The greatest benefit of attending those big, bulky industry conferences is not the swag – although that free Apple TV was pretty sweet. Rather, it's the opportunity to speak with some of the greatest thought leaders and innovators that attend. One of the more recognized leaders in the CRM industry is Marshall Lager of Third Idea Consulting. I was able to snag Marshall for a bit to discuss the most buzzed-about topic at the conference: social CRM.
- Social CRM is derived from tools that are entirely consumer-related: Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. People use these mediums to communicate and share experiences. Businesses are finally catching onto that, figuring out not only how to foster relationships in the social arena, but monetize them as well.
- The first step in getting started with social CRM is simply signing up for an account. Once that's done, it's time to listen and find out what your customers are saying. Once you have that, you can start building a strategy around how you will use the networks. The goal is to personalize your company, making it "someone" that individuals can relate to.
- Small businesses in particular can benefit from social media. SMB's already have that face-to-face direct rapport with their customers. Social media is a free way to extend that relationship, and because their customer base is still small, social media allows the small business owner to touch every single customer.
- Questions to ask when building a social CRM strategy: How are we going to do social media? What do we want to focus on? What's our personality? What are our rules of engagement?
- The golden rule of engagement: always tell the truth. It sounds simple, but it's really important. If the customers trust you, they will come back. If they don't, you've lost them completely.