There have been some really good conversations, and thought provoking questions in the SCRM Pioneers Google Group, the latest topic “Is Sales ready for social media?” got me to thinking. The real question to me is: “is Sales is ready for Social CRM?” By just just focusing on Social Media, it sounds like marketing and technology, Social CRM incorporates much more. Since there are so many definitions floating about, you may not even know what I am talking about, so we should quickly establish a baseline. Without throwing a definition at you, the essence of Social CRM is how companies need to extend their current CRM solution (read technology and processes) to account for extremely knowledgeable, hyper-connected, vocal customers. In the case of Sales people, they are not yet customers, they are potential customers.
I will start with my answer
Sales is absolutely ready to leverage Social (read Networks, Media and Business). Sales individuals will not utilize social technology the same as others. Sales will methodically leverage what they need to in order to get deals done. This includes:
1 – Knowing how to solve the specific problem their customer is having,
2 – Understanding the personal value the purchaser has tied to the ‘deal’
3 – Learning as much about the customer, and competition as possible
4 – Leveraging personal networks for the same
Interestingly, this list is not all that new. Sales people have been doing all of this for years, in theory they can just do it more easily now. I do not think Sales people by nature are very collaborative, at least not in the way many of the people using Social Media tools do, though this is visceral, I do not have good data here.
Social CRM brings value back to the individual Sales person
This is new. I am calling a spade a spade here. For years, a centralized CRM application was more about organizations making sure that the contacts were centrally managed, that the sales team was keeping the status of deals up to date (for management). That the reports being run by management were accurate and that finance could manage the cash flow. I have been known to say it before, CRM 1.0 was about managing money, not customers.
Donal Daly wrote an interesting piece a few days ago, which takes my approach and makes it sound gentle. He goes after the Forecasting piece pretty hard. I sent the article to a C-level friend, told him to take a look at the article, but here is my summary:
1 – Each sales person spends up to 2.5 hours each week on a task that is worthless
2 – For most companies, the forecasts are less than 75% accurate (survey data to back this up)
3 – This includes the standard hedging, sandbagging, massaging, etc.,…
What if a sales person had more confidence in their information? What if, monitoring and alerting of social channels notified Sales people when something was going on – like a job shift, a colleague leaving a company, a client posting jobs for a competing product? What would the result be if Sales finally started to see the value of CRM? To me, they would be willing to put more in to the application. They might be able to spend more time on the most important type of Social Networking, you know a phone call, or some time on the golf course.
We would love to hear your thoughts!