On this weeks podcast, Jon Trask of Grass Shack Events & Media and Elizabeth Glau of Building Blocks Social Media continue their discussion of CRM tools for small business owners and entrepreneurs in the meetings industry. This programs focus is on social media connections to you CRM system and some ways to integrate social media into your customer relationships. While there are many tools and systems for larger businesses, they cast an eye toward inexpensive or free tools and ideas that small organizations can use to engage their customers as well as their potential customers.
Jon: Welcome back to the podcast. I’m here again today with Elizabeth Glau of Building Blocks Social Media. The last time Elizabeth was on with me, we were talking about CRM and software and small businesses. So we’ve come back to do kind of a follow-up on that and talk a bit more about some other things. I think today we’re going to focus a little bit on social and CRM.
Elizabeth: Yes. Thanks for having me again. I’m happy to be here.
Jon: Good to have you back.
Elizabeth: Yes. We felt like last time, we had so much more we wanted to talk about at the end of our CRM podcast and we started getting into a little bit of social CRM topics, so we kind of just decided maybe it’s better to do a follow-up on that topic.
Jon: Kind of worth a whole show, I think.
Elizabeth: Yes, exactly. Now that we’ve sat here and talked about some ideas and had a good time conversing about it – hopefully, we can keep it to one show.
Elizabeth: And not need another follow-up to the follow-up, but we’ll see how it goes. I guess the idea, kind of where we left off, was we were talking about CRM, which in case you didn’t hear the other one, is Customer Relationship Management. So basically it’s your database where you keep all of your customer contacts and things. Where we had started to kind of talk about was integrating social data into that CRM database. So potentially, and I think some of these systems will get better at integrating, and a lot of them say that they’re social now.
Elizabeth: However, as I kind of alluded to last time, the research that I have done has shown that none of them really are truly social. They say that they’re social in the sense that maybe it’s got a field where you can enter somebody’s Twitter handle into it or something like that. There is one that I mentioned last time. It’s called “Nimble,” that really does have a full integration, but they just aren’t doing – they’re just not ready yet. I don’t know.
Elizabeth: They’re in alpha or beta or something, but it’s been glitchy every time I’ve used it. So they’re the only ones that have potential, but I can’t quite fully recommend them…
Jon: They’re not quite there.
Elizabeth: …yet for that. So I think what we wanted to talk about today was having this social data like when you need it and where you want it. So one of the great examples that I like giving in presentations is say I’m about to email somebody and wouldn’t it be great to actually mention something that I saw on their online profile about what’s new with them or the last thing they tweeted or the last thing that they were talking about on Facebook and things like that. I can actually reference that in that conversation in an attempt to reference something that I really care about like as a person.
Elizabeth: You should tell the story you had about how we used to kind of build those relationships and keep those relationships going and how that’s changed.
Jon: Well, when we were chatting beforehand just putting the material together for this, I was telling Elizabeth a story about having a phone call come in like late in the day. This was probably about 15, 16 years ago, so it was really before there was social media and before there was a lot of Internet activity than just email. It was a potential customer who I had cold called on and said, “Can I talk to you a little bit about what you guys can do and what your capabilities are?” and I ended up on a conference call with her whole team, and as a result of that, getting an RFP and then doing up to 40 meetings a year for them for a while. It was a pharma group. And so something like that.
Actually, something that also comes into this conversation was I’ve had a lot of discussions with other people even outside of our industry who work in sales, and it is one of the challenges today. I mean we had a brief call on the example that I’m using and we were able to have some sort of relationship and it came through a recommendation, which I found out later where it came from. Information like that used to be shared on a phone call and you’d have an introductory chat and you’d get to know the person over time and ultimately get opportunity.
Elizabeth: But if I can interrupt, the trust – the relationship started because of the trust because you were referred by somebody else.
Jon: Right. Absolutely.
Elizabeth: So you weren’t just starting from scratch there. So yes.
Jon : So yes, I wasn’t just a cold call that had come in and they randomly picked out. But building those relationships take time and take an exchange of information and talking about what you like and what that person likes, and all of that builds up over time and there are a lot of people who try and sort of shortcut that with the process and it doesn’t really work. At the same time, what I was heading around to on people outside our industry, we’ve talked about the current economy and the way that people are buying. It’s very challenging because you don’t have time to build a relationship. I mean, 20, 30 years ago, people would go play golf for the afternoon and would go to a lunch.
Elizabeth: A free martini lunch, nonetheless.
Jon: Yes. Not the quick run through the sandwich shop.
