A number of startups have had some success by leveraging social media as part of their CRM initiative out-of-the-box. I can see why it’s such a sound strategy. If you’re a successful startup, it means your company has properly identified an addressable market and customer base; a customer base you want to be actively engaged in.
The problem is startups often stumble when they get caught up in the inward strategic processes and technologies. Social media, by its very nature, provides a catalyst to refocus a company’s efforts outward, and in the process, allow a smaller business to find out what the market is really thinking about.
In short, social media can act as a springboard into a more mature CRM strategy by giving startups the market perspective of what customers think. And while I’m not suggesting replacing an SMB CRM suite with social media outright, it can act as a foundational guide to establish a more developed CRM strategy during that critical period of rapid growth.
In other words, CRM isn’t going to help a company generate tons of revenue from Day One. A basic contact management and sales tracking tool coupled with freely available social networking tools can increase a startup’s chances of success and help define its future investments by helping it take an outward focus on the market.