Why SCRM is More Powerful With CRM

SCRM stands for Social Customer Relationship Management it’s the burgeoning name for how corporations plan to track and manage customer relationships through social tools (think FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn). I recently wrote about my own reasoning on why SCRM shouldn’t be called SCRM and that corporations can’t “manage” customers or expect to manage customers in the same way anymore.    The problem is that  public conversations aren’t as easily scripted.  If something goes wrong during the marketing or conversation on a social site there is a great risk of backlash from more than just the one engaged person.

Social sites enable the group or mob mentality, ask Frankenstein how the mob worked out for him in the end.  However thinking a bit more on the topic, CRM can and should still play a roll in the marketing activities of companies.  At this point I’d like to define my idea of CRM vs. SCRM.  CRM is one-to-one marketing, SCRM is one-to-many AND one-to-one-visible-to-many.  So to recap:

CRM: A company markets to one individual through a more direct private channel (e-mail, phone, snail mail)  These conversations or marketing messages seldom are recounted to the public (social media is changing some of this … but still you get the point.).

SCRM: A company markets to a group of like minded individuals and hopes to engage in conversation with them, or a company markets to one individual but in an open channel that others have visibility to such as twittering with an individual openly.  At any point others may join in the conversation or offer comments.

Adding the “S” into CRM

Don’t get me wrong I think CRM still and always will hold a place in marketing.  There is proven value there and to really make CRM shine in the SCRM world there only needs to be a few simple changes made to existing CRM tools.  Here’s the trick.  Start to capture what social sites your audience likes to partake in.  Just as you want to know a customers preferred communication method, you will want to know which are their preferred social sites.  Don’t ask me how to get that data, that’s up to you to figure out.  Once you know which sites they are active on and if you can get their “handle” for that site, you can start to measure if they are solid amplifiers or not.

This is where things start to get interesting,  traditional CRM databases see a lot of slow growth, and take a lot of time manage.  What I’m suggesting is that you develop a database of strong social amplifiers (people who are active AND are listened too).  Once you know who these amplifiers are target them.

Amplifiers LOVE to Talk

This is where SCRM starts to help you weed out people.  Social amplifiers usually love to talk.  Social amplifiers also love to give their opinion.  The nice thing about this for a company is that you start to open up private dialogs with your SCRM targets.  These conversations should be one-to-one open and honest.  Dialog your SCRM individual to see what they like what they don’t like.  Are they someone who could be an advocate for you company (do they seem to share or represent ideas and beliefs of your company)?  Are they someone who has had a good experience with your brand in the past?  Would they be interested in a trial offer you have? or free product?  This may all seem labor intensive but stick to it, there’s going to be a pay off shortly.

When you get to the part where you offer your SCRM individual a free trial or a product to use ask them about their experiences ask them what they liked and what they didn’t like.  Ask what they would improve in your product.  Be honest and respectful of the dialog.  If they suggest something that your company has no intention of implement be honest as to why you may not go that route, surprisingly most people are pretty understanding and just happy to have a voice. Now here’s the math part and why this exercise was so powerful.

One-to-One Can Equal One-to-Hundreds

Assume the average person has 50-100 friends on their social network.  Consider that the best amplifiers have 1000s of friends on social networks.  When an amplifier speaks they get a message out to large masses  Not just to their masses but to some of the friends of their masses as well.  If you’ve treated your SCRM target fairly, honestly and justly through your CRM campaign, your CRM individual will spread your word for you through their social channels.  This is where SCRM comes into play.  Once the word gets out, ensure you are following the dialog and engaging with the audiences discussion of your product or the experience.  Be ready to answer questions, more importantly be ready to ASK questions.  Also invite them to have the dialog on your site.  Have them register for you bulletin boards or emails, and provide outlets for them to post questions or comments.

Now to put the math together.  marketing to 1 person, amplified to to say 10,000 people (not unrealistic on Twitter, or LinkedIn, Facebook I think currently caps you at 5,000 friends). of which assume 5% engage in further conversation which is 500 assume that 1% of that group amplifies to their smaller group of  friends of 50-100.  So 5 times 50 or 100 is 250 to 500 additional people who weren’t even part of the original conversation.  These numbers may seem small when considering a traditional email database that may have one million subscribers.  but typically you get a click through rate of about 6% so 60,000 people click to view your campaign, consider a conversion rate of 3% to your desired goal you get: 1,800 conversions.  Of these 1,800 conversions some of these people were probably going to buy your products anyways, I’m not sure how many but it would be stupid to assume none of them would have bought your product or service.  Also these are 1,800 people who are already familiar with your brand (that’s why they are already in your CRM database).

Lets get back to the SCRM folks now, that 10,500 potentially 10,500 people who aren’t even in your CRM database and 10,500 people who might not have ever considered your company, your products or your services.  These are also 500 people who are active and engaged not just clicking a link to buy a product, but hearing from a trusted 3rd party source about what you may offer for them.  10,500 people may not click to buy right away but are 10,500 people who now may want to engage with your company more (because you worked one solid lead through social means.  So if you were to work 100 people through the same social means you would be looking at nearly the same result as your email blast to one million people.  However lets make this even more realistic.  Suppose your CRM database is filled up with all the people who have a FaceBook account.  If you were to offer each FaceBook account an affiliate program, and for each referral sale they generated they would get 5 dollars, supposed that database is filled with 20,000 people, if 1% of that group or 200 people convinced one friend to buy a product you just made 200 sales to new customers that you didn’t market to directly.  If you’re short term then traditional CRM works great, if you’re long term and looking to build NEW customer relationships then SCRM is the path for you.  It all comes down to which is more valuable the old longstanding customer or the NEW customer.  I’m proposing both are.  The old customers need to become your voice, and need to be treated as such. The new customers will eventually become your old customers and fill in the life cycle.

SCRM means no long talking to your customer in a one sided manner, it means having real dialog with your existing customers, and the interesting part of this and topic for another article is that the company personality may not be the personality of the company as a whole but of the individuals who interact with the end users.  I’m thinking of the guys like Matt Cutts who are as much speaking on behalf of Google as they are also “THE FACE” of Google in many forums.  So how does a company cultivate it’s social media talent?   I’ll ponder that shortly.

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