Posted on 22 January 2014.
Social CRM is a topic that many of us have heard mentioned but probably know little about. It is something we’ve covered before when I wrote for FC Business Magazine back in 2012, but things move on and its importance grows. Here is a guest post that will explain all that I cannot…
Guest Post: Fiona Green is Director & Co-Founder of Winners, a CRM and BI agency that provides a range of services to the sports industry. Fiona joined the sports industry 26 years ago and has gained her extensive knowledge and experience working around the world for major international events and governing bodies. Previously focussing on intellectual property rights, Fiona now enjoys taking the principles of CRM and applying them to the sports industry
OK FC Barcelona, you’ve got 52 million likes. And congratulations Vancouver Canucks on your 1 million+ YouTube views (albeit for a rather unsavoury brawl with the Calgary Flames!) And Arsenal, great going with your 3.4 million followers.
But how many of these millions of “fans” do you actually know, how many of them are your customers?
The most widely accepted definition of Social CRM is this by Paul Greenberg , author of the best-selling “CRM at the Speed of Light: Social CRM 2.0 Strategies, Tools, and Techniques for Engaging Your Customers”:
“Social CRM is a philosophy and a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes 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. It’s the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation.”
And in twitter-speak (i.e. less than 140 characters):
“The company’s response to the customer’s control of the conversation”
But admittedly we don’t think Paul takes it far enough – maybe it’s because these definitions were written in 2009 and social has come one heck of a long way since then.
We look at the world of social media, and more importantly where social engagement meets CRM, as the difference between implementing social and generating high levels of interaction, and analysing your implementation to inform future interactions…..while increasing your knowledge and understanding of your customers…..which will help you engage with them better.
We take the view that you can create the most impactful, interactive and engaging piece of social activity in the world , but if you don’t acquire, analyse and respond to the data that your activity generates, all you’re doing is creating a moment in time. No matter how fantastic that moment might be, it’s not going to support any of your business growth strategies – unless all you’re looking for is an increase in Facebook likes, Twitter followers or G+ connections.
When we talk about CRM, we define it as “getting the right message to the right person at the right time” – and then, depending on who we’re speaking to and their objectives, we add “to increase insight, engagement and yield”. So when we add “social” to CRM, the definition reads exactly the same. But here’s the core difference. In the world of Social CRM, not only do you not own the conversation, you don’t own the data or the communication channel.
And that’s where the real challenge is for the sports industry – we’re only just adopting CRM as a business growth strategy, yet we’ve been “doing social” for years. And now we’re asking you to apply these “new” CRM principles to something you’re already doing with great success, won awards and accolades for, and quite rightly been extremely proud of.
And we’re sitting here saying it’s not enough.
So let’s put that into perspective and try to justify our judgement. We all know that having 20 million Facebook likes doesn’t mean you have 20 million customers on Facebook. And despite Syncapse’s widely adopted view that a Facebook like is worth $174, there’s been no talk of Mourinho’s winter transfer budget being boosted in-line with the news of their social achievements so we have to assume Chelsea is in agreement.
This brings us back to what Social CRM is and more importantly, what it means for the sports industry.
If you can identify your Facebook likes, Twitter followers and YouTube viewers in your own database – if you know who they are, where they live, what they like, and what they want from you — you’ve passed the halfway line. If you can apply their social status/activity/sentiment to what you already know about them so you have a 360° view – and if you can use that information to increase your level of engagement/insight/yield on a one-to-one basis – then you’ve scored a hat-trick and are in the play-offs.
But if you still measure the return on your social media investment by the number of thumbs up you get, then you’re a long way from social CRM. It doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong – on the contrary, at least you’re looking for an ROI. But unless you link your social activity to your core CRM, you’re just creating a moment in time. You’re not adding to your bottom line.
So how do you actually do this? Well now here’s a funny thing. We talk about CRM being a “perfect circle” of 5 core elements – strategy, data, technology, process and culture – and how if they’re misaligned, one is given more importance than another, the circle collapses and so too does your CRM approach. One of the reasons we’ve adopted this matra is to take the emphasis OFF the use of technology – not to dismiss or discredit it – but to ensure it’s viewed as vital to successful CRM implementation as the other elements. (How many times have you heard of someone buying a CRM system then wandering why “CRM doesn’t work”?)
But with Social CRM I don’t mind admitting that actually, the technology plays more of a core role. Yes we still need a strategy in place, an understanding of data, regular processes and the right culture, but without the right technology in this instance, it’s hard to get your social CRM going purely because of the amount of data social media generates.
The good news is there are some nifty products out there that will help you get going. The current CRM system you’re using will either have an internal social streaming capability (Salesforce , Microsoft Dynamics and SAP have them) or you can use an add-on such as Nimble or HootSuite. Even if you’re not yet using a CRM system but just working with an email broadcast platform you’ll probably find an add-on for it (MailChimp has its own – SocialPro).
But here’s the bad news. Whatever software you use, without some level of manual intervention, we’re still not really able to understand EVERYTHING about our customers – how they feel about us, what they want from us – because the technology can only analyse structured data (such as contacts and activities), it can’t yet interpret unstructured data – or in this case, sentiment particularly when it comes to sarcasm or irony. How many times have you tweeted “Great pass” or commented “Yeah, I really like that” and actually meant the opposite? And who’s to know whether “you’re phat” really is a compliment or a put down?
We all know how important Social Media is to our future – it’s growing exponentially and shows no sign of slowing down – so we need to be thinking about how we use all that social activity and the data it generates to help us understand our fans and our businesses. And that means we need to add “social” to our CRM – not just as a word, but as a practise.
Back to Barca, the Canucks, and the Gunners – we know they’re already using CRM as a business strategy (not least because they use their websites for data collection) so they probably are also using social CRM.
But if not, at least they have an impressive number of likes, follows and views. And maybe that’s enough for them. But only for now.