Getting prospective customers to close a deal is only half the battle for B2B companies. Once you’ve made a sale, the priority of customer success is to encourage users to return for more.
Because 70% of companies report that it’s easier to retain a customer than find a new one, it’s worth investing in customer retention strategies. CRM platforms are great customer retention tools given the rich buyer insights they offer.
However, an even more powerful solution is one that integrates your CRM with a social media management platform. With such a combined resource, you can stay on the pulse of your customers’ needs via the immediacy of social media connections. On that basis, you can form relationships that lead to brand loyalty.
Here are some of the ways a combined CRM and social media solution can help you satisfy your buyers and keep them coming back.
1. Automate Customer Service Messages
In the B2B sphere, it’s very common for products which have a lot of moving parts, a complex onboarding process, and the need for customer support content, to answer common questions and concerns.
An integrated CRM-social media marketing solution can streamline customer support. Depending on its features, a CRM can automate the distribution of customer support content shortly after the point of sale. Then, with the added power of social media, there’s even more flexibility in connecting with customers, quickly responding to support requests, and organizing support material in private social media groups.
According to Accenture’s Global Consumer Pulse, more than 80% of customers who switched from providers due to poor service, said they did so because their issue remained unresolved after the first contact. Getting customer service right the first time is therefore more imperative, and using an integrated CRM-social media solution makes that more likely.
Here are a few examples of what you can do, with the aid of an integrated solution:
- Compose a simple FAQ and send it out to new customers within 2-3 weeks after purchase to allay any concerns and answer the most common questions. Provide social media links in your emails so customers can immediately get in touch with a real person as more questions arise.
- Write timely Tweets or send LinkedIn messages (even to buyers who don’t request support) to boost confidence in your customer service protocol. If you pay attention to when your customers are most likely to be on social media, you can target them in real time. For example, you might Tweet questions to a new customer to ask how they’re enjoying the product—and do so on the specific days and times they use Twitter.
- Host a private Facebook group where customers can freely interact with each other and your support team when they have questions. A LinkedIn Showcase Page might work just as well, if more of your customers tend to be active on that network.
When you couple strong support content with an “anytime, anywhere” presence, customers are much more likely to trust you, love your brand, and keep buying from you in the future. And a CRM-social media solution can help you get there better than anything else.
2. Bolster your Thought Leadership with Targeted, Helpful Content
If you want your current customers to continually invest in your solutions, solidify their confidence in your thought leadership.
In a NewsCred study, 62% of millennials—a demographic that’s comprising larger and larger parts of almost every market—said content drives their loyalty to a brand. And, for good reason. Content is what shapes a brand’s personality and credibility.
If you’re able to publish blog posts, videos, whitepapers, infographics and other pieces that prove you’re knowledgeable about your customers’ concerns and industry trends, you’ll bring in more leads and continue to have their ear open following the point of sale.
With an integrated CRM and social media marketing solution, you can take your thought-leadership to a new level while maximizing good brand sentiment. When customers complete certain milestones, like onboarding after a purchase or responding to your emails at a certain rate, they’re engaged. Act on that engagement by determining their needs and interests via social listening. Then, supply them with relevant content, and you’ll slowly earn their trust.
3. Leverage Social Media to Understand Customer “Communication Styles”
In a crowded B2B marketplace, winning the loyalty of customers is all about making personal connections. And the best way to forge nearly “unbreakable” customer relationships is to understand how your buyers already communicate and meet them there.
With an integrated CRM-social media solution, you can track past customer interactivity with your brand and anticipate how much and what style of communication is needed to properly nurture a specific buyer. You can see their preferred social networks and how they communicate with their own peers. And, you have the insights needed for effective “social selling” even after the sale is made.
When creating those highly personal social media conversations, remember they should be much more organic than standard touchpoints, such as when customers request support or you’re promoting a sale. Just like in real human relationships, customers like knowing that you’re thinking of them and that your brand is reliable, in both small and big ways.
For example, if your CRM shows a particular customer likes discussing industry controversies on Google+, you might ask how some recent shakeups have affected their business, or just start commenting on what they’ve shared on their profile. You might also curate some content they’ll find interesting and especially useful, as long as it strikes the right tone and predictably moves the relationship forward.
4. Target your Incentives and Special Promotions to Each Customer
Giving your customers special incentives and promotions is a solid post-conversion retention strategy, and it’s nothing new. With CRM software, you can determine what promotions, updates, and announcements specific customers might be most likely to jump on.
But by integrating your CRM with social media marketing, you get immediate access to customers plus an even deeper understanding of them, leading to more successful campaigns.
If you’re connected to your customers on social media, you know that they’ve “bought in” to your brand—both literally as a supplier of products and as a contact in their social networking sphere. They’re willing to hear from you, especially if your new product launches or product updates benefit them. While CRM solutions let you leverage knowledge about your customers to pick the most effective incentives, social media lets you reach out to customers in real time and “handpick” certain ones to reach out to, depending on engagement milestones they’ve met or exceeded.
Customers get excited for content that seems “tailor made” to them. It’s another way combining a CRM and social media platform helps you connect to customers, and ultimately, retain them. Doing so also gives you an intuitive understanding of your buyers, both before and after they convert. Use such an integrated solution and watch more of your customers become repeated buyers and even brand advocates.