This Tuesday’s #SocialMedia Tweetchat topic with @aaronstrout

Social CRM – Lipstick on CRM or Transformational Business Model?

October 11th, 2009

We spend a lot of time on this chat discussing social media and marketing with details like implementing, measuring, strategizing, executing,lipstick engaging, etc.  Let’s say we dial it in and our community efforts are going great and growing quickly.  I say, SO WHAT!  If you’re not converting these prospects and customers to do something then who cares.  All this social stuff doesn’t matter if you don’t sell more stuff or keep existing customers on board longer by providing better service.  Another way to look at it is turning regular customers into advocates and detractors into believers.  This happens when you engage the customer quickly, meet expectations, deliver quality and consistency over time in an open and transparent way.  Companies manage these interactions today using internal tracking systems like Customer Relationship Management (CRM).  But wait, customers are not using old ways to communicate, they are using new ways to engage and interact with social tools.  this leaves companies scrambling to figure out how to engage and interact from their internal legacy systems.  Along comes Social CRM.

Everyone is trying to define Social CRM (great resource from Bob Thompson) in their own way and yet no one definition quite fits all needs yet.  One definition by Paul Greenberg makes a lot more sense than many others I’ve seen.  He says:

CRM is a philosophy & a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes & social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted & transparent business environment. It’s the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation.

But we are not here to define it, our intent is to educate a new legion of corporate soldiers – hell bent on infusing their companies with social goodness both externally and internally.  So what does Social CRM look like?  Here’s a possibility:

  • Traditional CRM: (sales) prospects become leads, leads become accounts and from accounts come opportunities.  Sales people are managed with activity levels (# of calls, emails), funnels are staged and it becomes more operationally focused (read: process focused not customer focused)
  • Social CRM: in an online home improvement Q&A, a homeowner asks “what goes better on a kitchen floor, wood, carpet or tile?” A professional from a home improvement big box store responds with “Tile, because wood might warp with water spills and carpet will hide food that drops.  I am going to forward you a direct line to our local store and a 15% coupon on flooring tile.  Come in this weekend and I’ll make sure Joe is available to walk you through the options in person.”  CRM is updated, Joe at store is notified and homeowner is sent an email with a “Tweet This” link on your experience.  The new measurement might be interactions started, prospects referred and  conversational intent.

A couple of things are happening here.  1) Sales forces must change the “50 calls/day = 10 meetings /week =1 sale/month” sales by the numbers approach to an approach that engages with prospects and their needs and over-delivers with solutions that are relevant at the time.  2) Systems must be able to support this distributed engagement and broaden the ownership roles across many levels of a customer taking what is traditionally an inside-out approach and integrating more of an outside-in model.

To  help us make sense of this all, we’ve invited Aaron Strout to help us moderate the topic this week.  Aaron is a proven professional in this space working from both the vendor and customer side, and is a social heavyweight for sure.  We’ll need a heavywieght as we explore this relatively new topic of Social CRM and begin to identify places to consider implementing within our collective companies.   The chat will consist of 3 questions as usual coming 20 minutes apart and starting at 12 noon EST.  Join in by following #socialmedia through Twitter or to make it easier follow our LIVE page during the event.  The topic:

Social CRM – Lipstick on CRM or Transformational Business Model?

Q1: How does adding social make CRM better?

Q2:  If social is front end & CRM is back end, what information is important to capture into CRM?

Q3:  How can Social CRM help improve conversion (cover sales, service, support)?

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Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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