Embrace Social CRM Technology For Business Benefits

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With social CRM, as with marathons, you won’t win by sprinting. Instead, condition yourself to run the miles.

What’s the best way to embrace social technology in a manner that leads to maximum business benefits?

One strategy is to treat ROI as secondary for social CRM; just jump in. That, however, presumes that your business has perfect, advanced CRM processes already in place. And, as Gartner Group’s Michael Maoz cautions, “It is pretty amazing to find the number of customer service organizations that are deep into discussions on Social Media and Social 2.0 or 5.0 or whatever we are up to today, yet have broken customer service processes.”

Accordingly, the better strategy is to aim social CRM, just like classic CRM, at achieving specific business goals. We call that becoming a social business. This approach treats social CRM not as a silver bullet, but rather as an essential overlay — required for a world in which social interactions are outpacing traditional Internet surfing — on your existing marketing, sales and service practices.

Define Your Social Business Goals

Ideally, building a social business attack plan begins with this question: How will social CRM help your organization generate additional revenue, reduce costs, or improve the customer experience?

Here’s how some businesses are answering that question:

  • Reduce costs: BA recently tweeted (as far as marketing costs go, how inexpensive is that?) about a flash sale on flights to India occurring within the next six months. As someone who will be making that journey, I bought in.
  • Increase efficiency: Customers want to use the self-service channels with which they’re most comfortable. Well, will most organizations’ current approach–predominantly, using Web pages–work while they’re stuck in a traffic jam on route 128, outside of Boston, and using their smartphone? No, they want Facebook, Twitter, or even Siri.
  • Improve the customer experience: Consider all of the ways you can delight your customers. Take the KLM Surprise Team at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport, which this past summer monitored all of the @KLM tweets people made, then bought a little surprise for some of them, delivered during their layover. The result has been excellent publicity and goodwill. Everyone loves a great customer satisfaction story.

One of the great legal fictions today is to talk about corporations as if they’re people. But one significant social CRM upside is to actually make businesses more personal, and not just as a legal hedge.

Assess The 5 Social CRM Proficiencies

What’s the best way to encourage social CRM proficiencies to flourish? Based on Innoveer’s CRM experience, we’ve identified five best practices for benefiting from social CRM:

  • Strategy: Leverage social business strategies to enhance current marketing, sales and service processes
  • Marketing: Deploy social technology to improve marketing outreach and campaign effectiveness
  • Sales: Maximize revenues by mastering the sales potential and deep customer insights afforded by social technology
  • Service: Use social CRM to improve customer service processes, including case management
  • Collaboration: Ensure social technology leads to enhanced interaction and coordination between customer-facing groups

Assess your business’s current capabilities in each of those areas, as well as your business goals, to rapidly develop a strategy for improving overall social CRM capabilities and truly becoming a social business.

Learn To Be Social As You Go

How you plan may also depend on your choice of technology — such as Jive, Lithium, or Salesforce.com — because such tools are not yet commoditized. Accordingly, your social CRM capabilities will depend on what you pick, and will also help shape your actual social CRM business strategy.

But as with any tool, businesses that simply throw social technology at their employees risk project disaster. Instead, clearly articulate the business case for using them, as well as how you’ll be monitoring, encouraging and reinforcing social CRM.

The goal is to help every customer-facing part of your business to adapt. Before, for example, each of your salespeople may have had 10 leading customers, which made tracking their interests or hobbies relatively easy. But what if they each have 1,000 customers? How will you keep your salespeople feeling connected to them all? The easiest approach, arguably, is now to use LinkedIn and Facebook to help stay connected, and add greater dimensionality to the relationship.

For almost any business, however, “going social” will require mental adjustments, unlearning old habits, and developing new skills. It’s like the mental conditioning of a marathon runner: Don’t try to win the marathon. Instead, condition yourself to run the miles; with repetition comes mastery. So too with being social.

Learn More

Innoveer helps organizations assess their existing social CRM strategy, sales, marketing, service, and collaboration capabilities. Contact us to learn more about Innoveer’s Social Business Framework, based on the best practices of hundreds of CRM practitioners, which we use to help businesses rapidly develop a social CRM adoption strategy.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user lululemon athletica.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adam Honig
Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.

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