From a business development perspective, most experts would agree that curating relevant information about potential and existing customers is a key aspect of doing business. However, integrating social signals and finding insights from them will be increasingly important in forging relationships with modern consumers. In this article, I wanted to dig into the benefits of social signals in business development today.
What is Social CRM?
Social CRM Software (Customer Relationship Management) is a strategy which utilizes social media services, techniques and technology to enable organizations to engage with their customers.
Today, being successful in business takes a true service mentality. I believe that most people buy from people they like. And, they like people who know them. Social CRM uses social media services to understand and decipher the digital signals of customers in order to help with engagement. You can’t know somebody without doing your homework and background research to get to know who that person is. The more you know the better chances you will have to serve them.
The Importance of Using Social Intelligence
Monitoring what your contacts are doing on social channels is every bit as important as reading their emails in Selling 2.0. In my opinion, if you are not using Social Intelligence to grow your business or territory, you are not playing on a level field with your counterparts. Social Intelligence, if used appropriately, will enable users to see events in people’s lives and to use that data to make stronger and faster connections.
I read recently a great book called Pick up the Damn Phone by Joanne Black (which I highly recommend). In it, Mrs. Black cites a staggering Aberdeen study which shows that those who leverage social intelligence get some pretty impressive results, including:
- Dramatically greater improvement (21.4 percent) in top line revenue each year, compared to 16.4 percent for all other business
- A 9.5 percent annual increase in the number of salespeople who make quota, vs. 3.4 percent increase for other companies
- A customer satisfaction rating that improves at nearly twice the rate (5.8 vs. 2.1 percent) of other organizations
All the data signifies the importance of using social intelligence in your day-to-day professional sales and marketing life. But, it’s hard for most to do this, right? That’s why Social CRM tools are exciting to me. Most organizations need an intelligent relationship platform that will look at the digital foot print of a person, be able to read their social signals, identify ones that matter, pull them into complete records and relevantly use the information. Then, as Mrs. Black proclaims, “Pick up the Damn Phone to call them”.
Success with Social Signals in the New Age
There is clearly a new buyer journey which has transpired in the business community today which some call Buyer 2.0. This is not a news flash for most. However, whatever you call it, in order to be relevant in the business world today you need to be a social evangelist too.
Today, customers are doing their own homework. They are having conversations among themselves on what they’re going to buy on Twitter and then they’re deciding early on who they want to spend time with during the “Sales Process”. Then, when they’re ready, they reach out to a vendor to find a solution. Unfortunately, most small to midsize companies’ idea of dealing with that is to hire a “Young Guns” and have them embark on the “Old Way” of doing business. Or worse yet, to have the marketing departments bombard them with how great their price, product, or service is. Smart “Young Guns” won’t put up with it, and Sage “Old Guns” will flame-out of existence.
Today, the new social salesperson must be altruistic and authentically desire to assist in the buyers journey. He or she needs to participate in the buyer journey by being a trusted advisor who is paying the relationship forward by educating them. So that when they do make a buying decision or are considering buying something, they think about that person who was there along their journey.
Speed is your servant but being prepared is king
When somebody is ready to make a buying decision, if you are not part of that conversation during the moments where they’re considering it, you’re done. However, faster does not always mean better. Social Intelligence should be used to allow us to be prepared. Today, it’s important to know what your customers are liking, commenting, retweeting or otherwise engaging in the digital universe. It may not always be necessary or pertinent to utilize, but it’s mandatory in today’s market. And, Social CRM tools assist in this very well.
In my business, I review a lot of different technology which often gets me excited about the possibilities. I admit with no apologies that I am fan of technology. But, Social CRM, Marketing Automation, and Sales intelligence are all pertinent technology which are critical in helping your organization help others in succeeding with your product, service, or mission.