Published on October 31st, 2012 | by John I.0
Why CRM Systems are Going Social
Customer Relation Management (CRM) has long been at the core of most business’s operational philosophy in the way they work with and promote their products to existing and prospective customers. Through effective use of technology, it allows them to identify customer spending habits, offer them the level of after sales support that meets their needs and track this accurately, and identify future opportunities.
By better meeting the needs of existing customers and having information on hand relevant to them as an individual, they are more likely to return. They will feel more valued, especially when being marketed for new products that are tailored to them, rather than being randomly approached for sales that they would not be interested in.
There is now a shift amongst businesses towards an integration of CRM Systems and social CRM for their marketing and customer interaction into their business operations.
Social CRM takes the CRM concept and makes use of social media allowing businesses to interact with their customer base further than ever before. Recent figures reported from Media Bistro reported that there are currently over 800 million active Facebook users globally, and 77% of consumers have stated that they use Facebook to interact with companies that they do like in one form or another. Equally, Twitter has over 100 million active users and many of those users started their accounts originally to follow specific individuals or companies.
More importantly, for companies looking to take advantage of social media and integrate it into their business plan, HubSpot has reported that a massive 43% of online customers are followers or fans of the company that they are making purchases from, so it is vital to capture that market online.
Critically, your business needs to have a presence on all major social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and as many other sites that are relevant to your company. Not only will this enable you to update customers in real-time about products and services, but get feedback and comments and interact with them in ways never possible before.
Cone Business in Social Media Study, conducted in 2008 reported a number of key points that only stress this further. While this was not covered on a global scale but just for American users, it still reported that a staggering 93% of users wanted businesses to be seen on social media sites, and 60% of those were also making use of businesses which had a presence on those sites.
Not only will this enable you to know what customers are taking an active interest in you, but also to see exactly what is being discussed in relation to you, what products are being talked about and – more importantly – what action may need to be taken if responses are required.
When choosing CRM software for your business, ensuring that it has social CRM functionality is essential to keep abreast of what customers and potential customers are saying about you. Most will be able to feed posts from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social sites into your CRM real time, so any time a reference is made to you by any customers currently following any online presence that you may have, will be reported back to you. Your CRM software should enable you to have a permanent record of what is being said by these customers as well.
There are a range of packages on the market, with some that run locally on servers or local machines, with others using cloud storage for customer data. If you are looking for the most effective system for your business then Social CRM integration is essential and probably the packages worth consider would include Oncontact, SageACT! Premium, Sales Force, AIMcrm or Prophet. While there are others available, these are considered to be the better ones on the current market.
Whatever system you select and is suitable for your business and customers needs, the importance of Social CRM can’t be neglected if you don’t want your company left behind your competitors. In a time where customer service and communication is just as important as the products you sell, there are almost a billion Internet users out there waiting to listen to what you have to say.