The rise and rise of social media networks has opened up a brand new channel for small businesses to interact with customers and leads. It’s estimated that over four billion social media users globally spend an average of 145 minutes per day on a network platform. Therefore, it’s crucial that enterprises, big and small, embrace social networks to harvest this rich source of leads and prospects. But it’s also crucial that you consider how social media plays into your customer relationship management. And this is where social CRM comes into the picture.
What you will learn in this article
- What is social CRM all about
- How to pick the best social CRM for your business
- Why it is critical for engagement
- The benefits of CRM for your sales team and everyone in your company
- How to get started with CRM
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. The social part refers to its focus on social media. But it represents a lot more than just that. CRM describes the process of how companies interact with their customers and strengthen relationships. Social CRM builds upon this idea to include engagement and lead nurturing in social networks.
It differs from conventional CRM, which focuses on sales/lead interactions by mining the publicly available data leads, prospects, and customers share on social media. The data is then used to build a fuller picture of their interests, likes, dislikes, and lead potential.
It’s important to note that there is a distinction between social CRM and social selling. The latter refers to the strategies used by salespeople to reach out to their target audience. Social CRM is the means to do this outreach.
Whether you are looking at integrating social media tools into your existing CRM or need a new social CRM system, several factors apply to both scenarios.
- Collection – This is a fundamental function: collecting relevant data about potential and existing customers shared on social networks. You can also monitor brand/company mentions and hashtags that relate to your or a competitor.
- Interaction – The more advanced tools allow you to engage directly with prospects. This enables conversations across multiple networks from within the CRM platform.
- Enrichment – This functionality allows you to link social data to the profiles of customers and prospects logged in your Customer Relationship Management system. This linkage gives you a deeper understanding of contacts and enables more personalized messaging.
- Analysis – Thanks to advances in machine learning and NLP (Natural Language Processing), it’s possible to analyze large-scale social media activity.
Back in the day, it was usual to put an intern in charge of your Facebook page. Now, though, that is just too risky a proposition given the massive influence of social media on sales, even for a small business.
Social CRM can be considered CRM Plus as it goes beyond the scope of conventional CRM to fully embrace social media as a sales platform. It is an opportunity for your sales team to learn even more about prospects and customers and regularly hit the sweet spot to close the deal. And there’s more.
- Save time: In conjunction with greater insights, social CRM will make your sales team more efficient. Having a dashboard from where you can manage all your social media platforms at once saves a heck of time. And you are much less likely to miss out on opportunities.
- Foster happier prospects: Having a complete contact history for each person you interact with results in an improved customer experience. If someone, for example, starts a conversation on Facebook and then switches to live chat on your site, they don’t need to repeat themselves. All your sales team can see what has gone before.
- Keep everyone on the loop: Social CRM, it should be noted, is not just for sales. You and your entire company will benefit from having the complete picture. This overview can help marketers come up with tightly targeted campaigns, for instance. And customer support can respond faster to issues raised via social networks.
When marketing, sales, and customer service all have access to social CRM, it leads to better company-wide alignment and a more seamless experience for the customer.
Social CRM benefits for your sales team
The benefits for your sales team cannot be overemphasized and include:
- Finding new leads – Social listening allows your sales team to monitor social media for specific terms (your brand or a product or service, for example). Once these key phrases have been set up, you can automate the analysis process as soon as new leads are added to the sales funnel.
- Deeper understanding of leads – Everyone you target with outreach has goals, challenges, and objectives. Unfortunately, email interactions only take you so far in understanding a person. But you can use social CRM to add context to these emails by discovering the sentiment attached to them. This helps you gain a much clearer picture of your leads and the pain points they are dealing with.
Getting started with CRM
The next step is to realize how much easier your life will be in the future. Then, you can say goodbye to cycling through each of your platforms in the hope you are covering all the bases.
However, picking the right CRM is no easy task. Today, there are close to 400 providers. But here’s a pro tip for small businesses: concentrate on cloud-based CRM providers. This is by any measure the cheapest, easiest, and most practical option for small companies.
The role of social media networks in generating prospects and leads will not diminish any time soon. It’s here to stay, so enterprises – including small businesses – must adapt to this new reality. Social CRM, though, makes the not insubstantial task a whole lot easier. Contact us, the cloud CRM experts, today. We specialize in assisting small businesses to get the most out of social selling through CRM.