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Social CRM: What it is and how to use it to generate qualified leads

What is social CRM (or social media CRM)?
Picking the right social CRM system
Why social CRM is important for engagement
Benefits of social CRM for salespeople
Final thoughts

The increasing popularity of social media has changed the way organizations interact with leads and customers. There are nearly 4.5 billion social media users worldwide, spending an average of two and a half hours each day on the platforms.

To get a complete picture of our leads and prospects, we need to consider the part social media management plays in our customer relationships.

The solution is social customer relationship management, also known as social CRM (or social media CRM). This post will explain exactly what social CRM is, why it’s so important and how you can use it to generate more qualified social leads for your business.

What is social CRM (or social media CRM)?

Customer relationship management (CRM) – the processes and software that an organization uses to manage its contacts and relationships – is well-established as an integral part of modern sales. Social media customer relationship management builds on that foundation and expands its scope to include engagement and nurturing through social networks.

A traditional CRM is restricted to the interactions between a sales representative and their leads. Social CRM takes advantage of the large amount of publicly available information shared on social media to give you a complete picture of your leads, prospects and customers.

Although they’re closely related, it’s important to understand that social CRM is different from social selling. Social selling refers to the techniques and strategies used by salespeople to reach out to potential customers over social media, while social CRM is the foundation that makes those strategies possible.

By tracking and managing your customer interactions over social media, you’ll be in a better position to carry out a social selling campaign or relationship selling in general.

Picking the right social CRM system

There are a growing number of SaaS products and other marketing automation solutions describing themselves as social CRM platforms. However, as most sales organizations already have a familiar CRM, the idea of trading in their existing solution and pricing up a dedicated social CRM software isn’t so appealing.

The good news is that you can use other tools to augment your existing CRM. Depending on which platform you’re using, you can leverage social media integrations to embed the features directly into your current system.

When looking for social media tools, whether in a standalone platform or through CRM integrations to your existing setup, there are different levels to consider depending on your requirements:

  • Collection. At its most basic, a social CRM platform allows you to collect relevant data from social media about potential and existing customers. You can monitor brand mentions, tweets or hashtags related to you (or your competitors) in customer profiles and social posts.

  • Interaction. More advanced tools allow you to directly engage with your prospects, enabling two-way communication across multiple social media channels and apps while managing it all in one platform.

  • Enrichment. With some tools you can link the social data to the CRM entries for your leads and prospects, giving you a greater understanding of your contacts and enabling more personalized monitoring and outreach.

  • Analysis. To get the full benefits of social CRM, you need to be able to analyze the incoming data and make sense of it. Recent advances in machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) have made it possible to analyze social interactions and activity at scale.

Why social CRM is important for engagement

Having an intern run the company Facebook profile used to be enough to qualify as a social media marketing campaign. Today, the importance of social media in daily life means it can have a massive impact on sales, even for small businesses.

Social media platforms are a key component of your digital marketing strategy. A well targeted social media campaign can generate high quality leads, create brand awareness and increase conversion rates. A social media CRM is the glue that holds your social media engagement and interactions with prospects together.

See the bigger picture

One key feature of social media CRM is its dynamic nature. Unlike a traditional CRM that relies on a sales rep to input the relevant information, a good social CRM will update your contact management in real-time with your lead’s latest activity.

Social media CRM goes beyond the basic demographics, encouraging your sales reps to understand the person and the evolving circumstances behind the name and title. Additionally, details from social media can give you insight into why a deal has stalled so you can come up with an effective solution.

Get back lost hours

Along with greater insights, the best social CRM platform can also save time by increasing efficiency, especially if you’re using different social channels to communicate with your prospects and leads. Having a single dashboard makes managing cross-platform conversations a lot easier and reduces the chance that you’ll miss out on any key details.

Engender happier prospects

Organizing your contact history also improves the experience for your leads. If they use a different platform or speak with another rep, they’ll thank you for not having to repeat themselves. For example, the Quickdialog Pipedrive integration lets you manage all of your messaging and interactions in a shared inbox while updating your Pipedrive deals, contacts and activities.