Elizabeth: We’re really getting to know each other.
Elizabeth: That’s the idea, anyway.
Jon: So those all have their place, but now those aren’t really available tools. I mean, I can’t call up most of my customers and say, “Oh, do you want to take the whole afternoon off and go play golf with me?”
Elizabeth: Right. Exactly.
Jon: Not going to happen.
Jon: So how do you build those? The real crux of this is how do you start to build those relationships with people when people don’t have time to build relationships?
Elizabeth: Exactly. So that’s great. Yes. I loved it when Jon brought up that story about that salesperson he was talking to and the whole golf tie-in and everything because it made total sense with I think what we are trying to talk about today, is what are the ways in today’s world and today’s society with information overload and everybody on these social platforms are talking about themselves. We all love to talk about ourselves.
Elizabeth: Right? So a savvy networker is going to start listening. Talk less about yourself, right? Which is just good, basic social or sales skills anyway.
Elizabeth: Right? I had actually seen something the other day that said introverts are better salespeople because they shut up and listen, right?
Jon: Because they listen.
Elizabeth: What a concept! Like who knew? No, it was people that were in the middle of being introvert and extrovert.
Elizabeth: Like people that are right in the middle. That’s who it was because that’s where I am. That’s where I owned in on it. I was like, “Hey, that’s me! I got it. That makes sense.” So anyway, people are just talking about themselves all over social media. So you have the opportunity to engage in these conversations. It could be a potential client, it could be just someone else that is within your professional network. Whatever it is, start listening to what people are saying about themselves because they’re sharing the same type of information that you would maybe talk to somebody about on the golf course.
Elizabeth: They’re talking about their kids, they’re sharing pictures of their kids.
Jon: Their vacation.
Elizabeth: Right. Yes. So instead of saying, “Did you go on vacation this year?” Instead, you can start the conversation with, “How was your vacation in Hawaii?” I mean you saw the pictures that they posted. If you can even be more specific than that, it’s even better. But the idea – and this is one of the things, Jon, that we’re talking about before – was clearly, you actually have to be authentically, genuinely interested. If you just start stalking people online and referencing their vacations and stuff and it feels like it’s kind of out of the blue to them and a bit random…
Jon: It could be a little creepy.
Elizabeth: Right. They may not take it that way. So again, I think it’s think about the whole relationship cycle. Do you already have that trust? And I would point out – and this is why I pointed out in your story about you were referred by someone, which means in that scenario, you kind of had some of that trust without having to build it yourself.
Elizabeth: That’s another reason that these social media channels are so important for you to instead of or less so talking about yourself, but putting out good information – sharing good ideas, sharing industry articles and things like that – because you don’t realize how many people are actually seeing what you post.
Elizabeth: So you may start a conversation with somebody that you think is a little bit out of the blue. You haven’t talked to them in person too much, but you may be surprised to learn that they know all about you. If you’ve done a good job with your social media and you’ve made a positive impression on them, you might be able to call them and they feel like the relationship has already started. And then for you to say, “How was your vacation in Hawaii?” they might think that’s great.
Elizabeth: They might just think like that’s fantastic that you’re paying attention to me because I know I’m paying attention to you.
Elizabeth: So it’s being interested in each other.
Jon: As we talked about, it could be a little creepy or a little “stalkerish,” but at the same time, people are adapting to this and they’re adjusting and starting to understand that you’re putting public information out there. I mean, I’m always very cautious with what I put into my Twitter, into my Facebook, into my LinkedIn streams. So that information I know is going out into the public and it never goes back into the bottle.
Elizabeth: Yes. Yes, exactly. The Internet is written in ink [Laughs].
Elizabeth: That’s a line from The Social Network, by the way.
Jon: So you had a couple of different ways to integrate this, and we’re kind of looking again at ways that somebody who’s more of a small business because there are these great tools that you can pay lots of money and have whole teams monitoring, but we know a lot of the people that we’re kind of addressing this specific topic to don’t have those resources. So what could an individual do?
Elizabeth: Exactly. Again, our kind of goal, our track for the year, I think it’s going to be focusing on small businesses, independent players. So certainly you can’t afford a large social media monitoring system, and you may not even be aware that these types of things exist. But yes, there are huge computer systems that are set up to just monitor who’s talking about you. Of those people, who are the most influential? All kinds of crazy stuff. We have found a couple of tools for you that are better just kind of on an individual basis. A, they’re free.
Jon: Right. Which is always good.
