Chances are if you go looking for the word ‘contactability’ in the online dictionary you won’t find it. Technically, it isn’t a word; However, in some savvy sales/marketing teams it is not only a part of their new lexicon, but it is also the holy grail of quantifying the true power of their customer relationship management tool (CRM.)
One of the suggested new word definitions of contactability is that ‘account managers need to increase customer contact points they have with clients e.g. email, mobile number, home number, office number etc.’ However, we believe this is just one part of the evolving definition.
Being connected isn’t enough. We need to add the social part to the equation: multiplying the effectiveness of the human equation by increasing the number of meaningful social touches.
We all know that CRM is an essential component of life in sales. It is an approach to managing a company’s interaction with current and future customers. Taking a hard look at your CRM means really looking into the viability of its entries and asking the question: does it need a tune-up? In a high-performance engine, raising the octane level of fuel allows the racecar to perform at its peak. The CRM fuel in this metaphor is contactability; the interactions that drive further business intent. The more meaningful and consistent sales touches through a variety of means, including social media, the better the fuel that increases the velocity of the sales process. The goal is to turn your CRM into a high-performance machine by evolving into a Social CRM.
According to Wikipedia, a Social CRM is defined as, “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.”
The question now centers around the quality and quantity of sales interactions -the relationship ‘fuel’ – with those customers being added in CRM: are they contactable, and if not, what can be done to make them more receptive to further inquiry? The answer: relationship building through modern selling and the subsequent creation of a Social CRM (SCRM).
For many teams, not only are they unaware of the contactability definition, but they are in the dark about modern selling and how the modern buyer’s journey has changed. There is no doubt that companies and their sales teams are paying more attention to social and have thrown resources at potential online customers, but the rules of the game have changed and they are already one goal down. Today’s buyer still needs a challenger to help them negotiate today’s winding technological road. The major difference: the buyer finds a seller when they are ready; and they start their search on social B2B business platforms, like LinkedIn.
The buyer’s journey of today is a constellation of travels and behaviours that have them pushing the infinite reaches of internet research. There are so many individual journeys happening, that traditional marketing campaigns simply can’t effectively scan the preverbal ‘night sky of potential customers’ anymore. Locating an ideal business persona in today’s omnichannel world takes a team approach and a willingness to step out of the silo. Sales teams also need to be present to disrupt the journey and start the conversation as early as possible. Sales needs to adjust and slide up the funnel and marketing needs to slide down to stay agile.
Simply throwing information at today’s consumer isn’t effective. There isn’t a straight line into the funnel anymore. Two reasons: First, the negative appeal of automation and its often relentless, mass direct marketing outreach has forced today’s ‘informed’ buyer to switch-off and move into their own autonomous research; Second, today’s buyer needs highly relevant content and expert guidance that often misses the mark either or simply is not available.
What can be done? Activate our sales and marketing teams, align them and have them reach out and be ready to receive today’s elusive buyer whenever they come out of their inter-web, information quest.
Plugging social selling into the equation and leveraging social B2B platforms like LinkedIn give us the ability to start to engage with today’s buyer early, know them and begin to map their constellation of buying behavior with super relevant content shares and valuable two-way communication.
Communication is the hallmark of any sales conversation. In a SCRM, contactability shortens the distance between a lead and customer. Just like relationship building is at the core of any sales effort, the more you uncover about your customer, the better you can help them solve their business problems. Taking a second look at your CRM and really asking the tough questions about connectivity and contactability can help restore your CRM to its former glory by incorporating the social component.
Credibility is a gamechanger. The more you get to know your customer online through social interaction, the more fruitful your future efforts will be for you and your team when its time to launch the business intent and land a positive business outcome. Being connected is one thing, being known and ultimately trusted is another. Knowing that those customers in CRM are indeed more than just connections is the first major step.
- Focusing on ‘contactability’ vs ‘connectivity’ is the new way to increase the power and effectiveness of your CRM
- CRM contactability shortens the distance between a lead and a customer
- Creating a Social CRM fueled by the addition of meaningful touch points supports contactability, not just connectivity
- Leveraging modern selling increases contactability
If you want to know more about how the buyer’s journey has changed, how to apply social selling strategies or how to increase your contactability within your targeted accounts, subscribe to our newsletter so that you can get the latest news in digital marketing and sales and excel in this digitalized world.
Eric Haar – Business Social Selling Coach at Tricycle Europe