Social customer relationship management (CRM) is essentially traditional CRM but evolved to be more social (go figure).  It utilizes back-end systems and processes for managing a company’s relationships with their consumers.  Social CRM is a key component of developing a social or collaborative business, both internally and externally.

Traditional CRM

CRM software traditionally is comprised of functionalities for sales, marketing and service/support teams to walk the customer through a linear buyer’s journey from awareness to commitment to support.  The marketing team would raise brand awareness, generating leads, the sales team will handle the decision making process and the service and support team would provide continued support and problem solving services.  This style of customer relationship management works in a large scale, mass-marketing environment because it relies on one-way channels of communication and linear customer progression through the buyer’s journey, step-by-step.  However, for small to medium-sized companies, this style of relationship management isn’t cutting it with today’s empowered consumers.

The Shift To Social

Consumers are more empowered than ever before.  This started during the rise of Web 2.0 and was exacerbated with the popularization of social media and the shift to mobile.  In a world where consumers are inundated with branded messages, from their inbox to the popups on their favorite website, it has become harder and harder to stand out from the crowd.  Consumers know this.  They also know that they have social platforms available to them to let their opinion be known, positive or negative.  This new breed of empowered consumer is no longer satisfied with one way sales, marketing, and support conversations.  They know that your company can hear them, they just want you to acknowledge it.

Social CRM

The key defining feature of social CRM is that it creates a two way communication between the customer and the company.  In fact, the customer is the focal point of how an organization operates.  The customer’s experience and advocacy define their relationship with marketing & PR, sales and service & support departments.  Instead of pushing marketing or sales messages at a customer, brands now collaborate, and customize their messaging for each customer, thus turning them into brand advocates and encouraging customer to customer relationships.

As far as Social CRM software, instead of organizing data and information, the goal is now to organize conversations and relationships.  By linking your CRM software to popular social media channels, brands can track customer conversations,  engage with prospects and current customers in collaborative ways that generate more leads, foster loyalty, build customer retention and increase revenue.  Sage CRM offers a number of ways to build and foster relationships both internally and externally through their Social CRM Solutions.  Or  learn more about Sage CRM.

So why haven’t you heard more about Social CRM?  Well, you have.  Social Media Marketing, Relationship Marketing, Content Marketing, Social Selling, Relationship Selling, Social Public Relations, etc.; these are all popular buzzwords that describe this same shift away from one way communications with customers to two way, collaborative conversations.  To quote Shakespeare, “A rose by any other name still increases revenue.” So, whatever you call it, make sure you’re investing in customer relationships and collaboration.

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