Elizabeth: Right. These are free or cheap, and they really are things that are set up more towards small businesses and just individuals. Again, when we’re talking of B2B sales, business-to-business, I always have to remind people that business-to-business is more relationship-based. It’s more that person-to-person interaction and engagement than it is when you’re buying from Target or some big company.
Elizabeth: So one of the tools that you can look at is if you’re using Outlook, definitely and right away, you should look into the LinkedIn Outlook Connector, or it might just be Outlook Connector because I know you can also integrate Facebook in with that. Basically, all it does is you’ve got to start a new email and you type in – say I’m going to email Jon. So it will pull up a little picture of him on the bottom. There are ways that I can, once I’ve pulled him up, I can see. Again, like what the last thing was that he tweeted – or not tweeted. In this case it would be Facebook or LinkedIn.
Jon: Right. The last status update on those.
Elizabeth: It also has some other good features too. I can see all the emails that we’ve shared. Basically, things that are specific to my relationship with him. Again, referencing something that he might have just said I think goes a long way in continuing that relationship when I’m going to email him anyway about something.
Elizabeth: Another suggestion I have is if you are getting savvier with your smartphone, I would sync all of your contacts. So you’ve got your list of contacts in your phone and there are ways that you can sync them with those people’s Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter and everything else. This has really come in handy for me because sometimes I might not have an email address handy for somebody, but if they’ve made their email public on their Facebook profile, I can actually just pull it out right up with my phone under their contact. I’ve often also sent a message to somebody through Facebook if for some reason they didn’t make that public or whatever, I can’t find it.
Jon: You can’t find their email, yes.
Elizabeth: Then I can always just message them through Facebook, but they’re easy to find. I’m not going through one platform at a time to try to figure out, like how can I connect with this person? That kind of thing.
Jon: Well, and from the Mac perspective, there’s that integration now as well. Like in the mail program, iCalendar, all of those pieces do work together if you’re on a Mac and share that same sort of information. I even get notifications on my laptop – like you made an update about us recording a podcast that came through, I got a notification on my laptop while I was working that you mentioned me, basically.
Elizabeth: Right. Exactly. Something I just thought of actually is really a smart way to use Facebook these days. I mean you really should kind of separate people into different lists and groups and things anyway if you are at all concerned about privacy settings and who you’re sharing with who. Yes, it takes some work to do that and I know it’s not as easy as say it is on like Google+ where you’re forced to do it when you’re adding contact. You’re forced to put them in a circle.
Jon: In a circle, right.
Elizabeth: Right. Whereas on Facebook, you have to kind of go back in and make sure you do that, but make sure that you’ve got the people that you really want to make sure that you see their updates on. You can get notifications whenever they post a new update. Again, yes, that’s semi-stalker, but you may just do that like for your close family and friends and those kinds of groups.
Jon: You can also do notifications when there’s a mention of you. In the situation again that we’re sort of addressing here, it’s not like you’re a major company. So there aren’t going to be hundreds of tweets about you in a day, very likely. So set up those notifications in the areas so when you’re mentioned, you can hop on it and you can respond. When somebody says, “Hey, you did a great meeting in Las Vegas,” then you can respond back to them and thank them and engage them at that point. That’s where this whole CRM stuff comes in too.
Elizabeth: Yes. Exactly. So it’s being proactive in that case.
Elizabeth: So when people are giving you some goodwill and giving you some love on these social media channels, you definitely want to at least thank them, if nothing else. Thank you for the mention or the retweet or whatever. Best case scenario, you can make that message get more traction by quoting it instead of just replying or whatever. There are different ways to give it legs or whatever you want to say with that.
Jon: Sharing it and doing other things.
Elizabeth: Yes. I mean there are large corporations that have, again, these monitoring tools that give them the heads up, and a lot of these stuff can be automated as well. However, still, at the end of the day, you need that human element to it, right?
Elizabeth: There’s lots of good stories in hotels specifically, right? Scott Stratten had told this good story about hotel wake up calls are usually automated, but he was at this one hotel and he actually got a person on the line. They not only just scheduled his wake up call, which is what you would expect, but they asked him if he wanted breakfast or coffee or whatever it was 15 minutes after the wake up call, which he said you probably don’t want the person knocking on the door right when you wake up. You might need a few minutes to kind of gather yourself or whatever. There are so many good stories out there of how you can take this data that you’ve accumulated and maybe you’ve hooked into your CRM system and that kind of thing, but give that human element to it and you’ll really surprise somebody in a good way.
