123 = Success: Step 1 = Get a CRM System; Step 2 = Establish a Presence on Social Media; Step 3 = Put Them Together!

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You can’t get to Step 3 without Steps 1 and 2.  So let’s start with Step 1: CRM (Customer Relationship Management).  If you already have a great CRM system, you’re 33% of the way to success.  If you don’t have a CRM system, you probably need one.  Contact management systems like GoldMine and ACT! do not have the full functionality of a comprehensive CRM system, one that offers Sales Force Automation (SFA), Marketing Automation, and Service Management.  

To take your business to the next level, Step 1 is to get CRM!  

Now that you have a great CRM solution in place, it’s time to move on to Step 2: social media.  If you’re already there, you’re 66% of the way to success.  If you don’t have a presence on social media, I’m betting it’s because you’re one of those people who don’t believe that Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and blogs can actually be important platforms for your business.  Why on earth would I make that assumption?  I’ll tell you why.  I would have said the same thing a few short months ago.  But I’ve been proven wrong.  Here are a few fascinating statistics by an acknowledged expert in the field, Erik Qualman:

  1. By 2010 Gen Y will outnumber Baby Boomers….96% of them have joined a social network
  2. Social Media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the Web
  3. Years to Reach 50 million Users:  Radio (38 Years), TV (13 Years), Internet (4 Years), iPod (3 Years)…Facebook added 100 million users in less than 9 months
  4. With more than 500 million users, Facebook is now used by 1 in every 13 people on earth; more than 250 million of them (over 50%) log in every day
  5. If Facebook were a country it would be the world’s 3rd largest.  Only China and India are more populous 
  6. % of companies using LinkedIn as a primary tool to find employees….80%
  7. The #2 largest search engine in the world is YouTube
  8. 34% of bloggers post opinions about products & brands
  9. In the near future we will no longer search for  products and services they will find us via social media
  10. More than 1.5 million pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) are shared on Facebook…daily.

To take your business to the next level, Step 2 is to establish a social media presence!    

Now that you have a great CRM system in place and you’ve established an active social media presence, it’s time to move on to Step 3: Put them together.  This is where I have to get product specific, if only because my knowledge in this case is limited to Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  I will also reveal that I’m not there yet!  But I’m planning to be there very soon, because I believe that all 3 steps will spell greater success for my company.  So here’s what I know about CRM and social media integration (and I invite comments from anyone and everyone who has additional information on this relatively new topic). 

Parrot by Webfortis (www.webfortis.com/Parrot) is a product that integrates Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. View a sneak peek of the Parrot social media integrator or download Parrot free at the Dynamics Marketplace.

123 = Success!  I wish you the best of luck on your journey.

By Dan Smith, Altico Advisors, Microsoft CRM partner serving Massachusetts (MA)

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