The Evolution of CRM in the Age of Social Media

April 4, 2012

We are fortunate to have caught up with Russ Hill, President of Ultimate Lead Systems. His company has been helping manufacturers close the loop between leads and sales for over 25 years. Russ has been a strategic partner of ours for several years and we have numerous clients using his systems.

In the 25-plus years Russ has been in this business, he’s seen lots of changes in how leads are delivered and with social media, how they are created. This brings to light the need to develop a social media strategy to generate sales. It also requires CRM and lead management programs that ultimately enable companies to track sales results.

Listen to our conversation – click below.



Are You Talking to Professional Tradesmen?

April 3, 2012

I’m sure you’ll answer yes, but are you talking with them or at them? We all assume that email or phone calls are the best way to communicate with your customers. I’m surprised when I ask our clients that question that it’s based on their assumptions on how their customers wanted to be contacted.

It’s interesting that we all want to build relationships and engage our customers, but if you think about it, you’re doing it on your terms not necessarily on theirs.

Here’s what I’d suggest. Have your customer service department contact your customer base and ask them how they want to be contacted (most of this can be done on regular inbound calls), for example, regarding new products or new training that’s available. You may be surprised at their answers.

For new products, they may want a one-on-one with their salesman, and for training, they may want to be contacted by email. They should touch most of your customers in a normal period of a month or so, and for those that are reached from inbound calls, start an outbound campaign to those that haven’t purchased for some time. It will give your customer service people a reason to reach out, and who knows, they might even sell something!

I’m assuming you’re working with some sort of CRM system that can be updated, and when new things come up that need to be shared, you have a better chance of getting that message out if you deliver it the preferred way the customer wants.

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.


Leverage Your Presence on Social Media Sites

July 8, 2009

Are you taking advantage of the numerous sites out there that can drive traffic back to you? If your online presence is limited to things like banner ads and blogging, you’re missing out on some great social media marketing opportunities. socialsitesFollowing is a link to 50 sites you may want to visit. Granted, they may not all be applicable, but I’ll bet you’ll find plenty to keep you busy for a while. Take your social media networking to the next level. Enjoy!

Inside CRM, 50 social sites that everybody needs a presence on.

Nicky Jameson, There’s more to social networking than LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.


Why Your Sales Force Needs Social Media, and It’s Not What You Think.

June 24, 2009

11945 netwSocial media is always talked about in the context of being a marketing tool. While I agree that social plays a big role in marketing, it can also help in the selling cycle. No, I’m not saying that social media is going to sell anything. That’s not its purpose.

Social can help in the sales process, and according to a recent post by Nicky Jameson, Do social media tools help B-to-B companies sell?, she points out that social can’t help close the sale. There are CRM tools out there that serve that function. Nicky says that by using social in conjunction with a CRM program, it will help the sales process forge new relationships and connections based on trust. She stresses that the relationship comes first. You must know, like and trust someone before you start doing business with them.

Social can, though, identify, evaluate, engage, promote, measure and improve relationships with potential customers. All valuable info that sales would love to have before talking to a professional tradesman. The competitive landscape has changed and users are more likely to know a great deal about solutions to their problems before they talk to anyone. In a recent BtoB magazine post, the DMA conducted an online survey to more than 3000 companies. Here’s what they found:

More than 70% of companies are currently using social networks for branding and collaboration purposes, with many viewing it as a key voice-of-the-customer tool, according to a new survey by the Direct Marketing Association.

According to DMA’s “Social Media Survey,” conducted by the organization’s Social Media Council, almost 60% of those surveyed think that social networking can have a high impact on brand awareness, with more than 45% viewing social outreach as important in providing customer insights.

So many times the marketing departments are so busy compiling all this info on your customers and potentials that they sometimes forget to share it with the front line guys in sales. According to Aberdeen Group research, top-performing companies are turning to social media as a way to connect their sales force to subject matter experts within the company so they will reduce time spent in preparation and more time selling.

The bottom line is a well-informed and educated sales force (not only on products, but on what’s happening in the social space that they play in) will represent you better and sell more!

How are you using social in conjunction with your sales force?

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