Whenever I talk to a company about a social CRM, a lot of managers and supervisors say a variation of the following:
“We don’t need that. Our business isn’t technical and no one here really likes or uses that social media stuff.”
You know what I hear when someone says that to me? “A Social CRM? Bah, Humbug!”
The truth is, whether or not your company is high on the social media food chain, it’s not really about your company. When business began many, many years ago in the markets of small towns scattered across the globe, merchants were required to create products and offer services that would be evaluated by members of their own communities.
They looked customers in the eye and told them the purposes, benefits and advantages of whatever they sold. Most sales were created either through desperate need or by a personal connection with the vendor.
Somewhere around the time of Henry Ford and the Industrial Revolution, businesses separated themselves from the people they sold to. Since products could be made en masse, they became synonymous with each other (losing that individual craftmanship of the merchant) therefore creating a need for the selling processes to become standardized.
What inevitably happens when businesses pull away from customers and standardize products and processes is customers become standardized as well.
This is the model we’ve been following before everyone reading this was born and that we have been told is the “right way” to do things. I’m sorry to inform you, but you’ve been gravely misinformed.
Times changed. Customers changed. Businesses did not.
We used a standard CRM at the last job I worked at involving cubicles, customer distance and sadness. It looked something like this:
That’s pretty standard when it comes to computer-based CRMs, but I want to point out two main things:
- The first main piece of information you come to after the company’s account name is the Account or Client “Number”. Once we standardized our clients and started mass producing inventory, customers went from people to numbers. Instead of saying, “Hey Jim, need another transistor plug?” (I’m a computer guy, not a car guy, leave me alone), it went to “Hey CR1234-5V, need another Unit 67H-2?” Sounds personal and enticing, doesn’t it?
- The contact’s name is on there, but it’s usually 4th or 5th in the list, almost always followed by a blank line labelled “Relationship Type”. To quote my manager on my first day at my previous job, “You’ll see a ‘Relationship Type’ line next. Just leave that blank. We only use that when we care how we know the prospect or client, and we never really care about that.” Simply amazing.
This type of CRM worked fine for years and years when clients also thought of themselves as numbers instead of valued customers, but times have changed. Here’s a few more stats for you:
- One in every nine people on the planet uses Facebook.
- Youtube has 490 million unique users who visit every month
- People upload 3,000 pictures to Flickr……every minute
- Twitter is adding around 500,000 members per day
- Google+ (which started in July) already has over 25 million users
Still think your clients aren’t social and feeling like more than just numbers in your system?
I don’t care what company you are and what industry you’re in, you’re trying to connect with someone mentioned in the stats above. People in those stats have changed their mindsets and now expect to be treated as themselves and not a number in your database. How do you expect to accomplish that unless you get the right tools?
A Social CRM is the right tool. Stick with us and we’ll even show you how to use one. : )
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