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CRM vs Social Media | Which Is Better For Growing Your Sales?

"If you're not great at email, you have no business doing..."

Back in August 2013, Convince and Convert founder, author, speaker, and all-around great guy Jay Baer was on The Sales Podcast Episode #15 (I'm up to 607 now, and you can subscribe here) and said...

If you're not great at email, you have no businessdoing social (media)."

"But Wes. But Wes!! I MUST be on InstaChat and SnapGram and FaceTube and TweetIn and YouLinked because EVERYONE is there!!

Besides...email is so 1990s. It's all text messaging and live streaming today. Don't you know ANYTHING?"

You're right. What was I thinking? 

On second thought, maybe I was thinking about...

The Positive ROI of Email Marketing

Here are some interesting numbers that support a focus on email in 2017:

  • E-commerce customers who received multiple abandoned shopping cart emails are 2.4 times more likely to complete the purchase than those who receive only one follow-up email. (Source: Experian, 2016)
  • Brands that personalize promotional marketing emails experience 27% higher unique click rates and 11% higher open rates than those that do not personalize. (Source: Experian, 2016)
  • It is reported that for every dollar spent on email marketing, an average of $44 dollar return on investment is realized. (Source: Campaign Monitor, 2018)

So it appears that the rumors of the death of email have been highly exaggerated.

You will have a positive ROI with email marketing if you do it right.

"Ahh Wes, I knew there was a GOTCHA!"

How To Do Email Marketing Right

In order to be great at any marketing—including email marketing—you need to realize a few key points.

Embrace Your #1 Job as a Business Owner

Your #1 job is to market your business. (See "Your #1 Job As a Business Owner.")

I go into a lot more detail in that article, but no one will bring the fire, the passion, the conviction to telling your story and getting the word out as you will as the business owner.

In my interview with former publishing CEO, author, speaker, and consultant Michael Hyatt on The Sales Podcast, we discussed "how to get noticed in a noisy world."

While we dickered a bit on the percentages, we both agree that you need to spend between 50% to 90% of your efforts on promoting your business vs. producing your products and services.

It's a noisy world, and it's getting noisier.

If you're ready, willing, and able to spread the word far and wide about how great you are and focus your efforts on marketing more than anything else, your best days in business are ahead of you.


Digital Marketing Done Right: Free Report


Learn How To Tell a Good Story

Since cavemen have drawn on walls, facts tell, and stories sell.

Whether you start with...

  • "Once upon a time...",
  • "Space: the final frontier."
  • "There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man."
  • "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...."
  • Or my family's typical opening "You ain't gonna believe this!"

...you need to get better at connecting with the emotions of your prospects and clients and leave the logical, technical stuff for later, once they've decided to go with you and they need some "hard facts" to support their emotional decision.

It's why you use case studies and testimonials as much as possible because if you say it your prospects may not believe you but if someone else says it, well...


Tell a Power Story in a Powerful Manner

Too much emphasis is placed on "reaching the right" people in today's digital/binary age.

While tools like Facebook's Custom Audiences help you stack the odds in your favor when it comes to targeting the people most likely to buy your product or service, if you present a weak offer to the right people, you are doomed.

However, if you present a great offer to the "wrong people," one of two things will happen:

  1. They'll eventually become the "right people" and will buy when they need what you offer because your powerful message stuck with them.
  2. They'll refer you to a friend or family member who they know is right because your powerful message stuck with them.

Case in point: my "always-pregnant" wife and me.

My wife has been pregnant ten times, and we have seven children here on earth and three little angels up above. 

Even though we men like to say, "we are pregnant," the reality is I've never personally been pregnant. 

Using that logic to market your maternity clothing line, for example, a marketing consultant might tell you to show ads only to women in the 22-35-year-old age group who are married, homeowners, and who have a household income of over $75,000. 

That demographic makes sense, right?

But who else might your powerful message about maternity clothes impact in such a way to boost sales? Maybe...

