Connecting with customers is one of the challenges of nearly every business, so it makes sense that business leaders would find easy solutions to managing that challenge. This often means searching for software that will make the task easier.
In the past, the market of customer relationship management software was a homogenous field – software solutions offered more or less all of the same functions. That meant business owners only had to decide which software vendor was the most convincing when selecting a CRM application. Then Web 2.0 arrived. It revolutionized our idea of the internet completely. In fact, it not only revolutionized our idea of the internet but also of how we communicate – and it brought movements in the software market.
Soon after the evolution of Web 2.0 a new term was introduced into the CRM software space. People started talking about Social CRM (SCRM) and new business software solutions were created to meet that need. That’s a good thing for business. A lot of new useful business apps with social features are now available for business owners.
However, there is still some confusion regarding the exact difference between CRM Apps and Social CRM solutions. Indeed, the focus of each software type is a little bit tricky to understand. Looking at the three main differences between the two is helpful in clarifying the differences.
The Three Main Differences of CRM and SCRM Software
Overall, the main differences of CRM and SCRM lie in three basic functions:
1. Data-driven vs. content-driven
The main reason why businesses invest in CRM software is to store contact data. It was and still is important to store customer information at one central location because it improves the ease and effectiveness of your business communication.
Also in order to keep track of appointments, notes, potential deals or other activities, a CRM application is a basic necessity. Social CRM takes this one step further. It helps you to get the attention of people who are searching the internet trying to overcome business challenges.
If you offer the right content to those people, you will have the attention of this audience immediately, which leads to growing lead generation and lower customer acquisition costs.
Apart from creating attractive content, social listening has become a key pillar for SCRM strategies. Reacting to negative tweets or answering questions on Facebook are two examples of this very proactive customer retention strategy, which will positively affect your brand as well as your customer service.
2. Process-centric vs. conversation-centric
The focus of traditional CRM applications lies in implementing and automating processes. Each section of your company may use a CRM solution a bit differently – for example, management wants to standardize sales processes and customer service wants to ensure proper handling. This is what traditional CRMs are about; they turn activities and tasks into the correct sequences.
A SCRM application on the other hand, concentrates on meaningful conversations with the hope of converting them into clicks or deals. Providing good content is one part of this strategy, what a SCRM helps you do is to create conversations via comments left on a blog article or the ability to follow your company on Twitter.
A social CRM app increases the likelihood of engaging customers into conversations, which can result in increased sales.
3. Operationally-focused vs. people-focused
Managing customer information plays a key role in the ability to react to requests and to properly keep track of closed deals. The ability to have better communication between sales and marketing is one of the reasons why many companies decide on a CRM application.
Traditional CRMs concentrate on operational effectiveness and SCRM apps are all about people and communities. The focus is more on participating in ongoing conversations and embracing influencers of your market, such as popular bloggers, to help you build an outstanding reputation among your target audience.
It’s easy to see that SCRM applications bring additional value to modern businesses. If you want to bring on new customers in times of Web 2.0, you have to go beyond the traditional CRM. Focusing on tactics and strategies is important, but a two-way interaction with your customers is priceless.