Social CRM – Still A Mystery For Most

A recent blog post suggests that most businessmen know about Social CRM but only a few are using it in the right way to get the most out of it; correct adaptation still remains a mystery for most.

A September 2012 report, ‘State of Social Media Marketing’ by Awareness Inc., found that among 399 companies (42% B2B, 31% both and 24% B2C) a mere 16% make use of Social Media to enhance their CRM systems. 17% were not even aware of the existence of social integration into CRM, while a shocking 46% admitted to simply not using Social CRM.

The good news, however, is that a promising 21% were planning to implement the social factor into their CRM system by the end of 2012.

The adoption of social media within CRM systems is rising but still has a long way to go.
The incorporation of social media and pre-existing communities into a CRM system will deliver valuable insights to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing efforts.

The difficulty of defining a Social CRM system

Most within the industry agree that it cannot be defined as just ‘one’ system but rather “a mix of technologies, strategies and pre-defined goals.” Awareness Inc. defines a social CRM system as one that “will integrate social prospect and customer data with traditional sales and marketing data.”

Chess Media GroupThe consensus is that a social CRM system should be able to provide in-depth insight on current activities of the market as well as activities of customers and prospects.

However, only a few companies choose to take advantage of all the social media networks that are available these days. The biggest issue is that the measurement of usage is not connected to the desired business outcomes such as conversations, leads, and revenue.

Integrating social media into CRM systems is being widely discussed on webcasts, blogs, and conference panels, but to truly understand the topic and derive value from social CRM there are a few ground rules to understand first:

1. It’s all about the customer

The word ‘relationship’ in Customer Relationship Management reveals it all; CRM was created to nurture the connection between businesses and their customers. Adding the social to CRM does not simply mean adding customers’ social media accounts to your CRM, but to actively listen to what they have to say and what interests them most. It’s about getting to know the customer through social media and connecting with them on a human level in order to make them feel valuable to the business.

2. It’s not only a matter of technology

You have the technology but that does not mean you can sit back and leave it to itself. It is important to listen actively to what your customers say on social media about your business and anything that relates to the market you operate in.

This requires a high respond rate on your side to make the customer feel important to your business. That is why internal support dedicated to tightening the relationship between the business and the customer is equally as critical as being able to implement the right technology.

3. It’s an issue of trust

Since the evolution of the Internet with all its customer review platforms, a brand has a lot more work to do to establish trust amongst consumers. Back in the day, having a good
reputation was enough for customers to trust a business. Nowadays, people do not automatically trust the biggest player within the market; instead the trust falls on the individuals.

To back this up: A significant 89% of consumers are seeking to verify recommendations from friends and family online and four out of five consumers reverse their buying decisions after reading negative reviews online.

Therefore building personal relationships with customers and prospects is more crucial than ever. After all, even if your business only sells to other businesses, at the end of the day you are still selling to people not to a building. Humanizing the brand is the key to a successful and profitable business and Social CRM provides a valuable basis for it.

With the importance and increasing usage of social media it is advisable for each and every one of us to educate ourselves and others about social CRM.

Further recommended resources:

‘From social media to Social CRM’ by IBM
‘Guide to Understand Social CRM’ by Chess Media Group
‘Grande Guide To Social CRM’ by Paul Greenberg
Blog about Social CRM by Paul Greenberg
‘What Is Social CRM?’ by Social Media Examiner

Images courtesy of the Chess Media Group.