  • I as the husband who hears my wife worry about what she can wear as our little bun in the oven grows and she can't fit into her regular clothes for now
  • Her girlfriends who might throw her a baby shower and are in touch with her weekly, if not daily, and have probably been there themselves
  • The soon-to-be grandparents, i.e. her parents and my parents, are wondering what to get her and are excited about the pregnancy
  • The soon-to-be aunts and uncles, i.e., her brothers and sisters and mine, who are also wondering what to get her and are excited about the pregnancy

"But Wes. But Wes! How do I know who all of these people are and how to reach them, hmmm??"

While I understand there is probably not a Facebook page or TV show for "cousins of pregnant women," if you focus on creating a powerful message that has a great headline, tells a compelling story, and test, measure, and monitor it, you can expand your audience beyond the narrow range I described above and achieve a positive ROI on your ad spend.

You just need to get out of the "right-audience-only" mindset and venture into the "right-message" mindset to benefit beyond your wildest dreams.

Get Started With Wes


Segment Your List

"Okay Wes. What in the actual heck are you saying here? Have you lost your mind? You just said 'don't segment' and now you're telling me to segment! All marketers really are liars, aren't they?"

Wow. Someone needs to slow down on their espresso and energy drink consumption, don't they?

Allow me to explain.

When you are running ads, there is great power in being able to narrow your audiences so you can afford to get in front of the right people more often.

However, in the beginning, it is quite arrogant and potentially dangerous to your business to assume you know exactly whom to target, which is why I say you need to focus on your message before you focus on your audience.

Once you have a compelling story and you have clear metrics on the most profitable audience, then you focus on your audience.

But in this case, when I mention your need to segment your list, I'm referring to using your CRM to segment your database of contacts in as many ways as you can, such as:

  • Customers
    • One-time
    • Repeat
    • VIP
    • Inactive
    • Former
  • Prospects
    • Trade show leads
    • Web leads
      • Free report requesterCRM segmentation HubSpot.png
      • Multiple free report requester
      • Contact us leads
    • Lost
  • Referral partners
  • Etc.

When you have a segmented list of humans in your CRM, and you know who they are, what they like, what they've purchased from you, how much they've purchased from you, when was the last time they purchased from you, etc., you can send targeted, relevant emails to them, which is exactly how you achieve a positive ROI with your email marketing.

If you have a list of vegans and you send them a coupon for steaks, you'll offend them all.

They'll opt out of your list and share on social media how "rude," and "ignorant," and "oblivious" you are to their needs, how cruel you are to animals, and if you survive their protests and their boycotts...you'll be looking for a CRM that integrates with your social media marketing, your online advertising, and your website so you can segment your database accurately and quickly so this never happens again.

Pick Wes's Brain


Build On Land You Own

When it comes to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., you are at the whims of the powers that be.

They can pause your account or close your account without warning and without recourse.

YOU are the product on social media, and you do not own your account.

However, you do own your website and your CRM, which is your "Customer Relationship Management" system, which is your list of humans that have told you what they want from you.

So whatever you do on your social media marketing, keep in mind the ultimate goal is to get your fans and followers to opt-in and/or buy from you so you can engage with them via other mediums that you control, such as:

  • Email
  • Direct mail
  • Phone
  • SMS
  • Maybe even fax (Crazy, I know.)

How To Do Social Media Marketing Right

Jay Baer is not "anti-social media."

He's simply a realist and a pragmatist. He wants to help his marketing clients achieve a positive ROI on their marketing efforts, and that means not only having the right tool for the job, but using the right tool in the right way.

What Jay and I have learned over our many years in this business when it comes to social media marketing is that:

  • it is always evolving.
  • it is, first and foremost, social.
  • it has become a pay-to-play arena.

Before You Buy Any CRM...


Social media marketers are broke

Social Media Marketing Is Evolving

Business and life can be summed up as:

Change is inevitable. Growth is optional. Grow or die.