Keep everyone on the same page

Social CRM benefits the whole company, not just the sales team. Along with being a tool in your lead generation strategy, building a complete picture of your customer engagement also helps marketers to better understand customer needs and create more relevant campaigns and help-desk staff respond to issues faster. When the sales, marketing and customer support teams all use a social CRM, it leads to greater alignment across the company and a more seamless customer experience.

Benefits of social CRM for salespeople

There are several ways that salespeople can benefit from the data collected by a social CRM.

Find new leads

Social listening refers to monitoring social media platforms for specific phrases and activities. When people are talking about your company, your competitors or relevant challenges, you can add new social leads to your sales funnel.

Once you’ve set up which key phrases to monitor, you can use automation to streamline the analysis process. Using a tool like Zapier allows you to integrate your social listening tool with your Pipedrive account and build a workflow to automatically add prospect information and notes based on the alerts you receive.

Along with a steady supply of fresh social leads, you can use the analysis to improve your lead gen outreach and increase the chance of converting leads into prospects or paying customers. For example, suppose someone has posted on LinkedIn about how their current solution is slow and inefficient. You can highlight your solution’s speed and efficiency (perhaps by sharing case studies, white papers or webinars) to grab their attention.

Understand leads on a deeper level

Everyone you reach out to has their own goals, desires and challenges. Your customers and brand advocates are more than the sum of their email interactions, and trying to get to know them purely based on those direct messages will have limited results. By using social media CRM and sales management tools to see the context of those conversations and the customer sentiment behind them, you can get a fuller picture of your leads and the pain points they’re dealing with.

As well as finding out who’s in the market for a solution like yours, social listening can also be used to find out:

  • What CRM features/benefits are most important to them

  • What questions they have about your product

  • What complaints they have about similar solutions

For example, during the 2019 holiday season, social listening firm Infegy found that price was one of the most important factors that consumers discussed. However, priorities changed as COVID took hold, and posts discussing stock levels increased. By March 2020, people were more concerned with delivery than how much they were paying for goods. Salespeople who were aware of this were able to change up their messaging to highlight the factors that mattered most to their prospects.

Another useful tool for your social media CRM is sentiment analysis, which can go beyond what people are saying to give you a more nuanced picture of how people feel. For instance, fast food company Wendy’s discovered through social intelligence that people had more positive sentiments about “sea salt” than salt or sodium. As a result, they started using the term more in their marketing campaigns to great effect. Likewise, salespeople can use social listening to find out how their leads feel, down to the specific language they respond better to, and adjust their messaging accordingly.

Test and measure with greater accuracy

Depending on what social CRM tools you use, you’ll have access to various metrics to measure the effectiveness of your social media strategy and identify potential areas for improvement in your nurturing sequences.

Some of the social media lead generation and nurturing metrics you can track include:

  • Traffic. The number of people who click through and visit your website or landing pages from social media.

  • Engagement. How people are interacting with your social media content, such as likes, comments and shares.

  • Average response time. How long it takes you to respond to relevant mentions and direct messages.

  • Brand perception. The number of positive mentions of your company compared to negative mentions.

  • Level of followers. How active and well-connected your followers are and who your influencers are.

As priorities and circumstances can change in a second, using a social media CRM that automatically pulls in the latest information means you can be confident that you’re acting on reliable information and your nurturing campaigns are directly relevant to your leads.

Close more deals

Once you’ve found new leads and used social CRM to understand them better, you can use the same information to engage with them, guide them through the sales funnel and ultimately close more deals.

A social CRM makes it easier to talk to your leads in the channel where they spend most of their time and feel most comfortable. It opens up opportunities to interact at a point of need by answering questions, sharing content or offering a sales promotion. As a result, you’re more likely to be seen as a trusted advisor and your leads will be more confident buying from you.

Final thoughts

Whether you are a new business, a startup or a large enterprise, a social CRM strategy is a must have. As with any tool, social CRM works best when it’s used with a clear goal in mind. When used in tandem with your overall sales strategy, your team will be set up to make better decisions based on holistic customer data.

By helping you better understand your target audience, leads and customers, organize your contact’s details and manage your communication from one location, social CRM can help you level up your lead generation strategy, generate more qualified leads and increase your sales.

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