Integrating Social CRM Into Your CRM Strategy
In the world of social media and Web 2.0, you need to create a company-wide community policy that is based on a social strategy that supports your business goals. The three customer-facing tenants of Customer Relationship Management software — marketing, sales force automation (SFA) and customer service — must each tap into the social web as it applies to their domain and a holistic view of the customer relationship.
Sales and Marketing Transformed by Social Media
Social media has been blamed for the blurring of lines between sales and marketing. The push model of forcing messages on customers has all but collapsed. In its paper, "The New Frontier of Marketing Sale and Service," consulting firm Accenture notes "that social media is increasingly being referred to not in terms of sales or marketing, but rather as an 'engagement channel,' which incorporates elements of both marketing and sales."
In a business environment that now revolves around social networks, tried-and-true sales and marketing methodologies are being rewritten. What is being bemoaned as the declining influence of sales and marketing, is in fact a reorientation in the relationship with the customer. If you accept the notion that it's going to be the customer, not the salesperson, that both initiates and closes the sale, you'll begin to understand the importance of social media monitoring and engagement as a means of influencing the decision the customer will ultimately make. It is especially important that your marketing campaigns are cast through the social web on terms acceptable to the community.
The best marketing tactic is to be social and the best demand generation method is inbound. The days of outbound, monologue, interruption marketing are fading. Instead, start a blog, open a twitter account, get a Facebook page. Create and curate content that buyers find educational and helpful. Link to other communities and encourage them to link to you. Be a part of the conversation. But avoid overt selling. Studies have shown that it breaks down trust in the community.
Software solutions that support the Sales and Marketing 2.0 model with social graph aggregation include Flowtown, Gist, InsideView, Roving Group, SocioToo and Xobni.
Customer Service & Social Media
With customer service there is no need to change the way you are handling the traditional one-to-one channels. The call center will continue to use CRM software solutions to automate interactions through phone, email, chat and so on. The new social channels must be layered into your business processes and analytics. And if you do this effectively, you will find that eventually social conversations will take a considerable load off the traffic coming in through your call center.
Social media offers unique opportunities for increased efficiency in customer service. Social communities are full of expert advocates whose knowledge of your products can be put to work serving other customers, reducing the cost of service and creating a more desirable customer experience. Your agents should be developing relationships with these super advocates, giving them recognition and rewards for their participation.
In traditional CRM call centers you might have one customer service agent for every 160 customers with a 75 percent satisfaction rating. With a social service strategy, by empowering the community you might improve the ratio to hundreds of customers per agent with an even higher customer satisfaction rating.
A software niche has emerged that supports the social customer care experience with features such as matching community experts to customers, community-driven knowledge bases, sentiment reporting, and discussion management. Software solutions which support these types of activities include CrowdEngineering, Fuze Digital Solutions, Helpstream, Jive, Lithium, Parature and Get Satisfaction.
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