CRM or Customer Relationship Management has been around for over a decade now. CRM is a company-wide strategy to bring together all data sources within an organization. It gives marketers a holistic view of each customer at close to real-time speed. CRM’s benefits have enabled marketers to make quicker decisions, better decisions (with marketing analytics) and have improved cross-selling and up-selling. And according to Gartner’s Ed Thompson, “CRM remains a major focus for business executives, because the goals of acquiring, developing and retaining customers in a profitable manner are timeless.”
However, traditional CRM projects are not adapting to the new relationship-driven model of social media. While CRM started out with the goal of 1:1 marketing, it is mainly focused on automating tasks, improving reporting, and staging triggered marketing communications. It has not supported the need of marketers to manage social relationships.
So what is Social CRM?
The Altimeter Group has defined Social CRM tools as “a set of emerging solutions to relationship management…Social CRM captures both official and unofficial customer conversations including emotional state, humor, anger, etc.” It is more than another marketing channel and recognizes the depth of the customer relationship.
There are four ways that Social CRM is different from its traditional counterpart:
- It recognizes that today’s customer is different. Customers are rapidly adopting social technologies and want to be connected with others who have mutual interests. Communication is now peer-to-peer versus company-to-customer.
- There’s less talking and more listening. People like doing business with others they trust. In short, marketers need to leverage the web to listen, share, and participate and do less talking and selling in the old Marketing 1.0 style.
- Social CRM is an opening tool and not a closing tool. The new CRM will focus on ways to keep the communication flowing with the customer versus closing the sale. When they’ve built up trust through many dialogues, customers will close themselves.
- Marketing analytics will focus on social insights in addition to current descriptors. Are you wondering why Facebook knows more about your customers than you do? Analytical insights will come from customer opinions and dialogues in addition to the normal preferences, interests, and demographic information.
Social CRM will not replace traditional CRM systems but will add to them by incorporating entirely new data sets like human emotions, behaviors, and brand opinions that are not available to traditional marketers. Part 2 will go deeper into how these new Social CRM systems work.
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