Why Become A Social Business?


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Can your business handle the impact of social technology on its marketing, sales and service practices?

Let’s talk social media. There are 175 million registered Twitter users, and more than 800 million Facebook users. Dunkin’ Donuts splashes its Twitter handle across advertisements. President Obama conducts holds town hall discussions on LinkedIn. Delta books reservations on Facebook. Going online today is rapidly becoming less about searching and surfing, and more about socializing.

What’s your company doing about it? Are you extending your marketing, sales and service programs to reach customers on social networks? If not, then you might as well be equipping your employees with rotary phones.

Of course, your best sales and marketing people may already be using LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. But why isn’t every customer-facing employee on board? In particular, why isn’t your service manager on the front lines — shouldn’t they be driving the social business? Look at any survey: customer experience is the #1 driver of loyalty, and loyalty is the #1 driver of profitability.

Do the math. No matter the customer-facing function, it’s time to embrace social technology and truly become a social business.

Social CRM Upends Existing Practices

Yes, social CRM may be overhyped. But regardless of whether you embrace it or not, it’s going to fundamentally change your business’s marketing, sales and service efforts.

This isn’t a passive, “wouldn’t it be nice?” sort of change. In fact, it has the potential to remake entire markets, whether they like it or not. Marc Benioff, most recently at the Web 2.0 Summit, dubbed this social CRM potential as an “Enterprise Spring” (alluding to the Egyptian Spring) for CEOs. As the old regime crumbles, what new type of order will emerge to fill the vacuum?

Here’s what we know so far: social CRM requires playing by different rules. By definition, social means democratic: users vote with their feet (or clicks). Businesses, furthermore, aren’t in control of the discussion. Influence must be earned.

“Social” is No Silver Bullet

While there’s been a lot of talk lately about social CRM, interestingly, the state of classic CRM — as found “in the wild” — remains relatively mediocre. Companies are working hard, but it’s a tough domain to master. At the moment, many of the organizations with which we meet are still struggling to get an accurate, consolidated forecast, or compute their return on investment (ROI) for a campaign. These are core concerns. But now, with the social revolution, everything is changing again. Many of the fundamental assumptions we had about the CRM marketplace are changing as well.

So while businesses have been actively working to achieve more mature levels of CRM, marketing must now create and work with a different view of customers. Sales, meanwhile, sometimes becomes more important, sometimes less so. And service levels will impact marketing and branding in a way they never did before.

It’s like we took all of the core CRM elements, including the quest for a 360-degree view of the customer, and threw them into a blender. We’re still organized functionally, into marketing, sales and service. But they all need to get more social.

Strike Now Or Organize For Later?

What’s the best way to become a social business? There are two schools of thought. One is, let’s wait: “Call me after you take care of the ‘CRM basics,’ then we’ll add social capabilities.” That approach is often popular with IT.

The more effective strategy, however, is to add social engagement now, and to every ongoing stage of your CRM evolution. Business-wise, that’s because social CRM offers low-cost but big-impact returns on investment.

As an example, why not improve territory management by making it more democratic? Gather more feedback from salespeople, rather than just relying on sales leaders to carve it up. While you’re at it, also build a heat map based on regions of the country that mention your brands. Study those concentrations to see if your sales force is optimally distributed so that these opinion shapers are seeing appropriate levels of interaction with your business.

Business Playbook Demands Social CRM Now

That’s just one example of how social CRM will upend your business, and why savvy business leaders are already adding social CRM strategies into their business playbook. The challenge — or opportunity — is simple, at least when viewed existentially. Businesses that lack a persuasive marketing, sales and service presence on social networks may not be seen to exist at all.

It’s important to emphasize, however, that no one has all of the answers social CRM answers. But right now, that’s not important. What is important is to start planning and embracing this world, which has tipped well beyond the stage of early adoption, so that you’ll figure out how it works.

Because your customers have gone social. Don’t get left behind.

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 Louis Docker.

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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