The owners of the various social media platforms are like you and me. They want to grow and not die. So they evolve.

LinkedIn now gives you the ability to post long-form content and live videos.

Facebook buys Instagram and embraces stories...and videos.

Twitter increases the 144-character limit...and lets you do longer videos.

YouTube gives you the option to pay a monthly fee not to see ads.

And the changes on all of these platforms and any new ones that pop up will continue to happen. So get used to it and embrace it to beat your competition in the social media space.

Social Media Marketing Is Social

Too many "shortcut-seeking" marketers jumped into social media and immediately started selling...HARD...and many are still doing so to this day.

While some got/get some quick wins (because even a blind squirrel gets a nut now and then), that's not the best way to leverage and grow your sales via social media marketing.

Think about it. If you wouldn't show up to a friend's 4th of July backyard BBQ party and start passing out your literature and asking for their credit cards so you can swipe it on your Square, don't act like that when you interact with humans on social media. (Yes, there really are humans on the other end of the computer screen!)

So start by being a good guest. 

Listen. Compliment. Ask more questions rather than make crazy statements and claims. Strive to be interested rather than interesting.

Have an interesting story to tell when people ask you what you do and shine the light on your best clients by describing their success stories when you do speak up. 

And just like being invited to an event, there are different rules of etiquette based on the party—and social media platform—to which you are invited.

So learn the best way to format your content and engagement on LinkedIn vs. Instagram, Twitter vs. Facebook, comment on blogs, and create your own live videos.

Related Articles:

Take The CRM Quiz

Social Media Marketing Is Now Pay-To-Play

In my interview with Jay Baer on The Sales Podcast, we discussed whether social media was a place to sell or a place to deepen relationships with existing customers.

Back when social media platforms were in their infancy, you could share a discount code or other offer, and not only would 70% to 100% of your followers see the offer, they were happy to access easy ways to lock in deals, so they jumped on it.

Then everything changed.

Within 90 days, Facebook reduced the exposure of your Fan Page from 70%+ to single digits.

Competition crept in.

Facebook went public.

Now if you want to get the word out about your business, you need to master paid advertising on these social media platforms.


Is Content Marketing Still Valid?

"Hey Wes, should I blog or not? And if I should, how often should I blog and do I share it over social, send paid traffic to it, or all of the above? And should I allow guest posts?" 

"Hey Wes, should I network socially or...anti-socially? (Aurgh?)"

"Hey Wes, which is the best CRM for me: Salesforce.com or Zoho or Ontraport or Keap CRM or HubSpot?"

Take The CRM Quiz

During the "good old days," I had to suffer through CRMs such as Onyx, Siebel, SFDC, Zoho, Highrise, "Outlook as a pseudo-CRM," Cardscan, and ACT disasters implementations, as the companies I worked for and with attempted to better manage their customer relationships.

Sidebar: do you manage customers like you do inventory? While I've heard of Just In Time Inventory (JIT), I've never heard of Just In Time Customers. If you must work harder today to provide more value to less-trusting, more-informed prospects, shouldn't you focus on opening lasting relationships instead of just trying to close a sale and run like hell? Maybe there is room for both Social Networking and CRM to play together. But I digress.

Related Pages and Articles:

Sometimes I even had to endure the implementation of 2 or 3 of these CRMs at more than one company. Boy oh boy. They REALLY wanted to manage some good customers more gooder. (Oh, how I long for the good old days!)

While management and the bean counters, and those that never left the office may have enjoyed the raw spreadsheet-producing horsepower of these various tools, as far as the sales force was concerned, none of them lived up to their hype.

The bean counters eventually saw the flaws in their thinking as well, which is why most changed platforms at least once.

Case in point: In 2004 I took over a large territory from a sales rep that was moving to England to help open an office there.

Despite the company running an expensive CRM, he handed me a manila folder stuffed with printouts from the customer record that was originally created in the CRM but never updated. All of the updates were handwritten on the printout.

