Calling all B2C salespeople: Using social networks will give you new opportunities for attracting prospects and connecting with customers, but which social CRM techniques offer the most bang for your buck?
With more sales teams now using social networks, many businesses are seeking the next, best social CRM step to maximize their business returns. Because despite the rampant hype accompanying social CRM — “If it supported revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, think what it can do for our sales teams!” — simply using Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Twitter won’t magically generate business returns.
Instead, you first must define your business goals, select the best technology for the job, and then pursue a well-designed implementation plan that targets specific improvements. But for social CRM newcomers, where’s the best place to begin?
Social CRM: Lessons From An Early Adopter
Speaking as a perennial early adopter of technology, the benefits to be gained from using social networks continue to evolve. Back in 2005, for example, I’d been using LinkedIn for a couple of years — solely for recruiting purposes –when we lost a big potential sale, and worse still, to cross-town rivals. But I kept tabs on the account via LinkedIn, because I wanted back in.
Fast-forward a couple of years: I saw via LinkedIn that the company hired a new VP of sales. So I reached out to him: “Hi, I know you hired our archrivals, but I wanted to give you an update on what we’ve been doing, and see if we might be a future fit.”
My timing was fortuitous: The other firm was doing a fine job, but not truly delighting the customer. After I’d presented some of the new ideas we’d been pursuing in the interim — including developing our CRM Excellence Framework, together with client success stories — we won the account. In other words, intelligence gleaned from LinkedIn led to a significant amount of revenue for us, not just at the first client, but as the sales VP moved on to other businesses, and hired us to advance CRM projects there as well.
B2C Social Sales Capture Customers
In other words, the sales benefits to be gained from social networks continue to evolve. Of course this question still stands: How can businesses sell more to consumers, using social networks?
For current strategies and returns to be gained from using social CRM, I recently detailed five top approaches for B2B sales teams. While that’s relevant background here, the social networking game will be different for sales teams looking to generate B2C returns. Accordingly, here are my top five high-impact social CRM sales tips for B2C teams:
- Stay visible: On social networks, visibility equals success. Indeed, according to Ken Krogue, who’s president and co-founder of InsideSales.com, once someone sees a post or comment about your company on Twitter or another social forum, it will still take about five interactions before they start thinking about your company on their own.
- Sell your CEO: One high-impact strategy for raising your brand’s profile is to bring your CEO into play. The “Talk to Chuck” advertising campaign for Charles Schwab, featuring the founder himself hearing advice from people about the horrible purchase decisions they’ve made — when they should have just invested their money — currently set the standard. What if you don’t have a telegenic chief? At least on social networks, you can always hire a ghostwriter.
- Track marketing: We frequently help customers implement marketing automation software such as Marketo, including designing landing pages for clients that help them capture the lead information for whoever visits. Deploying this technology helps businesses amass better data for segmenting customers, then designing high-impact campaigns for just those prospects.
- Make Twitter deals: Why not launch high-impact, low-cost social campaigns? Perhaps the best example of these campaigns comes via the airlines, which have become expert at offering flash sales — some lasting just 24 hours — which reward customers who follow the company’s Facebook and Twitter pages, while reducing the number of empty airplane seats.
- Build social apps: Social networking efforts need not be limited to social media. For Dreamforce 2012, for example, we created a social app called Reply2Fly — built using Heroku and connecting Facebook and Twitter to our Salesforce system — through which we gave away one $2,000 travel voucher every day for three days. In short order, 1,000 people registered for our app, which rewarded people with more points, thus increasing their chances of winning, every time they mentioned the contest on Twitter or Facebook. Behind the scenes, meanwhile, we collected valuable CRM data on everyone who signed up.
While it’s still early days for using social media for B2C selling, the above five approaches will help your business identify new techniques for attracting and retaining new customers via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or any other social network your customers frequent.
Cloud Sherpas is one of the world’s leading Cloud Solutions Providers and helps businesses maximize their CRM returns by identifying desired business goals, finding the right tools and technology for the job, and delivering rapid implementations that remain focused on achieving your desired business capabilities.