Working with a social CRM system – first review


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Our sales team of 10 (internal and external) spends on average 2-3 hours, and sometimes 8 hours a day in the social web.
…what a difference a day makes:
They typically start the day with visiting approximately 50 – 80 people on their sites in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Slideshare… Leave a comment, make a note be social – DO NOT SELL 😉

A visit takes about 1-3 minutes per person. Sometimes up to 10 minutes sometimes just a few seconds. This is possible because they use a social address book” where they find the people they need to work with. Instead of searching for names and places.

Then they review feedbacks, comments, responses from the contacts and other requests. These are primarily the result of their engagement.

The team has on average 30 interactions with customers per day per person. Sometimes only 20 and sometimes over 50. Right here, we more than doubled the number of interactions compared to the traditional PEF Model (Phone-Email-F2F). The interactions are kept in the system with different intensity.

Presales Objectives
Some of the goals of the teams is to either arrange presentations, con calls, visits or whatever makes sense for the client in their respective situation. The process is much more client related than “sales process” related. We no longer “manufacture appointments”. I can say that because I too pounded on my sales team in the past “get me more appointments”… not any more. The key of a Social CRM is the fine bond between non pushy social relationship building and business objectives. An easy to use “activity key board” helps to keep track with a few clicks and zero report writing.

A touch of marketing
In the last six month we recognized the risk of getting Twitter streams right to the desk of each sales person. It was a huge distraction and zero gain. A long story in itself but we finally removed all the feeds and streams from the sales desk. Listening has very different meanings and we decided to listen to relevant people – not to streams. So we moved streams to the marketing group where they extract sentiments and key words and dispatch them into 3 groups:
1) Problems and issues go to support
2) Seek and search is converted to leads which go to sales
3) General sentiments are used in marketing for further analysis –
often goes as suggestions to product management.

Back to sales:
The sales teams then make their checks about how many contacts they visited, last visited etc and reviews their customer related objectives i.e. did the customer or prospect do what sales was asking for, like: a comment, join some event or community, answered some questions and all kinds of interactions. That review process takes about an hour or two per day but is very important as it is one of the key indicator for relationship strength. And also here, there is no report to write. The overall concept of the Social CRM system is to have a “zero key stroke” system. OK we are not quite there yet – but you get the direction.

Opportunity Management
Sales opportunities are the result of the previous activities and also nurtured further with a different set of objectives. The objectives vary by product or even by campaign. So the old 7 step cookie cutter sales process had to make way for a more custom(er) related engagement process. Reference selling made way to community engagement for instance. Introductions to users and customers of our ecosystem became a central activity. With a very few customers we even share the opportunity we are working on. We learned a lot about “openness” and while customers in general appreciate it – too much openness is strange to the more conservative customers. In any case one of the interesting aspects of Social CRM is when we combine the social engagement model with the progress report of an opportunity. I will write more about that in a next post – but just for the better picture: An opportunity process is guided by three principals: Social Relationship Strength, Process and personal judgment to navigate through the opportunity.

Closing a deal
The only area where the Social CRM system is rather similar to the traditional system is in the actual event of closing. Once the customer bought, the opportunity is actually successfully closed – BUT WAIT. Right there comes a new difference. The customer – actually the individuals in that opportunity – are not closed! They live on in a new function as customer but not as a record. They now play a new and very important role in Social CRM when they become active users, advocates, and business friends. What was the “nurturing” process in old systems is a continuous relationship building and strengthening process. Also more on this one soon.

Key Performance Indicator
The key performance indicators and metrics for our sales team have changed. We track the number of visits and conversation as important KPIs. We try to learn from dialogs what works and what doesn’t. If we invite customers to join the process and collaborate, it is interesting to note that the new “Social Process” is actually something we can share. We don’t look at how much time a sales person spends with a client on anything. The only thing we watch is that the team is NOT “living in a system” – not even in our own – ha ha ha.

Summa sumarum: Social CRM is real, it’s available and makes quite a difference. But while it is very exciting, I also have to say it is clearly not applicable in conservative sales organizations. A Social CRM system like the above requires a shift in thinking and processes. I trust that it will take 10 years until most sales organizations will adopt the new way of doing business – in the meantime this is only good for the Agile 5,000.

“You can’t make a difference and avoid change at the same time”

Axel Schultze
CEO of Society3. Our S3 Buzz technology is empowering business teams to create buzz campaigns and increase mentions and reach. S3 Buzz provides specific solutions for event buzz, products and brand buzz, partner buzz and talent acquisition buzz campaigns. We helped creating campaigns with up to 100 Million in reach. Silicon Valley entrepreneur, published author, frequent speaker, and winner of the 2008 SF Entrepreneur award. Former CEO of BlueRoads, Infinigate, Computer2000.


  1. What, you mean they don’t cold call numbers on a list, ask “How are you today?”, spin a line about how they got the number from a colleague…?

    No “It’s a numbers game, people. Some will, some won’t, Next!” ?

    No fudging of call numbers by sales people? “I called all these people but they weren’t there.”

    And all that old jazz.

    Worlds apart.

    Thanks for the review, Axel. It’s very helpful to have the various steps shown and I believe it is very important that you emphasize that implementing and sticking with this approach needs a cultural readiness or a cultural shift. For some it is going to be very difficult or in practice just not attractive enough for them to make the shift – until the day when, if they are still around, the cost-benefit analysis makes it clear to them that they have to change or disappear.

    In the meantime, the Agile 5000 will do the hard yards, learn, adjust, and move ahead.

  2. You are right Des – the cultural shift is something I should mention in more detail actually I plan to write a separate post about it. But you are right the cheat factor is much harder to fake in the social web than in the old phone world.

  3. As someone who works in the field with a deep interest in implementing social strategies, I can safely say this is one of the most detailed plans on social CRM I’ve seen to date.

    I particularly love the way you segment the role of marketing and divide out the pipeline that comes through your monitoring activity.

    With such a beautiful system I feel almost ashamed to ask, but I shall: what technology do you use to underpin this process?

  4. Summa summarum A huge lift in sales force productivity!

    I’m also interested in Des’s question, but more from the point of view of what are the say 3 key shifts in thinking/culture required and what would be the show-stopper factors which would cause you to qualify out a prospect for a social CRM system like Xeesm.

    Walter Adamson @g2m
    Certified Social Media Consultant
    Melbourne, Australia
    My social spaces and places:


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