Why Social CRM?
Knowing where your prospects came from (and why) out there in the big world wide web will help marketing fine tune its social campaigns and double down on the ones that are working. This will lead to your prospects getting the answers they are asking (where they are asking them), then track them all the way through sales and customer support for a 360-degree view of your customer’s journey through your company. This of course leads to happier customers and better reporting, accountability, and ROI. It will help your sales get insight into their prospects from their very first interaction with your company up to and including theirs.
Everything you know and love about your current CRM is still useful and relevant. Now they have just allowed you to add your social efforts into the mix to make more educated decisions and provide better reporting for all your programs instead of just outbound campaigns.
These same tools can help you track and improve your branding efforts and make your responses more effective. They can be used to better track your interactions with brand leaders and other influencers to improve those relationships as well.
Before marketers jump into a big data discussion and shell out a great deal of money, I suggest coming up with a list of questions you want answered first, and then look for the best app to do those things first. After all, analytics is all about making the best of the data that we have, and there are plenty of sources to obtain that data.
What do they track?
All your social media interactions.
Imagine someone is really upset with your product and needs help, is frustrated and complaining online. Social CRM can show you where, what is going on with them and why. This allows online activities to be routed to your best resource to help them, and tells them where to go (twitter, Facebook, blog attack, or rant. You need to be there where your customers are, not waiting to read about it.
Most of the commercial social CRM packages serve up the information with a full view of all that person’s online activity in one location. They will make recommendations, and serve up actionable information. I have used Nimble and Salesforce IQ, and I have to say I loved them both. Both were about $25/mo. Since my marketing budget at this company was next to nothing, so cost was one of my main considerations in that instance.
Where do I start?
There are so many Social CRM applications out there to choose from, so many in fact that everyone answering that question online suggests you need to first sit down and figure out what questions you need answered. What problems are you trying to solve? What new opportunities do you think you are missing out on? What does management want you to track? How are you doing it today?
With your requirements in hand you will be better able to start narrowing down your selections. There are dozens of great tools in each category to help with gathering, rating, sorting, and analyzing. It will be much easier to start with the dozen tools that provide your most needed capabilities and go from there.
So, the first step is to figure out what information you are looking for. What problems are you trying to solve?
Example: Say you decide you want to start tracking your prospects much earlier in the sales cycle. Instead of waiting for prospects to contact your sales. you want to start tracking them the moment they click on your online content. You want to then follow them through their journeys toward deciding on a solution.
Here are some other things you may want to discover with a new Social CRM solution:
- What did the prospect click on first? What did they do next? And after that?
- Did they go straight to your online offer and get it, land on your website, or did they call sales?
- Where did they spend time on your website before clicking the buy button?
- Are they asking questions online that are going unanswered?
- How many of your social media contacts turned into leads? What was the ROI for that social media campaign?
- What is your social marketing effectiveness?
With this information you can now track the success of your social media programs, provide ROI to management, as well as allow your sales to observe your buyer’s journey from their first click onto your content page. You know with this sales could better gauge where prospects are in their journey to make it possible to provide the right information at the right time. This is the difference between inbound marketing and “spray and pray” marketing (which we all agreed was inefficient and annoying a decade ago).
I have my list of data that I want to track with my new Social CRM app…what now?
Say you have a great CRM and everyone at your company already knows how to use it, but today it is only capturing outbound information, or lists of contacts to spam, or prospect contact info after they have talked with sales and have been entered into your sales cycle. It is great at everything a CRM should be great at, but you are missing the entire first part of your marketing lead cycle and are having a hard time tying the ROI to the campaign it came from. First thing you should do is contact whoever sold you your existing CRM to see if they have an add-on for social media. If they have it and it provides what you need it should not be a tough sale to your management. No retraining, no rip and replace. Just an upgrade or add-on depending on your provider. Many of the existing CRMs are playing catchup so chances are if your CRM provider does not have it, they will soon. If you are using salesforce.com for instance they now have add-ons, you can buy to capture social media results. Sales IQ is only $25 a month and provides CRM capabilities as well as some basic social media tracking and information about your prospect’s online activities. If your current CRM solution provider does not have social CRM capabilities, then you will have to look at some new apps.
So which ones should I start with?
With many social marketers still trying to figure out which metrics to track and which metrics management is looking for coupled with the fact that there are literally hundreds of new companies providing marketing/social media analytics solutions. How do I start? Which ones should I focus on?
With your social CRM wish list in hand you can review a few product matrices like these below to see if any have the feature sets you need. I put together a shortlist here focusing on the ones I have been asked about in interviews (which I totally hadn’t heard of at the time), or which have overwhelming market share in this space so would be remiss to not mention.
Here is a short list I pulled off Capterra’s website Capterra.com that takes the top 10 Social CRM software solutions and shows you what each contains. I provided this because it helps you see at-a-glance an overview of what is included in these commonly used Social CRM packages.
Let’s take a look at the categories common to these applications:
- Type of deployment (PC or cloud)
- Contact management (duh!)
- Customer Support module (so you can see 360 degrees of your prospect’s experience)
- Email Marketing
- Interaction tracking – Manage all your social conversations. Make real-time responses to prospect posts when they happen. Move from sharing content to having conversations to closing deals, right from the Social Tab. (from Zoho.com)
- Lead Management
- Marketing automation
Nothing new here except for Interaction tracking right? A couple new categories, but nothing you can’t pick up easily. And wait until you see Interaction training. Very cool stuff!
And here is another shortlist of popular Social CRM applications This one is from Megan Adam’s LinkedIn skills online training. Her course takes an hour and makes Social Marketing CRM easy to understand from the perspective of a traditional marketer. It was very informative and engaging enough to hold my interest even with The Big Bang Theory playing in the background. That’s a pretty good training!
So with your list in hand Google Social CRM plus a few tags from your “must have” list. Just past the ads should be your short list to start with. Click on a few of them and notice how well those companies all start tracking and interacting with you from the second you land on their first page. Try a few free trials to get comfortable with the genre and see what you like. Most have really good online training and people happy to help you with your education. You are well on your way.