The concept of “Social CRM” – leveraging social media tools to connect and engage with your customers and prospects – has become an important element of an overall CRM initiative. In this article, we’ll focus specifically on LinkedIn: a key social networking tool that boasts a network of over 200 million registered users and business professionals.

All About the Network

In the business world, networking is extremely important in uncovering opportunities, generating business, and maintaining customer relationships. In comparison to other social networks like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is designed for and used by professionals. For companies that sell products and services to other businesses, this is an important distinction because you’ve got a built‐in target market.

Another distinction is that LinkedIn tries hard to keep relationships authentic. By requiring a “formal” online introduction and limiting visibility of other members (unless someone is in your network), LinkedIn has built a reputation as a reliable source of information.

Important CRM Elements

With newer features like the ability to organize contact profiles into folders and add notes to help you manage communication, LinkedIn is starting to act a lot like a contact database. And since LinkedIn users manage their own contact information, the data can be valuable in keeping your own internal CRM system up to date. What’s more, a sales rep looking for a key contact within a company can find that information easily using LinkedIn Company profiles.

Tools of Engagement

LinkedIn offers tools like Groups and Forums which can provide a fantastic way of creating ongoing dialogue with customers and prospects. Your sales reps can provide industry news and insights, answer questions, and announce new products or services. Comments and interaction are encouraged through LinkedIn that create a valuable 2‐way conversation that you wouldn’t get through an email blast or direct mail.

Strange Bedfellows or Dream Team?

With the growing use of online resources and social media comes the need to reconsider traditional CRM strategies. Combining the valuable data in your Sage CRM system with conversations on LinkedIn can help you better connect with customers and generate new business.

Contact us to learn more about integrating LinkedIn with Sage CRM.

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