The Benefits of Social CRM

Jon Ferrara
Nimble CEO, Jon Ferrara

Do you still decide which product to buy based on what a salesperson tells you? Or do you increasingly find yourself turning to online reviews and forums, and even social networks like Facebook, instead?

Social networking and the Internet have transformed consumer behavior.

So how can companies best thrive in this new business climate? We recently interviewed Jon Ferrara, CEO of Nimble, on the subject. Ferrara has over two decades of experience in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and believes that the emerging practice of Social CRM (and organization-wide collaboration) is the key to happier customers…and better bottom lines.

HootSuite recently added Nimble to its platform, in its first social CRM App Directory integration. To try it out, log into HootSuite and install Nimble by clicking below:

Try It Now


HootSuite: What exactly is Social CRM?

Jon Ferrara: Social CRM are a series of tools that empower a company to more effectively engage with their customers to enable them to become a social business.

HS:  And why is it so important for companies today to become social businesses?

JF: We live in a world where customers fast-forward through TV commercials. They make decisions by having conversations amongst themselves. Then, they contact the company—to whatever channel or department they want—and expect an authentic and relevant response, in a timely fashion.

So if you want to actually get connected with prospects and customers you need to go where they’re having the conversations. To derive revenue from prospects and customers you need to find out where they’re having conversations and get involved in those conversations so that when they do make the decision they think of you. Social CRM allows you to do this most effectively as an organization.

HS: How exactly?

JF: Social CRM tools (like my product Nimble) basically gives all team members of an organization—not just salespeople and community managers—access to a comprehensive database that has relevant information on customers or potential customers. They can use this information to their advantage to have more authentic and relevant conversations with their customers.

In order for a company to function effectively today in the social business world, they need to have their key customer facing team members in sales, marketing customer service, product, and especially in the c-level executives all participating in the conversation.

These are the questions that employees should be asking whenever they touch a client: How are we connected? Who on my team is connected? What has been said? What has been done? What needs to be done?

A Social CRM tool like Nimble will provide all of these answers immediately, and facilitate higher quality client engagement.

HS: Could you give us a real-world example to to illustrate the process?

JF:  Ok. So today, your company is silos of information. You and your co-workers use Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn and Salesforce and nobody has connections across any of those things.

What a Social CRM tool like Nimble can do is automatically bring together all contacts, any direct or indirect communications, any scheduled activities like calls or meetings, any mentions on Twitter, and much more…all into a single company record. So when you bring up a client’s record, you have a complete view of who this person is, who they’re connected to at your company, what conversations or transactions are occurring or have occurred.

It does this by unique identifiers in the recipient. So basically if you sent me an email, in my record in Nimble at your corporate office, that email is in there. Any email that is sent by any team member at your company to Jon Ferrara gets recorded in the Jon Ferrara record. Any direct message or mention that occurs in Twitter, any Facebook message, any Linkedin connection, basically any contact that occurs across any of these channels is automatically linked to Jon Ferrara as well as who did it. You can go and view any record in Nimble and see anybody in my team who has ever touched that contact. You can even go and view the complete conversation history.

It boils down to having context to contacts so that the whole company is always kept in the loop. This empowers team members across the board to provide better customer engagement and experiences …without having to do all of the tedious legwork of logging and recording everything all the time.

Nimble in HootSuite
Nimble in the HootSuite dashboard.

HS: What is the best part about Nimble’s recent integration into the HootSuite dashboard?

JF: The best part about it is that I love the wide view that HootSuite provides me of the various streams that i’m ‘listening’ to. Also, the integration with HootSuite allows me to tie conversations to the contacts that I’m having them with, so that my team and I have a single record to see all of the conversations and activities and are able to then schedule the follow-up necessary in order to nurture that relationship.

Being able to see all the conversations that you or your team members have ever had (direct or indirect) across any social channel within that window, is tremendously powerful.

Learn more about how to use Nimble in the HootSuite dashboard here.

Try Nimble in the HootSuite dashboard today and start collaborating more effectively:

Try It Now