Jon: Right. I was in a marketing session late last year that talked about that, how generic advertising and generic contacting of people is really kind of dead. People want a personalized experience. There’s a huge challenge in personalizing that experience because like if I go into a store, sometimes I want to talk to somebody because I have a specific need, and other times, I want to just wander around, and how does that store know that? They don’t know which day they’re getting me, unless I tell them. So the CRM part of this too is maybe finding some of those clues that tell them how I want to be communicated with on that day or in general.
Elizabeth: I think there’s an app that I tried. Again, this might have been when they were like still in beta with, kind of, because there was this app that I tried using for a while. It’s called “shopkick.” What it was supposed to do was it would know when I walked into a Target, specifically, and it would send like coupons to my phone for things that it thought I wanted to buy.
Elizabeth: So this is kind of taking this to a new stream a little bit. Again, most people will be thinking like that’s crazy and I don’t want them stalking me in that way, but again, I think we’re just going to get more and more bombarded. It’s information overload. I want to see the messages for things that I want to buy. I want personalized advertising that’s geared towards me because it might be something I actually need or want. I do want to see those ads or do more research on them as opposed to some car that I’m not even in the market for or whatever, something I’m not going to buy.
Jon: That’s wasted on their part too.
Jon: It’s not really helping the situation.
Elizabeth: Nobody wants that.
Jon: It’s funny because there was a really interesting article that I pulled up from last year out of Businessweek. Let me get the author’s name. It’s Steven McKee and it’s from June 8th of 2012. He went through a lot of this idea of social connection to CRM and had a couple of funny ways of sort of defining it because he said some of it is like customer relationship manipulation and some of it is minimization. I remember the example of that one specifically was these phone trees that you bury yourself into. The companies love them because it saves them time…
Elizabeth: And money.
Jon: But people don’t like them. I don’t know anybody who says, “Wow! I want to call an automated desk” instead of a person at a hotel who’s going to take your wake up number.
Elizabeth: If they found a way to make it funny or something, and then maybe somebody might actually like that, but for the most part, no.
Jon: The mechanization was one of them as well, and that mechanization one kind of speaks to what you’re saying about the shopkick in the sense of you go on Amazon and while it’s good, sometimes, it still doesn’t understand you. So if I go on and I buy a gift, for example, for my niece’s kids. I bought a couple of toys over Christmas that I had shipped to their home. And so suddenly it starts suggesting things for me about kids.
Elizabeth: Right. It assumed you have kids.
Jon: I don’t have kids who are four and six years old and I’m not really always buying stuff for that. And so this automation part is good, but it still needs a human element. It needs somebody to look at it and say, “You know, that doesn’t fit at all with the pattern.”
Elizabeth: Yes, exactly. Yes, he did buy those toys at one time. However, if he really didn’t have kids, maybe he’d be – whatever.
Jon: If it were really smart, it would recognize that I’ve bought toys in December every year.
Elizabeth: There you go. Right. So in December it might suggest…
Jon: It might remind me.
Elizabeth: Something for the next age group or whatever, yes.
Jon: Maybe they’ll be doing that soon, and that’s one of the things that was crossing my mind as we prepped for this whole podcast, was probably the stuff has changed while we were recording this.
Elizabeth: [Laughs] There you go.
Jon: It’s such a moving target.
Elizabeth: Right. All of a sudden, this just in, there is an amazing social CRM tool now on the market!
Jon: Yes. It’s like you just have to keep up with it.
Elizabeth: Literally, right.
Jon: So I always tell people – a different topic. I had a conversation on a LinkedIn group about AV and someone was asking about oh, where do I find the neatest, coolest stuff? And it’s like yes, where here are some places you can find that, but you got to keep to the heart of the matter. The heart of the matter on the AV stuff was how are you engaging the audience. The heart of the matter on the CRM stuff is how are you engaging the audience. It’s relationship, it’s building, it’s talking. All of these things we’re talking about are just tools. They’re just ways to maybe try and do it more efficiently or effectively. So don’t get lost in that part of it and lose sight of the ultimate goal.
Elizabeth: Yes. There are tons and tons of tools, whether they be for the big enterprise level clients, corporations or even these little freebies here and there, which by the way, they’re free in the beginning. Nothing gets you hooked on well, if you just paid us this amount of money a month, you get these features.
Elizabeth: So I, of course, get suckered into those, but it is my job to kind of know what tools to recommend and what the latest things are out there. So speaking of tools, I’ll mention just a couple more.
