Social CRM In Practice - (Part 1)

Updated: November 29, 2010

Before we dive into the nitty gritty of how to do it, I do want to first agree with some broad definitions that are important for us to accept.

  1. Social CRM is an approach or set of processes (and associated tools) to manage the relationship and engagement of a company with their customers and prospects.
  2. Social CRM is a response to the changes in behavior and expectation in people that has been driven by the digital medium (and most recently and strongly influenced by Social Media and Social Networks).

This second point should be the main driver of your strategy and of the actions you take. People have changed and we cannot keep doing the same things we always did and expect them to work. We need to learn and adapt.

OK so enough with definitions, what can you do.

We are going to start with Social Prospecting, i.e. how do I find new people that have a need I can fulfill and engage with them.

Online communities are the place to start looking, this is where you can find people who are looking for the solutions that you provide. They are looking for advice rather than a sales pitch so you need to go there with the intention of engaging in the conversation, providing useful insights and giving them the opportunity to engage with you when the timing is right for them.

You should search to see what people are saying about your competitors (their customers aren't always happy), look for people who are "trying out", "checking out" similar products or who are asking someone to "recommend" a solution like yours.

It's hard for a sales person to see a "lead" and not jump right in but we also know that timing is everything so take the time to engage and you'll be pleased with the results.

You can turn to twitter and LinkedIN next to help you to know a person better. This is where the new sales intelligence comes from and you'll soon know who they are, their company, position and what they talk about (whats important to them). You can also use LinkedIN to find people who may be able to introduce you or to find a persons co workers who might also be "leads"

You should have noticed that these activities are not conducive to large scale lead generation and that's not what we are talking about here. This is really about prospecting, either by using social media to find people in need or to research and expand your network within existing companies.

You will need some tools to help you to make this more efficient and these tools should provide real CRM functionality or integrate with your CRM solution so that the activity doesn't become isolated and so that results can be measured.

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