The Future of Social CRM

Social CRM is growing up but still in its toddler phase. Being molded as a process to monitor, engage and manage social conversations or relationships with existing customers or prospective customers. The Social CRM can be a stand alone application or integrated within your existing CRM solution like Salesforce.com. The concept of tracking online conversations and news in order to identify and somewhat predict business trigger events is going to continue to be a game changer for companies in the coming years. [tweetmeme source= “insideview” only_single=false]

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Benefits of using a Social CRM

Companies are still trying to adopt the best ways to use social media in their business processes but some of the key benefits are becoming more structured and showing real results in driving revenue and customer loyalty.

Sales teams that have a Social CRM application at their fingertips now have significantly more relevant information available to them about their customers ranging from general company news to the specific Twitter feeds of the employees. (Sales 2.0 can be scary huh?) The truth is that using a good application gives a sales person a court side seat for a lot of intelligence they typically would have missed or would have spent hours searching for online. Social CRM brings information to the sales teams and that has been prove to build a substantial pipeline and turn into larger deals being closed.

For customer service groups the Social CRM has just as many benefits if not more. It’s all basically the same story of visibility but they are now able to have conversations with customers across different mediums other than just a chat room or phone call. I remember the first time I vented my frustrations about my cable company on Twitter and got a reply within 3 minutes from a support person asking me how they could help. After a few quick tweets back and forth and a couple emails from different support people the situation was resolved and I was content. My frustrations with the cable company still come up from time to time but the fact that I can dictate the platform to communicate on and that they were as responsive as they were made a lasting impression on my mind.

Social CRM Clairvoyance

The future of Social CRM seems to be solidifying and expanding at the same time. Let’s face it, the definition of Social CRM will be slightly different from one company to another. It really all depends on how they use their CRM. Sales people use their data different than the accounting dept and the reality is that the monitoring of social triggers is just as important to each group.

The questions are now being answered about “how” to best implement the solutions and what information needs to be delivered to different groups within a company. Just as there is no cookie cutter CRM solution, meaning that there is always some form of customization required, Social CRM will be delivered the same way. Stakeholders across the organization from Sales, Marketing, Accounting and Support should all have a voice in how to use the application and get a better understanding of the impact it can have.

Gartner predicts over 80% of growth in enterprise use of social networking tools will be driven by customer engagement projects, analyst forecasts – Information Age

We are far from hitting critical mass for the adoption of Social CRM but the trends are showing that we are going to be there soon. Interest has exploded in using social software for marketing, customer service and sales departments. Requests for Social CRM software has spiked well over 50% in the past 12 months according to Gartner.

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