give their customers what they want (I liken this to the saying, GET THE PEOPLE GOING by GIVING the PEOPLE WHAT they REALLY WANT) not what you or your company may think they want.  The important thing to remember about all this is that people and companies that include online with in-person relationships through technologies such as CRM and Social Media will be rewarded by their old and new acquaintances with new personal and professional relationships that hopefully spur growth and innovation… now that’s truly SocialCRM!

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.

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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.