SHAZAM! Boy-howdy was I motivated to get that manila folder!? I had MY WHOLE TERRITORY right under my arm, and there were only a couple of coffee mug stains on the folder.

Imagine the power and the possibilities. (AURGH?)

The excuse was that the company was moving away from that platform because it was too hard to use, and they were rolling out another in 2-4 months' time, so why update what's going away?

Besides, they had a great Excel macro built for quoting and that's where the important information was kept anyway.

In the end, every CRM I've seen installed since 2000 became little more than an expensive calendar to schedule conference calls and a tool sales and operations managers used to be big brother over their salespeople and then beat those same salespeople over the head about the poor quality of their pipelines. (Why am I thinking of Kevin Bacon murmuring, "Thank you, Sir, may I have another?" during his frat initiation in "Animal House?")


Companies—by that, I mean bean counters, managers, and/or sales VPs that have lost track of what their salespeople do all day but think they just need to get out there and "give more presentations"—

i*&^opUAY 987YTADSF;K -

Sorry about that. I just fell off my soapbox. I'm ok. Where was I? Oh yeah,...

—these poor people think a CRM will solve all that ails them.

After thousands or even millions of dollars and months or years of tweaking, they all realize that garbage in equals lost opportunities, lost revenues, lost sleep, lost salespeople, lost CAPEX, lost OPEX, lost market share, and lost customers.

While I admit that CRM-type tools are needed to enable snapshots as well as deep dives into the health of the organization, I think the acronym "Customer Relationship Management" is a huge misnomer that must be changed.

In reality, the big CRMs more closely resemble "Nag the Customer Incessantly So Management Can Get Paid Their Bonuses" or NTCISMCGPTB." (I guess CRM does roll off the tongue a little easier.)

So is your goal to "manage" a customer or open the lines of communication with them?
If you want to "manage the relationship with your customers" you need tools to automate and standardize your correspondence with them. (You do understand Message to Market Medium, right?)

You conduct webinars & seminars, attend trade shows, produce white papers and application notes, and have press releases and product upgrades (and even blog posts like this) that you would like to tell the marketplace about.

What are the 3 or 5 or 25 steps that can be built into a sequence that includes email, a letter, a postcard, a voicemail blast, a fax blast, a phone call, or even a visit every 1, 3, or 21 days to better "manage" the relationships that will evolve into happy clients that invest in high margin solutions from you over and over again?

You see, most business owners and enterprises haven't wrapped their brains around the idea that you must open up a two-way dialogue with your customers.

Those that know they must do this come to the harsh realization that it's hard to figure out what to say, it's harder to say it well, and it's either impossible or unaffordable to set up the type of required sequence that will say deliver the right message at the right time and run in perpetuity on time, every time with no human intervention after it is created once.

So they revert to beating the salespeople for their pipeline update. "Thank you, sir, may I have another?"

It took me nine years to find that type of software that automates my marketing and what a difference it has made to my consulting business.

I liked it so much that I became a certified implementer and reseller of it.

Now I offer various CRMs and inbound marketing tools, such as:

To answer the question, "CRM or Social Media?" Why not CRM Social Media Integration?

They are just two sides of the same coin. The proper usage of Social Media will get people to raise their hands and express interest.

A good "Automated Marketing Platform" that takes old-school CRMs to the level they were meant to be will help maintain the dialogue with those in your marketplace until enough trust is established that they gladly buy on their own terms and sing your praises from the mountain tops.

It can happen, but it will take a new perspective, a willingness to grow, and a little time.

The good news is that your competition is too lazy to do this because they're worn out from shivering in their hunkered-down bunker waiting for this storm to pass.

The thinking that got you into your mess won't get you out. It's time to come out of your cocoon and Seize the Day.

If you need more help growing your sales, check out the following resources scattered around this site and a few others I operate, such as:

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