Elizabeth: We’ve got “Hachi” – and of course I’m going to have to spell all these because they all have funny names with funny spellings, right? So Hachi. That’s how I would say it. I don’t even know if that’s the correct pronunciation or not, but it’s basically a program where you can get successful introductions to people that you might want to meet. Ask the best person in your network for an introduction to somebody that you want to meet and things like that.
Elizabeth: So it kind of seems like taking LinkedIn to the next level maybe, but it combines different profiles – Facebook, Twitter and all that stuff together. I mean LinkedIn is great for that just by itself, but clearly we’ve got other networks that we can use too. Just for social monitoring, we kind of alluded to quickly you want to know when somebody mentions you and talks about you and things like that. HootSuite has become a pretty basic tool. I used to, and even on the webinar today, I kind of introduced it as more of an intermediate level tool because it’s definitely not something that newbies are going to use, but really, anybody that’s kind of familiar with using Twitter, and Twitter specifically, but Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and just kind of wants one tool to put them all in one place and see different streams and be able to post in one place, HootSuite is great for that.
There’s another one called “Sprout.” Well I guess I should spell HootSuite for the people who don’t know that one either. So it’s HootSuite. I mean they have it as one word, but whatever. If you googled it with two words, I’m sure it would come up. I’m sure their SEO is accustomed to that. There’s another one that does a lot of similar stuff called “Sprout Social.” So two words. Actually, now that I’m looking at their website, it kind of looks like one word too. They just like to make two words into one word and call it a brand name.
Jon: Or put a period randomly in the middle.
Elizabeth: Yes, actually. Right. The one that you had written down.
Elizabeth: Right. It’s like Commune It, kind of, but it’s Commun.it. So another tool to play around with. Check it out, definitely. I think we could probably do a whole show on “Clout.”
Elizabeth: Klout is this whole other – in theory, that will tell you who’s influential as you are maybe looking at your contacts, your customers and things like that. That’s more of an advanced I think marketing strategy and social strategy, is really identifying who the influencers are.
Jon: So let’s save Klout for another one.
Elizabeth: That’s right. That’s a little bit controversial too. So we might save that one for later. There was a great presentation that I had seen at a conference I went to and the presentation was actually given by someone at a company called Raven. Raven as themselves, they’re Internet marketing tools. So they’re one of these companies that has these huge monitoring capabilities, but what was great about their presentation and what we don’t see a lot when we have suppliers give presentations is they gave a whole slew of other options, other platforms that you could use. So if you do want to look for that presentation that I’m referring to, you can actually find – they have it up on their SlideShare. So all you have to do is go to SlideShare.com/raventools. So just look for that presentation there. I think the bottom line really is it’s not about you.
Elizabeth: And you cannot be in a relationship with yourself. So as much as we’re guilty of just talking about ourselves on these networks and stuff, it makes sense to be listening and engaging and using these conversations when we actually speak to someone or email someone as opposed to thinking of it as a crazy stalker kind of thing.
Jon: It’s really at the end of the day just about communication. When you mull it all down, it’s finding out how to connect with people and talking to them and providing good information and not just chatter. It’s no longer one-way communication. It’s a two-way communication so you need to develop a dialogue with people, and that’s what the CRM is all about.
Elizabeth: Yes. I think people that are in marketing in any capacity, they’ve started to learn that when it comes to a brand. They understand that oh, okay, as a brand, I shouldn’t just be saying, “Hey, buy my stuff” or “Hey, look at me” and calling out specifically people and saying, ‘Hey, I want to sell you something”, but we also have to remember that even as just independent business owners or small businesses – and again, with B2B, it’s about that relationship and building that trust. So putting out the good information on your networks, just sharing good articles that you’ve come across that are related to what you do, related to it or just good information. I mean you don’t have to be so strict. I mean I think some people are worried that every article they need to post is about meeting planning, for example.
Elizabeth: I mean sometimes, something that you find interesting, someone else might also find interesting. Again, that’s where they may comment on that later. Next time they may remember that, and then they may say, “Hey, I really liked that article you shared about CRMs.” Something that’s different, like just a business kind of related thing as opposed to just meeting planning. So feel free to share the things that you find interesting because that’s what makes you you. Unique and it sets you apart.
Jon: And what will connect you to people in the end.
Jon: Well, I think we’ll wrap this one up for today, but a lot of good information. Thank you for coming back on, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth: Thank you. It was fun!
Jon: We will basically say goodbye for now and we’ll talk to you next time on the podcast. Thank you for listening.