Traditional tools emphasize contacts, calendars and leads. You need a new kind of tool to manage today’s more personal interaction.
Social media sites are a mixed blessing. On one hand, you can listen to your potential customers as they tell you and others on their networks what they like and don’t like, what they’re doing, what they want and what they need. That outpouring can give you tremendous insight into who would be receptive to learning about you and how you might help them.
On the other hand, social media have buried you in communications and connections. You know what you need to do but you don’t have enough time to do it all. With all of the noise in your email inbox and your social networks, it’s hard to know where to focus your efforts.
Sifting Through The Clues
As you develop relationships with customers and prospects online, you need tools dedicated to the management of those critical connections. Traditional marketing software is not designed for this purpose. Rather, you must be able to:
- Pull together all of the conversations with your targeted audience: the emails, the tweets, the status updates, the activities — every related detail
- See the connections that your customers and prospects resonate with – and who they don’t. Who are they influenced by, and who influences them? Opportunities lie in those associations.
- Determine which networks are attracting the people who you want to attract
- Tailor your interaction so that you’re delivering the most effective message to the most potentially receptive people at the most opportune time.
Social Relationship Marketing Requires the Right Tools
You need a capable social relationship manager, an online solution that does all of those things and more, within an exceptionally clean, simple, intuitive interface. Such an application needs to understand that the sales role has changed, that the new social Marketing is about developing and nurturing relationships with prospects and customers who have already done their research on your products and services and don’t need a sales pitch.
Today’s customers want to know you, the person representing the product online. Can you solve a problem of theirs? Make their lives a little better or easier or more productive or enjoyable? Why should they engage with you and not the competition? An effective social relationship manager accommodates that interaction wherever it occurs online.
Its core should consist of comprehensive profiles – preferably imported from an existing database — that include each individual’s streams of social activity. These tools should automatically record every exchange you’ve had with customers and prospects and provide pathways for immediate online communication as well as future, scheduled messages. They need to quickly pull up a list of everyone who has asked for a sample or free trial, or who live in your eastern metro sales district, or who purchased a product that’s been recently upgraded.
Simplicity, Clarity, Focus
Your social relationship manager needs to synchronize with existing calendars so no time-sensitive opportunity is lost. It should alert you when someone has changed jobs or is celebrating a birthday or will be attending a meeting with you. It must provide a way to track the progress of leads and pending deals. And to accommodate the other online worlds that your customers inhabit, it should integrate with best-of-breed applications that support related sales and marketing efforts.
It should do all of this with minimal work on your part, letting you focus instead on the constant, real-time sharing that holds the keys to successful business relationships. The best social relationship managers help you easily monitor and network, and they give you access to insight that can help you turn casual online exchanges into relationships and prospects into customers.