Tips for Connecting with Today’s Prospect Using Social CRM

This post was contributed by Jon Ferrara, current CEO of Nimble LLC and co-founder of GoldMine. Hear his breakout session, Connecting with Today’s Prospect: Strategies for Success with Social CRM, Mobile Tools & Social Media, at the Sales Strategies in a Social & Mobile World conference on November 15 in Santa Monica.

In the not-so-distant past, marketing managers threw leads over the wall to salespeople, who put them into a traditional CRM system. Some of that data was a day, a week, or even a month old by the time it got entered. This left the sales team with cold leads.

Maybe something like this is still occurring in your company and you’re ready to shift to a better system.

Here’s what you should know about prospects who visit your website:

  • Where the prospect is coming from
  • How many times the prospect has visited your site
  • What content the prospect has downloaded
  • How many webinars the prospect has viewed

Obviously, this list can go on. (You can also instantly be notified whenever anyone signs up for any kind of free trial offer.)

Now, wouldn’t it be great if you used this information to give marketing feedback on the quality of leads they’re generating? That’s what I call communication between sales and marketing departments—and that’s how a closed-loop marketing system should work!

You should expect any software that supports closed-loop system to provide detailed social background information so real-time actionable updates on conversations are automatically linked to the contact record.

Wouldn’t it be great to see what a prospect is saying in a social stream and engage him or her in a conversation that is automatically tracked for future reference? By talking with your leads, you’ll learn about their needs; eventually, you’ll be able to provide a great solution tailored to them.

How do you get started? The first step is implementing a social CRM that can help you track conversations across all of your social networks and relate them back to a single contact record. Then you do what comes naturally: build relationships.

In the old days you had to walk into somebody’s office and look around at pictures, diplomas, and books to find common ground. Only then were you were able to create intimacy and build trust so that the person would open up to you about his or her business needs. Today we’re doing this more and more electronically. Instead of visiting someone’s office, we connect via Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, where we often can get a holistic view of their wants and needs.

The problem is we have to track these conversations in 6 different tabs in our browsers and in three different applications on our desktops. With this chaotic and disjointed method it’s hard to keep track of what you said to a prospect, let alone what your team members are saying.

And frankly, to be a successful social business today, you have to have a complete picture of the communications happening with your customers. You have to understand what they’re saying to the world, what they’re saying to your company, and what your company is saying to them. You have to go out on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to see real conversations take place. On social networks you won’t get information bundled into a neat package that you can upload into your marketing automation software, but you will put your finger on the pulse of the real issues facing your customers, in their own words. And if you use a social CRM, you’ll be able to connect these conversations with your email communications for a full picture. You’ll see your social leads as people not just a name that submitted a form.

A social CRM will help you connect the dots and organize your team. This is vital because when you have the ability to listen and engage externally, communicate and collaborate internally, and have all that connected to your contacts – your customers, your prospects, your vendors, your constituencies – social business magic takes place and you start closing more deals.

About Lisa

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