It’s all who you know – CRM and Social Marketing

Perhaps you have noticed the trend towards Customer Relationship Management Solutions incorporating social media into their solution set. Microsoft recently announced that their next release of CRM will incorporate many of the popular social media sites being integrated into their solution. Act has already released and continues to enhance these same social accelerators. Salesforce has many new tools that allow you to monitor and collect information form social sites into their CRM solution.

The real question is why is this trend happening? Is it because of the current popularity of all of these sites or for a bigger and better reason? The answer is simple. The change is occurring in the core definition of social media and the how CRM uses social media to accelerate the velocity of the customer lifecycle and hence the transaction. Businesses are looking for that competitive edge that gets them in front of the client quicker with a better targeted solution at a time they are ready to buy. Listening allows you to identify the pain of the prospect and spot opportunities that are much more targeted and in line with their business goals.

Social Media is no longer just about telling a story or for marketing a business or idea. It’s about listening to what customers are saying about you and your business (and for that matter your service, product quality, the friendliness of your employees, etc.) It’s about spotting trends, collaborating with your customers and prospects to put out product and services that they need and want.

CRM and Social Media have a lot in common. They both help identify opportunities, listen for needs based on responses, feedback or even behaviors. They can identify trends, suggest ideas and add value to the customer or prospect and their overall experience. It gives you the ability to get a jump on your competitors before others do.

Social Listening is important to business success in today’s market. People want to know were experiences with your product or service good or bad? Are there others who preach your product or service? Do people who use your product or service have a platform or place where they can collaborate and from this you gain intelligence through these “conversations”?

The two terms are becoming one in the same and a new term is evolving – Social CRM. The Social media gives the business owner a tool they never really had available unless they called or spoke directly to their customer – the ability to filter through information and gain a clear insight into what customers or products are saying. Is the product to expensive? Are there too many problems? How is the customer service after the sale?

If you aren’t thinking about using any of the listening services (Google Alerts, Twitter, etc.) you are really missing out. It’s just the beginning of the universe for listening in CRM. It gives you the ability to get information before your competitors and after all, it’s who you know when it comes to getting new business.