Social side of the CRM landscape

With mobility on the go and increased interaction within the community and with the brand itself, two factors that have become extremely important are a proactive social engagement and coherent customer experience. With social becoming the new norm, it’s in the skilled usage of analytics that smaller businesses are likely to win more customers and retain competitive advantage over their immediate rivals.

New dynamics of CRM solution

When opting for a CRM solution, most companies invariably think of Open Source solution like Sugar CRM or hosted solutions such as Salesforce.com. But this has all rapidly undergone a change with new media, in particular for small businesses. The CRM landscape has indeed vastly changed with the advent of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn. Businesses must take to CRM juxtaposed with social media marketing strategies in order to improve sales and margins by targeting the most valuable customers in more cost-effective and efficient ways.

Develop customer-centric philosophy

Social Media Marketing has evolved into a dynamic customer-centric philosophy, which every small business must imbibe to grasp needs and behavior patterns of their customers. This is imperative to build lasting relationships with them. Perhaps the more apt way to think of employing social media marketing as a CRM process is blending precious nuggets of information about your target audience with sales and marketing strategies.

By knowing about the prevailing market trends, marketers can enhance effectiveness and responsiveness of their campaigns. This ensures improved customer service, more cross-sell/ up-sell opportunities and enhanced close rates. Improved customer profiling-targeting will lead to streamlined sales & marketing processes.

Obviously, this results in reduced costs and greater share of customer and profitability. The key aspect of CRM coupled with social media is that it offers small businesses with an independent voice and a democratic public platform for monitoring and responding to customers directly. This helps them to understand needs and wants, desires and aspirations faster than ever and in greater depth.

Avoid blatant self-promotion

Most companies join the new media bandwagon only to increase sales, whereas many others seek just a token presence on networking channels. There are only a handful few of them, who try to establish a strong brand identity and launch a user-driven sales or marketing agenda. Not many realize the importance of social media marketing as the art of customer engagement and not mere selling.

People should be interested in the conversations you initiate or the ideas you propose to solve problems faced by them. Remember that social media is something more than a conventional public relations activity; the earlier businesses realize this, the better. The prospects present on social media sites will look favorably at your brand if you offer practically feasible and affordable service or solutions. And understandably, the last thing that they want businesses to indulge in is blatant self-promotion or bragging on social sites.