Thought Leadership

Social CRM

The best business development processes rely on relationships – something that Social Media is supposedly best at developing. Yet there is a yawning gap between the use of Social Media to develop community, and the “somehow” development of the one-to-one relationship required to close the sale.

In this whitepaper, we examine a key bridging technology – Customer Relationship Management software – and how this can vastly improve the return on any Social Media initiative.

Social CRM

Connecting Community to Commitment

By Randall Craig

If you’ve spent any time doing business development, you know that to build a business, you need to develop relationships, and that these relationships need to be found, nurtured, and managed.

In the olden days, you’d find prospects, then “close” the business. Today this is not enough:

  1. Prospective clients are getting far more sophisticated and far more educated on their needs. The internet is one reason for this, and more aggressive competitors are another. For new buyers, the cost of purchasing the wrong product or service is exceptionally high, so their pre-purchase due diligence is also far more detailed. For existing clients, the automatic renewal of the “annuity” is no longer automatic.
  2. Competitors are getting sharper. They’re more aggressive in their business development efforts, they invest in educating their clients, and have a price-value ratio that is better than ever. Many might be new to your geography and feel comfortable operating in a tighter, more competitive environment.
  3. The “sale” is often more sophisticated, with different people holding different roles, both within your firm and within the prospect’s organization.
  4. Clients don’t like being “sold” to, and most people don’t like “selling”. It’s far easier to learn and educate, and then match requirements with capabilities; if there is a match, then you have helped the client buy.
  5. Finally, there is a time lag between first contact, and the time they are ready to commit.

The challenges: how can you close the time gap? How can you function with more sophisticated clients and sharper competitors? And how can you do this while still functioning as a professional?

A key part of the answer is CRM – Customer Relationship Management – sophisticated real-world relationship management processes, augmented with some nifty technology. (Note that we didn’t say CRM was merely ‘software’: it’s the processes that make it come alive.)

The basic concepts are simple: There are contacts that are part of a company. There are opportunities that are attached to contacts. Each opportunity goes through several sales stages, until a contract is signed. And the whole system tracks every communication, internal note, financial info, and a host of demographics on a per opportunity basis. That’s it!

But that’s not it. Let’s dive a little deeper into what CRM means:

Contacts (who are part of a company). Each contact is literally at the centre of the universe. The contact can be tagged with an unlimited number of descriptive attributes.

This is the exact opposite of mailing-list-centric programs that add “subscribers” into a list. Many companies start this way, sometimes graduating to sophisticated systems that even allow subscribers to self-manage their list subscriptions. But in the end, these systems are not set up to allow the marketer or sales executive to continually add intelligence about their contact into the system – it just does lists.

Beyond tags, the CRM allows you to document/record each and every communication that occurs between you and the prospect. The obvious benefit of this is that this history not only endures after a sales person leaves the organization, but it is available to other members of the team and to management. And when the person with the relationship leaves each evening, their knowledge sticks around through the evening…
To read more and download the entire white paper, please fill in the form below:

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Social CRM by 108Ideaspace