Historically, salespeople have been well known for keeping valuable information close to their chests. However, the climate is changing and we are now a society of social networkers, and people are sharing information between friends and organisations on a daily basis.
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This generation will be the salespeople of tomorrow and they expect their customer relationships management (CRM) systems to work in a similar fashion.
Salespeople are traditionally very competitive and don’t see how sharing information with their colleagues will benefit them. However, companies are now becoming more comfortable with using online, collaborative technologies and social CRM fits the bill. It extends beyond ‘traditional’ CRM — which is the simple collection and analysis of information — and instead is a knowledge platform to be shared and utilised across all departments within the business. It enables a company to identify the most influential members of its customer base.
The emphasis with social CRM is the adoption of interfaces and models that salespeople are familiar with from the world of social networking, such as Facebook and LinkedIn. This method overcomes the issue of user rejection that so many of the traditional CRM applications experience, as it requires less time completing forms and focuses more on developing key relationships.
‘Tagging’ is another resource available within social CRM. This is a system that allows users to associate clients with key words or tags, which represent the customers’ interests or tastes.
For example, if a salesperson wanted to contact a CEO of a retail company, who they had completed a deal with in the last six months and they knew they enjoyed playing golf, they would simply enter these tags into the CRM application. This would produce a list of all the relevant contacts available for the user, allowing salespeople to categorise and prioritise leads more precisely.
All CRM resellers understand that installing the technology should support the business strategy. However, implementation is often rejected as potential users refuse to change the way they work and can’t see how a new CRM system is going to offer any added benefit, apart from giving them extra work.
The familiarity of a social CRM interface can help to overcome some of these negative perceptions. It should be sold to potential customers as a resource to develop stronger, profitable and long lasting business relationships; a way to understand what their client values, and ultimately a way to increase sales.
Social CRM promotes pre-existing relationships through a familiar interface, and this untapped market presents big opportunities for resellers.
It is time for CRM resellers to introduce new alternatives to their customers and prospects. Social CRM is a perfect fit for businesses looking to grow, react quicker and, more importantly, generate more sales from their current and prospective clients.
Matthew Crook is CEO at SalesCentric