Companies Don’t Have Relationships, People Do: The Power of Social Signals

For those of us deep into the world of customer relationship management (CRM), we sometimes forget that companies do not have relationships, people do. We get tied up in the technology and data transactions of our marketing systems and need to be reminded that people buy from other people.

This does not mean that algorithms, lead scoring, and nurture campaigns can’t hum along with no human intervention. These campaigns can surely deliver content to a prospects that triggers them to buy – thus becoming a customer. However, even this automation has been crafted and thought about by a human marketer. The computer is just doing its job of operating 24/7 and as an extension of the limited time and processing power of a human.

Last week, I was speaking with the chief executive (CEO) and founder of Nimble, Jon Ferrara, who helped me understand this more clearly.

In order for companies to have better relationships with their customers, their employees must be equipped to better manage their own relationships with customers.

Does Zappos really have a connection with its customers? Or is it really the sales staff who delight customers every day, representing the brand Zappos? What about Starbucks, The Ritz-Carlton, or any other leading brands?

As small business owners, the only way our companies are going to have better relationships with our customers is by enabling our employees to have better relationships with our customers.

How does the ideal CRM system work? The CRM system is a TOOL for sales reps, customer service staff, and others to use to capture and better manage what communication has taken place between the customer and anyone who works for the company. However, this is just the transactional level of what CRM is all about.

As you get deeper into the value of CRM, adding social signals to your CRM system enables the humans at your company to better connect with other humans. Ferrara showed me how a fully optimized social CRM platform can help a sales team increase sales.

The sales rep can be alerted via the social CRM tool that a prospect they’ve been selling to had a baby. This enables the sales rep to send a message via Facebook of congratulations – the prospect feels great about the sales rep and thus possibly buying from him. A few weeks later the prospect attends an event that the sales rep went to and posts photos on Instagram. The sales rep is alerted to this post, enabling him to click “like” in Instagram. This action generates another impression on the prospect of good will toward the sales rep. A few days later the sales rep sends out a short email asking the prospect if they’d like to attend an event the company is hosting. Because of these very human, social interactions the prospect says yes. At the event, the sales rep closes the deal.

See how social CRM works and enables the “R” in CRM to really work?

One of the true values of CRM is enabling humans (sales and marketing folks at a company) to connect deeper and more genuinely with other humans (prospects).

As you look to better leverage CRM in your business, make sure you go beyond speeds and feeds and find a tool that helps humans better connect with humans, via social signals in your CRM system.

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