Our Thinking

Social CRM: From Management to Engagement

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In one of the professional development sessions at our (108 ideaspace) launch event last month, I talked about Social Media ROI: Using CRM to grow your business. Post-session, one of the attendees asked me a question: “CRMs have been around for over a decade, why do you think Social CRM is a breakthrough and something that connects community with commitment?” I thought I would transcribe my answer…

Social CRM is not only a “client management” solution but also a “client engagement” solution. While  traditional CRM is designed to improve human interactions in a business environment, Social CRM enables businesses to leverage the social environment. With traditional CRM, the idea is to centralize client records such that information is available to all departments within the organization. This worked great because the client-company relationship was more of a seller-buyer relationship unlike a partner relationship. It was not a two-way street. The clients were not equipped with the Social Media channels to define their individual relationships with the company. Today, the clients see themselves as partners, and can commit to company’s success well beyond the client satisfaction. They can become advocates of the company, spread awareness and generate preference for the company’s brand. For instance, think about the customers of Apple’s iPhone/iPad/Macbook etc.

However, this awareness and preference benefit doesn’t come for free. Engaged clients expect a return. The “give to get” principle of networking applies equally to the client-company relationship. Engaged clients expect privileges and a personalized treatment e.g. greater discount, loyalty points, some kind of recognition, ability to dictate decisions on new products etc. Above all, they expect honesty and authenticity.

The challenges most businesses face today are first, how to identify who these clients are, and second, how to create an honest, authentic and transparent relationship with not only these but all clients? There are ways to do this using a Social CRM. Social CRM accumulates information about your clients/prospects in a social setting and assigns scores based on an algorithm defined by you. This in-turn triggers automatic actions. Armed with such intelligence, it becomes easy to address the above challenges. In the years to come, only the businesses that are aware and acting on these solutions would thrive while the others would fight to survive.

Are you using any kind of CRM in your business? If yes, are you using any social features of your CRM? How much of your sales and marketing is automated? In my next post, I will dig deeper and answer some of these questions.

Ashish Malik is Partner, Client Services at 108 ideaspace inc., a consulting firm that extends business strategies by innovating in Strategy, Technology and Design. A Certified Consultant, Ashish has helped several clients automate their sales and marketing and grow their business by implementing CRM. For more on Ashish Malik or 108 ideaspace, visit ideas108.wpengine.com.