Here’s a million dollar question: What is social CRM? There is no shortage of blogs and white papers explicating this loaded sexy term, ranging form junk to brilliant to everything in between. As Jacob Morgan puts it,
…you can take any discussion around social business (such as social CRM) and see that when you start to dissect the conversations and concepts … you find yourself down a never ending rabbit hole.
If you have patience and tolerance for enterprise-speak, eventually you may be able to figure out what social CRM means to you and what you ought to do. But definitely not how to do it.
We had much time to do the research while working on our upcoming social CRM release. Paraphrasing Cicero, now we can write a shorter letter. Like Relenta itself, this post is for people who get things done, as opposed to those sitting in the corner office. So here goes.
Social customers keep you real
Who are social customers? Simply put, these are people who use social networks extensively to communicate, sometimes with thousands at once, and do their buying research. They are vocal, impatient and demanding — tough customers! Don’t pay real-time attention to their slightest caprice, and they will instantly let everyone and their sister know that you suck. (“Never piss off a person with a printer and mailing list,” goes the old journalist saying). The reverse is also true. If you know how to please them, the good news will spread far and wide. Make your own conclusions about what it all means to your marketing, sales, and service.
Conversations, not much else
If you take away direct messages and status updates, LinkedIn becomes not much more than a glorified résumé depository. Why? Because anyone other than the 1st degree connection is essentially useless to you. As an aside, you probably don’t even know a good portion of your 1st degree contacts, they are just collector items. Twitter would have nothing left at all.
Call them tweets or status updates or direct messages, social networks are all about good old conversations, which come in three distinct flavors:
- Between you and your customers about whatever
- Between your customers (and the world at large) about you
- Between your staff about your customers
Social CRM: the beef
In practical terms, all this means that relevant social network conversations have to be synced into your CRM, and associated with appropriate customers. From that point on they become simple action items, and you can do with them whatever you normally do in your CRM. Typically this would be look up the contact details and prior history, create new lead, respond using the right medium, discuss the issue internally if called for, determine the next action steps and who’s responsible.
Forget the buzzwords. That’s all there is to social CRM for starters. All of the above — and more — is precisely what you will be able to do in Relenta in the coming weeks. Watch this space for an announcement.