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Customers are changing - How are you relating to them?

Social CRM vs. Traditional CRM: Part I

Note: Parts I, II and III on Social CRM are adapted from material provided by Brent Leary in an October 2008 white paper for Sage CRM Solutions called "Social CRM: Customer Relationship Management in the Age of the Socially-Empowered Customer."

There's traditional customer relationships management, or CRM, and there's social CRM. "Well," you may say, "traditional CRM is good enough for me.  What do I need with all this social stuff?"

The answer is that customers are changing, and therefore how you relate to them had better change, too.

Traditional-CRM-Consultant

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
What has not changed is that people still prefer to do business with people they like, and they love doing business with people they trust.

What's different now is how they decide whom they like and trust.  The pony express expedited mail delivery but only lasted for 18 months before it was replaced with the telegraph.  The Internet is now the preferred method. More and more people take the initiative to find what they need, rather than waiting to be sold to. These "social customers" want connections and lots of information,Search-Info-Success-CRm and the company that provides both, with sales being secondary, usually wins.

 

But you're in business to sell. So how do you get them to like and trust you so that eventually they'll want to buy what you're selling? In order to build relationships like this, you first need to understand social customers' process.

#1 They begin with information searches.

First they use Google, Yahoo, etc., then recommendation sites. Increasing numbers are tapping into trusted social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. In fact, 60% of Americans use social media, and 59% of those users interact with companies on social media sites. An effective Inbound marketing strategy and remarkable content helps you and your business get found.

#2 Then they click. Clicks lead to content.

Next, social customers analyze which clicks will yield something relevant, attractive, and accessible.  Is it worth starting a conversation about?

#3 They use conversations to build collaborative experiences.

Social customers want more than the FAQ and About Us pages. They want to participate - and they want us to participate with them. This may mean posting blog comments or listening to a podcast, and always providing relevant feedback.

#4 They transform collaborative experiences into meaningful business relationships.

Each of these steps builds a comfort level with you that allows each social customer to move into a more formal relationship that could mean a meeting or purchase.      

 

Social CRM focuses on people instead of operations.It's all about building community and helping you engage with customers and industry colleagues in ongoing conversations, most of which are online. Your reputation will grow as you participate transparently, sharing opinions and expertise, asking and answering questions, and working on solutions to problems together.

I ask you, "What new ways are you finding to relate to your changing customers?" Or will your let strategy and CRM system become obsolete like the pony express? 

 

Look for more ways in which Social CRM differs from Traditional CRM in Part II.

For more information visit: Success with Social Media and CRM - Social media goes main stream.

Looking for more ideas and actionable information on obtaining business success with CRM?

For understanding the importance of your distinctive advantage, refer to unique selling proposition posts.  

Photo credits from Creative Commons:
 
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