Social CRM as a Holistic Marketing Tool

Social CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is an ideal tool for a company to use that embraces a holistic marketing approach because Social CRM provides a more complete view of the customer than what a traditional CRM solution can provide. In addition to hosting basic contact and company data, transaction history, and notations about past interactions, Social CRM overlays this baseline data with real-time information about customers, streamlining information from a variety of different social channels into one dashboard. The potential power behind having access to such a wealth of information is indisputable, if only enough companies knew what to do with it.

Below is a video clarifying the Social CRM process:

According to Paul Greenberg, the founder of CRM, social CRM can be defined as:

A philosophy and a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, process, and social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted and transparent business environment.

Because traditional CRM only acknowledges the one-to-one conversation between a company and a customer, there has been a recent shift toward embracing Social CRM to capture the dynamic of many-to-many. In other words, the change in the direction of the technology is largely a response to an acknowledgement of the change in relationship with the customer.  However, while most companies are aware that there is another set of conversations taking place on the web about their products and services, most aren’t quite yet ready to make the cultural changes necessary within the workplace to embrace and capitalize on such changes. But for those who are, adapting to this shift and embracing it fully can lead to sustainable advantage in the long-run.

Below is a video from Greenberg, elaborating on this concept:

I’m always surprised when I hear that a company is not using a CRM system, much less a database at all to manage their interactions with customers, clients, or sales prospects. For as long as I can remember, CRM has always played a central role in organizing my contacts, interactions, business pipeline, and marketing efforts. At my company we use a customized version of a Microsoft Dynamics CRM system as part of an enterprise-wide platform, supplemented by an email marketing services provider for handling the property marketing process that is synchronized with a proprietary database for third party users to access information about our investment properties for sale. While the pieces of the puzzle are still a bit fragmented, the tools absolutely provide the means to complete the task at hand.

From an article entitled “Transforming Big Data Into Big Opportunities,”the author writes:

With the flood of structured and unstructured information pouring in from a growing number of sources, companies need to look further than they have in the past to gain that 360-degree of the customer. Once organizations determine which sources of data will create the complete customer view they need, they must determine how to bring that information together to enable them to act on it.

While there are certainly a number of CRM solutions available on the market today, as well as Social CRM and many Social Media Managment Systems (SMMS) in general, the trick lies in determining what type of information you need to know about your customer, how to best sum that data and be able analyze it in a way that is meaningful to you.

Because Social CRM has been relatively slow to catch on, do you think it will it only be a matter of time before “everyone” is using it, or are there other needs that a Social CRM solution is not addressing?


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