Social CRM- An investment worth making
By Sarah Meyers
We are all avid users of social media. Everyone today is using at least one social media platform be it Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, etc to stay connected. With the sharp increase in ecommerce and online shopping, customers tend to do their own online research about brands that they are interested in. They are part of online forums or communities where they give reviews and discuss the pros and cons of each new product that is launched in the market. A wealth of information is being generated every second on these social media platforms that calls for businesses to harness this information to gain detailed insights about customers. But how exactly can businesses leverage this ‘sea of information’? The answer lies in Social CRM. Don’t panic… We will explore the concept in detail today.
What is Social CRM?
Everyone is familiar with the concept of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. Simply put, it is a business strategy aimed at delivering excellent customer relationships. After all, customers are the reason why all businesses exist. If you do not place your customers right at the heart of your organization, your business does not stand a chance of succeeding.
There are dozens of definitions that you will come across when searching about social CRM but the one that best describes it in a clear and concise manner is as follows:
“Social CRM is a phrase used to describe the addition of a social element in traditional CRM processes. Social CRM builds upon CRM by leveraging a social element that enables a business to connect customer conversations and relationships from social networking sites into the CRM process. “ (Webopedia)
CRM and Role of Social Media
Listening to your customers is the best way to know them better and form meaningful relationships with them. It is for this reason that businesses cannot afford to ignore the recent advancements in social media and miss out on the opportunities to hear what the customers are saying about their product on the social platforms.
The need to connect your CRM with social media has become more important than ever. Since customers now live online, it has become the best medium to connect and interact with them no matter where they are located in the world. Just like customers prefer to communicate with their friends and relatives online, they are also eager to interact with brands. Almost every business has diverse social media channels to make its presence felt online. All they need to do is integrate their CRM system with these channels to reach out to more customers in less time and start building extraordinary customer relationships.
What can Social CRM do for your business?
A list of the key benefits that will result once you adopt social CRM:
1. Accelerate the sales cycle
With Social CRM, you can get detailed insights about your customers regarding their demographics, tastes and preferences, buying behaviour etc. This will help accelerate the sales process by allowing you to identify the leads that have the highest probability of being converted into deals.
2. Maximize marketing ROI
Social CRM will aid the marketing team in exploring new market segments and design personalized marketing campaigns and promotion offers.
This will result in enhanced productivity, optimal allocation of company’s resources and bring the desired ROI.
3. Work as a team
With Social CRM, every team be it marketing, sales or customer support can now stay updated by having access to real-time data related to a customer’s profile.
4. Get real-time updates
Social CRM will give your customer support team data about customers’ feelings and sentiments in real-time. Now it is up-to to you to use that feedback to make strategic adjustments and take the necessary action that enriches the customer experience.
5. Social Media Analytics
The sea of information generated on social media platforms will ultimately be treated as noise if there are no means to analyze it. Social CRM when integrated with the right tools will give you useful insights about the effectiveness of your social media strategy and empower you to unearth useful patterns in customer behaviour that will assist you in serving your customers in an outstanding fashion.
6. Brand monitoring
A positive word of mouth can do wonders for your business whereas a single negative comment can do more damage than one can imagine. With social CRM, you can continuously monitor what is being said about your product. If there are any flaws, they can be rectified immediately before negative comments from the customers start tarnishing your brand image. Similarly, customer complaints can be resolved instantly as soon as they arise. This will ensure high levels of customer satisfaction.
7. Gather competitive intelligence
Equally important is to monitor how your competitors are faring. Social CRM enables you to track not only what is being said about your business but also your competitors. This will aid you in developing effective marketing strategies to counter the efforts of your competitors.
8. Predict the future
Today, customers having access to vast amounts of data know what kind of product they would like to buy in the future and that is reflected in their online activity. Social CRM will give you the ability to look into the future and develop products that customers wouldn’t expect to be in the market anytime soon.
Best CRM with Social Media Integration- The Options
There are a number of CRMs out there which integrate seamlessly with social media channels. Nimble, Insightly, batchbook are a few that you should definitely check out. However, I am going to recommend Sugar not because we are official SugarCRM partners but simply for the reason that it is highly scalable, flexible and extensible. It is due to these characteristics that Sugar is loved by companies worldwide.
SugarCRM as your Social CRM
Integrate leading social media services to help your organization learn from and engage with your customers at a more holistic level. Improve online collaboration and leverage social business application to increase productivity of your customer facing users.
Access different Social CRM solutions directly within Sugar. The Twitter dashlet allows users to view and access various feeds for specific twitter accounts via the record’s Dashboard and list view’s Dashboard. In addition, users can also view and access twitter feeds via Sugar’s Activity Streams as well as the Twitter dashlet on Sugar Dashboard.
You can also choose from a variety of SugarExchange Extensions for online collaboration, cloud storage and social CRM built by SugarCRM partners. Use Sugar Studio, Cloud Connectors and Module Builder to easily add additional Social CRM capabilities.
That’s not all- SugarCRM has more to offer!
Sugar has come up with a revolutionary product called ‘Hint’. Hint, the debut product from the company’s new Relationship Intelligence product line, automatically searches the web for personal and company information, delivering a wealth of information so customer-facing employees will quickly learn more about their contacts.
SugarCRM Hint enables users to provide only a few contact details (e.g. email, name, company) of an individual and then automatically searches, tunes, and inputs the rest of the personal and corporate profile details for that contact. Hint does the work for Sugar users by gathering and analyzing customer intelligence from a broad range of social data sources so users can quickly and efficiently learn more about their prospects to establish a productive relationship. Here’s a screenshot of what you get when you enter the name and the email address of a contact:
You can import the information of your interest by clicking on the cloud button. It’s that simple and effective.
CRM software has evolved over the years. Businesses need to adapt faster to respond to the changing market dynamics. Having a CRM integrated with social media has become a necessity. Your business can gain a lot of mileage by harnessing the wealth of information being generated everyday on social media platforms. Don’t be skeptical about it; adopting a social CRM will help you stay one step ahead of the competition. The best approach is to get in touch with a CRM consultant who can adequately define your business needs and chalk out the right strategy for you.